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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home

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(upbeat music)

- To be honest with you, when he came into this restaurant,

I was terrified.

I find myself in the kitchen or in the bathroom.

- Mr. Cool, yeah, uh huh, Mr. Cool.

He was like (snaps fingers) yeah baby.

You know that kinda thing?

- This was his home, primarily, yes.

- And so this was a perfect place for him.

And, you know he just loved it here.

(energetic music)

- I mean there was no media spot light.

The cops were very friendly.

- And what happens in Palm Springs stays in Palm Springs.

- This is the place to get away from Hollywood

and all of its BS.

- Well you know, he almost owned

the town, ya know?

He could do whatever he want in this town.

- He was comfortable here, he played here,

he was accessible here.

- They just drank, they had a good time. (laughs)

Ate and drank and they'd go from place to place.

- He just liked the lifestyle here

and it was being in cities like New York and L.A.

was probably a little bit different for him

when he'd go out in public.

- I'll never forget the day he drove away

from the compound and moved to Beverly Hills.

I said oh my god, he was so sad.

- There's no question, even when he was dying

and he was in Beverly Hills, he kept saying,

when are we going home?

When are we going home?

(dramatic music)

Jimmy Van Heusen introduced him to Palm Springs.

Jimmy Van Heusen was a rather hedonistic individual.

Had asthma and he loved the fresh air

of the Coachella Valley.

But it also afforded him the privacy he needed

to do whatever he wanted to, and gamble.

Everything that someone who's gonna call himself a swinger

could possibly want in Palm Springs.

So he could come out here and not be bothered,

and have parties all the time.

- Jimmy Van Heusen was a very close friend.

- Partying and so on, so the desert really had

that reputation early on.

- 'Cause it was a small town, and there was only

a few places out here.

There were restaurants that Sinatra would frequent.

- [Sidney] Ruby Dunes and the Chi Chi

and many other places were a real focus.

- This was almost like a hideaway in a way.

- He was himself here, he was more himself here.

I think he was more relaxed living in Palm Springs.

I like to be in America

Okay for me in America

- He liked Palm Springs better than any place.

And this is where he preferred being.

And a lot of his friends, old friends, lived here.

- He fell in love with it in the mid 1940s

and he stayed here ever since, really.

- He loved it here.

He was a desert rat, like we all were.

- And sometimes in this tough New Jersey guy accent

he'd say, my troat muscles are better in the heat.

- [Nelda] When you're a desert rat, you don't mind the heat.

- [Snake] There was always

something happening with Sinatra,

he wasn't like a recluse.

- I certainly remember my parents coming here

in the 50s and they would run into Frank Sinatra

at Ruby Dunes or other places.

There were celebrities all over the place

and of course The Racquet Club was known for that.

You would see Frank Sinatra walking down the street

and people left him alone here.

And he liked that.

- Lawford here.

Welcome to an afternoon with Frank Sinatra.

The original thin man.

Anyone who tells you that the rain in Spain

stays mainly in the plain has rocks in his head.

Do you know where we are?

Palm Springs, where the rain goes to spend the winter.

- The residents of the Coachella Valley,

especially Palm Springs, they were kinda told

to leave the celebrities alone.

- I never saw him bothered.

That amazed me.

Absolutely, I never saw anybody walk up to him.

Maybe they were afraid.

- Don't bother them.

You know, they don't wanna be bothered.

- That's why I think the celebrities liked

to come to Palm Springs because they were left alone.

(gentle music)

Fingers of mist drifting over the mountains

Make me think of the hand I kissed

The day slowly slipping towards evening

Like our love will be missed

Droplets of dew slowly

- Sure you won't have something Gail?

- Nothing right now thanks.

- Haven't had a decent night's sleep since I got here.

- Maybe you're taking on too much business Carl.

You oughta take it easy, relax.

- [Carl] It is attractive here, isn't it?

- [Man] Yeah.

- [Carl] You should think about going in with us.

We don't wanna move in on you.

We wanna cut you in as a full partner.

Drifting over the mountains

Make me think of the hand I kissed

The day slowly slipping towards evening

Like our love, will be missed

- [Radio Announcer] From the lush coastal valleys

of California to an equally lush oasis

in this barreness, Palm Springs California,

a modern little winter resort city that came to be known

as the playground of the stars.

As the sun sees its last few hours

What now is gray once shined

The past comes around to haunt me

I live the future day by day

Your

- [Sidney] Because of the proximity to Los Angeles,

that this was such an enclave for celebrities.

Were on contract and they needed to have access

to the studios.

Gray once shined

- Most of the people coming out here

were from Hollywood, probably about a three, four hour

drive back then.

Day by day

Your image comes to taunt me

In my heart you'll stay

- There was a small airstrip.

It was just a perfect retreat for all of the actors

and writers and producers.

But there was also a rail line and so a lot of business

tycoons from the Midwest would come out

and they would come out for the whole season.

- I'm leaving for Palm Springs myself next week.

Why don't you go down ahead and look Granger over?

And Larry, take the wife along.

She might like Southern California.

- My folks are going to Palm Springs this weekend.

I think I'll go with them.

- You mean alone?

- Yes, alone.

I have some things I wanna think about.

In my heart you'll stay

Today

- [Nelda] Frank loved Palm Springs better,

better than Beverly Hills in fact.

- [Bruce] The stars who were his MGM colleagues,

they had homes out here too.

- Where somebody might have had a colonial house

in Beverly Hills as their main residence,

when they came out to the desert for vacation,

they were loosening up.

They were willing to have something more daring,

more adventurous, something modern.

Frank Sinatra probably is one of the best

examples of that.

Our love is a thing of the past

The fingers of mist remind me

Of the way

- Well the apocryphal story is that Frank came

into his office wearing a sailor hat,

with an ice cream cone in his hand saying

he wanted a house, but he thought

he wanted a Georgian house.

Stewart explained to him that he didn't do Georgian.

- And it was Stew Williams who said,

no I think you want this, and gave him

that beautiful modern house.

Our love is a thing of the past

The fingers of mist remind me

Of the way it used to be

(gentle dramatic music)

- All right, go.

- Oh that's enough.

- That completes a reel of the best looking scenery

in the west.

- And of course originally the house was entered

through the Alejo side.

- [Newscaster] New disclosures are eminent.

- Hey Red, when do we get a look inside?

- Oh later, we're gonna have a 25 cent tour.

(people laughing)

Hiya Bonnie.

- [Man] Hey, is it true he's got a radar system in there?

- Subsequent owner changed the orientation of the house

after he did the remodel here.

Alejo was basically a dirt road at that time.

Isolated.

There weren't neighborhood houses around here.

So yes, it had a sense of privacy obviously.

That was probably what he was seeking at the time.

And you can see from the way the wall was built

on the Alejo side, it was designed for privacy.

- [Alan] Supposedly this was to be the family home,

but the relationship with Ava started very soon after that.

They were intersecting at that time,

if you wanna put it that way.

- Although Frank was married to Nancy at the time

that the commission began, Stew ultimately

was working with Ava Gardner throughout the design process

and the construction process because by then

Frank was with Ava.

(jazz music)

- I know what you mean.

And you've got about as much gallantry in that remark

as you think I've got brains.

- Just like a woman, right?

Can't get her own way so the first thing

comes into her mind is a divorce.

- [Ava] It's possible that I have a slight inkling

as to your outlook on life.

(bottle crashing)

- I'm sure there are lots of iterations of that story,

but yes, I've seen the basin with the crack in it.

- That's one of those urban myths.

- I don't know anything about that,

except I liked her very much.

She was a part of the family.

- And a friend of mine told me, that knew them,

said that they would fight all day.

He said that if they didn't kill each other,

during the argument during the day,

they mighta killed each other

in bed 'cause they were so volatile and so passionate.

- He had fights with everybody.

It isn't just me and Ava.

- She was so stunning and breath taking,

and he fell head over heels in love with her.

I mean, by his own admission, ya know.

People that knew them and would tell me

that he was this young Italian

and she was this incredibly sexy woman.

Women who knew her said that when she walked

into the room, they would say, oh god,

I hope she doesn't look at my husband.

- If you mean have I been faithful to my wife,

yes I have.

(woman laughing)

I've always loved my wife.

That shouldn't be news to you.

- Uh huh.

Of course, you met me after you were married.

