The Voice, the Thunderbird and LA: in Frank Sinatra's footsteps

Frank Sinatra's former home in Los Angeles is up for sale at Sotheby's Realty - »Ol Blue Eyes« used to live in it during the 1950s and 1960s. At least as iconic and stylish as the Mid-Century structure he rented from Dora Hutchinson was the entertainer's choice of transportation. We once took a trip through the history of »The Voice« behind the wheel of a Ford Thunderbird.
Text Bernd Haase
Photo Richard Thompson

His road was long. Full of curves. With ups and downs. But no matter where Frank Sinatra' s career took him, he always had a stylish vehicle with him. Like the iconic Ford Thunderbird. It was in 1955 that he had himself photographed with this gem by his friend, the Hollywood photographer Frank Worth. His right foot confidently resting on the bumper, his hands in his pockets, his hat casually tilted on his head, his gaze directed into the distance. In the next photo, he's leaning on the half-open driver's door, fixated on the camera. The hat, of course, still sits perfectly askew. His look says something like, » Gee, kid, enough with the pictures, let's get going.« Then Ol' Blue Eyes is already in the car, takes another look back at the photographer, smiles - and we can hear the V8 impatiently bubbling away to finally release the 198 horses slumbering in this thunderbird onto the road.

And then it probably took off, blasting through the streets of Los Angeles. The tale of the Thunderbird had begun after a first career stall at the end of the 1940s - and the comeback thanks to the role of Private Angelo Maggio in »From Here to Eternity«. Sinatra won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor - despite all the rumors that the Mafia had helped with the casting. Nevertheless, Capitol Records in Los Angeles signed Sinatra and bought him the 1955 Ford Thunderbird with which Frank Worth photographed him.

Sinatra thanked them for their trust with, among other things, the album »Songs for Swingin' Lovers«, which is still considered one of the most important recordings of the »Great American Songbook«. He was just as successful on the big screen as on the concert stages of Las Vegas. In the gambling metropolis, he was soon no longer alone, but became the »Pack Master« of the Rat Pack, that legendary artist collective consisting of Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford and Shirley MacLaine, who stirred up the Sands Hotel with their legendary stage shows between 1959 and 1966.

Capitol Records in Los Angeles signed Sinatra and bought him the 1955 Ford Thunderbird with which Frank Worth photographed him.

The Rat Pack's trademark was not only their comedy and excesses, but also their attitude and elegant clothes, tailored in Los Angeles by Sy Devore, with which they defined the term coolness in a way that is still valid today. No less legendary were the visits to »La Dolce Vita,« the restaurant of his acting colleague George Raft. Then, in 1971, came his (first) departure from show business, from which he would step down again just two years later. The Voice continued to be a guest on the stages of the world, followed by world hits such as »New York, New York« in 1979 about the cosmopolitan city that never sleeps and in which he would like to wake up - although he had already been living in California since 1948, first in Palm Springs, and later in the villa that is now for sale.

In the gambling metropolis, he was soon no longer alone, but became the »Pack Master« of the Rat Pack.

On May 14, 1998, Ol'Blue Eyes succumbed to a heart attack. In his honor, the lights in Las Vegas were turned off for three minutes. But The Voice lives on. In his songs. In pop music. In his incomparable style. And, who knows, maybe this guy in this sky-blue '56 Thunderbird is the reincarnation of Frankie Boy. We, for one, wouldn't mind that.

MMore about the Thunderbird and Sinatra can be found in ramp #26, those who want to know more about the house for sale visit the seller Sotheby's Realty

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