Frank Sinatra: They Were Very Good Years
The chronicles of the highs and lows in Frank Sinatra’s life, from band crooner to iconic solo success and career as an A-list Hollywood superstar.
S01:E01 - The Bobby Sox Years
Frank Sinatra's parents were Italian immigrants and he was born December 12th 1915 in Hoboken New Jersey. He was born into an America that was advancing technologically as records, television, and film were becoming a reality as he grew up. He tried various jobs as a young man, but none of them worked out. It wasn't until he watched his idol, Bing Crosby, sing for the first time that he realized he could make a living off of singing. Sinatra began working steadily as a singer in various bands and groups. Although he was always on the road, he was making a name for himself as he made two feature film appearances and his first solo debut in New York 1942. His radio appearances grew, and Hollywood beckoned to him.
S01:E02 - The Hollywood Years
Producers viewed Frank Sinatra as a novelty or an extra added attraction, but he believed he could make it as an actor. He began starring in small film roles, and even gained positive film reviews. Sinatra made his MGM debut with Anchors Aweigh, which was a hit and won the oscar for best musical score. After acting in a few flops, he scored a main role in On the Town which was his last film for MGM. He divorced his long time wife Nancy Sinatra for the movie star Ava Gardner. The age of television arrived, and with no new movie prospects Sinatra took the plunge and debuted "The Sinatra Show" on CBS. It was a huge failure, and Sinatra's vocal chord hemorrhaged while singing at a club. Sinatra was at an all time low so he went on the road singing at saloons like the old days, slowly nursing his voice back to life. Sinatra fought for the part of Maggio, in From Here to Eternity, against all odds and won an oscar for it. His bet paid off and he was back on top.
S01:E03 - Hollywood the Second Time Around
Frank Sinatra's professional and personal life was in turmoil during the new age of television, but his juicy role of Maggio in From Here to Eternity jumpstarted his career back to life. He later played a psychopathic war veteran in the film Suddenly and proved that his raw emotion in From Here to Eternity was no fluke. Sinatra used his fame to draw attention to important matters, and he played many benefits raising millions for charities and medical research. The Sinatra sound changed in the 1950s as the era of the big band faded. His mastery of phrasing and tonality was perfected and his album In The Wee Small Hours became a best seller. Sinatra acted in MGM films all the way up to 1974 and even took a stab at producing films himself.
S01:E04 - The Swinging Years
By the 1950s Frank Sinatra represented the swinger, the bachelor with the world on a string. in 1957 his divorce with Ava Gardner became final and he had begun a long string of romances with many women. And in films and recording sessions, Sinatra often represented a man isolated by life. He was the leader of a group of talented rowdies known as the Rat Pack which was made up of individuals such as Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. They travelled, worked, and played together. Aside from performances and acting in films together, the rat pack also campaigned with vigor for Senator John F. Kennedy (Peter Lawford's brother-in-law).
S01:E05 - The Vintage Years
Frank Sinatra emerged from his half century mark on top, as he was able to play a variety of character types in films unavailable to him in the past. Producers now regarded him as the most realistic and one of the best actors out there. Sinatra also headed into his third marriage with Mia Farrow and often reunited with his Rat Pack friends for various films and shows. Strangers in the Night became Sinatra's first single to chart #1 simultaneously in America and England. His children followed in his footsteps career-wise and would even perform in vegas at the same time as him. Sinatra attempted to retire for a while, but the old itch came back and he returned with the record Ol' Blue Eyes is Back. He became a grandfather and remarried to Barbara Marx.
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