DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

The Frank Sinatra Show with guest star: Ella Fitzgerald (1959)

TV nostalgia trip, but with good music. Juliet Prowse dances, the Hi-Lows sing, Hermione Gingold camps, Peter Lawford mugs.

Published on May 22, 2005

The Frank Sinatra Show with guest star: Ella Fitzgerald (1959)
The Frank Sinatra Show with guest star: Ella Fitzgerald (1959)

Also: Juliet Prowse, Peter Lawford, Hermione Gingold, The Hi-Los, Red Norvo
Studio: ABC TV/MVD Distributors
Video: 4:3 B&W kinescope
Audio: PCM mono
Length: 85 minutes
Rating: ****

What a wonderful bit of video nostalgia, especially for those of us
long enough in the tooth to have seen the original! This was a variety
show on ABC-TV sponsored by Timex – and yes, we get to see John Cameron
Swaze’s folksy commercials for the watches too. This particular show
was from Palm Springs, and live of course, as was most of prime time TV
then. Unfortunately, though It Never Rains In Sunny California (Spike
Jones), it did that day and they were forced to do the show indoors,
improvising in sometimes hilarious fashion with simple props such as
chairs and umbrellas. Sinatra was promoting his movie Can-Can with
Juliet Prowse, so they do some tunes together. Hermione Gingold is a
kick even if the patter she shares with Sinatra and Lawford is pretty
lame, and it’s a treat to hear the clever a capella stylings of the
Hi-Los male quartet again.

The great Ella only performs three songs: Here’s That Rainy Day,
together with Sinatra and vibist Red Norvo; Can’t We Be Friends with
Sinatra; and a lovely solo version of Gershwin’s He Loves, She Loves.
The Gershwin/Love continues to the end of the show, with the Hi-Los
singing Love Walked In, Sinatra singing Love Is Here to Stay, and the
entire cast doing Love Is Sweeping the Country for the grand finale. It
is a kinescope but the image quality is not that bad and the sound is
serviceable.

- John Sunier




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