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Britain's Got Talent...Audition! [18 Nov 2010|11:38pm]

 Hi guys!

Haven't been on here for a while! I've been given an audition for Britain's Got Talent, and thinking about going for it, but thought you guys may be able to give me some comments!

As I am a HUGE fan of Sinatra I have decided I would like to do one of his songs (hopefully without ruining it!)

Here is a link to a recording i've made :)


Any constructive feedback or song suggestions welcome, i've just never had singing lessons or done this before so it's a bit new to me!

I am also thinking about doing Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered, Summerwind and My Way...

Just hope you enjoy it!
1 passenger on board|Come fly with me!

Sinatra, Martin & Lewis [17 Nov 2010|01:17am]

Been meaning to post this for some while, so in an effort to make the wretched spam posters leave this place alone, here goes:


The download above is a copy of the Martin & Lewis Radio Show from January 18th 1952. The guest that week was Frank Sinatra, who sings a song or two, and swaps some jokes with Dean and Jerry. Since it was 1952, Dean and Jerry's relationship was still very strong, but even so, the chemistry between Frank and Dean is clearly already in place. It's a great listen.

It's an extended edition (due to a new Buick being advertised on the show!), so it clocks in at around forty-five minutes.
Come fly with me!

The gang on stage in 1955... [20 May 2010|09:06pm]

Thought I'd share a recent find on YouTube, that should interest some folks here. In 1955, Frank Sinatra took a busload of his friends to a Judy Garland concert - Bogart, Bacall, Sammy, Dino and a few others. Sort of the old and the new Rat Packs, in a way. They all wound up on stage together at the end of the concert, and here's what happened:



It's quite clear that they don't entirely know what to do with themselves at first! Then Dino starts clowning around, Sammy joins in, and before you know it the pair of them are doing a take on the Martin & Lewis act, which was then of course still underway. Well worth a listen. Whether or not this is the first recording of Frank, Dino and Sammy together on stage I don't know, but it's certainly the earliest that I've heard.

Thank goodness for handy people with tape recorders! ;)
2 passengers on board|Come fly with me!

I am still alive, and coming VERY SOON (the week of March 22, 2010)... [15 Mar 2010|12:23am]

When I last posted, we were going into a little detail of Frank Sinatra and his ownership stakes in the Sands in Las Vegas and were going to cover the Cal Neva Lodge, it's history, Frank Sinatra's ownership (and how Dean got out) and some of the other celebrity ties... can we say Kennedy and Miss Marilyn Monroe....?

Stay close, it's coming VERY soon!
Come fly with me!

Danny Aiello saw Frank Sinatra at the COPA!!! [01 Aug 2008|04:35pm]

 For Academy Award nominated actor Danny Aiello’s second CD he was inspired by Atlantic City, Sinatras old stomping ground.  It was the place where old blue eyes performed his final public US concert while Danny Aiello watched from the audience.  “My wife Sandy and I got a call from my agent inviting us down to Atlantic City to see the show and meet Frank.  I loved Sinatra and jumped at the chance not knowing what to expect.  He was everything and more and the Copa Room, well, it was the perfect setting.” 

Ten years later Aiello recorded his debut CD. Five days after the release, Danny Aiello made his Billboard Chart debut! His first album I Just Wanted To Hear The Words hit the Billboard Traditional Jazz Chart at #4, the highest new entry that week, just behind Harry Connick Jr., Winton Marsalis and Diana Krall.

And so it is fitting when a friend suggests in 2005 that he record one of those Atlantic City shows, preferably from The Sands so he and his band could preserve a little history for themselves, Aiello agrees, “Given Sinatra’s history on that stage and my memories of seeing him there, the Sands really captured the spirit of the resort’s history among the excitement of a new Atlantic City.  For me, it made perfect sense.”


Come fly with me!

Ring A Ding Ding! [15 Jul 2008|09:57pm]

[ mood | anxious ]

I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

So who wants to hear about the 60's?

Ocean's 11 was a huge success - not the best movie ever made in terms of cinematic value but for a good time, so great music courtesy of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and a shot at Las Vegas in the swingin' 60's it was a great choice. Still is, actually, as I've watched it more times than I can count.

With the dawning of 1960, things were changing. Frank's good friend and fellow Rat Packer, Sammy Davis, Jr, was involved with Swedish born actress May Britt (pronounced My). Here it was - 1960 and a black man and a white woman were going to marry. Sammy made the wise choice in terms of wedding party - he asked Frank to be his best man. It was a very racist time however Frank had always been a pioneer for the rights of black people and desegregation. In that time, black performers in Las Vegas could perform at any Strip hotel however as soon as the performance was through, had to leave. They were not allowed to enter the casino or the lounge, stay in the hotel or go near the pool or any other public area. The one place black performers and people in general could stay was the north side of Vegas, past the rail road tracks. Those tracks were found heading up the strip past the Desert Inn and Sahara. Once there, you were in the "black" part of town. In 1955, they opened a hotel/casino specifically catered to a black clientele called The Moulin Rouge - but it closed after 9 months leaving no true entertainment venues or lodging options. At one point, Frank reportedly told Jack Entratter at the Sands that either Sammy stayed at the hotel or all of them would leave. And where Frank went, Dean, Sammy, Judy Garland, Joey Bishop and countless other stars went. Jack caved, Sammy stayed, and the desegregation of Las Vegas began at the hands of Frank. While he disputed that he played a major role, many credit him to be the leading the way.

Frank also helped Mr. John F Kennedy get elected as President of the United States. That was no easy task, especially when most of the world didn't want a Protestant President. That is when Daddy Kennedy, Joseph Senior, got in touch with Frank. Frank wanted desperately to get JFK elected and made it known. It was also very well known that Frank had 'connections'. So Joseph Kennedy got in touch with Frank and asked for a favor - for Frank to ask a favor of his connection Sam "Momo" Giancana and get the teamsters to vote for Kennedy. Frank asked, Momo obliged and there we have President number thirty five. (I really didn't try to rhyme that, it just happened that way).

One of the things that the Kennedy camp also asked of Frank was to NOT associate with Sammy and May and their wedding during the election. They felt that if a man in the position of Frank was shown supporting an interracial marriage (which was NOT supported at all at the time - there are some reports that they actually postponed their wedding once to appease Frank and Kennedy. Because of the support, or lack thereof, that Sammy received from Kennedy, he distanced himself from the campaign entirely and was removed from the guest list at the gala banquet upon his election. He did, however, marry May on November 13, 1960. Frank WAS the Best Man.

Musically it was a time for change for Sinatra as well. He had never been more popular - his recordings were hugely successful, his movies were drawing huge crowds - it was as if he were king of the world. Frank, however, was a little less than thrilled with Capitol Records, his home for the last 7-8 years. He wanted a new home where he could be more creative, get away from the concept albums which he perfected the technique of, and also play a bigger role in the production and management side. So on September 11 and 12 of 1961, Frank made his last recordings for Capitol Records. He went on to begin Reprise Records, his home for the remainder of his career. Just like in Vegas, where Sinatra went, everyone else went. The opening roster for Reprise artists was impressive - Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr, Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford and one of my personal favorite musicians, Rosemary Clooney. Sinatra's first album under the Reprise label, "Ring A Ding Ding", was a huge success, stopping in at #4 on the US Billboard charts. His success continued to climb after that release.

