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When Frank Sinatra Was A “Communist”

by @ 3:43 pm on May 23, 2010. Filed under Celebrities, Frank Sinatra, History, Music

Michael Johnson at Blue-Eyes.com reminds us that, back in the day, there were those who considered Frank Sinatra a dangerous person:

In 1948, this article appeared in the pamphlet, Red Betrayal of Youth, written by Kenneth Goff…….It concludes that Sinatra was, in a memorable (and laughable) turn of phrase, “swooning the youth of America into the arms of atheistic Communism.”

Here’ an excerpt from the article:

PD*5157289One of the outstanding young Reds in Hollywood is Frankie Sinatra, the young man who expects every young maiden to swoon at the sound of his rasping voice. Yet behind that Dr. Jekyl voice is the voice of Bloody Joe enticing our youth into his deadly Marxian philosophy. Sinatra co-operates closely with the American Youth for Democracy and the C.I.O.-P.A.C. Early this year he was one of eight who was awarded medals from the A.Y.D. for “major contributions to democracy and to the war effort.” He has been active in appearances in racial troubled zones. Other awards were to Peggy Ryan, entertainer; Bill Mauldin, left-wing cartoonist; Slim Aaron of “Yank” magazine; At. Edvina Todd, navy nurse; Edward Carter, Negro service man, and Harry Tannye, Japanese American. Frank Sinatra, commonly called “the voice,” is one of the star performers at A.Y.D. rallies where young people are recruited into the Communist party.

His bold promotion of “bobby sexism” has added to the great waves of juvenile delinquency in America. In San Francisco on March 23, 1946, fifty-six adolescent Sinatra fans were taken into custody by police as they stood shivering in a waiting line in front of the Golden Gate Theater at 4:30 in the morning, six hours before the “voice” was scheduled to appear. The police hauled 53 indignant bobby soxers and three boys to the juvenile home on technical charges of violating the curfew law which prohibits anyone under 18 from being on the streets between 11:00 p. m. and 6 a. m. Most of the children were from Oakland.

One father said, “The police were well justified in picking up the girls. I think Sinatra should be run out of town.”

It’s all pretty laughable now, of course, but there were many on the right in the 40’s who lumped Sinatra, who was a Democrat back in those days, in with the rest of what was then considered the Hollywood left, especially when he made a short film called The House I Live In:

The House I Live In (1945) is a ten-minute short film written by Albert Maltz, produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Frank Sinatra. Made to oppose anti-Semitism and racial prejudice at the end of World War II, it received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe award in 1946.

(…)

In the film, Sinatra sings the title song, and his recording became a national hit. The lyrics were written in 1943 by Abel Meeropol under the pen name Lewis Allen. (Meeropol later adopted Michael and Robert, the two orphaned sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after the 1953 execution of the couple.)

Meeropol was enraged that in the film, the second verse was cut. Meeropol protested against the deletion of the verse referring to “my neighbors white and black” when Sinatra’s movie was first shown.

The lyric was allegedly cut by studio executives because of concerns about how it would be received in southern states.

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