- At that time, he was so vulnerable.

Her career was doing better than his.

I mean he was down and out.

- [Edward] What do you consider the most difficult period

you went through in show business?

- There was a very dark period in my career

about 1951, very frankly, and there's no secret about it,

I could hardly get myself a job in those days.

- Riding around in the desert with him all night long,

till the sun came up, he gave me a lot of life's lessons.

In the car he said, Tommy there was a time

when I was the hottest thing in the country.

I was hot.

He said I was so hot I could pick up the phone

and anybody I called took my call.

He said, Tommy, I could call the White House

and they would take my call.

He said, and then I got cold.

Years went by and no one would take my call.

I couldn't get recording companies,

I couldn't get agents on the phone.

He said, I was really cold.

And then I got hot again, he said.

And I would be at a party in Hollywood

and I'd look across the room, and there was that guy

that wouldn't take my call,

and I'd look at that guy,

and he couldn't look me in the eye,

he put his head down.

He said, but what he didn't understand is,

I understand.

He said, I couldn't do business for him.

He said, my fault was, I thought we were friends.

You know, and also obviously From Here to Eternity

changed his life.

- Fatso done it, he likes to whack me in the gut.

He asked me if it hurts, I spit at him like always.

- The winner is Frank Sinatra in From Here to

(crowd cheering)

- Frank told me, you know, that what he thought

was the story behind that.

He did a great screen test by the way,

and Harry Cohn really wanted Eli Wallach for that role.

Ava and Harry Cohn's wife had a great relationship.

Ava kept pestering Harry Cohn and Frank's story was

that one night they were having dinner,

Harry Cohn and his wife, and the phone rang

and she went and she came back,

she said that was Ava.

She wants you to consider Frank again for that role.

Please consider.

He said, got the screen test, they went down

and looked at it, yeah he could do it.

And by the way that's why he was always offended

by the movie The Godfather that tried to imply

that it was the mob that got him that role

in the movie.

- I want you to rest well, and a month from now,

this this Hollywood big shot's gonna give you what you want.

- Too late, they start shooting in a week.

- I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse.

- The scene Frank did in the screen test

was Frank was at the bar, Frank ad-libbed where

he grabbed the olives and he threw the olives down the bar

and said, come on seven, ya know.

- Stand back there now, here we go,

seven for daddy, five deuce.

Hey seven.

Snake eyes. (people chuckling)

- That was an ad-lib on Frank.

Frank telling me that story, he said when they went cut,

from the screen test, he said the crew,

God bless the crew, he said, they applauded me.

They all applauded me on the crew.

- Recently, after a comparatively inactive period,

Variety credited him with the greatest come back

in theater history.

He's now one of Hollywood's hottest properties.

- [Newscaster] At a midnight film preview,

Frank Sinatra heads a list of celebrities

including his new wife, Ava Gardner and Robert Q. Lewis.

The showing of Universal International's

Meet Danny Wilson in which Fankie stars

is attended by Milton Berle, who gets

in a little fast work with the new bride.

- She was so independent.

He's an Italian man who, you know, you're the wife,

you stay at home, you take care of the man,

and she was the woman who said I do what I wanna do

when I wanna do it, whenever I wanna do it.

If he didn't want her to shoot a movie,

she'd say I'm gonna shoot the movie,

and I might even jump in bed with the director

if I feel like it, 'cause that's who I am.

And they would get in these incredible fights.

As they were so volatile and so passionate.

And the sad time in his life, you know,

after she left him, she was okay, but he wasn't.

He was destroyed.

- Yeah, Merry Christmas.

I hope that she turns out to be

Someone who'll watch over me

- He told me this one time in the car,

listen to the song I'm a fool to want you.

Take me back, I love you

Pity me, I need you

- He went back and re-recorded it after Ava left him.

You know, I'm a fool to want you, pity me, I need you.

(light jazz music)

- I think he wanted to be in Rancho Mirage.

At that time, this was building up.

Tamarisk Country Club, he was a member of

and I think he wanted to be near a golf course.

He wasn't the greatest golfer, ya know.

If his ball went into the ditch,

throw another ball out. (laughs)

- He had a lot of magazines and TV newsreels

showing footage of people like Bob Hope

and Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra

and Eisenhower playing golf.

- [TV Announcer] It's Mr. and Mrs. Citizen

enjoying a well earned holiday in Palm Springs, California.

- It's January or February and it looks gorgeous

and pretty much everyone else in the country

is freezing their tushes off and looking longingly

at this lifestyle that is possible.

(light jazz music)

The developers realized they could make a lot more money

having houses along the fairways that people would buy.

- Thunderbird is probably more influential even

as a real estate concept.

The idea of developing a golf course with houses around it

at the same time as a unity.

- [TV Announcer] The world's most famous desert resort,

with green sun drenched golf courses,

all beautifully tended inviting bits of a golfer's paradise.

- There was a lot of country clubs down here

where if you were of a certain persuasion

you couldn't get in.

Dad and Jack Benny and Frank Sinatra and the brothers,

especially Gummo and Zeppo, decided that they wanted

to play golf and they wanted to spend time

down here more permanently.

- Harpo, do you have a tee?

(audience laughing)

- [Man] He offers Sam a T.

- So they decided to create Tamarisk Country Club.

(easy jazz music)

- His compound was right next to Tamarisk Country Club.

- 90% was a Jewish club, because of Thunderbird.

- There was no doubt about it,

that Thunderbird was restricted

and Frank was making a statement by moving

into the Jewish Country Club, as opposed to what most

of his friends, including Bing Crosby, his idol,

was living at.

He was very serious about that.

- He bought that house several different areas

that he added on to at different years.

- The golf course was next to and behind Sinatra's house.

Back in those days there was nothing out there

except the house and across the street was all desert,

date palms and grapefruit orchards all around.

But it was just nothing.

But when you walked out to the front gate,

you walked onto what is now Frank Sinatra Drive

and across the street, just empty desert.

- Four Marx brothers all had homes at Tamarisk Country Club.

- [Bill] They created Tamarisk so that anybody could play.

It was an open membership.

And the brothers, Frank Sinatra, came down here

and made it permanent.

My dad, he arranged it so that the by-laws would say

that if you became a member, you'd also get a plot of land.

And the things that I did

Were so mean and stupid, like a kid

I know what you still

- They opened up the membership

and Dad went out and got a pro for the first year

in order to help sell memberships.

And the pro was Ben Hogan.

Like I'm lying here prayin' ♪

That you'll come back to me

- Harpo Marx and his brothers, in the movies,

on Broadway, in night clubs, radio and television,

brought much delight to many millions.

Mr. and Mrs. Harpo Marx now live with their four children

in this modern Mexican style house

just outside of Palm Springs, California.

- This is our oldest, Bill.

- Good evening Mr. Murrow.

- [Edward] Good evening Bill.

- That was a historical moment,

to participate in a show that was very popular

at that time called Person to Person

with Edward R. Murrow.

- How far are you from a golf course?

(Harpo whistling)

- Historically it was the first show that they ever

was able to get out of the Coachella Valley live.

- [Edward] Hold everything.

I met a dream come true

A night I filled with you

A lovely evening was our chance

- The gate has opened, and here we are,

inside the compound.

My feet I knew

- Well number one, the pool really isn't that large.

You make me stop and stare

The spell I'm under

Filled me with wonder

I knew it then and there

The stars above had listened

They knew what I

- It's like a Mexican piazza in there,

it's like a whole community.

- There's My Way, there's Tender Trap,

there's all the different songs that he recorded

and was associated with.

Your kiss

I can't believe you're real

- And that's where the house guests stayed.

So I would sometimes stay, in New York, New York,

or depending on how many house guests they had there,

or I'd stay in My Way or Tender Trap.

- He never had real lavish places, no, no.

He never did.

- We built his mother a house next door.

- The house guests would be Gregory Peck

and his wife Veronique or Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne,

Angie Dickinson, Clint Eastwood

and whoever he was dating at the time.

Admiral Shepard, Isaac Stern.

- I miss the golf.

Well, I miss the tennis court

A toy

If you conceive it

And you believe it

- He'd look up at the palm trees and the stars

and the moon and just thank God for all this magnificence.

- My mother Susan, she must have been in her late 80s.

So one night she was there, and after dinner,

you proceeded out of the dining room area,

and we walked through an atrium filled

with succulents and cacti and all this kind of stuff.