Owning one's own recording company had it's perks, as Frank knew, and subsequently was referred to by a name that followed him throughout the rest of his life - The Chairman of the Board.

1962 - a year which will live in infamy. Sinatra, having helped get Kennedy elected, was a good friend of the first family. Well, all but one member - Robert "Bobby" Kennedy. Bobby served as the Attorney General for John's administration and knew of Sinatra's reported mob ties. He had also discovered the FBI files of Sinatra and some of his 'connections' and wasn't pleased.

Jack was supposed to be visiting Frank at his Palm Springs home for a period in 1962. For the event, Sinatra built a helipad, additional buildings and enhanced security of the property to ensure that Jack would have an enjoyable trip. Word was delivered by Peter Lawford, Kennedy's brother in law, that due to Bobby's findings in the FBI report, John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, would be staying at the home of Bing Crosby, a Republican, just miles down the road. That single event led to the end of Sinatra's rocky friendship with Peter Lawford and also pushed him to become a Republican.

Sinatra owned shares of the Sands hotel in Vegas, but that wasn't enough for him. So in 1960, he, Dean Martin, a gentleman by the name of Hank Sincola and another 'connection' Skinny D'Amato went in to buy a little seasonal lodge in Crystal Bay, NV - commonly referred to as the Lake Tahoe area, called The Cal-Neva. And that's where the fun begins.

That's also where we're stopping tonight. I know, it has been LONG overdue! But you're in for a real treat - when I update again, it will be a complete entry on the Cal-Neva with some personal stories because when I was on vacation in May, I went to Lake Tahoe, and I spent a good deal of time at Sinatra's Cal-Neva Lodge. You should see the pictures I have! But for now, These pictures will have to do!!!Collapse )

And there you have it - the first update in far too long. I know the original plan was to finish the 1960's in one update but that's far from possible. So we're hoping that I can get motivated again (and find my vacation pictures) and get you a GREAT update on the Cal-Neva, and THEN try and wrap up the 60's. Once the 60's are over it'll be smooth sailing.

THANK YOU for sticking by me - I hope this lives up to your expectations. If there is something particular you want to see, let me know. Don't be afraid to comment (as so many of you have wanting to know where the hell I've been).... Until next time, I leave you with some advice.

Leave all your troubles at the door. If you're lucky, someone will break in overnight and steal them!

Come fly with me!

Hiatus [28 Dec 2007|07:09pm]

Because of medical issues as well as other personal pressing matters, I am taking a SHORT hiatus. I will return no later than mid January, when I anticipate the ability to use my primary hand after surgery. I apologize for the delay in the posts, but I assure you that they will continue. I've done so much research on the history of Vegas as well as celebrities of the Rat Pack era, and this is the only place I can share the knowledge without being killed (it drives my mother NUTS). So, if you did enjoy it, don't worry, it will return. If you didn't enjoy it... well... :p
8 passengers on board|Come fly with me!

Ee-O-Eleven [21 Dec 2007|04:18pm]

Peter Lawford makes the pitch to Frank - he bought the script for a movie about a guy and his former Army guys. They served together as a commando unit. Well, they get together 15 years later in Vegas, but not to visit - to knock over 5 of the casinos on Highway 91 on New Year's Eve.

Ocean's 11.

Frank liked it. And that was it.

He got his guys together, there was a part for Dean, even for Sammy (At this point, Sammy was having a difficult time in the press because of his relationship with a white model, May Britt. Keep in mind, it was 1959 and interracial relationships weren't looked upon well at all.) as a singing garbage man, who sang the title song. Joey Bishop would be in it, even Peter Lawford for two reasons - one, because he found the script and two, because he's related to John F Kennedy.

I'm not entirely sure as I've not been able to find any written verification, but my educated guess would be that BEFORE Ocean's 11 came along, Frank, Dean, Sammy and Peter all got together for a fund raiser for Jack Kennedy. One of Sinatra's songs from a prior album was "High Hopes" featuring children singing the chorus about an ant moving a rubber tree plant and various odd things. Well, they reworked the lyrics and performed the Presidential version of High Hopes (Everyone wants to back Jack, Jack is on the right track. Cause he's got High Hopes, High Hopes. 1960's the year for his High Hopes) so they had worked together on stage before and done well as well as had a good time doing so. At this point, the Senator had just announced his plan to run for President and Frank would have done ANYTHING to get him in office. And if Frank supported Kennedy, then his friends did too.

Fast Forward to the planning for the movie in the fall of 1959. Frank and company decide to film this, but to do it a little differently. They decide to film in 5 of the Strip casinos (The Sands, The Flamingo, The Desert Inn, The Riviera and The Sahara). They film during the day, late afternoon they take a steam in the Sands steam room and in the evening, they perform at The Sands in the Copa Room. Since Sinatra was close friends with Jack Entratter, who was the manager of all entertainment at the Sands as well as one of the owners, they very easily got away with just about anything. Obviously it was GREAT business for The Sands, but it was also personal for the two of them. Back in New York, Entratter was the manager I believe of the Copacabana or another very popular club back in the 40's and early 50's. Even when Frank had hit rock bottom and his career was almost over, it was Entratter who always stuck by him and helped him get a gig. That loyalty didn't go unnoticed by Sinatra and the two remained close for years.

Now some report, and the legend of The Rat Pack (or The Summit as Frank preferred it be called) was that it was originally decided that they all perform together from the beginning. I've come across information from a gentleman named Ed Walters, who was a dealer and Pit Boss at The Sands for years and years - including the time Frank and the boys held court. He remembers the beginning of The Rat Pack -

As I remember it, Frank opened the first night and all went well. Dean did the second night and did both shows. On the 3rd night, Sammy was doing a long show and Frank came on stage and did some talk with Sammy and ended the show. "He's got to to to bed - we're doing a movie all day. Sammy, say good night." Sammy says goodnight. Frank takes him by the hand and tells the crowd "I've got to get him to bed." They both walk off to a big round of applause.

I think the very next night, Frank is doing his show and out walks Dean and tells everyone Frank has to go to bed. The audience is shocked at first. Remember this is Sinatra in the Copa Room in full tux, doing his usual very professional job.

The crowd doesn't know if Dean is serious or not or if Dean is drunk or not (yes, Dean did drink a lot at the time). Frank would start a song and half way through it Dean would cut in. "Frank that's enough. - Frank that song's too long - sing something shorter." Frank is saying he is going to sing all night for the people. Dean is telling him that he made the rules and everyone must go to bed early. Now I know, in 1999 we all know that this stuff would be come legend, but I'm telling you at the time it was a shocking thing to see. Yes there was a agreement for Dean to come on at the end of Frank's show and help get him off stage early. But everyone thought each star would do his regular act and use one of the other guys to get him off stage.

