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“Mechanized Watusi”: Nancy & Mary Ann Mobley’s Swingin’ Grace

December 16th, 2014 by Andrew

Nancy Sinatra

“Nancy Sinatra does a mechanized watusi with the help of a reducing machine while Mary Ann Mobley does it on her own in a scene from MGM’s fun-filled college musical, ‘Get Yourself A College Girl,’ a Sam Katzman production directed by Sidney Miller and spot-lighting a half-dozen
top recording stars and groups.” ~ 1964 MGM press release

Nancy Sinatra

Three years before TV viewers were Movin’ With Nancy, moviegoers had been gyratin’ with Nancy in her second motion picture, Get Yourself A College Girl, released fifty years ago (December 18, 1964). Although the film would not achieve the landmark status of Nancy’s pioneering first television special, its proto-women’s liberation element foreshadowed her anthem of female empowerment, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” as well as the bold statements of subsequent recordings: songs such as “Step Aside” and “100 Years.”
In a 1995 interview conducted by Jon Stewart, Nancy acknowledges that she has been a role model.

“I was like one of the first women’s libbers, I guess.
That’s what we called it in those days: women’s liberation.”

Nancy’s College Girl co-star Mary Ann Mobley portrays Terry Taylor, a student who has been secretly composing hit pop songs with provocatively feminist lyrics, and whom Nancy (as the married Lynne) describes as “a Joan of Arc.” This independent attitude is demonstrated by the rollicking opening scene in which the young women of conservative Wyndham College rebel against the dean’s authority during a ballet lesson.

“Just because you’re a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy!
And sexuality and feminism are not mutually exclusive.”

Among the standout students at the ballet-turned-go-go dance, Nancy and Mary Ann watusi with “an air of [swingin’] grace.” The black and white publicity photo (at the top of this post) illustrates Nancy’s flair for comedy as she incorporates The Swim.

The memorable scene also features the other two members of the film’s quartet of female leads: Joan O’Brien as the instructor (left) and Nancy’s longtime friend Chris Noel (right). Joan had been married to Nancy’s then-future arranger and producer, Billy Strange.

Nancy Sinatra

The eternally graceful Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America 1959, passed away on December 9th.

Mary Ann Mobley sings “Get Yourself A College Girl”

“Let’s not whistle in the dark
It’s time that we ignite the spark
And girls I’ll be your Joan of Arc
Let’s show the world we’re free”

Mary Ann Mobley singing Get Yourself A College Girl publicity photo

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“…With Love, Nancy”: Nancy’s Bibliography, Part Two

December 9th, 2014 by Andrew

Nancy Sinatra

Two years after her foreword for Patsy’s Cookbook had been published, Nancy was a guest on The Tony Danza Show (December 3, 2004), discussing Patsy’s Italian Restaurant and her favorite of their tomato sauces.

“I like the Linguine Fra Diavolo.”

Fast forward ten years …

FRANK SINATRA’S 99th BIRTHDAY PARTY

Siriusly Sinatra celebrates Frank’s birthday
with a lunchtime party at Patsy’s in NYC,
with special guests reminiscing about the Chairman of the Board.

December 12 at Noon ET & PT
Channel 71

 

Patsy’s Cookbook (2002) by Sal J. Scognamillo
This first excerpt from Nancy’s foreword for Patsy’s Cookbook also appears in the booklet of the Sinatra: New York CD/DVD box set (2009). Nancy Sinatra

“My father absolutely loved Patsy’s Italian Restaurant. The Scognamillo family dynasty is not unlike the Sinatras’. Theirs is in food and ours is in music,
but the same kind of passion and love for the family business is required for
success in either field.”

Nancy Sinatra

Pictured at Patsy’s, left to right: Sal Scognamillo, Joe Scognamillo, Tony Bennett, Nancy, and Nancy’s older daughter, AJ.

Nancy Sinatra

“Patsy’s is more than a restaurant. To me it is a touchstone. I have so many sentimental memories–images of my grandparents, my mother, sister, brother, and children. The picture of my father, upstairs at a huge table, showing his granddaughters how to make a rocket from the cookie wrapper by rolling it into a cylinder and setting a match to it, delights me–my children’s bright faces grinning at their impish grandpa.”

In 2002, after the book’s publication, Nancy shared this visit to Patsy’s.

“It was a rainy, blustery night in New York in early December and I couldn’t get anybody to go out to dinner with me so I raced over to Patsy’s which
is a few blocks from my hotel, and picked up a wonderful care package of yummies which I enjoyed in the coziness of my room.
Mmmmm. I 
wish I had some tonight.”

