Sunday, May 11, 2008

Remembering Frank

This Wednesday, May 14th 2008 will mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of Frank Sinatra. It's hard to believe that it's already been ten years, as I remember well the morning I heard it on the radio news. Though I knew it was coming due to Frank having been quite ill for some time, there was still a shock in hearing it and it filled me with great sadness to know that Frank was now gone.

Just a couple weeks prior, I'd gotten a call from a local showplace where I'd had tickets to see Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme in concert. I'd been looking forward to seeing them on their scheduled play date of May 15th, but now the theatre was calling to say that they'd had to cancel their appearance. Hearing the news of Frank's passing, I realized then why they'd cancelled - they knew it was coming and wanted to be close to Frank and his family for when the inevitable tragic day arrived. Sure enough, in the days that followed, there were Steve and Eydie seen arriving for the funeral. Having opened for Sinatra in concert for a few years and being close friends of his, I imagine they were devastated.

For all of my lifetime, there had always been Sinatra, and his music had appealed to me even as a young kid. To this day, I have a singular memory of being at the drive-in in the late 60's and hearing Frank Sinatra singing "That's Life" on the car speaker before the movie commenced. I was probably only about 7 or 8 at the time, yet his music was already an influence on me. By the time I was in my teens, I would look forward more to Frank singing "New York, New York" on the radio than anything my peers were into at the time. I reckon I was a strange kid, but I'd always enjoyed the music that my Dad played around the house more than what was popular with kids of the day. Dad was big fan of Bing, though, and never had any of Frank's records, so I guess I sought them out on my own.

In my mid-twenties I got into Sinatra's music big time, especially since I had started taking ballroom dancing lessons and found myself dancing the foxtrot to a lot of Frank's big hits. To this day I'm still an avid social ballroom dancer and there is nobody I like dancing to better than the swinging sounds of Sinatra. "Fly Me to the Moon" with its Quincy Jones arrangements and with Frank backed up by The Count Basie Orchestra, just can't be beat!

This month in honour of the 10th anniversary of Frank Sinatra's passing, Turner Classic Movies is running many of his films every Sunday and Wednesday nights, as well as several of his TV music specials from the 60's. I've got my DVD recorder working overtime to get as many of these films as I can, some of which I've never seen before. Of course I already have many of his films on DVD that have been available thus far, but it's great to see some titles that Turner is running are also going to start being released on DVD in the next little while. Just like Frank's music, I also tend to prefer his movies from the early 50's onward, especially as he was hitting his stride in both media during the late 50's/ 60's era. My favourite films are not necessarily all out musicals, but still those with a musical bent, like "Pal Joey", "The Joker is Wild", and a guilty pleasure, "Robin and the 7 Hoods", despite what the critics said about it!

Anyway, I hope some of you fellow Sinatra fans are also enjoying the films on TCM, as well as continuing to listen to the great legacy of popular music that he has left us. Yes, Frank Sinatra will be a subject often discussed in The Cartoon Cave...


Andrew Murray said...

Heya Pete,

Yeah it's weird to think how fast time goes. I can't believe I was only in the 7th grade then. I love this caricature of Frank more so than the others I've seen you do. I think it's that one line you have from the eye brow connecting to the jawline. It's so appealing. It has that nice flow and design of the face you always talked about in class.


Pete Emslie said...

Hi Andrew,

Funny thing is, every time I do a caricature of Frank I never really know if I've captured him and I'm always somewhat dissatisfied with the result. In Frank's case, I find his eyes nearly impossible to get right. Quite often, my caricatures look better in the ink drawing before I add the colour. For some reason, the addition of colour seems to create a different visual impression. Also, I've sketched Frank at different ages and find that his head shape changed so much over the years. He went from having very gaunt, angular features to a face that was more rounded out with maturity. Considering all of these variables, I guess it's no wonder that drawing Frank Sinatra has been a source of great frustration to me. That's often the case with performers I really like.

Andrew, you guys should try again making it out to Visual Arts Brampton for life drawing. You missed out on drawing Lana a couple weeks back! :)

BLAMMO The Art of Jason Groh said...

I can't figure out why you are not the official caricature Artist for the NewYork Times or some other papers weekend entertainment section!!!!
This is spot on Pete.
Glad you are posting again!



Hey Pete nice Frankie!
Let's sculpt up this sucker!

Brian Sibley said...

Brilliant caricature, Peter! Well done.

Andrew Murray said...

Hey Pete,

Oh we will be there, for sure. And about the adding colour to your drawings. Do you think that perhaps its how people have seen Sinatra throughout the years? The most I've seen of him was in black and white TV. So to me a simple ink drawing might be more true than to what a colour version might look like..thats just me though.

Floyd Norman said...

My wife and I are huge Sinatra fans. When we first met we discovered we both had all the same Frank Sinatra albums.

Even better, my wife, (who is a better artist than I am) worked on the "L.A. is my Lady" video when it was being shot out in Santa Monica some years ago. She even did a drawing of Sinatra that she gave to him.

Even I'm impressed.


Great caricature, of course!
Suggestion? Try one in B&W, with just the eyes in colour. ( or has that been done?)
I'd like to see one of him from on e of his movie roles..Manchurian Candidate or maybe Here to Eternity.
Ok, see ya.

Kali Fontecchio said...

I love this caricature!!!!

rinso said...

Hey Pete,
Just discovered your blog due to a post you made in the Classic TV Television Yesteryear groups on Facebook,that I also belong to. Love your drawings of Frank,and I too,dig that swingin' cat (see avatar on profile there),and this is Rat Pack cool,so I'll be dropping in often to see what you've drawn! I took the liberty of sending you a Facebook friend request,under my real name.