As Dean would tell years later, "I know I was supposed to come on at the end of his act but Frank likes to fool around a lot so I would fool with him. See if he could handle it - and he did. We had a lot of fun."

This "fooling around" between Dean and Frank was a thing to see. They both did it well. Remember, Dean did this for years with Jerry, so none of this was new to him. But it was all new to Frank. This undisciplined, joking around, horseplay was not what he did well. The audience just loved it and broke out in spontaneous applause. That show ended with the audience going out and raving about what they saw. Everyone in the casino talked about it. Dean and Frank were funny together.

I believe that night changed Frank's life and I will discuss that in another story.

So the crowd loves it and Frank loves it and it is decided that from then on, whoever was doing his show that night will be interrupted by one of more of the others. Frank decided "so let's just have some fun." That decision by Frank started it all.

By the end of the first week it was almost certain that at every show , no matter who was doing his show that night, all three, Frank, Dean and Sammy, would be on stage. The "fooling around" became the talk of the strip and then the city and then it spread to LA and NY.

They were all talking about how Frank and the guys were breaking it up on stage and it was a happening. People were flying in from all over. Frank's friends from LA all wanted to be here. Douglas, Grant, Roz, Peck, and all his buddies came in and saw a show or two and went home raving about it.

Remember this was a shocker at the time.

The rumors were flying all over town: "Dean was drunk and stopped Frank from singing." "Frank and Dean were so drunk they couldn't remember the words so they yelled at each other." "You can't believe it, Sinatra was interrupted tight in the middle of his act by Dean Martin and Sammy Davis who told Sinatra to stand aside while they showed him how to do his act."

This spread to the papers, which in those days covered a lot of the night club scene. Some Eastern press, mainly one woman who had a column, put it out as "Frank Sinatra and his pack of regulars all up all night drinking in Las Vegas." Another day she writes: "Sinatra and his rat pack are up all night drinking and partying in Las Vegas."

Of course, as Ed said, this was spreading EVERYWHERE. Celebrities were all over the place - in fact, some of the celebrities that came to the shows were offered cameos in the film. Red Skelton, for example, was a famous comedian who was given a role in the film - as himself, who was performing at The Sands, and tried to cash a check at the casino cage to play some games in the casino but the cage clerk wouldn't cash the check - Red had threatened him before and told him not to cash any more of his checks. He was implying a gambling problem. I'm not entirely sure if he actually did have a gambling problem, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Another actress who was at one of the Summit performances was Shirley MacLaine. She had a ball watching the guys, so they gave her an uncredited role in the film. If you've ever watched the film, toward the big stroke of midnight when everything is taking place - One of the characters is going around to each casino to do some rewiring. Outside the Sahara, a pair of women, one drunk off her tushie and one not, pull up right outside the door that he needed to go in. Around that time, Dean Martin's character walks up and starts attempting to distract, move and eventually kiss this random drunk woman - Shirley MacLaine. One of the funniest moments in the film. One of her jokes, "I'm so drunk I don't think I could lie down without holding on" was a play on something that was usually used in Rat Pack performances by Frank or Dean. She didn't accept any payment for her role - she just wanted to join in the fun with the guys and have a good time. But the studio felt that she should be compensated somehow, so they gave her a brand new car.

Some other celebrities that were in attendance were Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and John F Kennedy. This did not go unnoticed by Sinatra and any performance that Jack was at, Frank gave his endorsement to "The Future President of the United States".

Back to the guys - So here you have Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford - all of whom can sing and act, and Peter and Sammy obviously dance as well. A lot of people have wondered where Joey Bishop came into play - he was sort of the odd ball out. He didn't drink, he didn't sing. He was a comedian, so that was an advantage. Here's another reference by Ed Walters -

1960, they're filming the movie "Oceans Eleven" at the Sands. At night the regular guys would do their shows. First up was Sinatra, and he would invite others up and introduce people from the audience. Next night would be Dean, and he would do the same thing. The Sands marquee would say Frank Sinatra (or whoever was on that night) and special guests. By the third night it was apparent that something special was starting to happen. Word was reaching L.A. and everyone was coming up to see this.

So Jack Entratter realizes this is taking a life of its own and it was decided that all the guys would be going on stage and let what ever happened, happen. This is what would become "The Summit."

The Casino pit bosses were amazed with what was taking place. Our question was, alright there's Frank, Dean and Sammy but what are the others going to do. Joey Bishop, he doesn't sing or dance or tell stories, he's not a swinger or a clown. He will get massacred. I know it sounds silly now but the casino guys thought the show would be formed around the big 3 tearing up the others. We thought Joey would get slaughtered.

That didn't happen. After the first few nights it was real clear to everyone that Joey Bishop could handle anything and more.

I saw a lot of the shows. Joey would assume the submissive role to Frank, Dean and Sammy. But during the shows he came off with some of the most brilliant lines that have been heard in The Copa Room. His come-back lines to Frank were sharp and funny. I can remember Frank looking over at Joey with surprise and yet be so pleased to see just how good he was.

Think about this compliment Dean said about Joey. A bunch of us in the casino were talking to Dean about those early days and how we thought Joey would be destroyed. Dean said "We destroy him? Hell, he destroyed us!"

Joey was actually credited with writing most of the Rat Pack jokes and quips - a lot of people assumed it was all ad-lib material, but most of it was written. One of the jokes credited to Joey was one involving Dean and Sammy, and actually one of the only jokes to ever actually bother Sammy in terms of his race. Again, this was a very discriminatory time. Dean walks over, picks up Sammy and says "I'd like to thank the NAACP for this wonderful trophy!" Sammy then jumps out of Dean's arm, laughs and moves on. May Britt, who would later become Sammy's wife, was also bothered by most of the material making fun of Sammy. In the 1998 HBO film "The Rat Pack", she is depicted as saying that the other guys are laughing AT him and not WITH him, as he defends, that they're making fun OF instead of WITH Sammy. I don't know how true that is (They obviously didn't check all of their facts - that film shows The Sands Hotel in 1960 for the Ocean's 11 filming and they show the Sands tower, which wasn't built until 1965-1966).

Another fun thing to realize is that at this time in Las Vegas, 1960, it was very racially divided. Sammy, being a black performer, could perform at the casino, but as soon as the performance was over he had to leave. He couldn't go to the casino floor, couldn't go to the lounges or anywhere on the property. It wasn't just The Sands, but all of the properties. Blacks were not allowed to stay or play on any of the properties. It has been said numerous times that Frank Sinatra was furious about that and at one point told the owners of The Sands that either Sammy stays in the hotel or Frank and the boys leave. This didn't happen right away, but it has been credited to Frank Sinatra the desegregation of Las Vegas.

The filming was difficult to say the least. Frank had an attitude while making movies - one take and that was it. He felt it was the best way to capture an honest reaction to a situation. He rehearsed privately, but wasn't a fan of doing several run thrus. And that one take policy, that was how he did things. Of course, he could get away with it on this picture as it was his company producing the film. He basically viewed this film as a way to play - to goof off, have a good time with his friends all while doing something that he loved - entertaining. So mid morning they would film a few scenes, then they'd head down to the steam room to relax and the show would go on that evening. After the show is when the real partying would start and it wasn't rare for the guys to get to bed around 4 or 5 in the morning, if not later.

