Frank Sinatra and the Major Bowes Amateur Hour

Young FrankYoung Frank Sinatra knew early on that he wanted to sing.  One inspiration in particular was seeing Bing Crosby perform in Jersey City, NJ.  Frank’s first success as a vocalist came on a radio talent competition called The Major Bowes Amateur Hour, hosted by Edward Bowes, who would use a gong to signal it was over for a contestant that didn’t quite make it, paving the way for TV’s Gong Show many years later.

It was on The Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour that a nineteen year old Frank Sinatra scored as part of a group called  The Hoboken Four, although that wasn’t the group’s original name.  It was Major Bowes that gave this name to the group that orginally auditioned as “Frank Sinatra and the Three Flashes”. 

After winning the competition, The Hoboken Four got to tour in one of Major Bowes’ traveling shows.  Soon, Sinatra went off on his own, and started receiving the individual recognition that propelled his career, celebrated by this Frank Sinatra Tribute.

Although Major Bowes died in 1946, The Amateur Hour actually ran for many more years, with another host named Ted Mack, and the show featured many future musical stars like Pat Boone, Robert Merrill, Beverly Sills, Gladys Knight and Ann-Margret among others.


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