My mom's hand was being held by Frank.

And he looked up and he looked around at the stars,

he said, Susan, this is my heaven.

Thank you Dan.

Can you imagine a guy from Hoboken,

and saying this is my heaven?

- It really was heaven.

Everything about this place.

It was heavenly.

- New York, New York has four double bedrooms,

eight bathrooms and has its own pool on the other side.

- [Nelda] He built New York, New York I think, for JFK.

And then JFK decided not to stay there.

And that upset him a lot.

- So there used to be a helicopter pad right here.

- That's correct.

Mr. Sinatra's guests would arrive that way.

- Frank or his guests at the time it was a helicopter pad,

he used to use it just to go back and forth

to the airport or just as convenience for himself.

- [Bruce] He could actually commute to Las Vegas

or commute to Los Angeles, he loved the Coachella Valley.

He commuted to L.A. like we commute

from Palm Springs to Rancho Mirage.

- And this room,

has Mr. S. You can feel his presence inside this room.

- Now Huell, this was the theater.

- The theater.

- This is the place that we had all that late night fun.

- There it is!

Jack Daniels, black label.

- Yeah that was his favorite.

- [Tom] He loved pleasing his friends.

- To be taking care of everybody

and always having people around him.

- [Barbara] Jimmy Van Heusen and all of his good friends.

- One of the greatest ways was to have them stay

in the compound here down in Rancho Mirage.

Have all of his friends there.

- And Sinatra used to wait for me,

and I would push the button for the little intercom.

Gate would open, he'd be waiting for me.

He would leave all of his friends in the house,

and he would wait for me and escort me into the house.

And then he would treat me like I was his son.

- His pianist, his personal pianist, Frankie Randall,

lived down the street from me.

He was a very good friend.

He had to live close enough to Sinatra

so that whenever Frank called, hey, I feel like singing,

get over here, he would literally walk

across the golf course to go play piano so

that Frank could sing.

- I would very often get a call from him

if he, if he had to learn a song.

Of course, I live right around the corner.

And he would say, Cheech come on over,

I gotta learn a song, I want you to show me this,

or I want you to show me that.

And in there is a room that he used to get his massages

in and there's a barber chair for his haircuts and things.

Yeah. - So this was Frank's

barbershop and masseuse table in there.

- Just a little body maintenance room.

Once you open that door, it's just train set all the way

around the room.

- That was one of Frank's favorite places to go

and entertain his guests because he loved to turn

all the switches on and have all the trains going.

- And every train that was ever made in the world

was in there on the wall, on racks, and then in the center

he had a big table where he could operate the trains.

Trains go from the east coast to the west coast.

- Not only was this a place of home,

this was where he did his business.

He didn't like to go into Los Angeles or New York

to have to conduct business.

So everybody moved to the Coachella Valley

to be near him.

He had so many businesses going on people literally

bought homes around his home so that he could see them.

- Mr. Sinatra was Mr. Palm Springs.

He made this town, it was like magic.

Anywhere he walked into a restaurant,

he was just Mr. Magic.

- The people that lived in Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage

came to Palm Springs to the restaurants.

There was nothing in Palm Desert.

Some men are short and very stout

Talking all night long

- Club Trinidad and the Purple Room were built

in 1960 by Metropolitan Builders out of Beverly Hills.

When it was built, there was nothing here.

This was just open desert.

Mile and a half that way was Palm Springs Village.

And over the 56 years that it's been here,

the fact that we never changed any of the walls,

outside walls, everything has remained the same.

- Just the fact that, that's my name, Trinidad.

♪ 'Cause they treat me like a lady

I'm not impressed with diamonds and pearls

I've never set pride in this purple world

But if the right man comes with all these things

Believe me girls, my heart will sing

- The Trinidad Hotel it was called

and the Purple Room was there.

Also a very popular place.

- Quite a popular restaurant.

- We went there quite often.

He loved the place.

- Frank Sinatra used to drive Highway 111 from his home

into Palm Springs to go to the local clubs that he liked.

And so he used to stop here.

Early evening drinks here and then go into town,

and on his way home a lot of times he'd stop here

for a nightcap.

- He loved Italian food, and he was very finicky

about his food.

- [Nelda] Very particular, with his pasta especially.

- You know with a light sauce, very little garlic.

- He wanted to make sure that the food was hot,

not spicy hot, but temperature hot.

- But I remember he liked clams.

- Barbara was there when she said that

linguini was thrown against the wall,

but she said that it definitely happened.

- Oh yes, oh he's, that's nothing for Frank.

(laughs) He did that in Malibu one night at a restaurant,

threw pasta on the wall. (plate crashing)

Frank could get by doing anything.

He was Frank.

- Johnny Costa tells the story about when he was no longer

there, Frank went berserk because they couldn't

fix his meal the proper way.

- People always wanted hear Don tell Sinatra stories,

and he had great stories.

So one night they were all at a big table

at a very fancy restaurant, and the restaurant

was all white, everything was white,

the walls and the table cloths.

The food comes and the waiter brings a bottle of ketchup

and puts it on the table in front of Frank.

He doesn't want ketchup on the table,

so he takes the bottle and

in a very crowded elegant restaurant,

he throws it at the wall.

And Don, without missing a beat turns and says,

Frank, will you pass the ketchup?

(audience laughing)

I don't care what they are supposed to be

As long as

- I used to call him Mr. Sinatra by the way,

only Mr. Sinatra, I got to know him for 36 years,

and he never once said, Trini, call me Frank.

Never.

Sinatra demanded respect from everybody.

My album was recorded live at PJ's.

Out of that album came out La Bamba, out of that album

came out If I had a Hammer,

and then I had a lot of international hits.

I like to be in America

Okay by me in America

Everything's free in America

For a small fee in America

Sinatra had just started his label about a year before.

It was Sinatra was on the label, Dean Martin,

Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby, people like that.

They offered me an 8 year recording contract.

Which is unheard of.

- [Man] Have you any special stories

connected with The Voice?

- He's a very nice man.

I met him for the first time about six months ago

when he was doing a movie called 4 For Texas.

I drive my Buick through San Juan

And he's my idol, has been my idol for many years.

And he owns Reprise, and now Reprise is connected

with Warner Brothers, which he is also connected with,

Warner Brothers Pictures.

And I am very happy because I admire him so much,

and I am also happy because I am working for him now.

Yeah. ♪

- He was doing a picture at Warner Brothers,

4 for Texas.

And he wants for us to come out to the set.

I walk in and I recognize Dean Martin, Ursula Andress,

and Anita Ekberg, beautiful ladies, they were in the movie.

And so he was talking to all these people,

and then I swear to you, I see about 30 people

around this one guy.

He was in the middle going like this,

uh yeah, get that light over here,

Jim dot dot dot, ya know?

Giving directions because he was like producer

on the movie.

- Ah Fritz, we'll just have a couple of Zachariah specials,

I'll order lunch later.

- Yes Mr. Thomas.

- He left all the people that he was with,

like 20, 30 people, he went like this,

and right to, to me, he wanted to shake my hand. (laughs)

And the very first thing he said to me,

he says, Trini you're a great talent.

- Now, we are going out to dine at La Rue

and then we are going to the opening of Trini Lopez

at the Cafe Au Go Go.

- My first picture I ever did,

Sinatra put me in a movie called Marriage on the Rocks.

- Right, love?

- But I'm not dressed.

- I can wait.

- Now don't go away, 'cause Trini's back.

(audience applauding)

- I did a cameo, I sang a song at a night club

like at PJ's.

One two three four

And Sinatra sitting there with Dean and Deborah Kerr

and Sinatra didn't wanna dance 'cause in the script,

he was supposed to be kind of fuddy-duddy, you know?

- Oh boy, that Ernie can dance, but then he always could.

- Natural talent.

- I wish some of it would rub off on your friend.

- You ready to go home dear?

- And Dean says come on Frank, let's dance.

And I had the whole place going crazy.

Singing along the whole thing.

And Frank is just going like this, (laughs) like that.

(light jazz music)

- He was pervasive in this town.

When I got here, I just encountered almost every week,

somebody who said he was a close personal friend of Frank's.

And that's what they always called him.

It was Frank, you know, Frank was your friend.

It wasn't Mr. Sinatra, even though he liked

to be called Mr. Sinatra.

