Frank Sinatra in the 1940s when he was a regular feature on The Lucky Strike Hit Parade. The Hit Parade was a weekly program dedicated to the most popular songs of a given week, presented by a wide range of singers and groups. This was during a period (World War 2), when Frank Sinatra was at his peak in popularity and was a bonafide Teen idol.
What’s interesting is the notion that every generation has an idol or group that defines their youth – the generation after usually finds the tastes of the previous generation to be weird, much like the generation before tends to find the tastes of the current generation to be strange.
I’m almost positive that Frank Sinatra doesn’t register on many Millennials lists of recognized artists – or if he does, it’s as some quaint replica of a memory or part of a compilation of music from another time that seems curious and odd by current standards. It never occurs to anyone that the person they may remember as a performer in their later years, was anything remotely considered a sex symbol in their youth.
Many people, from Baby Boomers onward, think of Frank Sinatra and either associate him as one of The Rat Pack, the Swinging Bachelor who personified the jet-setter 1950s or the Guy who kept having Farewell tours. The notion that he was the one who solicited screams of ecstasy and appears to have originated the audience ritual of underwear tossing was Sex Personified during the years leading up to and including World War 2.
And as some proof of that, here is an episode from October 7, 1944, when he was a regular on the Hit Parade program, and routinely screamed over whenever he broke into song.
Just to let you know – this was a program that represented the tastes of the music buying public (youth) in the 1940s. This was the stuff of nostalgia and memories and impressions of coming-of-age during a specific time. The girls doing the screaming are grandmothers or great-grandmothers now, hovering somewhere in their 90s.
Everybody was young, crazy and foolish once.