Frank Sinatra – With Ella Fitzgerald, The Hi-Los, Nelson Riddle, Red Norvo – Timex Presents – 1959 – Past Daily Weekend Pop Chronicles
ABC-TV – Timex Presents Frank Sinatra – December 13, 1959 – Audio Master – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
I usually don’t post Television audio on Past Daily. Mostly because there’s enough video around that just getting the sound seems a little silly. But in this case, it’s different – The Frank Sinatra Timex shows have been reissued on DVD, but the general consensus is that the sound has always been less than satisfactory – which has always been a shame since Sinatra was at a high point in his career and his guests were in top-notch form as well.
So, as is often the case – this came from a larger collection which sat in the archive, pretty much unnoticed the past 30+ years. I don’t know how I came across them, what they were doing in a larger collection of radio tapes and discs or why I never played them before, but since I have been going on the seemingly never-ending project of digitizing everything, they showed up on the menu. The sound is stunning – it’s not an “aircheck” or some umpteenth generation copy of a dub made by one of the broadcast engineers; it’s pretty close to the real thing. So I thought I would share this little discovery with you.
Now – about the show – this comes from Matt Coller of Allmusic and it gives you some background if you aren’t already familiar:
Beginning in 1959, singer Frank Sinatra hosted four television specials on ABC sponsored by the Timex watch corporation. These were star-studded events marked by Sinatra’s virtuoso solo performances and duets with other big-name performers. Released as part of Eagle Rock Entertainment’s Frank Sinatra Collection, Timex Shows, Vol. 1 features the first two of these TV specials with The Frank Sinatra Timex Show and An Afternoon with Frank Sinatra. Originally aired in October and December of 1959, respectively, they featured Sinatra at the height of his fame, just as he was entering his iconic Rat Pack years. Joining him on his first Timex show is his main Rat Pack foil, Dean Martin, along with guests Bing Crosby, Mitzi Gaynor, and Jimmy Durante. Backing them throughout is the inimitable Nelson Riddle Orchestra. In various pairings, they deliver intimate if still expertly produced live performances including renditions of “High Hopes,” “Day in, Day Out,” “Cheek to Cheek,” and more. Also featured are several bravura medleys, including a rousing show closer with Sinatra, Martin, Crosby, and Durante doing “Start Each Day with a Song,” “Inka Dinka Do,” and “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home.” For Sinatra’s second Timex Show, he brought along an equally high caliber of guests including Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Lawford, the Hi-Lo’s, and Hermione Gingold, as well as his Can Can co-star, singer/dancer Juliet Prowse. It should be noted that these specials are transferred from their existing original tape sources and, while watchable, retain a certain amount of audio and video grit. Nonetheless, they remain utterly entertaining time capsules of the era. Interestingly, the second TV show opens with a magical bit by Lawford, introducing the show on a beach in the rain surrounded by dancers. Along with the show’s enjoyably kitschy live commercials for Timex watches, Lawford’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg-style intro is yet another colorful aspect that makes these classic Sinatra TV productions so appealing.
Enjoy the show.