Full episode
54: Sinatra


Host Ira Glass, with a recording of a 1962 Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., appearance at the Villa Venice, a club outside Chicago. What's fascinating about Sinatra is how he is so many different people at once, and they're all on display in this recording: sentimental crooner, cruel woman-baiter, bully, goofball. The part of the act with Sammy Davis, Jr. is the oddest. Martin and Sinatra are constantly telling him to get off the stage and make joke after joke, whose main point is simply that he's a black man, onstage with two white men. Chicago writer Rennie Sparks makes the case that Sinatra is mesmerizing because he's every man, every possible man, all rolled into one. (7 minutes)