“I DON’T WANT ANYBODY IN HERE WITHOUT COATS AND TIES,” SINATRA SNAPPED.

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From the archives of Esquire magazine, featured in their 70th anniversary issue–

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In the winter of 1965, writer Gay Talese arrived in Los Angeles with an assignment from Esquire to profile Frank Sinatra. The legendary singer was approaching fifty, under the weather, out of sorts, and unwilling to be interviewed. So Talese remained in L.A., hoping Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra — his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-on — and observing the man himself wherever he could. The result, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” ran in April 1966 and became one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published, a pioneering example of what came to be called New Journalism — a work of rigorously faithful fact enlivened with the kind of vivid storytelling that had previously been reserved for fiction. The piece conjures a deeply rich portrait of one of the era’s most guarded figures and tells a larger story about entertainment, celebrity, and America itself. Here are a few choice excerpts from the original Esquire story– a link to the epic piece in its entirety, after the jump.

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Early 1960s, LA — Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra. — Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis.

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I‘m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel.”

–Frank Sinatra

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Frank Sinatra, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something. But he said nothing; he had been silent during much of the evening, except now in this private club in Beverly Hills he seemed even more distant, staring out through the smoke and semidarkness into a large room beyond the bar where dozens of young couples sat huddled around small tables or twisted in the center of the floor to the clamorous clang of folk-rock music blaring from the stereo. The two blondes knew, as did Sinatra’s four male friends who stood nearby, that it was a bad idea to force conversation upon him when he was in this mood of sullen silence, a mood that had hardly been uncommon during this first week of November, a month before his fiftieth birthday.

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Hyannis Port, MA, Circa 1965–  Singer Frank Sinatra with then actress girlfriend Mia Farrow on deck of the yacht, Southern Breeze.  His look implies “Hit the road, Mac.”  –photo by Bill Eppridge for LIFE.

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Sinatra had been working in a film that he now disliked, could not wait to finish; he was tired of all the publicity attached to his dating the twenty-year-old Mia Farrow, who was not in sight tonight; he was angry that a CBS television documentary of his life, to be shown in two weeks, was reportedly prying into his privacy, even speculating on his possible friendship with Mafia leaders; he was worried about his starring role in an hour-long NBC show entitled Sinatra — A Man and His Music, which would require that he sing eighteen songs with a voice that at this particular moment, just a few nights before the taping was to begin, was weak and sore and uncertain. Sinatra was ill. He was the victim of an ailment so common that most people would consider it trivial. But when it gets to Sinatra it can plunge him into a state of anguish, deep depression, panic, even rage. Frank Sinatra had a cold.

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Dec 26th, 1976, Terrytown, NK —  Frank Sinatra is shown in his dressing room at Westchester Premier Theater in Sept. 1976 with (L-R, standing): Gregory DePalma, a defendant in the case; Sinatra; defendant Thomas Marson who was severed from the trial because of poor health; the late Carlo Gambino; and Jimmy (the Weasel) Fratiano.  Kneeling in front is defendant Richard Fusco. Others in the picture were hidden under to bolster the testimony of its key witness. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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A Life Fit For Me | Moe The Chimpanzee

Moe the chimpanzee st. james Ladonna

Moe was certainly livin’ the life, judging by these photos.  When St. James Davis found little Moe in Africa and brought him home to West Covina, CA back in 1967, it meant a new life completely devoted to caring for the chimp.  St. James had signed-on with a merchant ship as a deckhand to see the world and also to escape the glares of the hometown folk that had turned against him for leaving Ladonna (who would eventually be his bride and soulmate) at the altar.  You see, St. James was afraid that a wife would get between him and his hot rods.  A race car driver and a mechanic by trade, married life just didn’t seem to couple well with his plans.  Ironically, it would be Moe that eventually brought him and Ladonna back together, and they lived the life of a happy, albeit quirky, family for many years.  

I only wish I could say that it ended well.  The LIFE photos are of happier times back in ’71.

 

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Menswear Style | The Rules of Engagement

 

One thing I think we can all agree upon– the hard & fast rules of menswear past have pretty much been shot to death.  Personal preference (with good & bad results) seems to dominate today, and the media darlings (celebrities, designers and God forbid– celebrity designers) have done everything in their power to erase what was good and leave their own mark on fashion & style.  The funny thing is– there’s still very little individuality worth noting.  And the real irony– conformity is still largely present, it’s just that there are more uniforms to choose from, which sometimes requires a little more effort to pinpoint the reference– but in large part it’s still a game of follow the leader.  We can all name and probably fall into some of the new categories– the “heritage brand hipsters”, the “denim fetishists”, “the skinny jean rocker”, “the Kanye”,  and the list goes goes on and on and on.

Esquire did a list last year on the new laws of casual style.  With things moving at light speed today, it would be interesting to see which, if any, still hold up?

And we’re talking style, not fashion.  The top picture of plaid man represents fashion– the image below of Kirk Douglas is pure style.  The skinny belt is back, btw.

 

sartorialist plaid man menswear

Kirk Douglas.  Pattern mixing was big for Fall, with guys everywhere layering tartans and buffalo checks-- but beyond the "in your face" look is the subtle art of the gentleman who can do it with a much more subtle and dapper affect.

Pattern mixing was big for Fall, with guys everywhere layering tartans, buffalo checks, etc. But beyond the “in your face” look is the subtle art of the knowing gentleman who can pull it off with a much more subtle and dapper effect by choosing patterns that complement, not compete– but you have to know the rules. The Glen plaid acting very much like a solid in terms of scale and color, adds interest and texture where it would have been just as easy to pair the bold plaid with a solid grey flannel trouser and call it a day.

 

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