Now he has the affection of Nancy and Ava and Mia, the fine female produce of three generations, and still has the adoration of his children, the freedom of a bachelor, he does not feel old, he makes old men feel young, makes them think that if Frank Sinatra can do it, it can be done; not that they could do it, but it is still nice for other men to know, at fifty, that it can be done.But now, standing at this bar in Beverly Hills, Sinatra had a cold, and he continued to drink quietly and he seemed miles away in his private world, not even reacting when suddenly the stereo in the other room switched to a Sinatra song, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning."[pullquote align='C']Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuelonly worse.[/pullquote]It is a lovely ballad that he first recorded ten years ago, and it now inspired many young couples who had been sitting, tired of twisting, to get up and move slowly around the dance floor, holding one another very close.But if they remain loyal, then there is nothing Sinatra will not do in turnfabulous gifts, personal kindnesses, encouragement when they're down, adulation when they're up. When he is occupying it, seated behind a long table flanked by his closest New York friendsa rather strange ritualistic scene develops. They were from New York, Brooklyn, Atlantic City, Hoboken.That night dozens of people, some of them casual friends of Sinatra's, some mere acquaintances, some neither, appeared outside of Jilly's saloon. They were old actors, young actors, former prizefighters, tired trumpet players, politicians, a boy with a cane.But when it gets to Sinatra it can plunge him into a state of anguish, deep depression, panic, even rage. Sinatra with a cold is Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuelonly worse.For the common cold robs Sinatra of that uninsurable jewel, his voice, cutting into the core of his confidence, and it affects not only his own psyche but also seems to cause a kind of psychosomatic nasal drip within dozens of people who work for him, drink with him, love him, depend on him for their own welfare and stability.
There were middle-aged couples who said they had heard Sinatra sing at the Rustic Cabin in 1938 and "We knew then that he really had it! And they remembered when Sinatra was a failure and sang trash like "Mairzy Doats," and they remembered his comeback and on this night they were all standing outside Jilly's saloon, dozens of them, but they could not get in. But most of them stayed, hoping that soon they might be able to push or wedge their way into Jilly's between the elbows and backsides of the men drinking three-deep at the bar, and they might be able to peek through and see him sitting back there.
He is endlessly searching for literary properties that might be converted into new starring roles for Sinatra.
Whenever he is among strangers with Sinatra he worries because he knows that Sinatra brings out the best and worst in peoplesome men will become aggressive, some women will become seductive, others will stand around skeptically appraising him, the scene will be somehow intoxicated by his mere presence, and maybe Sinatra himself, if feeling as badly as he was tonight, might become intolerant or tense, and then: headlines.
Nevertheless here he was, the man himself, in the early hours of the morning in Beverly Hills, out of range.
The two blondes, who seemed to be in their middle thirties, were preened and polished, their matured bodies softly molded within tight dark suits.
So Brad Dexter tries to anticipate danger and warn Sinatra in advance.