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The Frank Sinatra Spectacular (June 20, 1965)

By Mahnuel Muñoz

On June 20, 1965, “The Frank Sinatra Spectacular” was presented in St. Louis, a show full of swing to benefit Dismas House, an association dedicated to the rehabilitation of ex-convicts founded in 1959 by the Jesuit priest Charles “Dismas.” Clark, and a Jewish criminal lawyer, Morris Shenker. They called it “House of Dismas” in honor of Saint Dismas, the good thief who died alongside Jesus. He received his greatest notoriety after the release of the biographical film “The Hoodlum Priest” (1961). United Artists produced the film and Don Murray played the role of Clark.

On the stage of the Kiel Opera House in St.Louis, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra, singing their classics and telling their politically incorrect jokes, backed by the Count Basie orchestra and a luxury presenter: Johnny Carson.

The show was followed not only by an audience of high social rank who paid one hundred dollars for each ticket, but by many other viewers in the satellite broadcast that reached large cinemas in Chicago or New York.

In 1995 the tapes of the program were rescued from oblivion. In 1997, presentations of the program were made at the radio and television museums in Beverly Hills and New York, and in 2003, after a careful restoration process, they were published as part of the album “Live And Swingin’: The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection”, a wonderful historical document that immortalizes great artists in full artistic form, however facing the end of their era, displaced by the new sounds of youth.

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