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the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Category Archives: Italian Americans

It’s hard to imagine Dean Martin as 100. In truth, it was hard to watch Dean get old. He was the living embodiment of the old joke, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Except it’s doubtful Dean Martin would have changed anything he did. He […]

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Phil Silvers, comedy giant, was born on this day in 1911. He was the man who was always “glad to seeya” and we were certainly thrilled to see him. Best known as Master Sgt. Ernie Bilko, Silvers was the embodiment of the comedic con-man. He gave memorable performances in Top Banana, Sgt. Bilko, It’s A […]

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Bing Crosby was born on this date in 1903. I have hosted a radio show called “Sinatra & Company” for many years and it still amuses me how the Sinatra fans refuse to show the same love for Bing that Sinatra did. And the tired excuse of his personal life and conduct doesn’t work when […]

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I am part of the TV Generation, the group of kids who literally grew up on television. Radio as a narrative medium was over by the time I came around and video games were still in the future. TV was the center of our cultural universe. That said, most of my contemporaries were obsessed with […]

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I wrote yesterday of my first Sinatra concert in April of 1980. In truth, It was the only actual “Sinatra Concert” I ever attended although I did see him perform live one more time about four years later in the summer of 1984. Back in those days, Sammy Davis Jr. used to host a Pro-Am […]

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Heartbroken yesterday to learn of the passing of Vinnie Falcone, pianist, arranger, and musical director of some of the greatest interpreters of the Great American Songbook. Mr. Falcone was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. He played in clubs in small combos and large aggregations starting in the 1950s. In the early 1970s he decided […]

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Two of the “Ocean’s 11” crew – the original crew – shared birthdays today: Richard Conte and Norman Fell. In fact, Conte’s character plays the vital role in the outcome of the 1960 heist film. Richard Conte was a dark, tough looking Italian and subsequently played lots of tough guys roles in the movies and […]

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I read a quote this afternoon from best-selling suspense novelist Scott Turow that addressed a concern I’ve expressed more than once during this baseball postseason. Turow wrote, “It’s character-building, when the Cubs stomp on your heart, and you have to put it back in your chest,” he says. “What will it be like for all […]

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Frank Sinatra’s 1965 Reprise album entitled September of My Years, with arrangements by Gordon Jenkins, has long been one of my very favorite Sinatra albums. Even when I was in my early teens, I would sing along with great conviction to this collection of songs that were all about growing older and looking back. While […]

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It was 40 years ago today that Frank Sinatra brought “a friend” out onto the Sahara stage in Las Vegas during the wee small hours of Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon. Frank had just finished singing and was laying some checks on Jerry and when they finished with the money transfers Frank said […]

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