Friday, May 06, 2005

Some Like the Mob-Type Refrain

Galley friend B.F. forwarded this link to the London Guardian concerning a claim made by comedian Jerry Lewis that Frank Sinatra once served as a courier for the mob. Does this surprise anyone? It certainly surprises--and slightly disappoints--me. I knew ol' Blue Eyes had ties to various mafia figures who helped him throughout his career, from getting out of contracts to landing the Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity. Frank also performed for the likes of Sam Giancana--and possibly served as a conduit between Sam's girl, Judith Campbell, and President Kennedy. But carrying money for the mob? That seems to be a little too close for comfort. Lewis apparently reveals his knowledge of the incident in an upcoming book, Sinatra: The Life, by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.

The Chairman of the Board supposedly toted some $3.5 million in $50 bills and was almost caught by New York customs officials. But with a crowd gathering around the singer, the officers let Sinatra go, just in time. This supposedly took place in 1946, when Sinatra was 30-years-old--before his ring-a-ding years. Had he been stopped, Lewis rightly predicts, "we would never have heard of him again."

In other words, Al Martino has been vindicated!


Anonymous said...


I'm sorry, but benefitting directly or indirectly from the mafia is wrong. Whether the most overrated performer in the history of mankind was a courier or merely got roles because of mob ties makes no difference. Yes, Sinatra is the most overrated entertainer in the history of mankind. I did not intend that to be hyperbole, I truly mean THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.

Anonymous said...

$3.5M in 50s? That'd be 70,000 fifties... Just how big was the suitcase(s) case supposed to be?

DogMan said...

It doesn't suprise me even a little. The "rat pack" was as deep in the mob as Sam Giancana himself. At the time, the mob controled the U.S.

Oh, and to the anonymous poster... At the time, almost every American benifited from the mob in one way or the other. Whether indirectly or directly, they did.

We now have a new mob, we just call it the government. ; )

That Dude said...

I miss the old Cosa Nostra Days.

Remember,the old Sicilian saying...

3 people can keep a secret if 2 are dead.

craig said...

So we're supposed to believe an old man's memories of the hearsay of something that happened over fifty years ago?

Not to mention that Summers is not the most careful of scholars.

N.S.T said...

"Yes, Sinatra is the most overrated entertainer in the history of mankind. I did not intend that to be hyperbole, I truly mean THE HISTORY OF MANKIND."

Clearly, you're not well-versed in the history of mankind. One need look no further than Bing Crosby to find a more overrated entertainer than Sinatra. Sinatra defined a whole era of popular music, and he gets such a bad rap fom modern critics that he borders on UNDERRATED.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to let the first comment slide without rebuttal.

The fact is every rock, pop, and country singer owes a debt to Sinatra, since Frank basically invented the way modern vocalists sing as they do.

Prior to Sinatra, the only pauses singers would allow - and this follows from the operatic tradition - was between individual sentences in the lyrics, with the aforementioned Crosby being a classic example; he ran every word into the next, practically. Sinatra popularized pausing within these phrases, making the space between the words as important as how the words were sung.

Rock singing couldn't exist Sinatra's take on phrasing. Imagine, if you will, Mick Jagger stringing every sentence of "Under My Thumb" together, with no dramatic pauses between, say, "she's the sweetest (pause) PET/in the world", and you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about.

Sinatra was the guy who made it possible.


Brian Moore

Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it!
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