I THINK I've gone on enough.... this is a VERY long entry, and I don't want you all to hate me. I hope you enjoyed this - and of course, I have PICTURES!!!!Collapse )

THANK YOU for your patience! I'll try to breeze through the rest of the 60's before Christmas, then it should be relatively easy to finish up before January 1. Remember to VOTE here for the subject of January's posts if you haven't already. Your choices are the 5 hotels featured in Ocean's 11 - The Flamingo, Sands, Desert Inn, Sahara and Riviera. So far with 2 votes, The Sands is in the lead.... so make your opinion heard!
Come fly with me!

Delay [20 Dec 2007|12:48am]

Due to some medical issues and the fact that I'm not really taking the news all that well, there will more than likely be a delay of just a day or two for the next post - but I assure you it will be worth it!

And don't worry, it's nothing that's terribly serious or not life threatening at all, just upsetting. You can check out my home journal robbieboi if you're that curious but I'll be fine and back in a day or so.

Thanks for your patience!
Come fly with me!

Oh by gosh, by golly it's time for Mistletoe and Holly! [17 Dec 2007|03:44am]

[ mood | anxious ]

Today is the first day we've seen any snow and let me tell you, it's put me in a festive mood! While I was decorating the tree, I watched an old 1957 TV special featuring Frank and Bing Crosby - Merry Christmas From Sinatra & Crosby - and it was fun! But the really neat feature of the DVD was that it had a 1961 Santa Claus Lane Christmas Parade from Hollywood on there... all the old celebrities, really old floats... It was nifty!

At any rate, last time we were here, Frank's career had picked up greatly, and he had found a new circle of friends - the original Rat Pack. One thing about Frank is that he liked to be around powerful people - Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland... that's something that would continue throughout his life, and especially with the second incarnation of The Rat Pack. But I digress...

This point in Sinatra's life - from about 1954 on through the late 1960's was extremely busy. Which is probably a good thing - see, Frank and Nancy had separated and their divorce was finalized in October of 1951 - and on November 7, 1951 - either 10 or 13 days after the divorce was finalized, Frank and Ava Gardner were married. Their marriage went about as well as their affair.. Ava actually got pregnant but aborted the child due to the nature of their marriage. In 1953 they separated and in 1957 they were finally divorced. Obviously, some of the busyness wasn't that great.

Another funny thing happened in 1953. In July of 1953, the Nevada Gaming Board denied Frank's application for a 2% interest in the Sands in Vegas. I haven't seen documentation as to why it was denied - but my assumption would be ties with the Mob. As you've seen in my other posts, the connected boys seem to follow Frank around everywhere. And it wasn't exactly secret. However, it is suspected that due to the influence of Jack Entratter, between 1954-1955, Sinatra was approved to a 2% stake in the Sands. And believe it or not, that wouldn't be his only venture into the casino industry. By 1961, Sinatra owned 9% of the Sands. But what happens to that will probably come in the next post.

Sinatra had wanted to own percentages in casinos for some time before he was allowed to own a share of the Sands - when he opened at the Desert Inn in 1951, he said reportedly that he wanted to own the Desert Inn and turn it into a successful classy resort. That obviously never panned out, but he had found out what it took to be an owner so he was prepared when the opportunity presented itself at The Sands.

Back to the fun stuff. By 1956, Sinatra was on top of the world. He had released 5 incredibly successful albums for Capitol Records, he had won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in "From Here To Eternity", he had worked with Marlon Brando in "Guys and Dolls" and he had been nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his role in what some say was his best, most dramatic movie role ever - 1955's "The Man With The Golden Arm". Frank played Frankie Machine - a card shard that had a crippling addiction to heroin. His attempts to shake the addiction and avoid slipping back into the drug world while attempting to support his bedridden wife as well as true love, played by Kim Novak. His scenes portraying his detox from the heroin are said to be the best enactments of overcoming a drug addition or fix ever recorded. For the role, Frank spoke to physicians, psychiatrists as well as drug addicts to help him capture the every feeling, move and emotion of a man dealing with those kinds of inner demons. Simply put - his best work, according to many.

He also starred in a 1954 movie called "Suddenly" - Frank plays an assassin who takes over a woman's home in a town called Suddenly, California in an attempt to kill the President of the United States who is passing through town on a train. A very dramatic movie, Sinatra insisted it be pulled from theaters and not be shown after John F. Kennedy's assassination. He received a lot of criticism for the movie, but the role was played quite well and is one of my personal favorite Sinatra films.

Once 1957 rolled around, he had continued to release more work for Capitol Records, by now bringing in more of a swing, almost big band sound, to his music. In the past, especially with his Columbia recordings, they were very string driven, very orchestral. However, once the mid fifties rolled around, the country was ready to hear a more energetic side to music and Frank delivered. With his 1957 release "A Swingin' Affair", Sinatra proved he was at the top of his game with an upbeat version of "Night And Day", "The Lady Is a Tramp" and one of my very favorite songs, "I Wish I Were In Love Again" - about a man who is looking at the pros and cons of love. Actually a very entertaining song - look at the lyrics for the first verse:

The sleepless nights, the daily fights
The quick toboggan when you reach the heights.
I miss the kisses and I miss the bites,
I wish I were in love again.

The broken dates, the endless waits.
The lovely loving and the hateful hates.
The conversations with the flying plates,
I wish I were in love again.

Sinatra had a fantastic sense of humor, and especially in the mid fifties where he had complete free reign on his recordings, he showed us some of that humor. He even did a version of the kid's classic "Old Macdonald" but livened it up a bit (see, on this Old Macdonald's farm he had swingin' chicks who had curves everywhere and wiggles to spare).

Also in 1957, Sinatra signed a $3 million deal with ABC for The Frank Sinatra Show - a variety show featuring Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and many other of the most successful singers and entertainers as guests. He would also star in four other specials on ABC, sponsored by Timex, between 1958 and 1960. One of the most widely known specials is the "Welcome Home Elvis" special showcasing a duet between the two entertainers. It's available on DVD and an interesting and enjoyable watch.

His success and friendships continued to grow larger through 1959, when Frank had expanded his interest into the political ring. But not himself - John F. Kennedy. And in turn, Peter Lawford.

Peter and Frank had worked together previously - in 1947's "It Happened in Brooklyn" and they were civil to each other - until at some point while Frank and Ava were separated before the divorce, Frank found out that Peter and Ava had lunch together and threatened him with bodily harm. Between his friends' influence (namely Dean Martin) and the fact that Peter was married to Patricia Kennedy (Senator John F Kennedy's sister) and John was planning a run for President, hostilities were set aside and their "friendship" began again. It was Peter who brought Frank an idea for a movie...

I'm teasing, I know... You all know what's next... And have I got some stuff for you! You'll never see it coming! I'm actually very excited to get to the next post, so be expecting a pretty long post next time, my guess would be Wednesday at the latest!

