Frank Sinatra was the first pop superstar, long before the Beatles and Elvis Presley. In the 1940’s young women, the ‘bobbysox’, The Flatbush Girls Who Would Lay Down Their Lives For Frank Sinatra Fan Club, included, fainted at his concerts. Today, Sinatra is remembered as a singer who befriended Ronal Reagan, and who associated with mobsters, using and abusing those around him. However in the 1940’s Sinatra was branded a ‘Red’, he was one of the first major stars to speak for the poor and the oppressed. He was prepared to use his popularity to challenge the status quo. He was also a campaigner against racial intolerance in the 1940’s according to Duke Ellington. Sinatra remembers being called a ‘WOP’ (without papers) and being chased and beaten up by gangs from other parts of Hoboken, New Jersey. Sinatra regularly donated money to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), one of the first organisations in the U.S. to fight for black civil rights. When asked why, he replied ‘It was not only black people hanging from those ropes’. Sinatra was referring to the 11 Italian immigrants acquitted of murdering a corrupt police superintendent yet lynched by an angry mob in New Orleans, 1891. The execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927, two Italian immigrants, reinforced the fact that many Italian did not feel welcome in America. Little Italy, Hoboken, remained a haven for Sinatra.Sinatra made his debut, 30th December, 1942 at the New York Paramount Theatre, and Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Band were history.Sinatra helped FDR to re-election in the 1944 campaign, he joined the Political action Committee (PAC), encouraging voter registration ‘every worker, a voter’. Sinatra supported radical organisations associated with the Popular Front. He was vice-president of the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions in 1946. In 1945 Sinatra intervened in a series of racist strikes at schools where parents opposed integration, he never forgot the racial slur of ‘Dago’ from his youth. Sinatra would later stand accused of membership of these supposedly Communist organisations. From 1947 until 1959 the question ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?’ haunted U.S. society for more than a generation. In 1947, 19 Hollywood screenwriters were challenged to answer this question.
Sinatra joined Humphrey Bogart, John Huston, Katherine Hepburn, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner and Henry Fonda in challenging the House Un-American activities Committee (HUAC). Sinatra condemned the HUAC ‘Once they control the movies when will they control the radio microphones? If we support the underdog will they scare us into silence?’ Sinatra described the years 1947-53 as his ‘Dark Ages’ his career crashed. The press and the FBI tried to label him a Communist, this was very damaging. The FBI kept him under surveillance for 40 years, compiling a 1,275 page dossier on him. ‘Frank was an ardent liberal in those days, concerned about poor people’, Phil Silvers, comedian.Sinatra’s revival was due to one film-‘From here to Eternity’, released 4th August 1953 the film was an instant success, Sinatra was awarded Best Supporting Actor. Frank’s Rat Pack in the run up to the U.S. Presidential election aided the debonair Democratic Party candidate John F Kennedy, even renaming his gang ‘Jack Pack’. Sinatra declared he would make the film ‘The execution of Private Slovik’ hiring the blacklisted Albert Maltz. John Wayne retorted ‘What would Sinatra’s crony Senator Kennedy feel about hiring Maltz?’ Kennedy’s father told Sinatra to sack Maltz. Sinatra had to back down and pay off Maltz. Civil Rights and Martin Luther King, supported by Sinatra, and Anti-Vietnam War protests took to the streets, the U.S. was in turmoil, 1968. Sinatra returned to support the Republican Reagan, the U.S. was shocked at this reversal. Sinatra was full of contradictions. Sinatra spoke out against racism and injustice, the FBIwanted to label him a Communist, yet he raised money for Martin Luther King’s struggle for black civil rights. Processing data, please wait ...This abstract was checked by WhiteSmoke Solution. Learn More.