- When I came to town, everybody knew

that this was Sinatra's home and it's his playground

and this is where he spent a lot of time

and very informally.

He was all over town.

- And I always used to say, whose town is this?

Is this Frank Sinatra's town or is it Bob Hope's Town?

Because Bob had the Hope Classic, the one event

that got national attention every year

and it drew more people to buy real estate

than any other event in the Coachella Valley.

But Sinatra was here more often than Bob Hope.

- There was so many things that Frank did

that people don't know about.

- He would read the newspaper, the Desert Sun every day,

looking through the paper to see if anybody needed any help.

- Frank Sinatra didn't want anybody to know

how charitable he was.

- And the stories were legendary how he would anonymously

help people in trouble.

- I mean this is the kind of individual who would wake up

with the morning newspaper, the local Desert Sun,

there'd be a story about maybe a woman whose mobile home

burnt down, he'd be on the phone within a half hour

to his attorney in Beverly Hills and they'd be writing

a check and it would be anonymous.

- Yes, he didn't want it heard or talked about.

- And half of the time you saw the word anonymous

associated with some act of good will, it was Sinatra.

- This town has always needed somebody that you could

depend on in a pinch.

And Frank was that guy.

- Well, Frank would read something in the newspaper

about a family in need and he would call Jilly

or someone and he'd say, take care of that.

- And he didn't need any accolades,

he didn't need any, you know, he was an icon.

But he did it because of his heart,

it just came from the heart.

- Who does that, ya know?

Frank felt that kind of responsibility to people

and this was his town, and he felt a responsibility

to this town.

- Another time you know, I know somebody who have cancer

here, little girl had cancer.

He pay all the thing for the hospital.

He was the most philanthropic person in Palm Springs.

- We once had a bus boy working here,

who when he got off work

unfortunately was in Palm Springs

at a convenient store and got robbed, mugged,

and ended up going to Desert Hospital.

Well, Frank came in a couple nights later,

he had heard the staff talking about this particular

bus boy who he knew himself and liked.

He called me over and he said, Michael,

what's his room number?

And he took care of all his medical expenses.

- Those are the things that stand out in my mind.

He was just the most generous person I've ever known.

(light jazz music)

- In 1966 if you were to walk in the restaurant,

this is exactly how it looked.

We were very fortunate that a lot of the celebrities

started coming in very early on.

Bob Hope and Walter Annenberg and Steve McQueen

and obviously Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball.

Sinatra told me that he came in here

two weeks after the restaurant was opened.

(light jazz music)

Say a lot of our closest friends tried to persuade

us not to locate here because they thought

it would be a recipe for disaster.

Who would drive 10 miles outside of Palm Springs

to come to a restaurant?

Now a lot of people ask us why we picked

this particular piece of property at the time.

The center of gravity was Palm Springs

and to build a restaurant 10 miles east of Palm Springs

was actually taking a calculated risk.

Shortly after the restaurant was built,

all the sudden there was interest

and eventually we ended up becoming

referred to as Restaurant Row.

Well my father is from England.

He had this idea of creating something

that really evokes the atmosphere of being

in England in a country inn.

- Yeah, Lord Fletcher's was a place where we went

for fine dining and Dominick's was where he went

to watch Monday Night Football.

- Lord Fletcher's was one of his favorite restaurants.

- And very near where we lived

and they were good friends of ours.

- There's a picture of Frank hanging above one of the tables

and that's where Frank always sat.

And that's where Barbara

and all of us sit when we go.

- Sinatra came into this restaurant

for a period of 30 years, the longest period of time

that he ever went into one particular restaurant

in the valley.

He introduced a lot of celebrities to the restaurant.

Roger Moore used to come in a lot with him.

Gregory Peck would come in with him.

One of the things that surprises people,

he would come in early before his dinner guests

would arrive and he would go up to the service bar

and just stand there and talk to the bar tender,

completely relaxed, you know, we kind of wonder

why that's such a big deal,

but for somebody like that, a lot of other places

you know, around the country, around the world,

he couldn't do that.

Well, you know he was a big fan of our short rib.

He would sometimes just come in by himself

just to have his favorite after dinner drink,

which was Brandy Ice, and he even had the recipe

on his refrigerator at his house.

One night, he and Alan Shepard, the two of them came

in ahead of everybody else and they just thought

they'd have some fun.

They opened the side door to the bar,

went behind the bar and immediately started singing

Fly Me to the Moon.

Fly me to the moon

Let me play up there with those stars

Let me see what life is like on Jupiter and Mars

And the guests at the bar, their mouths dropped

and they couldn't believe what they were witnessing.

In other words

- The first astronaut and Sinatra both singing

Fly Me to the Moon, it was something.

Baby take a good look at me

♪ 'Cause I'm really done

Baby just done

- That's Mr. Maggio.

Mr. Maggio's my father.

You were once the best thing

- He built it to entertain his friends.

He'd fly them in in his Learjet to Palm Springs airport

and then fly them up here by helicopter,

because he built a helicopter pad.

And I guess you gotta know

So starts the sorrow, yeah

It's time I better go

- Oh yeah, they say he used to bring all the girls in

from Las Vegas by helicopter (laughs)

Take a good look at me

♪ 'cause I'm really done, baby just done

- Maybe in the early days there was some hedonism

going on, ya know?

- It was a party up here all the time.

It sleeps so many people he would

have dignitaries, celebrities, socialites.

(car horn honking)

- [Bruce] That shows you how much he loved

the Coachella Valley that his get-away

was gonna be about 15 miles away.

(tires screeching and horn honking)

- 20 degrees cooler than the desert floor.

Has a total of eight bedrooms and 12 and a half baths.

A screening room, two saunas, it has a tennis court.

He designed everything.

He had a say about everything that went in here.

It's, it's so Frank.

(jazz music)

- He was fun, he was fun.

That was the early 70s that photo there.

My place was local and it was a hang out.

He would bring all kinds of friends there, Sinatra would.

And so we had some connection there, some vibes

and ya know, so it was, became friendly.

- [Interviewer] What did you call him?

- Frank.

- He had the restaurant where Mayor Frank Bogert

came all the time.

- I used to get legislators from New York,

I used to get the Speaker of the House

which was Tip O'Neill.

- You had this mixture of business people,

politicians, entertainers and gangsters.

And that was Palm Springs.

He made everybody feel comfortable.

- Every time we'd want any money for a charity,

donation, we'd go in to Paul Di Amico

and he'd reach in his pocket and pull out $1000

and give it to us.

He was soft, we knew that.

- Of course Jilly was there, and some of the fellas

from New York that he used to come with,

friends of his and people that he grew up with.

That was basically the clan, more or less.

- Paul Di Amico is very proud of his Sicilian heritage.

His restaurant burned down a couple times. (laughs)

And he was very involved with the restaurant unions.

- Chairman of the union of the hotel and restaurant

employee's union was Ed Hanley.

Was a good pal of mine.

Actually he was my best man at one of my marriages.

Well, he used to bring Bob Hope in,

and Phil Harris, and they would have a skit going

with Ukie, Ukie would destroy all of 'em.

Ukie was a stand up comedian.

- Well, hello, get him out here.

You look like a boy that once sold me an Essex.

- Oh no no, I'm a comedian.

- Who the hell sent you here, Sinatra?

- No no no, Sinatra had nothing to do with this,

and I wouldn't talk that way about Frank if I were you.

- I don't mean to malign Mr. Sinatra 'cause I'm a great

fan of his, a great admirer of his private and public life.

- And furthermore singers like Sinatra come once

in a lifetime.

- Why did he have to come along in my lifetime?

- Is that so?

- He'll never outlast Hope.

- Bob Hope? - High hope.

- Listen that boy is really a strong boy.

- You think he's a powerful boy?

- He's a real pow-- - He's a microphone

with a fringe on top, that's what he is.

- Is that so?

Well, for your information when I was born

the people came from miles around just to look at me.

- Is that right?

- You know what they used to say when they saw me?

- I give up, what is it?

- Oh. (audience laughing)

- Well he had a home in Los Angeles

and he had a place here as well.

He was with me for five, six years.

Ukie loved Frank, but Frank really loved Ukie.

Frank loved to play golf, and he would take Ukie with him.

And I remember one day Frank came in

in my back door of my lounge and he was all dressed

in white during the summer and it was 120 degrees,

130, whatever, he would see Ukie playing the piano

in the corner of my lounge.