But the fun stuff for tonight's... The PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!!!Collapse )

SO... come back soon and read ALL about Danny Ocean and his gang of paratroopers, The Vegas Invasion and Jack - the drama that ended too soon.

ALSO.... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take 20 seconds to VOTE for next month's subject... I picked the 5 hotels featured in "Ocean's 11" - The Flamingo, The Sands, The Desert Inn, The Sahara or The Riviera. Whatever one has the most votes by Midnight on NEW YEARS EVE, I'll research my tail off and showcase here, giving some history and photos of the property through the years. You can vote Here!

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YOU GET TO CHOOSE!!!!!!!! [13 Dec 2007|08:12pm]

Help me decide January's posting subjects... PLEASE VOTE!

Poll #1105773 January History in Photographs Posts

What Hotel/Casino should I feature in January for the History in Photographs posts?

The Sands
Desert Inn
Come fly with me!

I goofed [13 Dec 2007|06:44pm]

[ mood | sick ]

I picked the wrong image of Sinatra for the postage stamp and I apologize. My only defense is that I've been sick and medicated. :)

BUT................................ I found the stamp! Available next Spring, send your letters First Class all the way - With Sinatra's seal of approval!

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I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter.... [13 Dec 2007|05:05am]

[ mood | tired ]

Please note: Due to a loss of internet connection, when I began writing this post it was indeed on December 12 - however I've been unable to post it until after 12 AM on December 13.


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK!!!!!!!! You'd be 92 today, and you're missed greatly. As a birthday gift, the United States Postal Service has announced the design of a Frank Sinatra First Class postage stamp to be released next spring. I can't find the image of the stamp, but I do know that the image will be this classic shot of Sinatra, cool as ever in his gray-blue suit and fedora. His signature will be at the bottom of the stamp. The design was released at a Beverly Hills gala with his children Tina, Frank Jr and Nancy all in attendance, as well as his first wife, Nancy (Sr) Barbato. As soon as I can find an image of the stamp, I'll post it.

Oh, by the way... we now have 15 members!!!!! Only I would be excited about that. Welcome to all the new faces, and now, on to the latest chapter in Frank's life.

When we stopped last time, Frank's career was essentially over - no recording contract, no movie contract, his concerts were flopping, he was divorcing his wife Nancy, and his vocal cords had hemorrhaged leaving him with no way to perform and no work, and therefore no income. Having just begun a relationship with Ava Gardner, who was reaching a peak in her career, this was not an easy task to overcome for the two of them. As I sad in the last entry, at one point Frank had to borrow money from Ava to buy his kids Christmas gifts. Frank was a very proud, very Italian man. Failure was not an option for him, and somehow, he overcame and his career started looking up.

In September of 1951, Frank made his Las Vegas debut at Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn hotel on Highway 91, what is now known as Las Vegas Boulevard, or The Strip. The Desert Inn was opened on April 24, 1950 as the fifth hotel on the Strip - looking more like an airport than a hotel. The main building, which housed the casino, Painted Desert Room and lounges had a three story tower in the front, topped off by a green cactus lit by neon reading "Wilbur Clark's Desert Inn." At that time in Frank's career, he was having trouble holding on to a piano player. The rest of the orchestra he had no problems with, but finding a piano player to gel with his personality, work ethic and performance style was rare. One of his friends, famous song writer Jimmy Van Heusen, recommended a very talented young pianist who also happened to be playing at The Desert Inn - Bill Miller. The two met and Bill ended up serving as Sinatra's permanent pianist for almost 50 years. When Sinatra died, Bill played their classic saloon song "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" at his funeral. He then went into retirement for three years, and eventually came out of retirement to play piano for Frank Sinatra, Jr until he died in 2006.

The songs that feature Bill Miller the best are his slower ballads and what Frank always called Saloon Songs, or drunk songs. Sinatra during one of his live performances, introduced his best known saloon song, "One For My Baby" as such:

This is the part of the program where we sing a drunk song. Drunk songs are usually done in small bars and bistros in the wee hours of the morning. Usually talked or sung by a fellow who's got problems, like his broad flew the coop... with another guy and all the bread... So if you will assume the position of a bartender, this is how these guys behave.

If you click the cut at the bottom of this post, in addition to numerous pictures, you'll also see a live performance of Frank singing "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)"

Another classic saloon song is the haunting "Angel Eyes" - with it's last line "Excuse me while I disappear" as it fades to nothing serving as the closing song in many Sinatra performances on stage.

His comeback was short lived, however. He would have some performances off and on, but he wasn't attracting the crowds or the attention that he used to. He then found out that they were planning a movie adaptation of "From Here to Eternity." And he wanted in. Badly. Unfortunately, the studio didn't want him. After getting Ava Gardner, a few mob ties and even Jack Entratter, who served as the General Manager, an owner and the manager of all entertainment at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, to get Columbia Pictures to hire him in the role of Maggio, he finally got in but only, so they say, because the originally planned actor backed out of the picture. There has been a lot of speculation over the years of what actually got him the role in the film - some say Ava was the key factor and other say the Mob. Given the fact that his ex wife, Nancy, was the niece of a Mob man, he had several connections with the Mob in various parts of the country (and would later use those ties to own a part of the Sands as well as elect John F Kennedy to office), and even Mob front man and close friend Willie Moretti shoved the barrel of a gun in Tommy Dorsey's mouth to release him from his contract so he could go on his own, I'd say it is highly more likely that he got the role through Mob connections. With the film being released in 1953 to rave reviews, and all of the principle cast receiving Oscar Nominations, Sinatra was headed for the top once again. Of course, it also helped that the role of Maggio earned Sinatra his only Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actor in 1953.

With the success of "From Here to Eternity" and the Oscar win, Sinatra also proved he couldn't be beaten in the musical world either and was signed to Capitol Records. With Capitol, he truly honed and developed his signature sound, and also created the "concept album" that would serve him throughout the rest of his career. A great example of a concept album would be 1958's release of "Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely" - a song of nothing but ballads, love songs, and the infamous drunk or saloon songs. Both "Angel Eyes" and "One For My Baby" were issued on this album. One of his more popular concept album would be 1958's release of "Come Fly With Me" - featuring songs related to travel or foreign places in some way. One thing that most people don't know, turning back to the "Only The Lonely" release, is that Sinatra was also an artist/painter and he created the cover art for that album himself. He even received a Grammy award for "Best Album Cover."

Releasing a steady stream of at least one album a year on Capitol's label, as well as starring in several movies, mostly musicals such as "Young At Heat" with Doris Day and then securing a role in the highly successful "Guys and Dolls" with Marlon Brando in 1955, Frank was again on top of the world. And here's where the Rat Pack comes into play.

When most people hear "The Rat Pack" they assume Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr are the rats you're speaking of, but it goes far deeper than that.

