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Thread: Today in Frank Sinatra history

  1. #7541

    25 November

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    NOVEMBER 25–28, 1983: Worcester, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.

    NOVEMBER 19–25, 1979: He was back at Resorts International in Atlantic City. During this engagement he had a reunion with some of the guys from the Rustic Cabin days.

    NOVEMBER 23–30, 1975: Former vice president Agnew accompanied Dad and Barbara Marx to Tehran, where Frank was to perform. Then it was on to Israel for two charity shows on behalf of the Frank Sinatra Youth Center for Arab and Jewish Children.

    NOVEMBER 25–27, 1971: Spiro Agnew and his family spent Thanksgiving weekend with Dad in Palm Springs.

    NOVEMBER 25, 1968: His fourth annual television special, Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing, was aired on NBC, guest-starring Diahann Carroll. It was another ratings winner.


    "As I approach the prime of my life,
    I find I have the time of my life..."

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  2. #7542

    26 November

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    NOVEMBER 26, 1984: The Boy Scouts of America honored FS with the Distinguished American Award at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

    NOVEMBER 25–28, 1983: Worcester, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.

    NOVEMBER 23–30, 1975: Former vice president Agnew accompanied Dad and Barbara Marx to Tehran, where Frank was to perform. Then it was on to Israel for two charity shows on behalf of the Frank Sinatra Youth Center for Arab and Jewish Children.

    NOVEMBER 25–27, 1971: Spiro Agnew and his family spent Thanksgiving weekend with Dad in Palm Springs.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 26, 1963: A benefit for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. starring Dad, Frank Jr., and the Count Basie band at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was canceled in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.



    THE RING-A-DING-DING SIXTIES: Dad's sometimes rowdy inner circle, in addition to Jilly Rizzo, included actors Henry Silva, Brad Dexter, and Dick Bakalyan. Dick once laughingly told me, "You travel with your dad, you see every jail in the world." He once recalled the time he accompanied my father to Cortina, Italy, on a film project: "I made the mistake of going to bed early. Frank said, 'No, no, we must stay up.' I said, 'You stay up, I'm going to bed.' The next day, while I was at work, Frank and the others broke into my room and threw all my clothes out the window." Dad bought him an entire new wardrobe. Soon afterward, ensconced in a Rome villa, Brad Dexter kept talking about needing a new pair of shoes. Tired of hearing about these shoes, Jilly conspired with Dad to rig Dexter's old pair with cherry bombs. He blew them 20 feet in the air! When the gang arrived by yacht at Portofino, Dexter decided to get even. He whispered to Dad. "I'm going to get Jilly in the water, and when I do, blow up his shoes." Dad agreed that it was a great idea. But when Dexter gave the signal, my father blew up Brad's shoes—again! He replaced them with even better shoes, of course—but he'd made his point.

    NOVEMBER 26, 1950: He did another guest shot on The Bob Hope Show, which was a holiday special.

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    NOVEMBER 26, 1938: After his closing set at the Rustic Cabin, Frank was arrested by two constables from Hackensack, New Jersey, and taken to the county courthouse, where he was released after posting $1,500 bail. The charge was breach of promise. According to FBI files later released under the Freedom of Information Act, the claim read: "On the second and ninth days of November, 1938, under the promise of marriage, Frank Sinatra had a sexual relationship with a single female of good repute named Antoinette Della Penta." The complaint was quickly dropped when it was learned that Della Penta was in fact already married to a man named Edward Franke. She filed a new complaint on December 22, this time charging Frank with "committing adultery." He posted a bond of $500 and the case was sent to a jury.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  3. #7543

    27 November

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    NOVEMBER 27, 1984: Dinner at the White House with President and Mrs. Reagan.

    NOVEMBER 25–28, 1983: Worcester, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.

    NOVEMBER 23–30, 1975: Former vice president Agnew accompanied Dad and Barbara Marx to Tehran, where Frank was to perform. Then it was on to Israel for two charity shows on behalf of the Frank Sinatra Youth Center for Arab and Jewish Children.

    NOVEMBER 25–27, 1971: Spiro Agnew and his family spent Thanksgiving weekend with Dad in Palm Springs.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27, 1966: Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sinatra were the guests on CBS' What's My Line, hosted by John Daly.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.



    QUINCY JONES ON WORKING WITH SINATRA: "I remember when I arranged the album for your Dad and Basie," recalled Quincy Jones (here with his wife, Ulla, in 1969). [See June 1964]

    "We worked out at Warner Bros. Frank was in a bungalow, and next door was Dean's dressing room. Your dad put me in there to write arrangements. I stayed in one weekend, working. I fell asleep about seven o'clock on Monday morning. At about eight o'clock there was a knock on the door. And it was your dad in an Army uniform, saying, 'How do you like your eggs?' I'll never forget that. It was like waking up in a dream, Sinatra asking me, 'How do you like your eggs, Q?'"

    For the speed at which it all worked, Q admired Dad's concentration and Basie's economy. He also felt the Basie band was a cohesive group that could not be touched by a studio band. Each time they wrote an arrangement they liked, "they just took it from there." They added a distinctive personality to the score. Quincy explained why he hired extra horn players for the album. "By having extra men on reserve, we don't have to disturb the singer's groove. There are times when a singer who is building a groove and building a picture on a song might have to stop until the blood comes back into the trumpet players' lips." About Basie and Sinatra, Jones noted that both have "the remarkable ability to eliminate the negative." And about my father, Q said, "So far as I can put the essence of Frank into words, I'd just say that he makes everything work. He makes everything fit."

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  4. #7544

    28 November

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    NOVEMBER 25–28, 1983: Worcester, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; and Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.

    NOVEMBER 28, 1976: Another of Dad's dearest friends, Rosalind Russell, passed away in Los Angeles, and he delivered the eulogy at her funeral. The last time I saw Rosie, as Dad called her, was in Palm Springs. When I asked how she was feeling, she said to me, "Nancy, just don't ever get old. It's no fun."

    NOVEMBER 23–30, 1975: Former vice president Agnew accompanied Dad and Barbara Marx to Tehran, where Frank was to perform. Then it was on to Israel for two charity shows on behalf of the Frank Sinatra Youth Center for Arab and Jewish Children.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.

    NOVEMBER 28, 1950: He appeared with Milton Berle on the hugely popular Texaco Star Theatre.

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  5. #7545

    29 November

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    NOVEMBER 29, 1987: He performed during a telethon for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation at the Universal Sheraton.

    NOVEMBER 23–30, 1975: Former vice president Agnew accompanied Dad and Barbara Marx to Tehran, where Frank was to perform. Then it was on to Israel for two charity shows on behalf of the Frank Sinatra Youth Center for Arab and Jewish Children.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 29–30, 1965: He recorded 10 moon songs. Among them: "Moonlight Serenade," "Moonlight Becomes You," "The Moon Was Yellow," and "Oh, You Crazy Moon" for the 1966 album Moonlight Sinatra.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.

    NOVEMBER 29–DECEMBER 2, 1961: Back in Australia, he performed for record crowds in a four-day series of concerts at Sydney Stadium. He was named Playboy magazine's Top Male Vocalist in their jazz Poll, and had a few top 10 albums: Sinatra's Swinging Session, All the Way, Ring-a-Ding Ding, Come Swing with Me, and Sinatra Swings.

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  6. #7546

    30 November

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    NOVEMBER 30, 1985: He performed with Tom Dreesen in a show benefiting Barbara Sinatra's Children's Center in Palm Springs.

