Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sinatra's screen work celebrated

Most people think of Frank Sinatra as a singer first and actor second. But the truth is that he was no slouch on screen, appearing in 57 motion pictures and earning many awards. MGM and Warner Home Video commemorate the 10th anniversary of the iconic singer's death with four impressive boxed sets featuring a total of 18 films. Here's a link to the article from Philly.com and a list of the movies included in the sets:

  • Frank Sinatra: The Early Years Collection ($28.99) has Sinatra honing his craft - and always singing - in the early films, Higher and Higher (1943), Step Lively (1944), It Happened in Brooklyn (1947), The Kissing Bandit (1948), and Double Dynamite (1951).

  • Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years ($29.99) includes one of Sinatra's most powerful turns, as a drug addict in Otto Preminger's harrowing The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), which co-stars Kim Novak. Other titles include Sinatra's only directorial job, the weak anti-war tale, None But the Brave (1965) and the terrific comedy The Tender Trap (1955), which co-stars Debbie Reynolds.

  • Some of Sinatra's best spins as a song-and-dance man are collected in the three-DVD Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly Collection ($22.99), which features the musical masterpiece, On the Town (1949), plus Anchors Aweigh (1945) and Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949).

  • In The Rat Pack Ultimate Collectors Edition ($59.98; not rated), Sinatra & Co. star in five of the funniest films from the early 1960s, including Ocean's 11 (1960), John Sturges' Sergeants 3 (1962), the Robert Aldrich-helmed 4 for Texas (1963), and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964).

  • Last, but not least, the five-film Frank Sinatra MGM Movie Legends Collection ($19.99) includes two of Sinatra's most famous films, the classic indictment of McCarthyism The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and the brilliant musical Guys and Dolls (1955) teaming Ol' Blue Eyes with Marlon Brando. The boxed set also includes The Pride and the Passion (1957), Kings Go Forth (1958) and A Hole in the Head (1959).

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"Frank Sinatra Day"

May 13, 2008 is officially "Frank Sinatra Day" in the U.S. The House of Representatives voted in a landslide, 402-3, in support of the tribute.

Sinatra was also honored in 1997 when President Clinton signed into law legislation awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his accomplishments as an entertainer and humanitarian.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sirius Radio to Honor Frank Sinatra Today

Starting at 9AM this morning, Sirius Satellite Radio will commemorate Frank's legacy with an all-day celebration of his life and musical career on Siriusly Sinatra channel 75.

The day-long tribute to Frank Sinatra on the 10th anniversary of his passing will feature a special edition of Nancy for Frank, hosted by Nancy Sinatra and her daughter, A.J. Lambert, which will start at 1 pm EDT. Frank Sinatra, Jr. will host As I Remember It, a personal retrospective on his father starting at 4 pm EDT.

Sirius will start the broadcast event at 9 am EDT with the premiere of a new "Live in Vegas" edition of The Chairman's Hour, Siriusly Sinatra's unique and innovative weekly show hosted by Frank Sinatra himself through the use of archival materials.

Bruce Springsteen inducts Frank into the New Jersey Hall Of Fame

In a recent ceremony, Bruce talks about meeting the Chairman of the Board for the first time and Nancy Sinatra accepts on behalf of her father.


5/14/2008: The 10-year anniversary of Frank Sinatra's passing

WHERE WAS I on May 14, 1998? I was 19 when Frank died and a week later I was going to attend a Sons of Italy benefit with my family because my brother was being honored. Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett and Regis Philbin were all going to be there but I was most excited by another scheduled guest...Barbara Sinatra. She was supposed to give a speech on behalf of her husband who was being presented with a lifetime achievement award.

Obviously she could not make it...I remember feeling empty inside. Not because I felt any connection to or pity for the man, he had lived a hundred men's lives, but because I would now never get to see him perform. It was a selfish feeling but I couldn't bring myself to feel sorry for Frank...I'm certain he squeezed every last drop out of his 82 years and at the end it was better to see him go than fade farther away. He didn't quite reach the 100 years that he wished for everyone else but his story and voice will survive forever.

WHERE WERE YOU on May 14, 1998?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WATCH THIS! Bono introducing Frank at the 1994 Grammy Awards.

UPDATE (7/29/08): I hope you got to see these videos while they lasted because, as predicted, they've been yanked from YouTube.

I hadn't seen this clip since the Grammys aired live 14 years ago but through the magic of the Web I present it for your viewing pleasure below...I'm sure it won't last long so be sure to watch. If you recall, there was some controversy about this speech because Frank was cut off by the band and the broadcast went to commercial. You also watch host Garry Shandling's response to the slight below.

Frank called Bono's speech: "probably the best introduction I've ever had." If it gets yanked off YouTube, you can read the transcript in the "QUOTES" section of the site.