In 1949, Frank moved from Toluca Lake. CA to Holmby Hills, CA - just blocks away from Humphrey Bogart's home. Bogart and his wife, Lauren Bacall were the quintessential Hollywood couple and their attraction to other elite members of Hollywood royalty was pure legend. They had an elite group of friends who would gather for drinking, card games, gambling and in general carousing. Frank and Humphrey had known each other for some time, and had been to a few of their "meetings" but after his popularity picked up, and after his Oscar win, he really got to be with the In crowd. Frank, Bogart, Bacall, Judy Garland and her husband Sid Luft, Swifty Lazar (Who was Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's talent agent - as well as the agent for Gene Kelly, Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant among many others), Nathaniel Benchley (Who was an author - and also the father of Nautical Terror author Peter Benchley), David Niven (Who was a very popular actor from the 1930's to the early 1960's, also appeared the later Pink Panther movies), Katharine Hepburn (Who was a very successful actress, best known for her work with Spencer Tracy), Spencer Tracy was also included, George Cukor (Who was a highly successful film director - he was originally hired to direct "Gone With The Wind" but was fired after less than three weeks of filming), Michael Romanoff (A man who made a living claiming to be someone he wasn't - he most notably claimed to be Prince Michael and owned a popular restaurant) and Jimmy Van Heusen (Who was a very talented composer/song writer - teamed with Sammy Cahn, they created some of the most beautiful and popular songs for years, including some specifically for Sinatra. They won three Academy Awards for their collaborations, all of which Sinatra sang at some point in his career and was well known for - "All The Way", "Call Me Irresponsible" and "High Hopes". Sinatra had special lyrics created for "High Hopes" and performed it for John F Kennedy's campaign, but we'll get into that soon). The story is that when all of these guys came back from a weekend in Vegas, Lauren Bacall said to them "You look like a goddamn Rat Pack!" And so that's what they became, The Rat Pack. Another story of how they got their name was from Judy Garland and Sid Luft. Their home was used as a meeting place for The Rat Pack, so it is said by some that the name came from "The Rat Pack In Holmby Hills" - the town where they lived.

Believe it or not, they even had titles and positions in the Pack. Frank Sinatra somehow became the "Pack Master." Judy Garland was the First Vice President. Lauren Bacall was titled the "Den Mother." Sid Luft, Judy Garland's husband was the "Cage Master." Humphrey Bogart was the "Rat in charge of Public Relations" while Swifty Lazar was labeled the Recording Secretary and Treasurer and Nathaniel Benchley had the position of Historian.

And so the legend began - The birth of the Rat Pack, and the re-birth of Frank's career. Things are finally looking up. So next time, we're going to take a look at the swingin' years - the late 1950's through The Rat Pack that we all know and love, as well a dabble into JFK and Marilyn. There's still a LOT of stuff to cover so be prepared - the posts probably aren't going to get any shorter. On the plus side, like with this post, you'll probably see a LOT more pictures!!!!!!!Collapse )

See you next time kids!
1 passenger on board|Come fly with me!

Frank Sinatra - A Tribute [10 Dec 2007|02:40pm]


Hi guys! Am new here, glad I've found this community, sounds right up my street!

I absolutely love the Swing style and Rat Pack sound and am a huge fan of Frank Sinatra in particular...I think he's a fantastic crooner, and epitomises cool. In my opinion is probably the coolest person to set foot on the planet but i'm sure not everyone would agree!

He was such a charismatic and incredibly performer, watching him on stage was captivating.

Anyway I decided to do a bit of a tribute to him myself, here:


Let me know your thoughts!

4 passengers on board|Come fly with me!

A new read! [09 Dec 2007|10:29pm]

[ mood | excited ]

A little off topic, but I came across a goody at my local Border's store. Last year, a gentleman by the name of Robert Randisi released a new mystery novel called "Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime" - a story that takes place during the filming of Ocean's 11 in Las Vegas - mostly The Sands. Someone is after Dean, and the main character is drafted to figure out who and why. It's campy but it's pretty good. Well, he's released the second in the series - "Luck Be a Lady (Don't Die)" which focuses mostly on Frank. I'm gettin ready to start reading it now, so I'll let you guys know how it is when I'm done. But I HIGHLY recommend you pick up the first if you get a chance - quite a fun read!

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What's life without a dame? Or two...? [09 Dec 2007|12:37am]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Suffice it to say, the 1940's were a hoppin time for Frank. Of course the fun started a few years before, back in 1938. In November of 1938, Frank was arrested for seduction and adultery. According to the FBI files, "On the second and ninth days of November 1938 at the Borough of Lodi" and "under the promise of marriage" Sinatra "did then and there have sexual intercourse with the said complainant, who was then and there a single female of good repute." The charges were later dropped when it was discovered that the said "complainant" was indeed a married woman.

That was just the start of the turmoil. It just took a little time to publicly announce itself. For on February 4, 1939, Frank married his High School Sweetheart, Nancy Barbato. She was an attractive girl who caught Frank's eyes early in childhood. She knew, however, that Frank had a tendency to stray, but she stood beside him. Perhaps not so much out of love, but more for their three children.

Frank and Nancy had three children - the first child being Nancy Sinatra born in June of 1940, Frank Sinatra Jr was born in January of 1944. After Frank's infidelity had reached an unbearable level for Nancy Sr, she had a third child aborted in 1946. However in 1948, their third and final child, Tina, was born.

One of the contributing factors in the stress between Frank and Nancy's marriage was a starlett by the name of Ava Gardner.

By 1942, Frank had just separated from Tommy Dorsey's organization and signed a record deal with Bluebird Records. Armed with songs previously sung with Harry James and Tommy, as well as some new arrangements of standards, Frank began performing and touring on his own. His first single, in fact, was another song that stuck with him throughout his career, albeit in different arrangements, "Night and Day." On one of his 1942 tour stops in Sunset Hills, at the Mocambo Club, Frank was performing in front of a rather elite crowd and didn't have anything near the star power that he would command not 10 to 15 years later. One of the members of his audience that specifically caught his eye was the wife of actor Mickey Rooney; Ava Gardner. According to stories recounted by Ava, Frank walked over to her after his performance, smiled and asked her "Hey, why didn't I meet you before Mickey? Then I could have married you myself." One thing to note also is that it wasn't her celebrity status or power status that attracted him to her - she wasn't a leading lady at that point in her career, merely a contract player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The two of them remained civil over the years but also kept it platonic. Neither had initiated any form of a serious relationship with each other.

That is until 1949. By that point, Ava had long since divorced Mickey and although she knew that Sinatra was married with three children, she couldn't resist and they officially began their affair. At this point in both of their careers, they were incredibly successful. After less than one year, Frank left Bluebird Records in 1943 and was signed to Columbia where he continued to release hit single after single, many of which became staples in his performances. Songs like "Begin The Beguine", "I've Got A Crush On You", "All Of Me", countless Christmas carols and one of the most beautiful ballads and most requested song of Franks, a love song about his wife; "Nancy (With The Laughing Face)" were all Columbia releases.

Also by 1945, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had realized what a theatrical draw Frank could be. Here he was, in his late twenties, a very attractive young man with a voice and an attitude that made women want him and men want to be him. Frank had been in a couple of movies in the early 1940's; namely "Higher and Higher" and "Step Lively" for RKO Pictures. Frank had secured starring roles in both films, and MGM knew that they wanted his audience and their money, so they teamed him up in 1945 with Gene Kelly for "Anchors Aweigh" - a film where Frank and Gene play Navy sailors on leave in Los Angeles. After the success of that picture, Frank starred in on average a picture a year for MGM until 1949.