    NOVEMBER 30, 1983: During an engagement at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, Frank and Barbara and Dean and his manager, Mort Viner, sat down at an empty blackjack table, where the cards had been splayed face-up on the felt. Mort Viner remembers, "Frank was sitting to my right, Dean on my left. Frank asked the dealer not to take the time to place the decks back in the shoe and to please deal with one deck from her hand instead. The dealer said no, without explaining that there was a rule against it, which Frank and Dean didn't know. She spoke with the Pit Boss, who told her to go ahead and deal from your hand. They played maybe five or six hands in about six minutes and quit because they had lost $600. The hotel reported the incident to the gaming commission to cover themselves, because the Pit Boss made a mistake in telling the dealer to deal with the one deck - it was against New Jersey Gaming Commission rules, again unbeknownst to Frank or Dean. Nobody told them. It was a 'Non-event.' The Nugget, by reporting it, made it the big deal it became. Newspapers reported that there was a big argument with Frank losing his temper and threatening not to perform and that Frank and Dean lost four or five hundred thousand dollars, none of which is true. When Steve Wynn went to their dressing room to explain why the hotel reported the Pit Boss and the dealer, Dean and Frank felt terrible and apologized."

    NOVEMBER 23–30, 1975: Former vice president Agnew accompanied Dad and Barbara Marx to Tehran, where Frank was to perform. Then it was on to Israel for two charity shows on behalf of the Frank Sinatra Youth Center for Arab and Jewish Children.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 30, 1965: Reprise released its own version of A Man and His Music, a two-record retrospective with Frank narrating. It included a comprehensive discography of his more than 1,000 songs. The deluxe edition also featured a presentation book about his career in music. If you buy only one Sinatra album, this is it. Narrated and sung by FS, it is an anthology, a musical biography—31 songs and one comedy sketch. The arrangers are here: Riddle, Jenkins, May, Costa, Oliver, Mandel, and Freeman. It won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

    NOVEMBER 29–30, 1965: He recorded 10 moon songs. Among them: "Moonlight Serenade," "Moonlight Becomes You," "The Moon Was Yellow," and "Oh, You Crazy Moon" for the 1966 album Moonlight Sinatra.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.

    NOVEMBER 29–DECEMBER 2, 1961: Back in Australia, he performed for record crowds in a four-day series of concerts at Sydney Stadium. He was named Playboy magazine's Top Male Vocalist in their jazz Poll, and had a few top 10 albums: Sinatra's Swinging Session, All the Way, Ring-a-Ding Ding, Come Swing with Me, and Sinatra Swings.

    LATE NOVEMBER 1953: Unwilling to give up on his marriage, FS exhausted himself taping advance shows of his twice weekly radio show in hopes of accompanying Ava to Europe for filming of The Barefoot Contessa, co-starring his dear friend Humphrey Bogart, but he was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York suffering from what the newspapers called "complete physical exhaustion, severe loss of weight, and a tremendous amount of emotional strain."

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  7. Frank turned himself inside-out for Ava.
    A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

    My favorite song.

  8. #7548

    1 December (Part 1)

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 1991: Angie Dickinson, a friend of my father's for three decades, helped to promote his Chivas Regal telephone charity hotline on the radio. One DJ who interviewed her asked if she called Dad God. "No," replied Angie, who has a marvelous sense of humor. "I would never call him God. I would call him Mr. God."

    DECEMBER 1, 1987: He attended a tribute to Buddy Rich at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

    DECEMBER 1987: Dad, Sammy, and Dean Martin held a news conference at Chasen's restaurant to announce their intention to tour together for the first time in 20 years.


    Dean, Sam, and Frank—The Summit once
    again. The tour proved to be too fatiguing
    for Dean, so he left before it ended.

    DECEMBER 1, 1985: In Los Angeles, FS was master of ceremonies for Paul Keyes's Variety Clubs International "All-Star Party" television show for President Reagan.

    DECEMBER 1976: We celebrated Christmas and Grandma's 82nd birthday in Palm Springs. None of us had a camera handy, and sadly no pictures were taken.


    Frank Sr. and Frank Jr. in late 1976.

    DECEMBER 1975: To share a Sinatra Christmas with the readers, Dad returned to the pages of Ladies' Home Journal cradling granddaughter Angela Jennifer. A.J., readers were told, called her grandfather "Pop-Pop." I was pregnant with my second child. The article also revealed that each year, Dad deliberately selected the ugliest Christmas tree on the lot. I told the reporter, "He feels sorry for it and knows that no one else is going to buy it. That's so typical of Daddy. I've never known a man with such a large capacity for love."

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    DECEMBER 1, 1966: FS guest-starred on NBC's Dean Martin Show.

    DECEMBER 1965: I recorded "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." It reached number one in three weeks, becoming Reprise's second number-one record. Dean Martin's "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" was the first. My father was proud and happy. He'd call me up and say, "Hello, Star," or "Hiya, Record Seller." By the time "Boots" had topped the charts, he was introducing himself to audiences as "Nancy's father."

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    DECEMBER 1963: 4 for Texas was released nationally to lukewarm reviews but red-hot business.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.

    NOVEMBER 29–DECEMBER 2, 1961: Back in Australia, he performed for record crowds in a four-day series of concerts at Sydney Stadium. He was named Playboy magazine's Top Male Vocalist in their jazz Poll, and had a few top 10 albums: Sinatra's Swinging Session, All the Way, Ring-a-Ding Ding, Come Swing with Me, and Sinatra Swings.

    DECEMBER 1960: FS was asked to produce and star in JFK's inaugural gala. The Kennedys sent word to Dad that since Sammy had married Mai Britt, it would be better if he were not among the performers invited to appear at—or even attend—the gala. Dad's arguments that Sammy deserved an invitation fell on deaf ears. As Sammy recalled, "Peter Lawford called me on the phone. He said, 'Sam, I know you understand these things. They've got those rednecks down there and, well, The Man thinks it would just smack of—' 'The Man?' 'The president, yes.' I said, 'Hey, don't worry about it, man.' I never mentioned it, never brought it up with Frank." But Dad knew. He has confirmed the facts for me. He has told me it was one of the few times he ever felt at such a loss. In the past he'd always been able to help Sammy. He had been able to protest and bring about change. But now he could do nothing. Yes, he could have backed out of the inaugural, but Sammy would never have allowed that.

    DECEMBER 1956: In the annual Motion Picture Herald poll, Frank Sinatra was named among the Top 10 Money-Making Stars. That same month he returned to live performing in packed-house one-nighters at both the Sands and the Copa in New York.

    DECEMBER 1954: Back on top of the charts after a long slide from his heyday in the forties as a bobby-soxer heartthrob, FS swept Billboard's disc jockey poll with best song ("Young at Heart") and best LP of the year (Swing Easy!), and he was named top male vocalist by Billboard, Down Beat, and Metronome.

    DECEMBER 1952: Dad spent a few weeks with Ava in Africa before From Here to Eternity began production. Before he went home, she was pregnant again. "This time," she wrote, "he knew about it, and he was delighted. Right on the spot, for the first and only time in our relationship, Frank decided to sing to me." But she felt she had "no right to produce a child unless you had a sane, solid lifestyle. Frank and I had no such thing. We didn't even possess the ability to live together like any normal married couple." So she "checked into a small nursing home near Wimbledon" and terminated the pregnancy. "I'll never forget waking up after the operation," she wrote, "and seeing Frank sitting next to the bed with tears in his eyes."


    Frank going along for the ride to Africa
    with Ava and the cast of Mogambo:
    Donald Sinden, Grace Kelly, and Clark Gable.

    DECEMBER 1951: Dad appeared at the London Coliseum in a command performance before Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth to benefit the Duke of Edinburgh's favorite charity, the Playing Fields Association. He and Ava stayed at London's swank Washington Hotel, where their suite was burglarized. The thief got almost $17,000 worth of loot, said an article in the Hollywood Citizen News, including Ava's dazzling diamond necklace—her favorite piece of jewelry—along with his cameo cufflinks and a platinum-and-sapphire ring.

