Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month
Chairman of the Board. Ol’ Blue Eyes. The Sultan of Swoon. No matter what name you call him, everyone past voting age will know who you are talking about: The one, the only, the voice, Frank Sinatra. This month marks the American Icon’s 100th birthday and Turner Classic Movies is celebrating this by making Sinatra their Star of the Month.
December 12, 2015 marks 100 years of Sinatra. And what a glorious century it has been. Starting as nothing than a scrappy kid from Hoboken with dreams of the big city, Sinatra pretty much created the model of crossover, mainstream success. Sinatra began is career as a teenaged heartthrob, joining the Hoboken Four in the mid-1930s. And like all the “leader of the pack” types, Sinatra eventually left the comfort of the group to risk his chances as a solo artist.
Well, it only took a few months working as a singing waiter before Sinatra would sign on with bandleader Harry James for 75 dollars a week. Sinatra then recorded his first commercial record, From the Bottom of My Heart. After a couple of years with Harry James, Sinatra began to feel stagnated with the band’s lack of success and signed with Tommy Dorsey. With Dorsey, Sinatra’s fame only grew and within a year he recorded his first two top ten hits, Say It and Imagination. After two years, he began to record some solo work and eventually broke his contract with Dorsey (some say with help from the mob) to start a solo career.
In case you can’t tell, that smushed face is Sinatra
Before One Direction, Before N*SYNC, before The Beatles, and even before Elvis released their mania on to the world, there was “Sinatramania.” Yes, by the mid-1940s Sinatra was the King of Crooning, with a whole army of bobby-soxers at his command. Before Sinatra, music had been recorded mostly for mature, adult audiences – leaving out a whole section of society with vastly differing tastes. But Sinatra, with his bad-boy charm and boy-band looks, tapped into a whole new audience and geared his music to teenagers. His music was as energetic and vibrant as his image and soon there were over 1,000 Sinatra fan clubs throughout the United States – and all of this before the aid of the Internet! Yes, Sinatra was basically America’s first pop star and had such immense popularity he caused what is now known was the Columbus Day Riots.
On October 12th 1944, Sinatra had his third season opening the Paramount Theatre. There were so many fans waiting to see their hero that multiple encores were added. However, after the first show, only 250 out of the 3,000 the attendees left the show. This roused the 30,000-plus fans waiting outside into a frenzy so forceful, it nearly caused a riot. Hundreds of police officers and emergency workers descended into the crowds, creating peace amongst the chaos. And although a full-blown riot never happened, no one could deny the power of Sinatra.
So, let us celebrate America’s first riot-inducing pop star by tuning into TCM primetime every Wednesday night throughout the entire month of December. Each night begins with either a documentary or musical special on Ol’ Blue Eyes, so be extra sure to tune in or DVR those!
Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub