Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finally : Why Cranky Frankie Spat The Dummy

Frank & Barbara
It was 1973 and Frank Sinatra had arrived in Australia for a tour. Within a day all hell had broken loose and Frank suddenly found himself holed up in the presidential suite of the Boulevard Hotel in Kings Cross.

Unions around the country had joined forces and refused to service Sinatra's tour which included stage hands and local musicians.  Airline refuelers refused to service Sinatra's jet and traffic controllers said they would walk off if his jet attempted to leave . Taxi drivers. limousine drivers even the hotel staff including room service refused to attend to Sinatra's needs.

Dennis Hopper as Sinatra
Frank Sinatra was stranded in Australia for the foreseeable future. 

The previous night Sinatra had given a concert and began to discuss the Australian media with the audience. He called female reporters "$2 hookers" and that's when the ban began. The incident was made into a film - The Night We Called It a Day produced by Oscar winner Emile Sherman with the late Dennis Hopper playing Sinatra and Joel Edgerton the young show biz promoter who lured him to the Antipodes.

Bob Hawke
Eventually the trade union boss and later prime minister Bob Hawke brokered a deal after a day's drinking with Sinatra and his manager Mickey Rudin (with the Boulevard's room service attendants relenting to deliver liqueur at Hawke's request). Sinatra agreed to give a charity concert and apologise. He gave the concert but not the apology and when his jet taxied down the Mascot runway the following day traffic controllers ordered "abort abort" but Sinatra ordered his pilot to ignore them and the jet departed for San Francisco.

Sinatra's widow Barbara Sinatra ( played by Melanie Griffith in the film) has finally told her version of the story in her book My Life With Frank Sinatra and  revealed new details although they have been hinted at for years but never before written about.. And it appears Frank may have had good reason to insult journalists.

A female writer for a popular magazine  talked hotel staff into letting her into Sinatra's suite claiming she was Barbara Sinatra. She confronted Sinatra in his bedroom while he was resting and fired off numerous questions while trying to take a photo on a small camera. Sinatra went ballistic and yelled at her to get out of the room.

As the journalist later told friends he said "I didn't order a fucking hooker and if I had it wouldn't be a dog like you now get the fuck out of here ". The hackette said "you may as well answer a few questions now I'm here" at which Sinatra yelled "you're nothing but a godadammned cheap hooker" and flung some notes from his pocket at her. The journalist, now realising retreat was the only option grabbed one note as a souvenir-an Australian $2 note-briefly wondered if he would autograph it but thinking better of it, stuffed it in her pocket and fled.

That night she witnessed the storm she created when Frankie went on stage and referred to her (and others) as "$2 hookers!"

Here is some rare footage of the media chasing Frank :

Here's Old Blue Eyes with The Lady Is A Tramp :