    DECEMBER 1950: Joseph Nellis, one of the lawyers for Senator Estes Kefauver's Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, questioned my father about his alleged "underworld associations." And the FBI continued to maintain a file on him. At the meeting, conducted at 4 a.m. in Nellis' Rockefeller Center law offices, Dad denied knowing any of them except to say hello or goodbye, and he wasn't called to testify before the committee.
    Pack a small bag....

  9. #7549

    1 December (Part 2)

    DECEMBER 1948: FS confided in Manie Sacks, his friend and mentor at Columbia Records, that so many things were going wrong that he felt like he was all washed up. Sacks replied that life is cyclical, and that he was too talented not to bounce back. "In a few years," he said, "you'll be on top again."



    "The leaves began to fade like promises we made
    How could a love that seemed so right go wrong?
    The things we did last summer
    I'll remember all winter long..."


    [Lyric from "The Things We Did Last Summer" © Cahn, Styne]

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    DECEMBER 1946: Along with a galaxy of MGM stars, Dad made a cameo appearance in Till the Clouds Roll By, a lavishly mounted biopic on the life and music of Jerome Kern. But he sang his powerfully moving rendition of "Ol' Man River."

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    DECEMBER 1939: The James band had dropped to number 12 on the Downbeat poll of the top dance bands, but Frank Sinatra had no intention of sinking with them. When Dad found out that Tommy Dorsey—number-one big-band leader in the country—was planning to catch a show at the Rustic Cabin, he arranged to be there that night as guest singer. Before signing with James, my father had considered signing with Bob Chester and his band. They'd even rehearsed together. "The rumor came through the grapevine," according to Harry Schuchman, who had joined the Chester band which was appearing that night at the Rustic Cabin, "that Frank was going to come by that night and sing with us. The reason was that Tommy Dorsey, a friend of Bob Chester's, was going to be at the show. Frank showed up and was sitting at a table with your mother and my wife, Helen, when Tommy walked in. Frank whispered to Nancy and Helen, 'Listen to this, Tom,' then got up from the table, went to the bandstand and told Bob what song to play. It was an audition for Tommy, whether or not Tommy knew it. Frank knew where he was going and where he wanted to go." Dorsey liked Frank, and after a split-up with his vocalist Jack Leonard, he offered Dad the job, and Dad accepted. "I was so excited that I called Nancy at home in New Jersey," he remembered, "and told her what had happened. And she said that means you'll be getting more money and I said, 'Money?' I never even talked money. She said what did you mean you didn't talk money? I said, 'I don't know. I was just so happy to get the job.'" Well, as it turned out, it was a hundred dollars a week on a long-term contract. Just how long, and how binding, my dad would discover later. Harry James, ever the gentleman, tore up Frank's contract and said, "I think that's what you want. And just be sure he's paying you a lot more than I'm paying." But at that moment Frank didn't care, because at 24, after struggling day and night for seven years to make it, it seemed to him that all his dreams were finally beginning to come true.



    FRANK ON HIS AMBITION TO SING WITH TOMMY DORSEY: Once in my life I saw something that might happen and I tried to plant it. And that was to sing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. I wanted to do it in the worst way. I watched all of the orchestras, and in those days one band was as good as another, but they had different styles. And there were fine singers with all of the bands. Jack Leonard was with Tommy in those days. I used to watch them if they did a one-nighter in Roseland. I'd stand in front of the bandstand and watch how Tommy handled the singers with such finesse. He would set a singer up so that the singer would sing the first chorus, the orchestra would play a small piece of music, a turn around, and the singer would finish it. The singer was featured and Tommy was simpatico about vocalizing. Because the instrument that he played had the some physical qualities as the human voice.

    LATE 1936: Desperate to break out of the small-time grind, Frank began performing for car fare or for free—on local radio stations, including WAAT in Jersey City. Recalled one station manager: "I'd come out of my office and he'd be standing there to see me or anybody else who would listen to him. He was pushy but polite." Riding the four-cent ferry across the Hudson into Manhattan, he persuaded the management at WNEW to try him out as a singer, and worked his way up to as many as 18 spots a week. Though he was paid less than four dollars a month, it was great exposure. Pounding the pavement along 28th Street—Tin Pan Alley—he hustled arrangements from music publishers, and he haunted the nightclubs on 52nd Street, trying to pick up pointers on polishing his own style from the big-time vocalists who performed there. He also scraped together enough money to hire a New York voice coach, John Quinlan, for $1-a-session diction and voice lessons that helped him to lose his Jersey accent. Quinlan discovered that young Frank's voice had enormous range and encouraged him to use it.

    LATE 1935: The Hoboken Four toured the country with one of several Major Bowes amateur companies—performing in front of a full band at local theaters for radio audiences out on the town—at a salary of $50 apiece per week plus meals. Wherever they stayed overnight, a white banner announcing their presence was hung from the hotel: MAJOR BOWES' AMATEURS STOPPING HERE. But of course, they really were no longer amateurs. They began their tour in the West, playing San Francisco and Los Angeles and a succession of smallish, out-of-the-way cities. Frank remembered, "The radio program was such a hit that people wanted to see what we looked like, like animals in a cage. But one of the niceties was that people came backstage with cakes and homemade food, and women would say, 'You must miss your mother's cooking' and all that kind of jazz, and they'd give us food like we were starving. It was sweet."



    Bowes took his amateurs on the road for a succession of one-night stands
    across the country.

    FRANK'S FIRST ROAD TRIP: Dad's road trip with the Major Bowes Amateurs was the first time he had been away from home. He was excited, but life on the road was a grind. He missed his family and his girlfriend. To ease his homesickness he would send Mom photos with messages written on the back. It was a ritual they would maintain for many years to come whenever Dad was touring.



    On board S.S. Princess Charlotte, Wednesday November 6th 1935. Left: Regardless of the gloomy day, I'm in a jovial mood. On route from Seattle to Victoria B.C. Center: This is an imitation of a star returning from Europe; after a long vacation. Right: No, I'm not asleep standing up. I was caught resting my eyes from the wind and "Segina" ("Gypsy Troubador") the rat! He snapped it.


    Left: Freddie and I – Chicago, Ill. Center: Me, one of Stauffer Twins and Patty – train stop, Newton, Kansas. Right: Me, Julio Vittolo, (M.C.) Bob Oakley and Skelly – Pueblo, Colo.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  10. "The rumor came through the grapevine," according to Harry Schuchman, who had joined the Chester band which was appearing that night at the Rustic Cabin, "that Frank was going to come by that night and sing with us. The reason was that Tommy Dorsey, a friend of Bob Chester's, was going to be at the show. Frank showed up and was sitting at a table with your mother and my wife, Helen, when Tommy walked in. Frank whispered to Nancy and Helen, 'Listen to this, Tom,' then got up from the table, went to the bandstand and told Bob what song to play. It was an audition for Tommy, whether or not Tommy knew it.
    Imagine if he hadn't had the courage to do this, or hadn't been clever enough to think of it.

  11. #7551

    2 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 2, 1987: Frank performed at the Century Plaza Hotel at a dinner honoring industrialist Armand Hammer. Hammer thanked Frank in a letter dated December 3, 1987: "You made the evening sparkle and you assured that all of the guests left with the inspiration of Frank Sinatra's commitment to a great cause."

    DECEMBER 2, 1982: FS and the Les Brown Orchestra performed at a benefit for the American Cancer Fund, Tri-State branch, at the Beverly Hilton.

