Pinched in the Astor Bar: Frank Sinatra

So once in awhile, Ol’ Blue Eyes gets under my skin and, ring-a-ding-ding, he absolutely ends up doing it his way and there’s nothing I can do-be-do-be-do about it.
The Wee Small Hours and No One Cares have been regulars on my semi-new turntable– pieces of art that positively thrive in the acoustic-friendly, teensy confines of my studio. (One of the small perks to overpriced, undersized Hollywood living.)

Frankie, by many accounts, may have been an insufferable pain in the arse… but I’m perfectly willing to go out of my way to understand those foibles (God knows I’m an insufferable pain in the arse myself) the minute his light baritone hits the scratching vinyl. After all, who are we if we are not all flawed?

Prior to his Academy Award winning role in 1953′s From Here to Eternity, Sinatra’s career had become a total write-off. From bobby-soxer idol to matinee movie star, Sinatra surrendered it all to face scandal head-on by marrying the woman of his dreams in 1951, Ava Gardner. The press had not been kind. Nor had his fans been loyal.

In between Frankie’s rejuvenating venture as a vocal artist with In the Wee Small Hours (1955) and his poignantly beautiful Where Are You? (1957), Sinatra’s resurrected career as popular recording artist and movie star benefited from this splashy MGM musical, 1956′s High Society.

The Pictorial could write volumes on Frankie but for the time being, I happen to love this delightful moment of unbridled frivolity in which, it is quite obvious, Frankie is having an absolute ball. The demons were still around the corner, chasing him as they always had and always would be, but it’s marvelous to see Frankie bring his A-Game in charming fraternal intoxication with Bing Crosby in High Society.

Just watch and let Frankie pinch YOU in the Asss-tor Bar:

p.s.: Frankie’s duet with Celeste Holm is likewise delightful:

  1. stefmagura says:

    From Here to Eternity came out in 195, not 55. Thanks. :)

    And speaking of Frank, I’m partial to his earlier music–him with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra! *swoons*–but he was a great singer throughout his life.

    And I really like your blog, especially your recent Beatles essay. :D

    • kittypackard says:

      Ack! Thanks for that correction– that’s what I get for being a smartypants and not actually CHECKING the date!
      (And I also love Frankie with Tommy Dorsey– le sigh. Polka Dots and Moonbeams…)

    • stefmagura says:

      I meant to write that the film came out in 1953, but somehow the 3 got cut offf.oops.

      Gald to see we agree on Dorsey.

  2. bogie10 says:

    BEING A LONGTIME SINATRA FAN ( AM 73, AND HAD ALL HIS 50′S LPS FOR REAL), HE CAN DO NO WRONG AS A SINGER….BUT SOME OF HIS MOVIES LEAVE SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED….CUZ FRANKIE ALWAYS PLAYS “HIMSELF”…A ONE NOTE ACTOR….. THIS WORKED MOST OF THE TIME, BUT LETS NOT FORGET “THE KISSING BANDIT”….HE WAS NOT GOOD WITH PERIOD PIECES….THAT NEW JERSEY ACCENT ALWAYS CAME THRU….BIT I LOVE AND MISS THE MAN ALL THE TIME….

  3. Thanks. This was real good. I have Franks “Live at the Sand’s” CD. I listened to it for many years as a child and teenager from my Mothers collection. It’s very good as most of his stuff is. All these years I listened to the record and heard him recite his short 50th Birthday speech I was amused and entertained. ABout three years ago (I’m 56) while listening to the record it dawned on me that I’m older now than Frank was when him, Count Basie, and Quincy Jones recorded the record. It’s still great and that is the sign of a classic. Thanks.

  4. Jandy says:

    This is so funny. I’ve had “Did You Evah” stuck in my head for about a week now. Which is weird, because I haven’t seen High Society for YEARS. So random that you’d post that clip right now. Also, now it’s stuck worse. I’m blaming you now. :)

  5. Jandy says:

    And now it’s tag-teaming “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” I blame you for this, too. :p

    • kittypackard says:

      LOL! Oh Jandy doll, you know they say the only way to get rid of a looping tune in your head is to face it head-on. Though I wouldn’t put much stock in that. I’ve had “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” streaming in my subconscious for about a year now. Situation, helpless. ;)

  6. Judy says:

    I love ‘High Society’ and really enjoyed this – also just saw ‘Pal Joey’ the other day and, although I’d have to say it isn’t all that good a film, Sinatra is great in it. I also love him as Nathan in ‘Guys and Dolls’ – and in ‘On the Town’… and he did have some fine acting roles where he didn’t sing, too. He is downright scary as a gangster in ‘Suddenly’.

  7. The Lady Eve says:

    There was/is no one who has a way with a song like Sinatra. My favorites are his ’50s/’60s classic LPs: “In the Wee Small Hours,” “Where Are You?,” “Come Fly With Me,” “Only the Lonely,” “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” “September of My Years” and the album with Jobim. Onscreen, I think his best dramatic role was in “The Manchurian Candidate.” Other favorites are “Pal Joey” and “Some Came Running.” BUT…I’ve always had a soft spot for this scene from “High Society” and, for some reason, especially the line “Have you heard that Mimsy Starr…she got pinched in the Astor Bar” (love Frank and Bing together).

  8. Last year when I was pregnant with my daughter, I listened to a lot of Frank. My husband would say an “alarming amount” of Frank. What can I say? He helped me relax. And he helped me be more productive. And he helped me fold newly washed baby clothes. After our daughter was born, I would play Frank to help calm her down. She is just a few weeks away from turning one and I’m still on my Frank kick. She loves him. I love him. And I catch my husband humming tunes from “Swing Easy, ” “No One Cares,” and “Songs for Young Lovers.” So, I think it’s safe to say that even he loves Frank.

    My favorite song of his is the very first version of “Night and Day” he recorded. I get chills just thinking about it.

    Excellent post.

  9. John says:

    I own 300 Sinatra CDS. He is by far the greatest entertainer of all time. My favorite song of his in a classic film is the tune: Time After Time sung on piano with Jimmy Durante looking on. The film was It Happened In Brooklyn with Kathryn Grayson and Peter Lawford co-starring.

    To pick a favorite song overall would just be impossible. One song that always touches my heart is You And Me, We Wanted It All. Not a very popular Sinatra song but one that is special to me.

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