1949 is when it all started to fall apart for Frank. Frank's affair with Ava had gone public and the public didn't like it. Until then, Frank's escapades had gone unnoticed by the press or the people; they had always assumed Frank was the good little boy, the family man. But once the public caught wind that he had gone off even though he had a devoted wife, his High School Sweetheart no less, and three children at home, he lost a lot of fans. The radio show that he had been hired to do weekly he got fired from, his concerts in New York had flopped and he and Nancy had separated and were in the process of getting a divorce. Columbia wanted to get rid of him from their label, and MGM had released him from their film contract. He had officially hit rock bottom. The only thing that he had was Ava and he jumped on it. Unfortunately, his career had taken such a nosedive that at one point, he had to borrow money from Ava just to buy his kids Christmas gifts. Ava's career, see, had taken off and she was indeed a Leading Lady of Hollywood and highly in demand. 1950 didn't prove much better - After a hiatus from singing on stage for two years, Frank returned to the stage on January 12, 1950 in Hartford, Connecticut but his voice had suffered after smoking, drinking, stress as well as not having sung as frequently for some time. When he was performing at the Copacabana just four months later, on April 26, he hemorrhaged his vocal cords on stage.

It appeared that his career, for all intents and purposes, was over.

The Look of Love...Collapse )

In a few days, more than likely on his Birthday on the 12th, we're going to look at Frank's comeback as well as the new postage stamp that they're announcing and releasing on Wednesday. We're also going to get into Frank's induction into the ORIGINAL Rat Pack - and it may surprise you...

As always, I do hope that you're enjoying this trip down Memory Lane, and feel free to contribute in any way. Also, if you like this series, love this series or even hate it, feel free to let me know.

Come fly with me!

The Voice [05 Dec 2007|06:55pm]

[ mood | nostalgic ]

After Sinatra and company gained popularity with The Hoboken Four in 1935 on the Major Edward Bowes show, one fan especially took a liking to Francis - a gentleman by the name of Willie Moretti (who also used the alias of Willie Moore). Willie was associated with a man named Longy Zwillman in a mob front based out of New Jersey, Frank's home state.

Moretti had an interest in several casinos as well, mostly based out of the Jersey shore. Soon after Sinatra's appearances on Major Bowes, Moretti heard that he was looking to begin a solo career and helped Sinatra achieve his goals by hiring him as a headliner at some of his casinos, most notably the Riviera on the Jersey Palisades. With gambling being outlawed in several parts of the country, people still wanted to engage in games of chance so they traveled to the best places to gamble. By 1939, Las Vegas hadn't been developed beyond a few "sawdust" joints in the Downtown area of the city, with clubs such as the Boulder Club, Turf Club and a few other hole in the wall joints in the middle of the dessert. Obviously, since there was no real tourist draw and the fact that it was in the middle of the dessert, it wasn't a popular destination at that point, so New Jersey was the gaming hot spot of the country.

Sinatra's popularity grew and he also became a staple performer at the Rustic Cabin, a nightclub in Englewood Cliffs, NJ where a local radio station began to broadcast his performances. Still gaining in popularity, with his ability to make young girls swoon beginning, another opportunity presented itself; a "Name Band." A Name Band in those days was a band that was led by someone who the general public knew, such as Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and the like. The band leader that hired Frank in 1939 was Harry James.

Harry James had enjoyed some success as an trumpet player in Benny Goodman's orchestra from 1937 to 1938 and in 1939 debuted his own big band. Shortly after he began touring his group, he came across and hired Frank Sinatra later in 1939 to a one year contract. One thing that Harry had wanted to do, however, was change Frank's stage name to Frankie Satin. Thankfully, Frank's trademark stubbornness had begun to take hold and he refused.

The biggest single that Frank had released up to that point in his career, both as a solo and working with a band, was "All Or Nothing At All" - one of Frank's trademark songs that stuck with him throughout all of his performing years, albeit under different arrangements as times and musical taste progressed. Harry James and Frank released that single in 1940, and it would be the last collaboration between the two musicians because at that time, Tommy Dorsey, a very successful trombone player and band leader was seeking to include Frank under his name and include him in the vocal group he called "The Pied Pipers." Frank met with Harry and Harry graciously agreed to let Frank out of his contract early to seek a more successful career.

Tommy Dorsey had come from a family of musicians - in fact he and his brother Jimmy had begun the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in 1934. Jimmy was prominently featured on the Alto Saxophone and doubled on the clarinet, while Tommy was best known for his abilities as a trombonist. Tommy always said that his trombone abilities and playing technique closely resembled those of Jack Teagarden, a very popular and successful band leader and trombonist of the 1920's and 1930's who was mostly self taught and rather unorthodox in his approach to playing the instrument. By 1935, tension between the brothers had gotten to be extreme, so Tommy left the band and began his own orchestra in 1935. By 1940, he was very popular and decided he wanted to acquire Frank Sinatra as his singing sensation.

And he did.

Frank worked with Tommy through 1943, releasing a number of hits including "I'll Never Smile Again", "Stardust", "Without A Song" and many others throughout the very early 1940's. By that point, Frank's popularity had grown so much that "Bobbysoxers", or young girls, would flock to see him in droves, absolutely in love with the skinny tenor from Hoboken. He had also observed Tommy Dorsey's breathing techniques while playing the trombone for three years and had learned to mimic his breathing and phrasing while singing and had created a very unique sound that would follow him throughout his career. Frank had said in his later years that everything he learned about singing in a band, he learned from Tommy Dorsey and his work with that group.

Unfortunately, Frank was considered a gold mine, but he wasn't his own gold mine. He belonged to Tommy Dorsey. In fact, he had a very rough contract with Dorsey. In joining Dorsey's band, Frank had to pay Tommy 1/3 of his earnings for LIFE, as well as an additional 10% to Dorsey's agent. With those and a few smaller terms of the contract, 43% of Frank belonged to Tommy Dorsey and his agent forever. So in 1943, when Sinatra decided he wanted to go out on his own and make a real name for himself, his representatives approached Tommy with an offer - $60,000 to tear up the contract and let Frank on his own. Tommy wouldn't hear of it and they went through several harsh negotiations with no luck whatsoever. That's when an old friend came into play - Willie Moretti. While Frank denied this until the day he died, a lot of stories, including first hand accounts from Willie himself, tell that Willie went to see Tommy, shoved the barrel of a gun in Tommy's mouth and forced Tommy to release Frank from his contract for $1.

After that moment, Frank was all on his own. And he was going to do it His Way.

And now, the fun part - pictures!Collapse )

Sorry it's so long folks... next time it will probably be just as long! But we're going to be taking a look at some of the fun stuff - namely his solo career beginning, dabbling in movies and then a lady by the name of Ava.....

Come fly with me!