    DECEMBER 2, 1977: In Washington, D.C., he gave a benefit performance on behalf of his old friend Hubert Humphrey.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 2, 1962: Frank, with Dean and Sammy, played the Villa Venice in Northbrook, Illinois, a nightclub owned by Sam Giancana. The shows were Dad's way of paying back Giancana for the help he provided to the Kennedy family. During the engagement, 10 shows and several comedy skits were recorded on 59 reels of audiotape for an album to be called At the Summit, but the entire project was scrapped until much later when two bootleg CDs appeared in the stores.

    NOVEMBER 29–DECEMBER 2, 1961: Back in Australia, he performed for record crowds in a four-day series of concerts at Sydney Stadium. He was named Playboy magazine's Top Male Vocalist in their jazz Poll, and had a few top 10 albums: Sinatra's Swinging Session, All the Way, Ring-a-Ding Ding, Come Swing with Me, and Sinatra Swings.

    DECEMBER 2, 1948: Dad staged a return engagement on Spotlight Review.

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  12. #7552

    3 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 3, 1990: The Frank Sinatra Diamond Jubilee Tour kicked off a couple of days before his 75th birthday at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme as the opening act. Chivas Regal sponsored the world tour.


    DECEMBER 3, 1990: Some 1,200 people packed the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton to salute my father as recipient of the Ella, a lifetime achievement award bestowed upon him by the Society of Singers. The first lady of jazz herself, Ella Fitzgerald, serenaded Dad with "There Will Never Be Another You," and the two of them did a terrific duet of "The Lady Is a Tramp."

    Others performed that night, too. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, Tony Bennett sang a moving rendition of "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?," Herb Jeffries sang "Flamingo," and Joe Williams, who is only a few years younger than Frank, had everyone snapping their fingers with "Alright, Okay, You Win." Ninety-something George Burns checked in with "Young at Heart." Peggy Lee and Jack Jones penned a ditty to Dad. Jo Stafford and the Hi-Lo's sang "I'll Never Smile Again," and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme sounded great on two tunes Dad had cowritten himself, "This Love of Mine" and "I'm a Fool to Want You."

    It was an emotional evening and he was humbled by it. Luckily, the rest of America was able to share it a couple of weeks later in a CBS television special entitled The Best Is Yet to Come. The special was produced by my sister, Tina, and George Schlatter and included footage of Dad's performance at the Meadowlands on December 10.

    DECEMBER 3–4, 1983: Dad was thrilled to be named one of a handful of annual recipients of the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement. Other honorees were actor James Stewart, choreographer Katherine Dunham, director Elia Kazan, and composer Virgil Thomson. He invited the entire family—Barbara, her son Bob, Tina and Frankie, Hugh and me and our children—to join him in Washington, D.C., to share in the occasion. We stayed at the Madison Hotel. The night before the presentation, Secretary of State George Shultz hosted a state dinner in the Capitol. We laughed a lot trying to figure out which fork to use; there must have been nine forks at each setting. Everything was exquisite. The next night began at the White House, where the actual awards were presented. Then on to the Kennedy Center for the taping of the television special. The ceremony honored his lifetime in the arts. "There is not the remotest possibility," said Gene Kelly, who introduced him, "that he will have a successor." It was a summation of his nearly 70 years. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo danced "The Sinatra Suite," choreographed by Twyla Tharp to the music of "All the Way," "That's Life," "My Way," and "One for My Baby."

    A NIGHT TO REMEMBER AT THE KENNEDY CENTER: A dinner hosted by Secretary of State George Shultz and a White House reception hosted by the Reagans were followed by the awards presentation at the Kennedy Center. Dad shared the honors that year—and the presidential box—with Katherine Dunham, Elia Kazan, Virgil Thomson, and his old friend Jimmy Stewart

    During his segment of the program, Mikhail Baryshnikov danced to Twyla Tharp's new ballet "The Sinatra Suite." Gene Kelly, a 1982 honoree, told the audience that when he first met Dad, his first impression was that "he was a skinny runt—but then he opened his mouth, and it was awesome." And Perry Como, accompanied by a children's chorus, sang "Young at Heart," but with lyrics penned especially for the occasion: "Though you once were the rage on the Paramount stage, though you're past middle age, Frank, you'll always be among the very young at heart."

    Earlier, at the White House, President Reagan called Dad and Jimmy Stewart "special friends of Nancy's and mine," and remembered how Dad had sung for peanuts when he was coming up. "Let me repeat that," the President joked. "Frank Sinatra worked for $15 a week. But it paid off. He got a $10 a week raise." He also recalled some of Dad's film roles, including High Society, then remarked, "You know, Frank, if they'd only given me roles like that I'd never have left Hollywood."



    Said Reagan: "His love of country, his generosity for those less fortunate,
    make him one of our most remarkable and distinguished Americans."

    CHOREOGRAPHER TWYLA THARP ON THE SONGS OF SINATRA: [I wanted] access to all that sentiment and emotion...as well as all those things societally we attach to those songs. There's a certain morality and a certain kind of period, so that [they] serve as a set, almost a visual set for the piece. Those songs mean more than music. They stand for whole generations. And his career is extraordinary in spanning [them]...I listened to everything I could get hold of. One had to be the narrative of the piece. I see it as a statement about one long developing relationship, danced by different couples. It also had to make sense musically, so that it wouldn't be an affront to his ear or my ear or anyone's ear. The songs are: "Softly, As I Leave You"; "Strangers in the Night"; "One for My Baby"; then the first "My Way," which was early and aggressive; and "Something Stupid," the only one I think of as specifically humorous; and then, "All the Way;" "Forget Domani;" "That's Life;" and then the last "My Way," which is later and much more mellow...I've always heard the sentiment of that song differently, not as a selfish statement but in context, as the only way people can relate to one another...Unless an individual in a relationship can do it "their way" and "theirs" is also their partner's way, it doesn't work...

    I've listened to those songs by now thousands of times and they still have resonance and meaning. I feel he's given so much to the culture and his songs mean so much to so many people, that it's a privilege...to say nothing of the fact that the genuine emotion he recorded into these songs keeps itself alive time after time.

    You know, I sit in my dressing room and listen to those songs coming through the squawk box and they still move me. I felt I knew him intimately. When we met I asked, "How'd you learn to sing so big?" And he had a simple and appropriate answer, "I like to sing." Which makes sense because singing is obviously something he understands in a fundamental way. It is something that is really in him to do. Those songs mean a lot to me, too, and I'm happy to share with people anything I may understand about them. Which is one of the reasons why the dance piece is so popular. Audiences love it. They have a great time and they're happy. What more could you ask for? They're happy and they're moved. And they recognize things in themselves. That means a community of spirit. And that's what I think theater should be.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    DECEMBER 3, 1963: In his final recording session of the year, Dad recorded two new singles in L.A., "Talk to Me Baby" and "Stay with Me."

    NOVEMBER 13–DECEMBER 3, 1947: Dad played up to eight shows a day in a 17-day engagement at New York's Capitol Theater.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  13. #7553

    4 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 3–4, 1983: Dad was thrilled to be named one of a handful of annual recipients of the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement. Other honorees were actor James Stewart, choreographer Katherine Dunham, director Elia Kazan, and composer Virgil Thomson. He invited the entire family—Barbara, her son Bob, Tina and Frankie, Hugh and me and our children—to join him in Washington, D.C., to share in the occasion. We stayed at the Madison Hotel. The night before the presentation, Secretary of State George Shultz hosted a state dinner in the Capitol. We laughed a lot trying to figure out which fork to use; there must have been nine forks at each setting. Everything was exquisite. The next night began at the White House, where the actual awards were presented. Then on to the Kennedy Center for the taping of the television special. The ceremony honored his lifetime in the arts. "There is not the remotest possibility," said Gene Kelly, who introduced him, "that he will have a successor." It was a summation of his nearly 70 years. Mikhail Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo danced "The Sinatra Suite," choreographed by Twyla Tharp to the music of "All the Way," "That's Life," "My Way," and "One for My Baby."

