I continue to enjoy reading this new book about the life of Frank Sinatra. Today’s installment described the absolute mayhem that ensued when the singer first began getting famous and attracting legions of young women to his shows. Sinatra left Tommy Dorsey’s band and in 1944 went from a $400 a week to about $20,000 a week. It as clear that he was the biggest draw, despite the popularity of the band.
Swooning over The Voice became popular among young women as they gathered in bedrooms and fawned over photos of the skinny singer and fell to the floor and groaning. Nobody had ever seen anything like it, the adoration eventually led to screaming and near fainting every time he opened his mouth and said the word ‘love.’ “These dames come in night after night,” said a waiter at the Riobamba. “When this guy sings, they actually swoon. We got to bring them water to keep them conscious. It’s plain wacky!”
Yet Sinatra’s promoters had a hand in helping to encourage these screaming legions. An ambulance and nurses would be stationed near the theater to encourage would-be swooners, and according to the book, George Evans assembled fans in the Paramount Theater basement for coaching on when and how to squeal. Red lipstick planted on Frank’s face helped further stir up the frenzy. He wore breakaway jackets since fans would always try to rip his clothes, anything to get a piece of this singing God.