And Ukie'd say, hey Frank, did you sell all your

ice cream today, you know, because all dressed in white.

(audience laughing)

(door slamming)

Then you'd have Bob Hope would come in

and he would tell Bob Hope listen, we don't have

any openings right now, leave your name and address,

we'll call you, don't call us.

- Mack! (laughs)

You mind if we play through?

- Since when are monkeys allowed on this golf course.

- Since you joined the club. (laughs)

- A judge would come in, ladies and gentlemen,

the Judge of Fachickaloop, you know,

best judge money can buy, do another 20, 30 minutes.

Now you couldn't pay for that kind of entertainment.

- [Ukie] Would you like to help me tell a little joke here?

All you have to say is I give up, what is it?

I'll ask you questions, see.

- Well Ukie had a stroke and he lost his speech.

And here, if you can just imagine that his whole life

was telling jokes, and all of the sudden he couldn't.

So we had a fund raiser for him.

When Frank found out about it, he took over.

And he brought all these stars,

the top stars in our country and the Riviera Hotel

was the only hotel that could hold about a thousand people.

And I would get calls from all over,

from Chicago, from Miami, New York, I want a table,

I want a table.

Just couldn't take care of them.

And we raised quite a bit of money for Ukie

and after that, I think nine months later he died.

- His good deeds were unbelievable.

He had run the original fund raiser

for the temple down here.

- He's known for having built Temple Isaiah.

- There was a wonderful rabbi there who was there

for 35 years, became a friend of Frank Sinatra.

- 10,000 a couple, and they built an extension

for the temple.

They were gonna burn the mortgage, pay off the mortgage.

And the Rabbi Jo Hurwitz did not want to bother

Sinatra again, so he engaged Alan King to be the headliner

for the second party which was 5,000 a couple.

Sinatra heard about it, called up the rabbi

and said, I don't understand, you asked me to start

the project, I finish the project.

Frank, I didn't wanna bother you, the rabbi said.

We already got Alan King.

He said, you already got Alan King?

I'll open for him.

I was there.

Sinatra opened for Alan King.

- The Mr. Sinatra image, he knew it,

but he didn't act like he knew it.

That's the beauty of it, see?

Humility, it's beautiful.

- And he was so generous he helped build

the St. Louis Catholic Church in Cathedral City.

- [Michael] He did a lot for the Desert Hospital.

That was probably a major part of his time.

- [Bruce] He was central to the operation of Desert Hospital.

There's a wing named after his father.

- [Nelda] Valentine's Day love-ins for Desert Hospital.

- People came up to him all the time

and asked for help and he would always give something

to just about every charity in the valley.

Something about Sinatra, he set that standard, ya know,

that you have to stand up for the other guy.

And you know, you lend your name, you lend your face.

I did an interview with Bob Hope one time.

We were talking about what was gonna happen

to his tournament after he was gone, he goes,

I'm thinking about selling it.

And I go, you're gonna sell your name?

(laughs)

But that's how he thought.

Frank Sinatra didn't think that way.

His name was sacred, it wasn't for sale.

If somebody could use his name to have something good

happen from it, then he would say more power to 'em.

(gentle piano music)

- George Jacobs was Frank's valet.

He did everything for Frank.

He would come to my place all the time,

whenever he had some time off.

- Well, the story I tell about George is

he wore the shirts with the FS on them.

And one day Mr. S. crossed him and said,

why are you wearing my shirts?

And he said, oh no, the FS stands for Fast Service.

- Around seven or eight years old until I was about 14.

So through those years we would come out and visit.

We would come visit my dad at the Sinatra compound

on Wonder Palms.

(gentle piano music)

- He married Mia Farrow in Las Vegas, and that night,

he flew to London.

The next night, he invited me to dinner.

George Jacobs who was his valet here for years and years,

18, 20 years or more, he'd cook for us at night.

- Mia Farrow was staying at the house,

and this is when I guess he was married to her.

She had a little Lhasa Apso that fell

in the swimming pool my brother and I were swimming in,

and the dog drowned, we didn't hear it.

It was yapping and yapping and all the sudden

we didn't hear anything and next thing we know,

we see this fur floating on the pool.

And my brother and I both freaked out like oh my god

we're in so much trouble now.

My brother was pushing on it, trying to get water

to come out of it.

Couldn't get it to come back to life.

So we were pretty devastated and scared that we would really

were gonna be in big trouble.

But we heard nothing about it afterwards.

It was uh, it just went away.

I think my dad had love for Mr. Sinatra.

I think he really loved the man.

He never had a bad word to say about him.

I think he waited until Sinatra passed

before he actually went, came out with the book,

just because he thought that would

be the right thing to do.

- You know, the biggest thing in town

was when his mother passed.

Mother got killed in that plane crash flying to Vegas

for his show.

- After Mr. S's mother was killed over here on the hill,

he called me, and said Don, I want you to go

to the Catholic Church in Cathedral City

who was the church of his mother's,

I want you to meet with the head hancho,

provide all the children of all the parish there,

with whatever they want, including bicycles.

Very generous.

- The whole town was in mourning at that time.

She was a big presence in this town.

There's a Dolly Sinatra Italian Lodge on Vista Chino

which is very active.

She was very well known in town.

- I opened the toy store in 1955.

Many people saw the temper side of him, I never saw that.

When I was in Europe I used to bring him stuff back.

And he would come down and come up to the office

just to thank me for bringing whatever locomotive

I brought him from Europe.

- Didn't play with the trains.

We got to go in there and look.

- Yes, he came in one day and wanted some pool things.

He was an in store charge customer.

I walked the floor with him, he picked out

what he wanted and I wrote it down on our charge pad.

The two of us walked to the front register

where there was a teenage high school girl,

one of my help, behind the register.

I laid the pad down, she picked the pad up,

looked Sinatra straight in the face and said,

what was the name?

He didn't bat an eye.

- I put in an overseas call a few months back.

And the operator asked me for my name

and I told her, she said, spell it.

(audience laughing)

And I did and she said, what's your first name?

(audience laughing)

And I told her and she said, junior or senior?

And I said, listen lady, if you don't believe me,

you wanna me to prove it by singing a few bars

or something, she said, if you want, go right ahead.

So I did and she hung up.

- I came out to Palm Springs in 1975.

I lived in New York at that time,

but I was running an automotive novelty business

with factories both in New York and California.

I manufactured the hula dolls for the back of the car,

the dice that hung from the mirror, the religious statues

on the dashboard.

I manufactured 750 items that did nothing.

And I stumbled down to Palm Springs

and fell in love with it.

Well, this was 1975, the country was in a recession.

Interest rates were 17%,

a friend of mine was running a hotel up the block

for Jerry Buss called the Ocotillo Lodge.

And he drove me onto this derelict property

known as the Ingleside Inn.

(slow jazz music)

But it was charming and there was an ambience

and charm about it as only an old place could be.

With 20 hotel rooms, they were charging $40 a day

including three meals.

But it had had an illustrious history,

run by a woman named Ruth Hardy who

had died 10 years before.

And it turns out she had catered to the who's who

of the world and in those days Palm Springs

literally closed for the summer.

Most places were opened only six months,

there was no air conditioning in town.

And after some serious consideration, I decided

to take a shot and buy it, not to run a hotel

or restaurant, which I had no interest in,

but it's two acres in the middle of Palm Springs,

for $300,000 total with $100,000 cash

and mortgage at the Bank of America for 200,000

at 6% when interest rates were 17%.

But that was already an existing mortgage.

There I was, not feeling good, not bad, ♪

walking round not happy but not sad

Every day held nothing specially for me

Didn't know what life was all about

Things could make you laugh, could make you shout

No one told me that this game should

- In going through some of the registration cards

of previous guests, Howard Hughes, Herbert Hoover,

J.C. Penney, Giannini who built and owned

the Bank of America, every great name.

And I was enamored and fascinated by the history.

You told me, you told me

And showed me what life is made of

It's hard to believe

- Oh we had some great stories there.

Mel Haber owned the place and we did a lot

of partying there.

- Remember this time, 1975, very small town.

Everybody knew everybody, couple of restaurants,

there was no down valley.

And I was open a couple of months,

and Sinatra had not come in.

And it was like you don't exist until Sinatra comes in.