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    DECEMBER 4, 1955: While he was performing at the Sands in Las Vegas, Frank appeared as a guest on Dave Garroway's Wide Wide World show on NBC television.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  14. We laughed a lot trying to figure out which fork to use; there must have been nine forks at each setting.
    Dad said, "Start from the ouside." He made it so easy.

  15. #7555

    5 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 5, 1981: In L.A., Frank recorded a Don Costa arrangement of Joe Raposo's "To Love a Child" for Nancy Reagan's Foster Grandparents Program.

    DECEMBER 5–10, 1977: Back for another gig at Caesars, then home to Palm Springs to celebrate his 62nd birthday.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  16. #7556

    6 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 5–10, 1977: Back for another gig at Caesars, then home to Palm Springs to celebrate his 62nd birthday.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    DECEMBER 6, 1951: Both the Los Angeles Examiner and the Los Angeles Times reported that after a group of Los Angeles ministers complained to authorities about widespread bigamy in connection with Nevada divorces, the Nevada Bar Association agreed to hear a complaint that Sinatra perjured himself to obtain his divorce. Las Vegas attorney William G. Ruymann filed the charge, noting that Sinatra swore under oath on November 1 that he was a resident of Nevada and the next day, on his Pennsylvania marriage license application, claimed to be a resident of Beverly Hills, California. The story made headlines everywhere for days, but eventually the matter fizzled when writers began to point out that thousands of divorces and marriages occurred under near-identical circumstances.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  17. #7557

    7 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 5–10, 1977: Back for another gig at Caesars, then home to Palm Springs to celebrate his 62nd birthday.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    DECEMBER 7, 1966: A Man and His Music, Part II, produced by Gary Smith and directed by Dwight Hemion, aired on CBS. This time he decided to share the spotlight—and I was the lucky guest.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    NOVEMBER 7–DECEMBER 17, 1945: Back in New York, Dad ran the gamut of audiences from teenage America to high society with three weeks at the Paramount, followed by two more in the Wedgwood Room of the Waldorf-Astoria.

    DECEMBER 7, 1941: When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor precipitated America's entry into World War II, Dad was drafted almost immediately, but because of the punctured eardrum resulting from his birth injury, he was turned down and classified 4-F. He tried in vain to enlist for the next several years.







    RUTH COSGROVE BERLE (WIFE OF MILTON) ON SINATRA'S PATRIOTISM: He wanted so desperately to go into the service. I remember sitting with him in one of the New York hotels—the Astor or the Pennsylvania. He was enraged. He had been turned down again that day. He had tried everything to get into the service. He had this thing that he still has—this patriotism.

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  18. For his entire LIFE Frank loved his country. His heart must have been broken when he couldn't defend HER.
    A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

    My favorite song.

  19. #7559

    8 December

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    DECEMBER 8, 1983: FS performed at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.

    DECEMBER 8–10, 1982: He performed at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City.

    DECEMBER 8–10, 1980: FS filled in for an ailing Liza Minnelli at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.

    DECEMBER 5–10, 1977: Back for another gig at Caesars, then home to Palm Springs to celebrate his 62nd birthday.

    NOVEMBER 26–DECEMBER 19, 1968: Returning to Las Vegas for the first time since his fight with Carl Cohen at the Sands, Frank moved down the Strip to his new home, Caesars Palace. The big Circus Maximus at Caesars offered him the opportunity to reach a bigger audience and to command a bigger salary. Caesars must have added rooms every time Sinatra appeared there. The place always seemed to be under construction. The marquee occasionally read "Guess Who." This finally evolved to a simple "He's Here." Nothing else needed to be said. The waiters, the bellmen, the guests, the whole place took on 10,000 volts of energy with each new Sinatra appearance. They called him "The Noblest Roman of Them All," and said so on the medallions they gave the guests. He packed every show, sometimes to the distress of the Las Vegas Fire Department, whose inspectors were constantly moving people out of the aisles and off stairways. And the bedlam spilled over to the other hotels. When Frank was in town, the whole town felt it.

    NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 10, 1964: Back at the Sands in Las Vegas for the first time in more than a year, Dad did two weeks to turnaway business with Count Basie and his band and Quincy Jones conducting.

    DECEMBER 8, 1964: During his stand in Las Vegas, FS guested with Larry King for the first time in a phone interview on King's late-night radio talk show broadcast from Miami.

    DECEMBER 8, 1949: Ava remembered when their relationship finally began to turn serious. She wrote in her book that he told her: "All my life, being a singer was the most important thing in the world. Now you're all I want." They turned up together in New York to attend the premiere of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and gossip columnists reported spotting them at the Hampshire House hotel, where Manie Sacks had a suite.

    The wire services picked up the story, and their romance, despite proforma denials, made headlines. George Evans advised Dad to stay away from Ava as long as he was still married to Nancy. And he warned that Louis B. Mayer at MGM was threatening to terminate both their contracts if there was more adverse publicity about them. It was about this time that Evans announced his resignation.

    DECEMBER 8–14, 1963: Sixteen days after the assassination of the president, another cataclysmic event occurred, this one striking the very heart of our family. My 19-year-old brother was kidnapped, and the next seven days plunged us all into the worst nightmare of our lives.

    THE KIDNAPPING OF FRANK SINATRA JR.

    President Kennedy died in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Sixteen days later, on December 8, 1963, my brother was appearing with Sam Donahue and The Tommy Dorsey Band at Harrah’s Club in Lake Tahoe. Frankie and his friend, trumpet player John Foss, were having dinner before the show in Frankie’s room at the lodge where Harrah’s entertainers stayed. Shortly after nine o’clock there was a knock at the door."Who is it?" asked Frankie.

    "I have a delivery for Mr. Sinatra—a package."

    He opened the door to find a .38 revolver pointed at him. Two men in ski parkas pushed their way into the room and told them to lie face down on the floor with their hands behind their backs. The men taped John’s and Frankie’s hands, blindfolded them and took their wallets. Then the men untaped Frankie’s hands and told him to stand up and put on a coat and shoes. As he was getting into his coat he heard one of the men say to John, "Don’t make any noise for at least 10 minutes. If we don’t make it to Sacramento, there will be trouble." Then my brother was dragged out into the darkness.


    Snow had been falling all day. High winds had knocked down many of the tall Sierra trees. It was a dreadful, windy night. Under his coat my brother wore only a T-shirt, trousers and loafers—no socks. Freezing, he was shoved into the backseat of a car and made to lie down. They drove off into the storm.

    When John Foss was able to undo his taped wrists, he phoned the police. A dispatcher for the Nevada State Highway Patrol sent a message to the FBI: "According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Frank Sinatra Jr., was kidnapped at Harrah’s Club Lodge about half an hour ago. Two men were involved. They have him in a car. Roadblocks are being established."

    The message was received at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and forwarded to FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

    The car carrying Frankie quickly came upon a roadblock. The driver removed Frankie’s blindfold and ordered him to pretend he was asleep. Frankie did not believe that John Foss had sufficient time to break free and notify the police. He thought the roadblock had been set up to make certain that cars were equipped with tire chains. Hearing the kidnappers threaten to shoot if any policeman gave them trouble, Frankie kept very still and did as he had been told. When the car passed through the roadblock, his blindfold was restored and he was forced to swallow two sleeping pills.

