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Norman Flinkman
Norman Flinkman (Baltimore Sun)

Norman R. Flinkman, a former Block and nightclub performer and singer-composer who was known for his 1958 hit "I've Got the Feeling," died June 10 of pancreatic cancer at Broward Health Imperial Point in Pompano Beach, Fla. He was 74.

Norman Randy Flinkman was born in Baltimore to Bill Flinkman, a printer and amateur boxer, and Shirley Flinkman, a homemaker. His grandparents were Jewish immigrants.

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Yiddish was Mr. Flinkman's first language, and he didn't learn English until he enrolled at the old Louisa May Alcott Elementary School. He later attended Forest Park High School and then transferred to City College.

He briefly returned to Forest Park High School and then dropped out and joined the Army in 1960.

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"Frankly, he was having trouble with the girls," said a daughter, Susan Flinkman, of Gwynn Oak, with a laugh. "He earned his General Educational Development certificate while in the Army."

While in the Army, he served with the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed in Korea from 1960 to 1962.

A self-taught musician and songwriter, Mr. Flinkman took the stage name of Randy Fisher during the 1950s. In 1958, when he was 17, he wrote and recorded two singles, "I've Got the Feeling" and "You're the Reason," with instrumentals by the Sharp Tones, a studio recording band.

"It received local radio play and made its way onto the jukebox at his favorite neighborhood hang out, Ameche's," said his daughter.

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"Years later, and purely by chance, his recording of 'I've Got the Feeling' was discovered on YouTube under 'I've Got the Feeling, Randy Fisher, 1958,' and currently has more than 2,000 hits to date," she said.

In 1997, a recording of "I've Got the Feeling" was released in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a compact disc of 1950s music titled "Teenage Party," said Ms. Flinkman, who is an adjunct professor of graphic and digital design at the University of Baltimore.

Mr. Flinkman married his first wife, the former Christine Harrelson, in 1963. They met while he was working as a lifeguard at a Milford Mill pool.

During that time, while working nights as a performer, he held several other jobs, including working in the promotion department at The Baltimore Sun, as a salesman at men's shop Frank Leonard's, and as a bus driver for Harrelson Transportation.

In the mid-1960s, Mr. Flinkman began performing professionally under the stage name of Buddy DeVille and spent those years on Baltimore's famous Block.

He performed at many local Baltimore clubs, including two of his favorites, his daughter said, the 2 O'Clock Club and Sherrie's Sho-Bar & Lounge on Pulaski Highway, as a master of ceremonies, comedian and singer.

"He and Blaze Starr, who ironically lived just down the street from his in-laws, became good friends and worked together many times during the height of their careers," his daughter said.

After his marriage ended in divorce in 1972, Mr. Flinkman took his act on the road and became a promoter as well as a performer. He established Imperial Productions and later The Booking Agent.

In 1976, he married the former Nancy Sellers, who was Miss Nude World in 1973-1974.

"He and his second wife, who went by the stage name Nancy Novak, traveled throughout the United States and Canada performing for sold-out audiences and making headlines with their outrageous publicity stunts," said Ms. Flinkman.

After giving up the road, the couple owned Fancy Nancy's and My Club in Dothan, Ala., until they divorced in 1979.

From the mid-1980s until he retired in the late 1990s, he continued to perform, promote and produce shows for proteges, such as Baby Face Bridgette, and other colorful exotic dancers and performers.

Toward the end of his career in the entertainment industry, he and his friend and business partner Galen Fox, who was married to exotic dancer Sheena the Jungle Queen, managed several adult nightclubs in South Florida.

Even though he lived for the last two decades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Pompano Beach, Fla., Mr. Flinkman would visit his daughter, who lives in the old family home in Gwynn Oak, and other family and friends in Baltimore.

In 2001, after several years of failing health, he received a kidney transplant from his eldest daughter, Susan, at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

"The near-perfect match and successful operation lasted until his death 14 years later from an unrelated illness," said his daughter.

Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. July 6 at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, 11501 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills.

In addition to his daughter Susan, Mr. Flinkman is survived by a son, David Flinkman of Westminster; three other daughters, Debbie Flinkman of Columbia, Carolyn Lescalleet of Baltimore and Nicci Bahorik of Ebensburg, Pa.; and seven grandchildren.

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