And everybody called everybody in the restaurant business

and said, Sinatra's here, Sinatra's here.

Everybody knew where he was and where he was going.

- There was Sorrentino's we used to go to.

There was Ruby Dunes.

- Well Ruby Dunes was, I think, number one.

Frank had his own table in the corner.

He had a red phone behind him if he wanted

to call the White House, he could call the White House.

My husband and I, we had the table right next to his.

- Ruby's Dunes, Rubenstein was his name,

and he was a fiddle player from Detroit, I think originally.

- Ruby's Dunes was one of the best places.

And he always had the food that Frank liked.

- [Brian] Okay there was the place called the Doll House.

- Gail, wait a minute.

- Sometimes he used to go over to the Trinidad,

it was owned by a guy named Tony Riccio.

And you know, the Italians had this comradery

like Jewish people have.

So Tony Riccio, Dominick was Italian.

- You got something better to do?

- Yes I have.

Come on, let's hoist the martini flag.

- [Man] Excuse me Lieutenant.

- And they called up and said, Sinatra's on the way

to your place.

Oh my god.

I really wanted to go home.

I was scared of Sinatra.

Well, Sinatra came in with his entourage

and I gotta tell ya, the first time I saw Sinatra,

there was an aura about him that I can't define.

Made himself very accessible.

It wasn't like he was ducking or anything.

As a matter of fact, the first time he came in

he stood at the front of the bar

where everybody would have to see him.

Like the Mona Lisa you took my

- The only one that jumps off the page is Mr. Sinatra.

It was exciting meeting him.

He came in, I knew who he was and stuff like that,

I introduced myself, he says, fine kid.

Walked right by me, just headed that far into the bar.

Make me stop to think

That you were created for me

So I took the initiative

To make the plan to

- And he traveled, I came to find out,

because he came in many times, with a regular entourage.

- Over the years the entourage would change.

He was very close in the 60s with Leo Durocher

David Janssen when he was doing The Fugitive

was over there all the time.

Yul Brynner was over there all the time.

It changed over the years, but the constants

from the 60s on were Jilly Rizzo and Jimmy Van Heusen.

- Jilly Rizzo had a night club in Manhattan

and became one of Frank Sinatra's personal friends

who traveled with him constantly.

He owned a restaurant called Jilly's.

(60s style rock music)

- Hey, buy a girl a drink?

I bet we could relate real good.

- No women except Barbara, who he was dating at that time.

- No, no women, no women to speak of, no.

- He was a man's man.

He loved the women, but even at the house,

you know, the men would gather together

and the women would gather together.

- Leo Durocher, Jimmy Van Heusen,

who he called Chester Babbcock for some reason,

a guy name Lenny Garmisa out of Chicago,

a guy name Bernie Frant, and as I heard the story,

he had fed Sinatra before Sinatra made his come back

in From Here to Eternity.

- Bernie Frant was a brother in law of Ruby.

And he was a fun guy.

He used to do a soft shoe all the time.

And had fun with him.

- Bernie was loyal to him.

Bernie had a friend named Herbie Sloat.

So because he was Bernie's friend, Herbie was included

in the entourage, and this was pretty much it.

Once in a while Harry Guardino was there

or Frankie Randall.

The basic entourage was the same.

- Jimmy Van Heusen was his best friend,

Jilly Rizzo was his best friend.

- Sinatra's entourage were old people.

Jimmy would show up once in a while,

but he was not there all the time.

Jilly Rizzo went to Pal Joey's every night.

- Pal Joey's was created from a movie.

- Well can't we talk this over fellas?

- Come on, you're leaving town now.

- I can't, I'm broke.

- Here's your ticket, one way.

All aboard.

- Joe Hanna was the owner along with Sam Bianco.

- Pal Joey's was the night club when I came to town in '75.

And Joe Hanna, who's the greatest,

I mean he's a legend in this town.

He's got a great memory, tells you great stories.

- He just had a way with people

that made you feel so welcome.

He was a guy that remembered everybody's name.

I don't know how he did it, but he knew your name.

When you came into the door he would yell out your name,

hey, pisano, hey what're ya doing?

- He had a bad experience with Sinatra coming

into his place one time and yelling at Barbara.

He had to actually usher Frank out the door.

'Cause he didn't like the way that he was talking,

he was yelling at Barbara.

- Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Dean Martin.

And when they would come in together,

it was like a bunch of young boys just having a good time.

Kibitzing with one another and telling jokes

and making fun of one another, yeah.

- Of course Dean Martin was certainly in that top tier

also, but he and Dean didn't hit the night club,

so I don't really think of him as a really close pal

in the Coachella Valley.

They're Vegas friends.

- No I never saw Dean Martin, 'cause they,

I think they had a falling out at that time.

- [Man] Verily, verily, the Lord giveth

and the Lord taketh away.

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes.

- [Nelda] Mel always took good care of Frank

and his entourage when he'd come in, and Frank liked that.

He liked to be taken care of.

- [Brian] And the old guys, they would just sit around.

They'd throw ice cubes at each other like a bunch

of young kids.

- They did, they would act very childish.

- [Mel] And Barbara would sit there like the queen.

She'd sit there in a big fan chair, never say a word.

- Well I enjoyed it.

- [Interviewer] What did the guys talk about mostly?

- Sports, mostly sports.

- And to this day he's the most asked for person

as far as where did he sit?

My answer to that question, even to this day is,

anywhere he wanted.

We've waited on four different presidents.

Nobody asks about Bush anymore,

they don't ask about Ford anymore.

Only Frank Sinatra.

And there's one table in the main dining room 53,

that where he used to sit at only 'cause he could sit

in the corner with whoever, see the rest of the room.

And there's no other tables close to that one,

so nobody could come up and bother him.

Jack Daniels on the rocks is correct.

New York Steak, sometimes the peppercorn sauce,

sometimes sauteed with a variety of colored bell peppers.

When he had a dinner, small dinner party for example,

when he spoke, everybody at the table stopped speaking.

And everybody that came in here respected his privacy.

- Absolutely.

That always amazed me.

He'd stand at the end of the bar,

and I wanted to scream at people, that's Sinatra,

you're walking by like he's nothing.

- 90% of the people coming in here

never tried to bother him.

Once in a while there might be somebody who would come

up to me and say, Michael, you know, I saw Frank

30 years ago in Atlantic City and I just would love

to come up and tell him what a great show it was.

And I would look at the person and say,

I appreciate that, I know Frank would appreciate it,

but he's enjoying his dinner with his friends.

- Of all the places he went back in the 70s and 80s,

those restaurants are now closed.

Only two maitre d's in this valley that used to wait

on Frank Sinatra, Patrice at Le Vallauris, and myself.

Now the maitre d's let's say in Las Vegas,

those places are closed and those maitre d's are dead.

And be able to talk about Frank Sinatra

and be one of the very few maitre d's left,

it's quite an honor.

- Everybody in Palm Springs has stories about Sinatra.

He was the greatest and he could be the toughest.

- Frank described himself many years ago

in an interview that he was

a 24 carat manic depressive, ya know.

- I think there was a lot to that.

And of course a lot of it could have just been the booze.

- Frank had mood swings.

- When I was around him, I would always see if he

was in a good mood, and might even ask if he was

in a good mood before I would approach him.

- Frequently, when he was in his cups,

he could be very tough on little people.

- If he loved, he worshiped the ground you walked on.

There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for you.

And if hated, he hated like a Sicilian.

So there was no middle.

- You know, he would love to share a joke

with a reporter if you caught him in the right mood.

Other times you didn't wanna be anywhere near him.

- To be honest with you, when he came, I was terrified.

I stayed away.

I can't explain it.

I mean, I was just scared of the man.

At one time I was seeing a lady who had just broken up

with Jack Jones and I was sitting with her in the bar

and Frank was here with a group.

And he called her over, because they were having a debate

as to who had a better voice, Jack Jones or Vic Damone.

I was insulted that he called her over,

left me sitting by myself.

And at that time I had a condo right down the road

on Ramon Road.

So I got in the car and I went to my condo.

And I'm in my condo and I said,

if Sinatra finds out I left because he called her

over to the table, he's gonna be mad at me.

So I came running back and sat like a little puppy

until she returned to me.

That was my relationship with Sinatra.

I knew him, he was always very nice to me,

but there was nothing personal involved.

