Sinatra’s Corner

The kiss heard around the desert

Francis Albert marries Barbara Ann in Palm Springs, CA

As the big day approached, people began to fly into Palm Springs from around the World. To welcome them all the night before the wedding, Frank threw a party at a favorite haunt of his, the Ingleside Inn. A Spanish-style resort set on two acres, the Inn had everything, including a pool, an award-winning restaurant, Melvyn’s, and the seclusion we wanted. Halfway through the evening Frank was looking around the reception when he spotted a stranger. Fearing it might be a reporter, he said to Jilly Rizzo, “See the guy at ten o’clock? As you are showing him out, find out who he is.”

Jilly approached the man and said to him, “Let’s go buster. You can tell me what you’re doing here while you are walking.”

The man held up his hands and cried, “But I’m Judge Walsworth! I’m the one who’s going to marry them!” None of us had met him yet. The entire event was like that, funny and exciting and crazy. I had the feeling that absolutely anything happen, and why wouldn’t I feel that way? The impossible had already happened. Barbara Ann Blakeley from Bosworth, Missouri, was marrying Frank Sinatra. (Excerpt from Lady Blue Eyes ~ Barbara Sinatra)

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Mr. S., Me and a VIP

The patio was jammed with customers as it always was on a Saturday night in Palm Springs. In spite of my nervousness the party went without a hitch and it seemed like everybody was happy. Frank had gifted Barbara that day with a new Rolls Royce which they had driven to Melvyn’s. I didn’t hear one word about the wedding that was to take place the following day. Their party started to break up at one o’clock in the morning and there were still customers sitting on the patio. Frank and Barbara were the last to leave with their friend, Jilly Rizzo. My manager and I walked them out to the car. They thanked us for a lovely evening as the valet brought up the new Rolls Royce.

After Frank and Barbara were securely in their car, my manager and I started to walk back to the restaurant, congratulating each other on getting through the entire evening without a problem. Just then we heard a commotion and turned around to see the Rolls Royce stop in the middle of the driveway and Frank screaming at two men, while Jilly was running toward them. There was a camera hanging around one of the men’s necks, which Jilly immediately grabbed, opened the camera and took out the roll of film. With that, Frank told Jilly to handle it and drove off. It seems one of the two men was screaming that Frank Sinatra tried to hit him with the car. Jilly returned to the bar with the manager and I so we could figure out exactly what happened.

Twenty minutes later Mr. Sinatra was on the phone asking to speak to me. He told me that he had not attempted to hit the two men with the car, but rather when they jumped out from behind a tree and took the picture, the flash temporarily blinded him and the car veered off to the side and, that if police were called, I was to tell that was exactly what had happened.

stephmelbarbara

Stephanie Haber, Me and Barbara Sinatra

Frank still graces Melvyn’s

What actually had happened was the following. The National Enquirer had sent two couples, very well dressed. to have dinner at Melvyn’s. They were seated on the patio. The three photographers who had shown up earlier were deliberately obvious so that they could be thrown out and everybody would feel safe and secure…they were just decoys. The two couples that had dinner on the patio waited the entire evening until Barbara and Frank were about to leave. Then the men positioned themselves behind a large tree that the Sinatra’s would have to drive by in order to leave. They then jumped out from behind the tree, took the picture through the car window from a camera that one of the men kept inside his jacket pocket. The camera around the neck was a phony because they knew the film would be taken from it. The camera with the actual picture was hidden back in his jacket pocket. The picture of Frank and Barbara in the car appeared in the following week’s edition of the National Enquirer. I guess they are really good at getting the story.

By this time I knew every photographer in the area and all of them knew I would love to have my picture taken with Frank Sinatra…”Mel, tonight is the night you’re going to be in a picture with Frank Sinatra. Just position yourself next to him and I guarantee you a picture.” I was torn between acting cool with my new date and getting a picture with Mr. S. I opted for the picture.

Mr. S. casually greeted me as my date and I passed by on the way to the buffet table. I told my date to remain there until I took care of some important business and then proceeded to locate Mr. S. I sort of sashayed next to him, the photographer gave me a thumbs up sign,and as he went to shoot the picture, Mr. S. turned around to greet somebody. Every time I positioned myself next to him for the photographer Mr. S. turned to chat with somebody. This went on for 30 minutes! The cat was out of the bag and it was obvious to my lady what my “important” business was. After chasing him like a puppy dog for some time, Mr. S. engaged in a conversation with a certain gentleman. The photographer signaled to me where I should stand and as he counted one to three with his fingers, I popped between them and he snapped the picture. Both Sinatra and the man he was talking to looked at me like I was crazy but had no idea what I had done.

A week later I received the picture and if I had not told you the story you would think that Mr. Sinatra, this gentleman and I had been engaged in a serious conversation! Today the picture proudly hangs in the lounge of Melvyn’s.
(Excerpt from Bedtime Stories ~ Mel Haber)