    My mother was at home in Bel Air, having a relaxing Sunday night, when the phone call came from Frankie’s manager, Tino Barzie, who had the room next door to 417. My sister heard Mom gasp. Tina: "After she hung up the phone, she began pacing up and down in disbelief." Mom somehow composed herself enough to make two phone calls. The first was to Dad in Palm Springs, the second to me in New Orleans.

    There were other calls. One to Bobby Kennedy. He said, "Yeah, we’re on to it. I have got two hundred and forty-eight men on it. There’ll be more by tonight."

    Next, Dad called Mickey Rudin and chartered a plane to Reno, where at midnight he met Charles W. Bates, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the FBI. By then the FBI agents at Mom’s house had already put taps on her phones.

    At the Mapes Hotel in Reno, Dad received some telephone advice from FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover: "Just keep your mouth shut, Frank. Don’t talk to anyone but law officers..." He also received a more personal call from Bobby Kennedy, one father to another.


    I was in my room at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans watching TV, while Tommy was singing in his show downstairs when Mom called. She told me to sit down because she had bad news. As I listened to her voice: "Brother...kidnapped...Dad...Reno...", she sounded far away and calm. She told me three FBI men were staying in her house and she had to get off the line in case the kidnappers tried to contact her. Kidnappers. FBI. These are words you never want to have crash into your life. I called the backstage extension and left word for my husband to call me as soon as he got offstage. My first thought was to pack and go home on the next plane, but then I grew frightened: What if it’s a conspiracy? My life’s been threatened before...people have threatened to kidnap me before...What should I do?

    I really didn’t know what to do. I also didn’t know that FBI men already had arrived at the hotel to guard me. When Tommy came upstairs, we decided I shouldn’t be moving around and should stay put and await instructions.

    In New Jersey, Grandma and Grandpa heard the horrible news from their son.

    The kidnap car was traveling toward Los Angeles while we waited nearly 17 hours—in California, Nevada, Louisiana and New Jersey—for the kidnappers to make contact.

    Dad had been joined in Reno by Mickey Rudin, Jack Entratter and Dean Elson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Nevada. Dean Elson: "Sinatra would have gone anywhere, paid any amount, risked everything; all he wanted was his son back alive."

    At 4:45 p.m. on December 9, he received his first phone call from the kidnappers. The FBI taped it:

    "Is this Frank Sinatra?"

    "Speaking. This is Frank Sinatra Senior."

    "It doesn’t sound like Sinatra."

    "Well, it is. This is Frank Sinatra."

    "Can you be available at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning?"

    "Yes, I can."

    "OK. Your son is in good shape, don’t worry about him. See if you can do something about the roadblocks."

    The next morning, the 10th, after another sleepless night Dad received the second call.

    "Hello."

    "Sinatra?"

    "Yeah."

    A new voice: "Hello, Dad?"

    "Frankie?"

    "Yeah."

    "How are you, son?"

    "All right."

    "Are you warm enough?" No response.

    "You on the other end of the phone there—you on the other end of the phone there?"

    "Yeah."

    "You want to talk to me about making a deal? You want to resolve this thing?"

    "Yeah, I do, but I can’t do it now, Frank."

    "Why not?"

    "Gotta wait till around two o’clock."

    ’Well, do you have any idea what you want?"

    "Oh, naturally we want money."

    "Well, just tell me how much you want."

    "Well, I can’t tell you that now."

    "I don’t understand why you can’t give me an idea so we can begin to get some stuff ready for you."

    "Well, that’s what I’m afraid of. I don’t want you to have too much time to get ready."

    "Well, I gotta have some time."

    "I know. But you see, don’t—don’t rile me. You’re making me nervous. I’ll call you back about two o’clock."

    "Well, can you call before that?"

    "I don’t think so. I gotta hang up now."

    "Can I talk to Frankie again?"

    Dial tone.

    The next call ordered Dad to go to Ron’s Service Station in Carson City. By the time he and Dean Elson arrived, the station attendant had already received four calls for Frank Sinatra—and figured one of the owner’s friends was playing some kind of joke. The attendant was asked to leave the room while Dad answered the next call, which explained the ransom demand. When they left, Elson told the attendant not to mention to anyone what had happened.

    In Beverly Hills, Al Hart, a close family friend and president of the City National Bank, had been alerted and was ready. The kidnappers demanded $240,000 in small used bills. All day, until dark, Al Hart and his people photographed each bill and made it ready for the drop. One of the FBI people said, "What are we going to put this money in, a paper bag?" The bills weighed 23 pounds. Al Hart said, "Go buy a valise." The man went to the department store, J.W. Robinsons, which remained open until 9 p.m., then returned and said he didn’t have enough money to buy the $56 bag. Al Hart took some ransom money and gave it to him. They later put $239,985 into the new valise.

    Daddy was instructed to go to Los Angeles to await the next call. Mom, Tina and Daddy, with other family members and several FBI agents, waited together in Mom’s house. At 9:26 p.m, on the 10th, Dad was instructed to go to a gas station in Beverly Hills. There another phone call ordered him to have a courier bring the money to a phone booth in L.A. International Airport at 10 p.m. and use the name Patrick Henry.

    Dad asked J. Edgar Hoover to send an FBI courier who would stay cool and not get Frankie in trouble.The agent went to the designated phone and waited.

    "Patrick Henry? This is John Adams." The courier was directed to a gas station where he was to ask for a road map. "We’ll be looking for you at the gas station. Hang around for five minutes and drive north on Sepulveda, stop at another gas station at Sepulveda and Olympic."

    At the gas station, the FBI man was told that Frankie would be let go "four hours after you drop the money and get lost." The agent asked if he could "speak to Frank Jr." He was told no, because "he’s not here, he’s someplace else." And then the agent was told to go to still another gas station where the next call came. He was instructed to put the money between two school buses parked there, and then check into a hotel. He did so, after 10 p.m., December 10.

    My brother was being held captive by a third man in a small house in the San Fernando Valley. He was cold and tired and frightened. By the night of the drop, he had had it. The original two kidnappers had gone off to collect the money while the third man guarded Frankie. After receiving a phone call at 10 p.m. the man said, "We got the money, but we got a problem. One of the guys got scared and ran. I think I better not let you go." Frankie said, "You let me go or I’ll kill you. If you want to stop me, you’ll have to kill me. One of us is going to die."

    The next four hours seemed like 10 to the family. Mom, Dad and Tina in California, Tommy and me in New Orleans, Grandma and Grandpa in New Jersey were all hoping and praying that my brother, only 19 years old with his whole life before him, would be returned to us.

    At 2 a.m., December 11, four hours after the ransom was paid, Daddy went to get his son. If he was afraid the kidnappers wouldn’t keep their word he didn’t show it to his family. He held Tina’s face in his hands and said firmly, "I’m going to bring your brother home." And to Mom with greater conviction, "I’m going to bring him home." They clung together for a moment, sharing whatever it is parents share at a time like this, and then he left on the most important errand of his life and went looking for his boy. He got in his car as instructed—alone.

    Frankie, meanwhile, had suggested to the man guarding him that perhaps the two other kidnappers were not coming back with the money. Perhaps they were leaving him to take the rap. That had persuaded the man to drive Frankie to the designated drop-off point in Los Angeles—but now, approaching the drop-off point the man became apprehensive. Afraid someone had given him away, he told Frankie he was going to take him back. Frankie assured him that Frank Sinatra would not have told anyone.

    At 2:35 a.m. Daddy returned to the house—alone. "Do you know what Dad’s face looked like?" said Tina. "I’ve never seen a face like that." He thought the kidnappers had taken the money and not let Frankie go.

