Frank Sinatra at Paramount Theater

Home/Articles/Frank Sinatra at Paramount Theater

Frank Sinatra at Paramount Theater, how did it start?

After leaving Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra on September 1942, Frank Sinatra started looking for jobs as a singer at various places. He wasn’t a member of a band anymore, he was on his own. For two months, he had not been able to find a serious place. Many band vocals that left couldn’t make it, and Sinatra was to be one of them. Things were just like the times before he joined Harry James’ band. But in December 1942, things changed.

Frank Sinatra Young, Early 1940s

In December, the phone in Frank Sinatra’s house rang. It was Bob Weitman, the director of the famous Paramount Theater.

Bob Weitman: What are you doing in the New Year’s Eve?
Frank Sinatra: Not a thing. I can’t even get booked anywhere. I can’t find anywhere to work.
Bob Weitman: I’d like you to open at the joint.
Frank Sinatra: You mean on New Year’s Eve?
Bob Weitman: That’s right.
This was of course very surprising for him, considering that he couldn’t find a place even for a regular day. And now, he was to perform at Paramount Theater!

Frank Sinatra Fans at Paramount Theater, Manhattan

That night, when he was on stage after Benny Goodman in Paramount Theater, suddenly people started to yell and scream. People were like crazy. Jack Benny remembers that day as “I introduced Sinatra and I thought the goddamned building was going to cave in. I never heard such a commotion with people running down to the stage, screaming and nearly knocking me off the ramp. All this for a fellow I never heard of.”

Frank Sinatra Bobby Soxers Paramount Theater

Frank Sinatra: “The sound that greeted me was absolutely deafening. It was a tremendous roar. Five thousand kids, stamping, yelling, screaming, applauding. I was scared stiff. I couldn’t move a muscle. Benny Goodman froze, too. He was so scared he turned around, looked at the audience, and said, “What the hell was that?”

That night was so good that Paramount Theater extended his show first to a month, then to two months. And it was not like some regular show. They used to do 6-7 shows a day. One Saturday, Frank Sinatra did eleven shows, starting at 8:10 am and finishing at 2:30 am next day.

With the help of his press agent George Evans, “The Voice” was born.
After Paramount Theatre, he performed at Riobamba on 57th Street. Needless to say, the club was full every time he sang there. After leaving Riobamba, he returned to Paramount Theatre for another month and also sang at some concerts symphony orchestras.

Frank Sinatra Paramount Theater Bobby Soxers

Nick Sevano: This time, they threw more than roses. They threw their panties and their brassieres. They were nuts, absolutely nuts. (When Sinatra returned to Paramount Theater)

But that wasn’t all of course. He took part in some movies and radio broadcasts. He had a role in the move “Higher and Higher” and “Anchors Aweigh”. And he was also on radio every Saturday, on “Your Hit Parade”, with the Lucky Strike Orchestra.

Frank Sinatra Lucky Strike Your Hit Parade

On June 7 1943, he was going to sing in the studio of Columbia Records for the very first time, and his years known as “Columbia Years” was to start, slowly bringing an end to the big band era…

9 Comments

  1. GLORIA BARTELS October 28, 2011 at 16:45 - Reply

    I WAS AT THE PARAMOUNT THEN. FRANKIE WAS WONDERFUL. I GOT THERE AT 6 A.M., AND HD IN THE LADIES ROOM TILL 4 P.M. I GOT TO THE 3RD ROW. I SCREAMED AND PULLED MY HAIR SAYING “I LOVE YOU FRANKIE”. HE GAVE ME A LOOK THAT SAID -“GO HOME KID”
    P.S. HE DIDN’T HAVE BLUE EYES THEN. THEY WERE HAZEL.
    I STILL LOVE HIM.

    • Josep Montaner Torres April 10, 2013 at 11:18 - Reply

      Josep Montaner
      Sant Carles, 4
      08700 Igualada (Barcelona.Spain)
      josep.montaner @ yahoo.es

      Dear:
      They are a fan of Frank Sinatra for many years and have had the opportunity to attend his seven concerts. Glad that you were in the historic concert at the Paramount Theatre,
      There are several documentaries on the life of Mr. Sinatra containing images of Paramount, but always the same in all of them, and the song you hear him sing is “Night and Day”, but does not match the movement of his lips.
      Please let me say if you remember the songs we sang and if you know if there is any possibility to get the concert DVD. On YouTube there is a short documentary, but only images being accessed without sound audio.

      Thank you in advance for your attention
      transmitting my cordial greetings.
      Josep.

  2. William J. Tedoldi, Esquire March 29, 2013 at 17:51 - Reply

    Following my morning classes at Peter Stuyvesant High Scool on 14 th Street, I took the subway to 42 nd Street for my usual attendance at the Paramount. The bobby soxers were lined up to attend. I tought, ” who is this person, Frank Sinatra” ?. When I entered the theatre I immediately went up the fire exit staiway, across the top and down to the fire exit door, allowing me to get front row…my usual way to avoid standing in line. Following Frank’s performance he looked down at the soxers and said ” you have been here all day, Aren’t your families concerned and aren’t you hungry? The unified response was that he was loved and they wanted to stay. Frank sang some more songs and came back with a tray of milk and sandwiches . As he reached down from the stage I picked a container of milk and a sandwich. This has been one of the most memorable moments of my life.

  3. jane armour January 1, 2014 at 20:49 - Reply

    I have an 87 yr old friend that wishes to know the name of the female opening singer at frank sinatras concerts at the paramount. She was one of the bobbysoxers and has many happy memories of going to his concerts. I have tried to do searches for her to find out names but have been unsuccessful.

    • johnsondottie June 5, 2014 at 17:12 - Reply

      THE SINGER WAS EILEEN BARTON – I SAW MANY, MANY SHOWS…THEY WERE ALL SENSATIONAL….

  4. michael hittman September 2, 2015 at 00:05 - Reply

    Wonderful read. Did Frank ever sing at our Brooklyn Paramount? Have searched in vain to answer this question always asked me as the archivist of the theatre now about to restored. I read he sang with Dorsey at the Rosemount, our borough’s Roseland. HELP, Thanks in advance.

  5. […] Before “Beatlemania,” before Elvis, on December 30, 1942 “Sinatramania” was born here, in what is now the Hard Rock in Times Square, when it was called the Paramount Theater. You can still see the word “Paramount” in lights above the arched window. The Paramount was also where big band leader Harry James had discovered Sinatra during a June, 1939 show. His return to the Paramount as a solo act caused a near riot, you can relive here. […]

  6. Grace February 13, 2016 at 05:16 - Reply

    Does anyone know if Frank Sinatra sang for the silent film “It” starring Clara Bow at The Paramount Theater? My great aunt was a dancer for the show and I am looking for more info. Thank you!

  7. Leo B February 4, 2017 at 01:40 - Reply

    I was eleven years old when my two sisters took me to the Paramount to see Sinatra.I remember the movie was Star Spangled Rhythm with Bob Hope. I remember a lot of screaming when Sinatra appeared .I remember he sang”You Would Be So Nice To Come Home To “to a group of females sitting in a semi circle. It sticks in my brain like “Groundhog Day”
    Does anyone else remember that?

Leave A Comment