- Frank Sinatra called Barbara a great broad.

And he called Angie Dickinson a great broad.

- The only husband in the world who'd proposition

his own wife.

- Well, I married you once and it didn't work out too well,

so what's wrong with a little hey hey.

- Nothing, nothing at all.

I don't expect you to be perfect.

I want you to be my husband.

- To him a great broad was a woman that could mingle

with the creme de la creme of the White House

during the day and hang out with the guys at night.

Not too many women can do that, but the women that could,

you know, they certainly were invited into that circle.

If you're gonna say to me, what was the deepest passion

and most vulnerable time of his life,

there's no question that it was Ava.

- Ava Gardner was the big love of his life.

In his house in Rancho Mirage, on the step,

he always light a candle for her.

- One night, the rumor was around that he was going

to get married to Barbara.

And Sinatra's in here with a bunch of people one night,

and he calls me aside and said,

I'd like to talk to you about planning a party.

I said, yes sir, Mr. S., I always called him Mr. S..

And he said where can we talk privately?

We went back to the lounge in the back to a booth

and we sat down.

And he said, I'm planning a party for bout 90 people

on Saturday night, so and so.

And much to my surprise, I don't know why,

I was shocked at how meticulous Mr. Sinatra was.

- He was so attentive.

He was great.

He had the greatest class.

- Which vegetable he wanted, which potato he wanted,

how it was to be placed, how it was to be presented.

Down to the most minute detail and I said it's a great

honor Mr. S., that we're having the party here.

And he said, come on kid,

you're Mishpocha.

Mishpocha is a Jewish word for family.

I have a friend of mine in New York,

my dearest friend, I grew up with him.

I still talk to him every day in New York.

He was a Sinatra freak.

Wake him up at five o'clock in the morning,

I said Sinatra just called

me Mishpocha!

I was so excited.

- I'm Morley Safer.

You can always drop in at Palm Springs'

most shi-shi restaurant.

- Palm Springs caters to the creme de la creme

of the world.

There certainly is a big social scene here.

Primarily because a social strata of every city

congregates in the winter in Palm Springs.

- He was a good friend, Mel was a good, very very good

friend and his restaurant was different than mine,

went more little on the higher line.

We had a good relationship.

Same with Paul Bruggemans, which is Le Vallauris, the same.

(jazz music)

- It was an accident.

We had a restaurant in Los Angeles called

Le St. Germain

and after three years of operating

Le St. Germain my partner said,

why don't we open a second restaurant?

He said Palm Springs, I said there is no way

I want to open a restaurant in Palm Springs.

First of all it's too hot.

It's seasonal, it's for old people.

I said I'd rather have something in Newport Beach.

We flipped a coin, and Palm Springs came up.

That's why we're here.

(jazz music)

The only thing that changed are the trees

on the terrace because when I planted those trees

44 years ago, they were 15 gallon trees.

- I started working at this restaurant 1979.

1979 was very very busy because downtown

we used to have all the best store.

We used to have Saks Fifth Avenue,

Gucci and we were the only very very good

French restaurant in Palm Springs.

So and I've been here for 35 years now.

- Paul Bruggemans, who owns that is not one of those

guys who seeks out publicity.

Kinda like Michael Fletcher, actually.

- And also Mr. Sinatra was here many many times.

- The big star of the desert and always insisted

on being in the back dining room, as private as possible.

- When he used to come in the room here,

you can see like everything was very special.

- Absolutely a perfect gentleman.

Never made a ruckus, very kind with the lower staff,

and very generous with the lower staff.

- Tip the bartender, tip the pianist, tipped me.

And was something normal for him

because he used to do that at every restaurant

he went in Palm Springs.

- He used to call me over and say, Brian,

says, how many waiters took care of me?

I said four.

He would have the waiters line up and just,

just like that, thank them all.

Yeah, and he was very very generous.

- He was extremely generous.

He had finished dinner, he had this $20 bill

that he tossed underneath the table

and one of his friends who was dining with him

said, Frank, why did you do that?

And Frank looked at him and said,

just think of the expression on the guy's face

who's gonna be vacuuming the carpet tomorrow morning.

- He knows very well about the food.

- And his favorite wines were of course

the Bordeaux, Lafite, Mouton

- And also this favorite Chateau Haut-Brion,

- Chateau Latour, Margaux.

- And Jack Daniel to start, you know, couple.

- He liked to have a white burgundy.

We used keep something of the, like a Corton-Charlemagne

or Puligny-Montrachet and he would like to have that

with a salad course and dinner, he loved his Lafite

and we used to keep a certain vintage of Lafite for him.

- Different guests all the time,

but I remember him coming with Jimmy Van Heusen

and his wife.

- [Patrice] Sir Jilly Rizzo who was his personal body guard.

- [Paul] Dinah Shore, Robert Wagner.

- And Jilly used to be in charge

where Sinatra used to eat

and was another man from Chicago,

who I know very well was Frank Buccieri.

- Frank Buccieri was in here one night.

Buccieri was a capo in Chicago.

I was always a mafia fan.

I loved mafia books.

- Frank Buccieri was a friend of mine.

Lived in Palm Springs for a good many years.

- It was about 12 o'clock at night

and I had had a couple of drinks.

And I walked up to Frank Buccieri, Mr. B.,

I said, Mr. B., I gotta ask you a question.

I'm very high profile in this town.

If I was high profile like this in New York,

I'd be muscled by jukebox guys, ice cream guys,

whatever, nobody's every hit upon me.

And he said to me, Mel, as long as we come here

to vacation, there will never be business in this town.

And there has never been organized crime in this town

in spite of the fact every top mafia guy

has had a place in this town

and they've had meetings in this town.

- There was no racket, none that I know of.

- Yeah, this was kind of a open territory

that's for them to hang out and not to be bothered

with any kind of collection.

- Frank Buccieri, he was a friend of Tony Accardo.

- I remember one night at my night club, Cecil's,

right out of the movies, one table with 12 guys

was Mr. Tony Accardo and the next table was 12 women.

No, I didn't wanna meet Mr. Accardo.

But they were all here.

- Tony Accardo was one of our dinner customers.

Nobody ever bothered the people who came into Pal Joey's.

- Pal Joey's was a place that had connections somehow.

Jilly Rizzo, one of Sinatra's best friends

had his restaurant right next door to Pal Joey's.

- Of course Joe knew everybody.

He said, I don't know these guys.

You know, of course you did. (laughs)

That's how you knew their names.

- No I didn't. - It's okay,

you can say it now.

- No, I didn't know he was a mobster.

(audience cheering)

- Well, here goes the evening.

Marco Mongononzo was hurt. (audience laughing)

- Marco Mongononzo?

Frambino Bombazzo

- Two bullets in the head Thursday.

(audience laughing)

But you just got married, Frank.

I just can't picture him on the wedding night

standing in the room going,

And did it all

And I suppose

It's my way

(audience laughing and clapping)

And Barbara, Barbara his wife is going,

Frank, when you get a minute.

(audience laughing)

- Barbara Sinatra was the love of his life,

'cause he was married to her longer than he was married

to all three of his wives put together.

- [Nelda] Beautiful wedding.

Paparazzi got word of it because they were lining

Frank Sinatra Drive so Barbara and Frank had to come

by golf cart, come in the back way.

The Annenbergs had a beautiful atrium

inside the living room.

It was all full of white orchids.

And then they had a dinner party afterwards,

back at the compound.

The Reagans were there.

- That song, every time I sing it is dedicated

to my wife, Barbara who's sitting right over here.

If we put a light on her, have her take a bow.

Put a light on her please.

There she is. She's Beautiful.

- I met her at The Racquet Club,

we played tennis together, we played golf together.

And then we began modeling together.

All the stores.

- Barbara, of course had been married to Zeppo Marx,

lived across the golf course at Tamarisk.

- [Nelda] We became very good friends.

One of my best friends.

- But like any married couple, once in a while

they'd have differences and she'd say Frank.

I watched him get on airplanes and the moment

we got airborne he'd call Barbara.

The moment we'd land, he'd call Barbara.

But there's no doubt he was the boss.

There was no doubt.

- Tom Dreesen was our favorite guy in the world.

He was the MC for Frank.

- I performed with Frank Sinatra 14 years,

45 to 50 cities a year.

- [Nelda] He was very close to Frank.

- We both adored him.

