Today would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday. I linked over on the Facebook page to a bit I did for the Governors Island website about Sinatra’s 1945 visits to Fort Jay for his Army physical. His draft board had recalled the singer to see if his 4-F classification should be reconsidered. I’d tell you the rest but then you wouldn’t click on the link. I stumbled upon the story of Sinatra’s visit seventy years ago to Governors Island when reading Earl Wilson’s 1976 biography, which had been sitting unread on my shelves for a few years before I pulled it down last week.
It seems a little wartime Frank is in order. During the Second World War performers recorded these V Discs exclusively for distribution to soldiers overseas. They no doubt wanted to do it for the war effort, but their reasons were not entirely altruistic; the musicians strike that lasted from 1942-44 prevented artists from recording any material. These V Discs were the only exception. All the big names recorded them. The strike had other repercussions but, ironically and thankfully, it worked out to the benefit of the boys in France, Italy and the Pacific.