Thursday, November 11, 2010
#226: Come Fly With Me
Sinatra first met Ava Gardner sometime in 1944 and had a brief fling which had more of an effect upon him than it did her. She was fairly cool to him, probably because he had both a reputation and a reality that surrounded him – he was a notorious womaniser and he was married. Being married didn’t stop, or even slow, Sinatra down much and once he hit Hollywood proper he was spreading himself about like cheap margarine. They were off and on until 1949 when Sinatra had all but announced that he was getting a divorce. The only thing in his way was his wife, Nancy, who, as a catholic, saw divorce as being somewhat of a sin (not sure if it’s a mortal one or not though). Once Nancy discovered that Sinatra had shacked up (how crude!) with Gardner she relented and the pair announced their divorce, romantically enough on Valentines Day 1950. Repeat after me now - awwwwww…
The cracks appeared, Gardner ran off with a bullfighter and Sinatra ran off, crying, into the arms of several broads, including Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Angie Dickenson, any number of cocktail waitresses and hookers, minor and major starlets and, famously, Lauren Bacall, to whom he proposed marriage only to back out when Bacall announced it to the world.
Melbourne in 1959 was anything but exciting for someone as exotic and glamorous as Gardner, and her famous quote, “If you were going to make a movie about the end of the world then Australia is the perfect location,” was repeated around the world. Working with Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire, along with Stanley Kramer, would have softened that blow though, and Gardner muddled through the movie, turning in a solid performance.
Sinatra, on the other hand, didn’t feature in the movie. He merely flew to Australia and began his stalking in earnest. Against this backdrop entered his old pal, Lee Gordon, who suggested a short tour designed to help Sinatra earn a few dollars and to keep him occupied while he was waiting for Gardner to come to her senses. Sinatra took the bait and on tour he went.
Unless your ex is a lunatic. Then you’re on your own. Now enjoy the delights that the 1959 Frank Sinatra Australian tour program has to offer.
And remember, 1959 was a very good year…