On October 18, 1957 (“It Was a Very Good Year“!), the first episode of The Frank Sinatra Show was aired on ABC. Viewers could be excused a slight feeling of deja vu (“A Foggy Day“?), however. An earlier television show starring Sinatra had appeared on CBS between 1950 and 1952 – also called The Frank Sinatra Show (“They Can’t Take That Away From Me“). ABC’s sequel (“The Second Time Around“) was to include thirteen variety shows (“Let’s Face the Music and Dance“), thirteen dramas starring Frank, and ten dramas hosted by Frank, all taped in advance at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood (Not “My Kind of Town“?) and lasting a half-hour (“Come Rain or Come Shine“). Sinatra would have total artistic control (“I Did It My Way“) and receive $3 million (“Nice Work if You Can Get It“) for the series.
Frank’s guests were a stellar bunch. Bob Hope (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin“), Kim Novak (“The Girl Next Door“), and Peggy Lee helped Sinatra kick off the series opener, one of the variety offerings. Other big names during the season included Dean Martin (“I Get a Kick Out of You“), Bing Crosby, Robert Mitchum, Sammy Davis, Jr., Eddie Fisher (“Love and Marriage“), Ethel Merman, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Wood, Van Johnson, Eydie Gorme, Dinah Shore, Shirley Jones, the McGuire Sisters (“Young At Heart“), Ann Bancroft, Lloyd Bridges, and his daughter, Nancy Sinatra (“Nancy“!).
Low ratings for the drama offerings led to schedule adjustments (“In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning“?). ABC switched to more variety shows, and a majority of them ended up being live broadcasts (“The Way You Look Tonight“). By the time the series ended in June of 1958, fourteen live variety shows had been broadcast, eight filmed varieties, four dramas starring Sinatra, and six dramas which Frank hosted. Critics weren’t generous to Ol’ Blue Eyes (“Please Be Kind“!)- and Frank doesn’t seem to have put his all into making the show a success (“Fly Me to the Moon“!). Reports were he hated to rehearse (“Don’cha Go ‘Way Mad“). As a result, filming for eleven shows was shoehorned into fifteen days (“Luck Be a Lady“), with an understandable but unfortunate loss of quality (“The Best is Yet to Come“?).
Despite the series’ cancellation, Sinatra’s successful career would continue for decades (“Pocketful of Miracles“). Frank always remained a great favorite with the American public (“Let’s Fall in Love“!)(“All the Way“!)