Pictured: Sal, Joe, Nancy, Rose Scognamillo, and Frank DiCola.

Nancy Sinatra Continue reading

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“…With Love, Nancy”: Nancy’s Bibliography, Part One

November 24th, 2014 by Andrew

Nancy Sinatra
Nancy SinatraAs detailed by her Twitter profile, Nancy is a multi-talented multi-tasker. A proud mom and grandma who is renowned as an iconic singer and host of her weekly Nancy for Frank SiriusXM radio show, Nancy is also an accomplished author. In addition to her frequent, fascinating posts on the Sinatra Family Forum and Twitter through which she connects with friends and fans, Nancy has written two acclaimed biographies of her dad and has contributed introductions, forewords, afterwords, promos and liner notes to many literary and music releases.

While Nancy’s work as an author is diverse, her words reveal a unifying theme: deep appreciation for the people and places that have touched her heart.

• Nancy’s Bibliography, Part One covers the various editions of her two FS biographies.
• Part Two looks at her introductions, forewords, afterwords and promos for literary releases.
• Part Three features her liner notes for her own LPs, CDs and DVDs, as well as for other artists.

Nancy Sinatra

Exemplifying tireless dedication to her father’s legacy, Nancy describes her efforts in making
“a forty-year dream” a reality. From the audio book edition of Frank Sinatra: An American Legend

“The process itself was challenging.”

 

Nancy Sinatra

Frank Sinatra, My Father (1985)

Nancy Sinatra

In a 2006 Sinatra Family Forum post, Nancy recalls the inception of her first book.

[Publisher] Bennett [Cerf] was the person who told me to start working on a book about Dad which I did – that very year. It took about 18 years
to complete the research and picture collecting.”

Continue reading

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“I think about you all through the day, my buddy”

November 7th, 2014 by Andrew

Nancy Viet Nam helicopter photo

“When people see war together, they are brothers ever after.
Every American Veteran is my friend
and I have pledged my service to them.
God bless you all.”

“Nights are long since you went away
I think about you all through the day
My buddy, my buddy
Nobody quite so true

“I miss your voice, the touch of your hand
I long to know that you understand
My buddy, my buddy
Your buddy misses you”

“My Buddy” written by Gus Kahn & Walter Donaldson

“All of the people in my generation were involved
in one way or another with the Viet Nam war.
They were enlisting, drafted, escaping to another country
or a marriage and children they didn’t really want.
I knew I had to do something so I called the USO
and volunteered to go and entertain the troops.

“When you are in a war zone
the people around you become your brothers and sisters.
They were then, are now and will always be a huge part of my life.”

Nancy Sinatra

“Did you notice the steno book I was writing in? I took notes the guys gave me: phone numbers and names of loved ones they wanted me to call. That notebook
contained all of that personal information and, sadly, it was lost in the cockeyed travel we had to do, mostly by Jeep, Huey and Chinook.

“It devastated me to think I couldn’t keep my promise.
They gave so much.”

Nancy Sinatra

“In a field hospital outside Da Nang, I held the hand of a man who had not responded to doctors for something like seven days. His name was Jim. The doctor called me over and he said, ‘Maybe you can help.’ I said, ‘What’s his wife’s name?’ Someone checked his chart and said her name was Tilly. I took his hand and his flesh was like fish. I said, ‘Jim, I’m Nancy Sinatra and I’m here for the USO. And Jim, I tell you what I’m going to do. When I get home, I’m going to call Tilly and I’m going to tell her that I saw you and that you were just fine. I’m going to tell her that you’ll be home soon.’ And he grabbed my hand so tightly that the doctors had to pry his fingers open to get me out. The doctors were grinning. One said, ‘That’s the first response we’ve had from him at all.’
The man was in a coma and they had thought he wasn’t able to hear.”

“To this day, I can’t watch anything about Viet Nam–
the sights are just too painful.
I cannot talk about the sights, sounds or smells of war.
I have only feelings–no words.
But I do run into guys all the time who say, ‘Thank you.’

“‘What do you mean, “Thank you?”’

“‘I saw you in Viet Nam,’ a man will say, ‘and it really made me feel good.’

“That makes me feel good.”

“Our armed forces should have our respect and our thanks.
We should remember that every night when we are safe in our homes,
there are thousands of young men and women out there in the world,
far from their homes, just a step from harm’s way.

“There are still thousands of POWs and MIAs
whose families may never have closure.
We should make them part of our prayers each night.

“Three of the best phrases in our language are:

“Hi Mom, Hi Dad and

“Welcome home!”

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