(From the Guestbook page
and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend
by Nancy Sinatra
Returning to the scene of his early triumph with Major Bowes in 1935, Dad headlined at New York's Capitol Theater. As the opening act, theater manager Sidney Fairmont wanted the Nicholas Brothers-the hottest dance act in the business - but Dad said he'd rather book an up-and-coming trio he'd heard about. "It's a dancing act," he said. "The kid in it works with his dad and his uncle. I don't know the name." So Fairmont hired Will Mastin, his brother Sammy Davis Sr. and Sammy's talented young son for $1,250 a week, far more money than they'd ever earned before. "Frank was giving us twelve hundred and fifty dollars a week!" Sammy recalled. "We had never seen that much money in our lives." "You can imagine what I had to go through to get you here," Sid told young Sammy, "because Frank didn't want any of the leading dance acts, he wanted you."
SAMMY DAVIS JR. ON MEETING SINATRA: Our first rehearsal, in walks Frank with the coat over his shoulder. He said, "Good afternoon, everybody." And he walked over to me and said, "My name is Frank Sinatra." I said, "I know. I was the kid in the Army who used to go see you do your radio show." He said, "Wait a minute! Are you the one that I used to give tickets to in Hollywood? You had on an Army uniform. You used to come and catch The Old Gold Show?" I said, "Yessir, I am." So in the show, Frank himself does the opening. He comes out, sings a couple of songs, then he says, "Ladies and gentlemen, now I'm going to get the show started. Here's some cats that dance up a storm. Keep your eye on the little guy in the middle - personal friend of mine." Well, that's all! [See also Late September 1945]
How many friends like him does a man find in a lifetime? I not only idolized him, I carefully studied his style as a performer. It got to where I sounded so much like him that I had no real style of my own. Even with this, Frank proved a friend. He talked to me about it and helped me to develop my own style or I would never have made it as a singer. Of course he was right. A selfish star would have let me continue, knowing full well that imitations only benefit the original.
As reports about Nazi atrocities against Jews began to filter back from Europe - many of them reported in the New York Times
- Dad felt he had to do something about racial and ethnic discrimination, so he had 100 copies of a special medallion made. On one side was a St. Christopher medal, on the other a Star of David. Wearing one himself, he gave others to friends.
FRANK ON PREJUDICE: Prejudice is nothing new to me. In Hoboken, when I was a kid, I lived in a tough neighborhood. When somebody called me "a dirty little guinea," there was only one thing to do - break his head. When I got older, I realized you shouldn't do it that way. I realized you've got to do it through education - maybe with a few exceptions.MAY 1941:
Frank Sinatra seemed to be everywhere: on radio, on record, on stage and in the movies. In 15 months, he had become the hottest new singing star in the country - especially among teenagers - and Billboard
named him top male vocalist of the year. "You could almost feel the excitement coming up out of the crowds when that kid stood up to sing," Dorsey told a reporter. "Remember, he was no matinee idol. He was just a skinny kid with big ears. I used to stand there so amazed that I'd almost forget to take my own solos." With bobby-soxers swooning in front of the bandstand, the musicians would stop playing and "swoon" right back at them. But Dorsey began to feel upstaged.
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