- When I was alone with Frank it was Frank,

when company was there I'd say Mr. S..

One of the great relationships, friendships

of my life time.

(light jazz music)

Whether we were on the road or off the road,

Frank stayed up till the sun came up.

He was nocturnal his whole life.

When the sun went down and as the night progressed,

that's when he came alive.

He would come and get me out of my bungalow sometimes

at three, 3:30 in the morning,

say Tom, let's take a ride.

I'd get in the car and I'd drive him around the desert

till the wee hours of the morning sometimes,

just him and I in the car.

And he'd talk about his childhood growing up

in Hoboken, about his mom and his dad

and we'd reminisce and talk back and forth.

But I remember one night he told me something

really personal, and afterward he said,

I shouldn't have told you that story.

I was driving, I said, well, it won't go any further

than this car.

And he said, I know.

I know, it's not gonna go any further than this car,

and it's not like we're strangers,

you know we're friends.

And he looked at me, I looked at him and I went,

strangers in the night, exchanging glances.

He said, for godssake, if you're gonna sing

that song, get in key!

He went strangers in the night,

I said, exchanging glances,

he said, wondering in the night what were,

and we started singing that song back and forth.

Strangers in the night

Exchanging glances

Wondering in the night

What were the chances

- And we pull into the compound,

he gets out of the car, and he always hit me,

he said, good night Tommy.

He'd go like this to me, say good night Tommy.

I'll see you tomorrow.

I said, okay.

And I'm going back to the bungalow

and I'm thinking, I was just riding around the desert

with Frank Sinatra.

And it's a memory I'll never forget

being down here in the desert with him, ya know?

- I wanna hear some Sinatra stories, right now.

- This moment.

- Some good ones, so the kind of stuff

that you can't tell everywhere you go.

You know, I want some really good insight.

We know about the public Frank Sinatra.

Give us some behind the stage Frank Sinatra stories.

- I don't have any of those stories

to tell you, I'm sorry. (audience laughing)

- I think he had just mellowed a little bit in the 1980s.

Barbara gave him somebody that he could attend

social events with, it was a good time for him

to be around his kids.

He definitely became more philanthropic

in the late 70s and 80s.

- [Tom] What people really do not know

was how much Frank Sinatra did

for charities around the world.

- I feel that if you're going to do something

of this kind anywhere, the net net is important

if you're doing it for some hospital

or in this case the clinic for the children

and disabled people.

And of course in London I've done many of those things,

also for kids mostly.

And also in Israel, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

I've done several concerts over there.

- [Tom] You know Frank Sinatra did charities all

over the world,

but he specifically did a lot of charity

down here in the desert.

- It was my first year here.

I was the rookie reporter, and every rookie reporter

had to participate in this series

of fund raising stories for the Desert Sun Charity.

So I started writing stories,

and I came up to like the last couple days or so,

and I was a thousand dollars short,

and all the sudden we get a check for a thousand dollars

from Frank Sinatra, ya know?

And that's how involved he was.

He wanted to make sure that we met our goal

and he brought us home.

And I never met the guy at that time.

He wouldn't do that to a media in Los Angeles.

But here, it was his home town,

so he looked at us differently.

- He loved this area and he wanted to help support

this area any way he could.

So he would call me I don't know how many times,

we're gonna do a show for the Eisenhower Medical Center,

we're gonna do a show

for the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center.

(light jazz music)

- Middle 80s, Barbara was serving as a community-wide

kind of ambassador for child abuse,

helping teen girls that had been abused some how

and was doing a self esteem program for them.

Worked in church basements and halls and things like that,

and finally just woke up one day and went to Frank

and said Frank, we need to build a children's center,

we need to take care of kids.

We need to have our name on it, and let's go do it.

And that's how it started.

And they broke ground and opened in 1986.

He put up the first bit of money,

a good significant part of the money.

- He was very sincere and he worked very hard with me

and he worked very hard with the children.

- This is essentially a psychology clinic.

Children come here that have been physically,

sexually, emotionally abused or witness

to some kind of violent act.

They come here for therapy.

They're usually here less than a year.

It's an out-patient clinic.

My job is to make sure that this facility

is here in perpetuity.

To build that endowment, to keep the legacy.

I mean, this is the only charity that contains

the Sinatra name in this country.

(people clapping)

Over 22,000 children have been served here.

- [Woman] And her role models are her parents,

her brother and also her uncle.

- He used to sit in My Way, the bungalow where he had

all of his paintings and he would sit

there till dawn painting.

And by the way, play Pavarotti.

There were times he didn't wanna

drink all night long either.

You know, he knew that wasn't good for the reed either

for the throat.

- Why do you still sing?

- First of all, I enjoy what I do.

If I didn't then I wouldn't be doing it.

I enjoy it because it's a challenge for me also.

And you know, I'm considered an over the hill performer

now at my age, but I do it because I do the best I can

when work, and I don't work that much.

I'd rather do benefits and have more fun doing that.

- So one night in Vegas, 4:30 in the morning,

and Frank is going strong.

I can see he's going into second gear,

we're sitting around with four or five guys

and drinking and carrying on.

I get up and I said, I'm gonna,

he said, hey, where you going?

I said I'm going to bed.

He said, what for?

I said I gotta get up early in the morning,

go to the cemetery and visit those guys.

He said, what guys?

I said, all those guys who died trying to stay up

with you every night.

And he burst into laughter

and he laughed, said go to bed.

And then he made me tell that story.

(sad music)

- Well I think she did it because of Frank's poor health.

I'll never forget the day he drove away from the compound.

And moved to Beverly Hills.

I said, oh my god he was so sad.

- He never would say I love you.

He'd sock me, he'd sock me with his fist,

he'd say, love you pal.

Towards the end of his life, I didn't know

if we were going on the road again.

I went to his house in Beverly Hills

and this particular day he wasn't well.

We were talking and we're talking,

and I got up, I said I gotta go Frank.

I was standing up and he was sitting down

he said, you know I love ya Tommy.

And it threw me, 'cause he never said that before.

And I said something I should have never said,

I said, I love you too.

Get well, we'll go back on the road again.

And the moment I said it, I wish I wouldn't have said it.

I said get well, we'll go back on the road again.

And he put his hand on my cheek and he said,

you're gonna have to go on the road by yourself

from now on Tommy.

And that's when I knew that he knew he was never

going to sing again.

- This hour in Beverly Hills California,

a funeral mass for entertainer Frank Sinatra

who died of a heart attack last week.

He was 82.

- [Reporter] We believe that one reason that they're

having a ceremony here as opposed to Palm Springs

where Frank Sinatra will be buried

is that so many members of the Hollywood community

who are older could come and pay their final respects

to Frank Sinatra today.

- [Reporter] The man they called the Chairman of the board.

- It might be labeled a private affair,

but that hasn't deterred the fans,

they've come anyway.

Even in death, the name Sinatra

is still drawing the crowds.

- Frank Sinatra will be buried behind me

in Desert Memorial Park next to his parents

Marty Sinatra and Dolly Sinatra

and next to his friend Jilly Rizzo.

- [Reporter] From Los Angeles, the coffin was flown

200 km to his home of 20 years, Palm Springs.

There, Ol' Blue Eyes was laid to rest forever.

A shrine in the Californian desert to Frank Sinatra.

- He was one in a million.

He really was a very special man.

Putting aside his music, as a human being,

the wonderful things that he did,

the little stories you hear about when he was tough

or something, pale by comparison to the many wonderful

things he did and Palm Springs was his home.

And if you were from Palm Springs it was like

you were part of his family.

- I think that his love of the desert was outstanding.

We had horses here, we had pets,

we had all kinds of family things that we loved.

Part of our life.

(gentle music)

My fading memories of

The way that it used to be

Make me smile in spite of

All the sorrow inside me

I spend my hours drinking

While I'm thinking thoughts of you

I'll stay here till the morning sun

Gives me something to do

I've waited so long

But it still feels wrong

They told me the pain goes away to stay

I'm trying each day

To start anew

But in my way

Are the thoughts of you

I'm hoping that tomorrow

Will be worth waiting for

I'll find something my heart can follow

And leave our love

Behind the closed door

A wise man said that new love

Is a gift from what you learn

I guess I have to sit here

And just wait my turn

- This town still feels the ghost of Frank Sinatra

and it's a big lure.

The Description of Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home