Spoils of War: What and Why Is Sinatra?

1 Conversation

What puzzled American GIs most at the front in 1945? Apparently, one confusing issue was the popularity of Frank Sinatra. They were hardpressed to find a reason why teenaged girls swooned. A YANK reporter undertook to find out. He was probably relieved to be sent into combat next. Those Bobby Soxers were dangerous.

What and Why Is Sinatra?

Frank Sinatra singing

If you have been overseas long enough to have
forgotten thoroughly the taste of fresh milk
and the look of civilian clothes, you are probably
baffled by the U. S. song-and-sex phenomenon
known as Frank Sinatra.

All I knew about Sinatra was that he had been
a better-than-average vocalist with Tommy Dorsey's band when I last heard him and that he had
climbed, by the time I got back to the States, into
position as "King of the Baritones" and "Idol
f the Bobby Soxers." Lord help me, I didn't even
ow what Bobby Soxers were! I learned by going to a theater where Sinatra headed the stage
show. It was a school holiday and the shrill little
[iris, packed into the theater and overflowing
into a major traffic problem on the streets outside, were the Bobby Soxers.

When Sinatra – whom they call "The Voice"
when they aren't calling him "Oh, Frankie" –
on the stage, they whistled and stamped
uttered odd cooing sounds and jumped up
' wn in their seats. Whenever he moved the
got louder and the jumping more unrestrained.
You couldn't hear his voice for the [noise] of the Soxers, so I can't judge whether
He was better or worse than he used to be. I did get
him between shows and found, to my
surprise because I was braced to dislike him, that
he was just a guy, nicer than not nice.

For your information, here are a few facts on
"The Voice." He is draft age but is not draft material because of a punctured eardrum. He was
born in Hoboken, N. J., and went to high school
there, swimming on the school team and playing
a little tennis. He kidded around some with boxing, but his old man, who had done some pro
^boxing himself, talked him out of going into the
racket seriously. Instead he had a fling at sports
reporting on the Jersey Observer. Then he started
singing and from there on in his voice was his
meal ticket.

The Bobby Sox business – possibly begun as a
press-agent stunt, but now out of anyone's control, including Frankie's – got him his first big-time publicity. Today he has two radio programs,
draws top money for personal appearances and
can write his own ticket in Hollywood. He has kept up his interest in boxing to a certain extent,
the extent depending on what you think of Tami
Mauriello, a boxer whom he is rumored to own.
He married a home – town girl, and they have two
Kids – a girl going on 5 and a baby boy.

Sinatra makes violent love to the mike when
he sings. His fans love it and the anti-Sinatra
crowd hates it. A teenage boy threw an egg
smack in his face during his last New York stage
engagement, and Sinatra took it with as good
grace as anyone can take an egg in the face. He
and the egg-thrower made up after the show. On
his stage dates Sinatra has to come into the theater early and hide there all day. If he goes out he
is mobbed by the Bobby Soxers. Between shows,
he usually eats backstage and listens to a victrola, frequently playing Sinatra records.

Nobody has been able to figure out to anyone's
satisfaction why Sinatra has the effect he has on
his Bobby Sox fans. One of his secretaries, a cute
dish whose husband is serving overseas, said:
'The doctors say it's just because he's got a very
sexy voice, but I've been with him a year now
and his voice doesn't do a thing to me."

Maybe it's the war.

YANK Staff Writer

Spoils of War Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

27.04.15 Front Page

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