August 17, 2006

Hangin' out with Frank

PREVIOUSLY: In November 1965, a CBS television film crew, including Walter Cronkite and Don Hewitt, spent six weeks with Sinatra. The footage was used in a program about the entertainer (called Sinatra), and was reused in May 1998, the week after he died, for a 48 Hours special called "Sinatra: Living With the Legend."

Here is part three of my "coverage," with part one being the recording of "It Was a Very Good Year," and part two primarily a history lesson on Sinatra from 1942-1965. This part of the CBS program focused on a typical few days in the public life of Sinatra.

It opens with a song rehearsal (I'm not sure which song) (via an anonymous comment: The song he's rehearsing with Bill Miller is "Anema Core." Around that time Sinatra was going to record an album of Italian songs, but he couldn't speak a word of Italian, so he gave it up.) with his longtime pianist, Bill Miller. It took place on the set of Marriage on the Rocks, where we see him receiving a vertical massage:

Having a marvelous time with co-star Deborah Kerr.

Frank, best pally Jilly Rizzo, and a meaty bodyguard, discussing with incredulity, how a $1,300,000 turbo-prop could only seat eight as they prepare to board Sinatra's Lear Jet, Christina II (named after his second daughter).

Flying too high with some gal in the sky
Is my idea of nothin' to do!

Color shot with Dino (note the color)

According to the Cronkite narration, that particular flight was going to Washington, D.C., where he was performing, for some reason, at Lorden Penitentiary with Count Basie and Orchestra. Sinatra's conductor for that strange "gig" was his baton waver of choice at the moment, Quincy Jones, whom he called "Q".

I can't help but think that particular audience would have far preferred a performance from someone like James Brown to Sinatra.

Not exactly At Folsom Prison

There would have been no better way for Sinatra to unwind after something like that than to hang out at his favorite place, Jilly's.

Make way! It's Sinatra!!

Cronkite: If it's in to go to Jilly's, you can't get much more "in" than to be invited to Sinatra's table. It's the one in back, near the kitchen door, up against the air conditioner. And if you're ever invited, don't take the old, imitation leather arm chair--it's reserved for Frank. When Frank isn't in town, Jilly puts it away.

Nancy is obviously not yet "famous," because Sinatra is having to introduce her to someone in this shot.

Soupy Sales's (looking rather forlorn) presence must have been the catalyst for the discussion we see between Frank and Sammy Davis, Jr. about pie throwing.
On the "The Soupy Sales Show"

Is it her eyes that remind me of Britney Spears in the footage?

Possibly the Leader's closest friends--Sammy and Jilly Rizzo (on Sammy's right)

Finally, the CBS footage ends with scenes from a benefit concert the Rat Pack (with Johnny Carson filling in for Joey Bishop) did in support of Dismas Halfway House (named after Father Dismas Clark, the "Hoodlum Priest") in St. Louis.
Cheek to cheek with Count Basie

"Ladies and gentleman, on behalf of Dismas House, I present our hoodlum singer."
Cronkite: In a grown-up's world he was a teenager's idol. Today, in a teenager's world, he's a grown-up's idol...

Nancy, decked out backstage in the latest Carnaby Street fashion, sweetly sings along with "Pop."

Hang with Frank:



charley said...

great stuff Chris - love all the parts - makes me appreciate Old Blue Eyes once again all over.

Anonymous said...

Ooooh -- good call on the Liza-Britney connection!


Anonymous said...

The song he's rehearsing with Bill Miller is "Anema Core." Around that time Sinatra was going to record an album of Italian songs, but he couldn't speak a word of Italian, so he gave it up.

Chris said...

Thank you, charley. It's always nice to get compliments!

And I thought I just had Britney Spears on the brain, Lisa. There is a slight resemblance, isn't there!?

"Anema Core"! Thanks. I Googled the lyric I could understand, ("A heaven, mine and yours...") to no avail. Good ear. I'm adding your comment to the post.