Friday, December 12, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK SINATRA & EDWARD G. ROBINSON




Frank Sinatra In Concert
Edward G. Robinson in "The Ten Commandments"
Today would have been the 93rd birthday of perhaps the greatest singer on Earth. Frank Sinatra was an absolute legend with a legendary reputation. There were times he was an amazing gentleman and times when he was an absolute bum. But good or bad you loved his music and for songwriters that way he could sell a song and make it his own was astounding.
Frank was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of Italian immigrants Natalie Della (née Garaventi) and Anthony Martin Sinatra. He left high school without graduating, having attended only 47 days before being expelled due to his rowdy conduct. His mother, known as Dolly, was influential in the neighborhood and in local Democratic Party circles, but also ran an illegal abortion business from her home; she was charged and convicted for this offense. Frank's father Martin served with the Hoboken Fire Department. During the tough years of the 1930s, when the Great Depression hit North America very hard, Dolly nevertheless provided ready pocket money to her son Frank, the family's only child, for outings with friends and fancy clothes. Frank then worked for some time as a delivery boy at the Jersey Observer newspaper, and as a riveter at the Tietjan and Lang shipyard. It was in the early 1930s that Sinatra began singing in public.In 1935, he got his first break when his mother persuaded a local singing group, The Three Flashes, to let him join. With Frank, the group became known as the Hoboken Four, and they sufficiently impressed Edward Bowes that they appeared on his show, Major Bowes Amateur Hour, and with a record 40,000 votes they won the first prize, a six month contract to perform on stage and radio across the United States. Sinatra's first cousin, Ray Sinatra, had an orchestra and his own network radio program ("Cycling the Kilocycles") in the mid-1930s, but Ray and Frank did not work together. Sinatra left the Hoboken Four and returned home in late 1935. His mother secured him a job as a singing waiter and MC at the Rustic Cabin in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for which he was paid $15 a week.On March 18, 1939, Sinatra made his first recording, of a song called "Our Love", with the Frank Mane band. In June, Harry James hired Sinatra on a one year contract of $75 a week.Growing dissatisfied with the James band, Old Blue Eyes was approached by Tommy Dorsey in November 1939, and formally joined Dorsey's band the following January.In his first year with Dorsey, Sinatra released more than forty songs, with "I'll Never Smile Again" topping the charts for twelve weeks in mid-July.In the autumn of 1940, Sinatra appeared in his first film, Las Vegas Nights.[14 In May 1941, Sinatra was at the top of the male singer polls in the Billboard and Downbeat magazines.[15] Sinatra's relationship with Tommy Dorsey was tenuous, and Sinatra recorded his first solo sessions without the Dorsey band (but with Dorsey's arranger Axel Stordahl and with Dorsey's approval) in January 1942. Sinatra left the Dorsey band late in 1942.His appeal to bobby soxers, as teenage girls of that time were called, revealed a whole new audience for popular music, which had been recorded mainly for adults up to that time.
On December 31, 1942, Sinatra opened at the
Paramount Theater in New York. It is there that 'Sinatramania' really began, an event which led Sinatra's rival Bing Crosby to jokingly declare: "Frank's the kind of singer that comes along once in a lifetime, but why did he have to come along in mine?"During the musicians' strike of 1942–44, Columbia’s re-released Harry James’ "All or Nothing at All", recorded in August 1939 and released before Sinatra had made a name for himself. The original release didn’t even mention the vocalist’s name. When the recording was re–released in 1943 with Frank Sinatra’s name prominently displayed, the record was on the best–selling list for 18 weeks and reached number 2 on June 2, 1943. In 1943, he signed with Columbia Records as a solo artist with initially great success, particularly during the musicians' recording strikes. Sinatra signed with Columbia on June 1, 1943, with the musicians' strike ten months old. And while no new records had been issued during the strike, he had been performing on the radio (on Your Hit Parade, and on stage. Columbia wanted to get new recordings of their growing star as fast as possible, so Sinatra convinced them to hire Alec Wilder as arranger and conductor for several sessions with a vocal group called the Bobby Tucker Singers. These first sessions were on June 7, June 22, August 5, and November 10, 1943. Of the nine songs recorded during these sessions, seven charted on the best–selling list.When Frank returned to the Paramount in October 1944, 35,000 fans caused a near riot outside the venue because they were not allowed in. Dubbed "The Columbus Day Riot," it took the police several hours to defuse the situation.[

In 1945, Sinatra co-starred with
Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh. That same year, he was loaned out to RKO to star in a short film titled The House I Live In. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, this film on tolerance and racial equality earned a special Academy Award shared among Sinatra and those who brought the film to the screen, along with a special Golden Globe for "Promoting Good Will." 1946 saw the release of his first album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra and the debut of his own weekly radio show.
After two years' absence, Sinatra returned to the concert stage on January 12, 1950, in Hartford, Connecticut. Sinatra's voice suffered and he experienced hemorrhaging of his vocal cords on stage at the Copacabana on April 26, 1950. Sinatra's career and appeal to new teen audiences declined as he moved into his mid-30s. In September 1951, Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut at the Desert Inn. A month later, a second series of the Frank Sinatra Show aired on CBS. On November 7, 1951, Frank Sinatra married Ava Gardner They had an extremely tempestuous relationship, and the ascent of Gardner's career seemed to coincide with the decline in Sinatra's.They split up in 1953 and divorced in 1957.Columbia and MCA dropped Sinatra in 1952.The rebirth of Sinatra's career began with the eve-of-Pearl Harbor drama From Here to Eternity (1953), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This role and performance mark the turnaround in Sinatra's career, in which he went from being in a critical and commercial decline for several years to an Oscar-winning actor and, once again, one of the top recording artists in the world. In 1953, Sinatra signed with Capitol Records, where he worked with many of the finest musical arrangers of the era, most notably Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Mavis Rivers, and Billy May. Sinatra reinvented himself with a series of albums featuring darker emotional material, starting with In the Wee Small Hours in 1955. Of course today is also Edward G. Robinson's birthday and he was simply an amazing actor. The Tough guy was a great humanitarian and devout art collector. My favorite role of his is our course from "The Ten Commandments" / Billy Crystal has made a fortune off of that imitation he does. Although still out of work, disability income almost equals what I was bringing home after taxes last year, so once again God has saved my life. John and I have finished the book and four songs to our newest musical called "Death Does Broadway". What might happen if an disgruntled actor who got cheated out of a Broadway role in 1968 had taken his life and after a forty year stint in Purgatory gets the chance to be a deputy of death for Broadway. But his first "victim" looking for a delay of his own death offers him a lead on the same Broadway stage he was cheated out of all those many years ago. Now our protagonist gets to be "death on Broadway". I'm sending out Christmas cards for the first time in many years. It's a great feeling to finally have the time to do this. It's the first Christmas in twelve years that I've actually gotten to enjoy.

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