    But the man driving Frankie did let him go—after the designated time—at the drop-off point on the San Diego Freeway at the Mulholland Drive exit. Terrified that the man might come back, Frankie pulled down his blindfold and ran for cover. He picked up a big rock and stuck it in his pocket; it was the only thing he could find in the desolate spot that resembled a weapon. He didn’t see his father’s car, so he decided he’d better walk toward Bel Air. Once off the freeway, he heard a car engine screaming up the hill and ducked behind a hedge out of range of the headlights. It was a bronze Ford sedan with men wearing overcoats and hats. By the time he realized they must have been FBI men, they were gone. He saw a morning paper in someone’s driveway. It was dated December 11, 1963—one day before his father’s birthday.

    Another car came by, this time very slowly, and Frankie hid again. He was so scared. Then, realizing it was the private security service, the Bel Air Patrol, he shouted, "Hey!" The car stopped and Frankie identified himself and asked to be driven to his mother’s home. The driver was security man George C. Jones. Shivering with cold from his two-mile walk, Frankie asked Jones to turn on the heat. He still had no socks and had lost weight. He was hungry, exhausted, terrified and freezing. But alive.

    Because he had seen the press people crowding Mom’s driveway for three days, Jones stopped the car near the Bel Air Patrol office and said he was concerned about getting Frankie through the reporters and photographers. "Suppose I get in the trunk," my brother said. "Then if we can’t get through, we can go back to the office and do something else." Jones agreed.

    George C. Jones: "Nobody knew I had the boy in the trunk. I drove on up to the home, passed the cars, the newspaper people, all the officers, into the parking area in the front of the house." He then backed the trunk of the car to within a few feet of the front door and told Frankie he was going to go get Mom or Dad. "I went to the door and knocked. Two men opened the door and I recognized Mrs. Sinatra inside. I looked at her and said, ’Mrs. Sinatra, I have your boy in the trunk of my car—and he is all right.’ She gasped. She just stood there looking at me. Mr. Sinatra came to the door. I told him the same thing, that Frankie was OK, and in my trunk. He didn’t smile. All he said was ’Let’s get that trunk open.’ Then Mr. and Mrs. Sinatra and five or six other people came out and I unlocked the trunk—and there was Frankie."

    Frankie remembers seeing Dad’s shoes first, then legs, chest and face. He climbed out and said, "Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad." They put their arms around him and began hugging and kissing him. They invited Patrolman Jones to come in. He later said, "I was sure tickled to see that boy come up to the car—and happier still when he went into his own house." Our prayers had been answered. Frankie was home. Happy Birthday, Dad.




    Soon Bobby Kennedy called. He spoke to Dad and then to Frankie: "Are you all right son?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Let me talk to one of my men." Elson took the phone and was told to "implement the ramrod." With Frankie home, the FBI began a full-scale search for the kidnappers.

    My brother broke open the case. Frank Sinatra Jr.: "When the agents came to interview me the night I got away from those bastards, they told me to remember every little thing. I said, 'When they led me into the house I tripped on a piece of weather stripping at the door, on the ground.’ I told them about hearing little airplanes overhead. I told them the make of the car: ’A Plymouth, a Plymouth station wagon.’ My aunt used to have one and I remembered the sound of the back door; this one had the same sound. One of the guys led me around because I was blindfolded, and I could feel his hands. I told the Bureau, ’The man who has this hand works with harsh chemicals. He’s a mechanic, a carpenter, or a painter ’cause it’s like alligator scales inside his hand.’ Turned out he was a painter. The FBI used all this stuff to break the case."

    My brother was questioned for hours by Dean Elson and the other FBI men who were at Mom’s house. When he finally went to sleep, it was in Tina’s room. His kid sister kept peeking at him as he slept making sure he was really there—that she wasn’t dreaming.

    As soon as I knew Frankie was safe, I flew home. We had a tearful, laughing reunion. That night we got the news that the kidnappers were in custody, and we opened a magnum of champagne. My mother, who doesn’t drink, drank most of it. She was so happy she didn’t even have a headache the next day.

    As J. Edgar wrote to me later: "I told your father how pleased I was that Frank Jr. has been safely returned. I recall pointing out to him that although he would now be besieged by inquiries from the news media, we still had numerous productive leads to pursue and would be able to do so only if the case received a minimum of publicity. Your father, of course, cooperated in every possible way. Within a short time, our investigation was completed and early in the morning of December 14th, I had the pleasure of telephoning your father again to inform him that the kidnappers were in custody."

    The ordeal took its toll on my father.The lack of sleep. Little food. The dramatic temperature changes. Flying in the stormy skies. He had been distraught even desperate—two things he had never been before. He handled each moment as it came. Even the worst one—when he’d gone to pick up his son and he wasn’t there. I can’t bear, even now, the image of him driving back to Mom’s, alone in the car.

    Afterward, his body reacted. He got sick. He went home to Palm Springs to recover. He spent the time healing. Reflecting. While mourners flied past the Eternal Flame at Arlington, while our country was still in shock, while Bobby and the other Kennedys were trying to pick up the torn pieces of their lives, my father was trying to understand all these shattering events. It was all so emotionally draining—Jack, Frankie, Cal-Neva...overwhelming.


    Although the kidnappers were later convicted—in near-record time by an angry federal jury—they defended themselves in court with the claim that they’d been hired to pull a publicity stunt to enhance Frank Jr.’s career. My father’s only comment: "This family needs publicity like it needs peritonitis."

    It took time for Frank Jr. to recover, too. It had never been easy being the son of Frank Sinatra, with all its privileges. And its illusions. We had all grown up in a cocoon, insulated from a world we never dreamed would touch us. Not like this. It changed us all, but no one more than Frankie himself. As he told a reporter in an interview for the Washington Post, "I want to look at things without distortion. It reminds me of a line in Becket when the king says, 'Why must you destroy all my illusions?’ And the man answers, ’Because you should have none, my prince.’"

    Christmas 1963: Dad received a note from a friend. In the midst of her own grief, Jacqueline Kennedy had taken time to send a note to my father.



    Dec. 31, 1963
    Dear Frank,

    I do want to thank you for the enchanting pin you sent me for Christmas. You have always been so thoughtful.

    The only happy thing that seems to have happened at the end of this year is the way your son was brought safely back to you.

    Please know I am so deeply happy about that.

    With my appreciation—the very deepest—for all you did for Jack, and for believing in him from the beginning.
    Jackie

    [Dates of new entries highlighted in blue]
    Pack a small bag....

  20. December 8–14, 1963 (Part 1)

    (From the Guestbook page and the online book Frank Sinatra: An American Legend by Nancy Sinatra )

    THE KIDNAPPING OF FRANK SINATRA JR.

    President Kennedy died in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Sixteen days later, on December 8, 1963, my brother was appearing with Sam Donahue and The Tommy Dorsey Band at Harrah’s Club in Lake Tahoe. Frankie and his friend, trumpet player John Foss, were having dinner before the show in Frankie’s room at the lodge where Harrah’s entertainers stayed. Shortly after nine o’clock there was a knock at the door."Who is it?" asked Frankie.

    "I have a delivery for Mr. Sinatra—a package."

    He opened the door to find a .38 revolver pointed at him. Two men in ski parkas pushed their way into the room and told them to lie face down on the floor with their hands behind their backs. The men taped John’s and Frankie’s hands, blindfolded them and took their wallets. Then the men untaped Frankie’s hands and told him to stand up and put on a coat and shoes. As he was getting into his coat he heard one of the men say to John, "Don’t make any noise for at least 10 minutes. If we don’t make it to Sacramento, there will be trouble." Then my brother was dragged out into the darkness.