Young Frank Sinatra [03 Dec 2007|08:09pm]

[ mood | drowsy ]

I'm picking up a few days later than I would have liked, since there is simply SO much information on Frank. With me returning to work possibly this week I might have to trim some of what I'd like to post but I'm still planning a lot of fun information and pictures that you've probably never laid eyes on before.

But I am continuing the History In Pictures this month, as I said focusing on Frank Sinatra since his birthday falls on December 12. He would have been 92 this year. This first installment I'm focusing on Young Sinatra, how he got his feet wet in show business. Instead of typing it on my own, I'm letting Frank speak for himself. The following passage was taken from his hugely successful "Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands" album from 1966 - one of his last performances at the Sands partly due to Howard Hughes' acquisition of the hotel and dislike for Sinatra, his old school approach and supposed Mob ties. But we'll get into that in a few days.

I'm a Sagittarian; I was born on December 12, 1915, and I was born a very skinny kid. A little kid, skinny. So skinny my eyes were single file. Between those two and my belly button my old man thought I was a clarinet... And I was born in this tenement house in, uh, Hoboken, New Jersey, and it was a walk up - 8 floors. And it was one of those places - No they're gonna have elevators in 1915! Otis wasn't even born yet I think when I had this house! And we never knew when we were going to have any lights, any food, any heat of any type. Mice running around... Funny part of it is my folks were very wealthy, they just hated me, that's all! They gave me the loyalty test immediately! And eventually I managed to fight my way through the qualms and charmers of life and I got to grow up to be 16 or so, and I was about to get ready to get out of high school about a few months before, my father was called in to the school by the Principal for about the 700th time and he said to my Dad "Here's the diploma, get him out!" That's what he do say. Get him out.

I must explain to you that when we walked out and sat on the steps of the high school, my father said to me and I first must explain that my Father is a Rutger graduate and he majored in English. And he said to me "What da Hell isa madder wit you?! Whatsa madder, you don't wanna learn nuthin?" He was great with English, he spoke beautifully! He also had an ear like this, a chungamere. That was my mother who gave him that from yellin' at him all the time. So he said to me, see he knew I wanted to get into show business and he gave me the alternative as all parents did in those days; "You wanna be a bum in show business or you wanna get a real job?" So I figured "'what the heck? He's my dad, I love him and I'll go along with his ideas' so he got me a job. Do you know what a thrill it is to get a hernia for $62.50 a week? Lifting crates of 600 pounds with another little guy with a hand truck?

Well, he got me another job at a ship yard, Todd's Ship Yards, and I was a rivet catcher in the hold of the ship. But the guy throwing them was a real jagad, he was a cock-eye, like this. He couldn't hit a bull in the fannie with a bag of rice, this bum. And I cleaned that up!

Well, no sense in trying to explain it, it hurried my career into show business, I quit right away. Gave in my union button with the pig cap and leather jacket and I walked out right away. That's exactly what I had! And I packed my little straw case and went to New York and that was it. Even bummed a ride on a fairy. You're not listening too well, folks. Anyway I got a job, I got together a quartet, see. And we were called the Hoboken Four, and in those days there was a very big radio program on called Major Bowes. Major Edward Bowes. Now Ted Mack today in televison is a spin off of the original radio show, cause he used to work for Bowes. And Bowes used to come on the air and say "The wheel of fortune spins, round and round she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows." That was the dullest opening I ever heard on any radio show. Wait a minute, now!

He was a pompous bum with bulbous nose, he used to drink Green River, he was a big drunk this guy! I don't know if you ever heard of Green River but it takes the paint off your deck if you got a boat. 59 cents a gallon, baby! Anyway, we were a big hit on the show, the Hoboken Four, and he kept bringing us back but he had to change the name since it was a legitimate amateur show. Except it wasn't. So he brought us back as the 'Newark Nightingales', 'The T-Neck T-Tones', 'The Sycaucaous Cockamamies.' Touching name, isn't it? 'The Bayonne Backalas' was the one that killed me."

And now, the pictures...Collapse )

Again, as I've always said. Feel free to contribute anything that you'd like. I suspect there will be a bit more participation since this subject is so near and dear to everyone's hearts. Next time, we'll be taking a look at his work with Tommy Dorsey, where Frank learned to hone his breathing and began to create the unmistakable Sinatra Sound.

*The quoted section is transcribed from Frank Sinatra's monologue on his Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands album. Some audience jokes were left out intentionally. I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. I was medicated on Darvocet when I transcribed it.

Keep swingin' kids!

Come fly with me!

The Final Frontier... Post [02 Dec 2007|02:13am]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Well, I know we're a day late (and probably several dollars short) but with the passing of Evil Knievel, I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to him without too much clutter, so here we go.

Back in 1967, Howard Hughes payed $14 Million dollars for what was then still the New Frontier. But he didn't like that, so he called it The Frontier, and that's also where their trademark F that has been in all of their signage, chips, ashtrays and the like came from. Howard Hughes also owned the Desert Inn, right across the street and reportedly built an underground tunnel going under the Strip so that selected VIPs could go from Howard's casinos without having to fight traffic or, God forbid, daylight.

Well, the Nevada Gaming Commission had decided that 7 properties was enough for Howard and they refused to let him buy any more after 1969's attempt to buy The Stardust. Things got quiet on the Hughes front and he soon went away as quickly as he came. His company still held on to the properties and slowly sold them in the late 1980's. In 1988, the Elardi family bought the Frontier, changed the name BACK to the New Frontier and kept ownership between then and 1998. Phil Ruffin then bought the property in 1998 and retained the property until Israeli group El Ad Properties bought the failing casino for a whopping $1.2 Billion dollars and decided to close and implode it, making way for The Plaza Las Vegas. There might actually be some confusion with that name, seeing as how in Downtown Las Vegas, there is a successful and long living Plaza Hotel and Casino - but neither the designs, owners or brands will be the same. The new Plaza is expected to be open in 2011-2012.

This last set of pictures depicts how the hotel looked up until the day it was destroyed. Their were two major towers built once Hughes bought the resort but I've not been able to find years. The first tower built was the 7 story tower that almost circled the property. That tower was built sometime during Howard Hughes' ownership between 1968 and 1988. The tower was standing in the 1970's which leads me to believe that Howard had it built around 1969-1972. In the view from the air, you'll see that it goes around the property in an almost octagon shape. The more recent tower, the Frontier Tower, was the taller structure and was erected I believe in the early 1990's. Some of those dates may be off, but it gives you a rough idea at least.

And now, The Frontier's Final ShowingCollapse )

So be honest. Was this at all interesting? Now I have to do research and find all the nitty gritty dirt on Frankie! Fun fun! Enjoy kids!

Come fly with me!

One Day Delay [01 Dec 2007|12:28am]

[ mood | nostalgic ]

I felt it fitting that I acknowledge the passing of motorcycle daredevil Evil Knievel today at the age of 69. The reason I felt it fitting to pay tribute to him here is rather simple - On December 31, 1967, he jumped the fountains outside the famed Caesar's Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. So, it does have some relevance. And for those that are curious to see the jump, look no further.

Come fly with me!

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