June 5, 2009


Toots Shor and Joltin' Joe DiMaggio

Let me highly recommend a movie to the Sinatra peeps out there and fans of the American, cocktail lounge sub-culture of the 1940s through the early 1960s. Those who've not seen Toots (2006) should check it out. It is a documentary about New York restaurateur and bar owner, Bernard "Toots" Shor. This is the IMDb summary:

The '40s and '50s were a classic period in New York City nightlife, when the saloonkeeper was king and regular folks could drink with celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason. In this documentary, Kristi Jacobson profiles her grandfather, the king of kings: Toots Shor of the eponymous restaurant and saloon, which was once the place to be seen in Manhattan.

Toots Shor (1903-1977) was Manhattan's premier saloonkeeper from 1940 to 1959. At 18, he went to New York from South Philly, becoming a speakeasy bouncer. In 1940, he opened his place at 51 51st St., the watering hole for sports heroes, actors, mobsters, cops, politicians, visiting dignitaries, and writers. Shor's daughter, Frank Gifford, Peter Duchin, former sports writers, and others comment throughout as the filmmaker mixes still photographs, archive footage, including an appearance on This Is Your Life, and an audio-tape interview from 1975 to present a portrait of New York during and after Prohibition and of a lovable, larger-than-life, uniquely New York public figure.

Sinatra paid a sort of tribute to Shor by including the second, 52nd street restaurant in Come Blow Your Horn.


Krista said...

Now, if I could only find a video store or something around, these parts that carried such interesting films, I'd have something new to watch.

Perhaps, once I get my credit card up to date, I'll have to break down and join Netflix. :)

Chris said...

You have to Netflix it. There's no way a movie like Toots would ever make it here, to Nacogdoches, and this is a college town.