Il Padrone

The story of “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” was unique because Frank Sinatra himself is so rarely interviewed but this story s written in almost a first hand account. The story is about Frank and his activities told through the eyes of a first hand witness, friends, and family. It is important because the viewer is able to easily dive into a part of Frank Sinatra’s life and read about the qualities he had as a man and the presence and effect he had on everything and everyone around him.

This story uses a lot of dialogs and monologs throughout the entirety of the writing often they show direct quotes of Sinatra interacting with other individuals near him. For example,

“I don’t like the way you’re dressed,” Sinatra said.

“Hate to shake you up,” Ellison said, “but I dress to suit myself.”

Now there was some rumbling in the room, and somebody said, “Com’on, Harlan, let’s get out of here,” and Leo Durocher made his pool shot and said, “Yeah, com’on.”

But Ellison stood his ground.

Sinatra said, “What do you do?”

“I’m a plumber,” Ellison said.

“No, no, he’s not,” another young man quickly yelled from across the table. “He wrote The Oscar.

“Oh, yeah,” Sinatra said, “well I’ve seen it, and it’s a piece of crap.”

This could be a great way for modern storytellers to truly describe a situation through a first hand experience. Everyone that is reading this passage knows exactly what was being said and can almost picture themselves as if they were there.

Another lesson of character development this story does well at addressing is the point of view. Often throughout the story the point of view changes from different people who have personally been with Sinatra. “When he strolled into the studio the musicians all picked up their instruments and stiffened in their seats. Sinatra cleared his throat a few times and then, after rehearsing a few ballads with the orchestra, he sang “Don’t Worry About Me” to his satisfaction and, being uncertain of how long his voice could last, suddenly became impatient”. This is a great example of a secondary point of view it is being told through the eyes of someone who was personally there watching Sinatra walk into that room and rehearse. This is a great technique for storytelling because if changes perspective and maintains the same story but through different eyes which makes it extremely interesting to follow.

The last lesson this story does a great job at covering is the realities of group life. Early within the story the author describes in detail some of Frank Sinatra’s close friends. “Leo Durocher, one of Sinatra’s closest friends, was now shooting pool in the small room behind the bar. Standing near the door was Jim Mahoney, Sinatra’s press agent, a somewhat chunky young man with a square jaw and narrow eyes who would resemble a tough Irish plainclothesman if it were not for the expensive continental suits he wears and his exquisite shoes often adorned with polished buckles”. This is a prime example of sharing details about people within Sinatra’s inner circle. This is an excellent strategy for storytelling but is help readers grasp the whole picture and creates more characters than just the main subject. This helps the story be seen as an actual story and not an article.

-Kyle Schrader

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