Frank Sinatra and the Paramount Theater

Sinatra Paramnt

From the performer of a Frank Sinatra Tribute Show:  Bandleader Harry James put a young Frank Sinatra on the map by hiring him to appear with the Harry James Orchestra.  In the early 40’s, as Frank’s popularity grew, thanks to radio broadcasts and recordings, he was booked to appear at New York’s famous Paramount Theater, which was a popular spot during World War II.

Frank’s initial appearance was part of a large show including the Benny Goodman Band, a six member singing group, a comedy team and an up-and-coming singer named Peggy Lee.  Frank was introduced by comedian Jack Benny, to an unexpected outburst of screams by the young girls in the audience.

At that time, there were as many as six or seven shows a day.  And the young female fans were so infatuated with “Frankie”, they would stay in their seats to see him over and over throughout the day.  It’s said that Frank was so grateful for the fans’ support, he had someone buy sandwiches for the girls who didn’t want to give up their seats so they wouldn’t go hungry.  Frank’s one week engagement turned into two months, and the next time around, the show was all his, with his face on a huge sign on the front of the building. 

Also working at the Paramount Theater in the 40’s was a 17 year old usher named Joseph Levitch.  He later changed his name, became a comic and teamed up with a singer.  In 1951, the two of them created another wave of Paramount pandemonium as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.


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