    Snow had been falling all day. High winds had knocked down many of the tall Sierra trees. It was a dreadful, windy night. Under his coat my brother wore only a T-shirt, trousers and loafers—no socks. Freezing, he was shoved into the backseat of a car and made to lie down. They drove off into the storm.

    When John Foss was able to undo his taped wrists, he phoned the police. A dispatcher for the Nevada State Highway Patrol sent a message to the FBI: "According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Frank Sinatra Jr., was kidnapped at Harrah’s Club Lodge about half an hour ago. Two men were involved. They have him in a car. Roadblocks are being established."

    The message was received at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and forwarded to FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

    The car carrying Frankie quickly came upon a roadblock. The driver removed Frankie’s blindfold and ordered him to pretend he was asleep. Frankie did not believe that John Foss had sufficient time to break free and notify the police. He thought the roadblock had been set up to make certain that cars were equipped with tire chains. Hearing the kidnappers threaten to shoot if any policeman gave them trouble, Frankie kept very still and did as he had been told. When the car passed through the roadblock, his blindfold was restored and he was forced to swallow two sleeping pills.

    My mother was at home in Bel Air, having a relaxing Sunday night, when the phone call came from Frankie’s manager, Tino Barzie, who had the room next door to 417. My sister heard Mom gasp. Tina: "After she hung up the phone, she began pacing up and down in disbelief." Mom somehow composed herself enough to make two phone calls. The first was to Dad in Palm Springs, the second to me in New Orleans.

    There were other calls. One to Bobby Kennedy. He said, "Yeah, we’re on to it. I have got two hundred and forty-eight men on it. There’ll be more by tonight."

    Next, Dad called Mickey Rudin and chartered a plane to Reno, where at midnight he met Charles W. Bates, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the FBI. By then the FBI agents at Mom’s house had already put taps on her phones.

    At the Mapes Hotel in Reno, Dad received some telephone advice from FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover: "Just keep your mouth shut, Frank. Don’t talk to anyone but law officers..." He also received a more personal call from Bobby Kennedy, one father to another.


    I was in my room at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans watching TV, while Tommy was singing in his show downstairs when Mom called. She told me to sit down because she had bad news. As I listened to her voice: "Brother...kidnapped...Dad...Reno...", she sounded far away and calm. She told me three FBI men were staying in her house and she had to get off the line in case the kidnappers tried to contact her. Kidnappers. FBI. These are words you never want to have crash into your life. I called the backstage extension and left word for my husband to call me as soon as he got offstage. My first thought was to pack and go home on the next plane, but then I grew frightened: What if it’s a conspiracy? My life’s been threatened before...people have threatened to kidnap me before...What should I do?

    I really didn’t know what to do. I also didn’t know that FBI men already had arrived at the hotel to guard me. When Tommy came upstairs, we decided I shouldn’t be moving around and should stay put and await instructions.

    In New Jersey, Grandma and Grandpa heard the horrible news from their son.

    The kidnap car was traveling toward Los Angeles while we waited nearly 17 hours—in California, Nevada, Louisiana and New Jersey—for the kidnappers to make contact.

    Dad had been joined in Reno by Mickey Rudin, Jack Entratter and Dean Elson, special agent in charge of the FBI in Nevada. Dean Elson: "Sinatra would have gone anywhere, paid any amount, risked everything; all he wanted was his son back alive."

    At 4:45 p.m. on December 9, he received his first phone call from the kidnappers. The FBI taped it:

    "Is this Frank Sinatra?"

    "Speaking. This is Frank Sinatra Senior."

    "It doesn’t sound like Sinatra."

    "Well, it is. This is Frank Sinatra."

    "Can you be available at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning?"

    "Yes, I can."

    "OK. Your son is in good shape, don’t worry about him. See if you can do something about the roadblocks."

    The next morning, the 10th, after another sleepless night Dad received the second call.

    "Hello."

    "Sinatra?"

    "Yeah."

    A new voice: "Hello, Dad?"

    "Frankie?"

    "Yeah."

    "How are you, son?"

    "All right."

    "Are you warm enough?" No response.

    "You on the other end of the phone there—you on the other end of the phone there?"

    "Yeah."

    "You want to talk to me about making a deal? You want to resolve this thing?"

    "Yeah, I do, but I can’t do it now, Frank."

    "Why not?"

    "Gotta wait till around two o’clock."

    ’Well, do you have any idea what you want?"

    "Oh, naturally we want money."

    "Well, just tell me how much you want."

    "Well, I can’t tell you that now."

    "I don’t understand why you can’t give me an idea so we can begin to get some stuff ready for you."

    "Well, that’s what I’m afraid of. I don’t want you to have too much time to get ready."

    "Well, I gotta have some time."

    "I know. But you see, don’t—don’t rile me. You’re making me nervous. I’ll call you back about two o’clock."

    "Well, can you call before that?"

    "I don’t think so. I gotta hang up now."

    "Can I talk to Frankie again?"

    Dial tone.

    The next call ordered Dad to go to Ron’s Service Station in Carson City. By the time he and Dean Elson arrived, the station attendant had already received four calls for Frank Sinatra—and figured one of the owner’s friends was playing some kind of joke. The attendant was asked to leave the room while Dad answered the next call, which explained the ransom demand. When they left, Elson told the attendant not to mention to anyone what had happened.

    In Beverly Hills, Al Hart, a close family friend and president of the City National Bank, had been alerted and was ready. The kidnappers demanded $240,000 in small used bills. All day, until dark, Al Hart and his people photographed each bill and made it ready for the drop. One of the FBI people said, "What are we going to put this money in, a paper bag?" The bills weighed 23 pounds. Al Hart said, "Go buy a valise." The man went to the department store, J.W. Robinsons, which remained open until 9 p.m., then returned and said he didn’t have enough money to buy the $56 bag. Al Hart took some ransom money and gave it to him. They later put $239,985 into the new valise.

    Daddy was instructed to go to Los Angeles to await the next call. Mom, Tina and Daddy, with other family members and several FBI agents, waited together in Mom’s house. At 9:26 p.m, on the 10th, Dad was instructed to go to a gas station in Beverly Hills. There another phone call ordered him to have a courier bring the money to a phone booth in L.A. International Airport at 10 p.m. and use the name Patrick Henry.

    Dad asked J. Edgar Hoover to send an FBI courier who would stay cool and not get Frankie in trouble.The agent went to the designated phone and waited.

    "Patrick Henry? This is John Adams." The courier was directed to a gas station where he was to ask for a road map. "We’ll be looking for you at the gas station. Hang around for five minutes and drive north on Sepulveda, stop at another gas station at Sepulveda and Olympic."

    At the gas station, the FBI man was told that Frankie would be let go "four hours after you drop the money and get lost." The agent asked if he could "speak to Frank Jr." He was told no, because "he’s not here, he’s someplace else." And then the agent was told to go to still another gas station where the next call came. He was instructed to put the money between two school buses parked there, and then check into a hotel. He did so, after 10 p.m., December 10.

    My brother was being held captive by a third man in a small house in the San Fernando Valley. He was cold and tired and frightened. By the night of the drop, he had had it. The original two kidnappers had gone off to collect the money while the third man guarded Frankie. After receiving a phone call at 10 p.m. the man said, "We got the money, but we got a problem. One of the guys got scared and ran. I think I better not let you go." Frankie said, "You let me go or I’ll kill you. If you want to stop me, you’ll have to kill me. One of us is going to die."

    The next four hours seemed like 10 to the family. Mom, Dad and Tina in California, Tommy and me in New Orleans, Grandma and Grandpa in New Jersey were all hoping and praying that my brother, only 19 years old with his whole life before him, would be returned to us.

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