Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Photo of the day: The Chairman of the Board

You can keep your King (and definitely your Prince). No offense to the Godfather of Soul, the Velvet Fog, or even Slim Whitman. For my money, you can't beat the Chairman of the Board.

Mr. Sinatra. From his MGM years when he danced with Gene Kelly, sang with Betty Garrett, and won the hearts of a million women. To the serious years of Manchuarian Candidate and From Here to Eternity when he proved he wasn't just a pretty boy with a voice, Sinatra was always the definition of cool.

Sliding onto a barstool, cigarette in one hand, trading quips with Dean and Sammy, Peter and Joey as they filled some huge Vegas mega showroom with the sound of friendly insults and fabulous music. Older now, standing solo in the spotlight as he begins to sing "My Way" in a way he couldn't have done when he was only a boy. Knowing the music. Knowing there are some songs you have to grow into, just as some roles actors have to grow into. No King Lear as a fresh-faced 19 year old from New Jersey. And while he aged, the music grew. Sometimes he tried to adapt to the new sound, but it never quite worked. Disco Frank, bad idea. But even in the tasteless 70s, he still epitomized cool, strolling elegantly across some Casino showfloor in a tux with the tie just sexily left dangling. Sipping martinis (probably just water) and telling stories that were always, but not quite, a bit too off-color.

Frank was the star. And I still love him.

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