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Sinatra Stamp Released Today!

The United States Postal Service has taken the edge off of their latest postage increase today with the release of the highly anticipated Frank Sinatra 42 cent stamp. Dedication ceremonies involving Frank's children are being held today in Hoboken and Las Vegas.

The atrist responsible for Frank's likeness on the stamp is Kazuhiko Sano and it was designed by Richard Sheaff. They were inspired by a 1950s photograph by an unknown photographer. The stamp depicts Sinatra's charismatic smile, trademark fedora, and, of course, blue eyes.

You can purchase "Digital Color Postmarks" from both issuance locations, New York and Las Vegas, plus a full pane of 20 stamps directly from the USPS website for $11.40.

Below is a video courtesy CCVariety.TV from the stamp unveiling ceremony held back in January. The Sinatra family was there to share in the celebration.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Frank's Legacy in 2008 And Beyond

I read an article today on the Los Angeles Times website summarizing the current status of the Frank Sinatra empire. It details the deal the Sinatra children made with Warner Music Group Corp. in 2007 to "re-release" Frank Sinatra to the world via never before heard recordings, advertising, a feature film (directed by Martin Scorsese), and possibly a casino.

It is very clear that the Sinatra family is ultra-protective of Frank's legacy and up until now I've found their tenacity to be 100 percent appropriate. But I worry that the term "Frank Sinatra" will soon become synonymous with gambling, drinking and egotistical swagger instead of the traits that Frank truly represented: pure talent, strong work ethic, and philanthropy. This is what happens when a living, breathing icon dies and is deconstructed to fit snugly into a corporate brand.

In a perfect world the Sinatra family would simply let Frank's work guide his legacy. They would periodically release his archives to the public in the form of never before heard live concerts and recordings. This would maintain the buzz around Frank's name and ensure that the older generations would have something fresh to talk about to younger people that would act as a bridge to Frank's classic recordings. Frank would have a place on countless iPods and kids would look him up on Wikipedia to learn a little more about the man. Unfortunately, as a result of this deal, I believe many kids will first hear of Frank Sinatra through an internet advertisement or a gaudy image on the side of a hotel/casino and see him only as some deceased singer who their grandparents used to listen to on something called a record player.

As a fan, it was a bit jarring a few years ago in Las Vegas to see Frank's image on slot machines while a short clip of "I've Got The World On A String" played with each pull of the arm. It is now apparent that this was just the beginning...Frank Sinatra the man has become Frank Sinatra the brand. Inevitable, I suppose. Sad nonetheless.

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Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Features Frank This Month

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Sinatra's passing, TCM is broadcasting a different Frank film every Sunday and Wednesday in May. Frank's children host the Wednesday broadcasts. The accompanying web site is full of great information and photos. Here's a PDF of the full schedule with a brief synopsis of each film.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Want To Rent Frank's Pad In Palm Springs?

What can you get for $2,600?
  1. Two tickets to the next Red Sox World Series game at Fenway.
  2. A full tank of premium gas in 2015
  3. One night at Frank Sintra's mansion, Twin Palms, in Palm Springs!

I'm a Sinatra fan...but I don't think I need to swim in his pool and sleep in his bed, especially for that kind of coin. Click on the photo for more info.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Remembering Frank Sinatra (USA WEEKEND)

Want to read reflections on Sinatra by Bill Clinton, Joe Torre, Steve Wynn and Tony Bennett? USA Weekend compiled their thoughts and memories on their site. CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE for their Message Board where you can post your memories of Sinatra and read what other people have to say.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tribute to Sinatra's Films in London, UK

Sinatra! The Voice on Screen

Location: BFI Southbank

From May 2 - 26, the BFI Southbank in London plays host to the season of Frank Sinatra. The release of Vincente Minnelli’s magnificent but rarely seen drama Some Came Running (1958) on May 16 is the jewel in the crown of a season of Frank Sinatra’s films playing at BFI Southbank throughout May. The film will also screen at the Barbican. Sinatra stars in one of his finest roles as Dave Hirsh, an ex-serviceman and disillusioned writer who, after a wild night’s drinking, finds himself on a Greyhound bus heading for his home town in Indiana. Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine give superb performances as his partners-in-crime.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Memories of Sinatra

It's hard to believe, but on May 14th it will have been 10 years since Frank Sinatra passed away. In honor of his life, I will be making daily posts from now until the 14th that will help share Frank's story and the effect he had on other people's lives.

First, a couple articles from the London Telegraph website:
  1. Frank Sinatra: how the myth was made (a little background info)
  2. Frank Sinatra: coolness personified (reflections from celebrities who knew Frank and those who wish they had)