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Bill Colleran
Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin
Writing Credits:
Johnny Bradford

The Frank Sinatra Collection brings together some of Frank Sinatra's finest performances on television and in concert. This release combines his first two Timex TV shows from the late fifties.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English Dolby 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 5/19/2017

• None


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Frank Sinatra: The Timex Shows Volume 1 (1959)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 16, 2017)

Back in the late 1950s/early 1960s, Frank Sinatra headlined four TV specials that aired on ABC. With The Timex Shows Volume 1, we get the first two of these programs.

The Frank Sinatra Timex Show (59:15) ran October 19, 1959. This show matches Sinatra with guests Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante and Mitzi Gaynor.

An Afternoon With Frank Sinatra (59:15) aired December 13, 1959. This program connects Sinatra with guests Ella Fitzgerald, Juliet Prowse, the Red Norvo Quintet, the Hi-Lo’s, Hermoine Gingold and Peter Lawford.

As one might assume due to the guests, “Timex” revolves almost entirely around musical performances. Sinatra and the others chat a little between songs, but for the most part, the show consists of one tune after another.

For the most part, “Afternoon” offers the same framework, but it expands a little – not surprising given its guests. While music still dominates, we get dance performances as well, and we find more chat/comedy.

“Afternoon” also offers a more ambitious set-up. With “Timex”, there’s no real theme: it’s just Frank and pals as they sing.

On the other hand, “Afternoon” comes with the notion that Frank wanted to do an outdoor show that gets rained out by an unlikely Palm Springs storm. This influences other aspects of the special, as we see the continued theme – in a minor way, at least, as performances remain the focus.

Though “Afternoon” comes across as smoother and better executed, “Timex” offers the more appealing of the two programs solely due to nature of the guests. Let’s face it: “Afternoon” really suffers on the “star power” front, as beyond Sinatra, it includes few names still remembered in 2017.

I’m too young to have experienced these shows first-run, but obviously I know most of the participants of “Timex” pretty well. Crosby and Martin remain legends, and Durante is close to that level. Gaynor has gotten lost to the ages to a degree, but at least I maintain some memory of her via a slew of TV appearances in the 1970s.

As for the crew of “Afternoon”, Ella Fitzgerald stands as the sole true legend. Like Gaynor, I know Prowse via some 1970s TV work, but she was already a “fading star” by that time, and Gingold is in the same category, though her work in a few notable films like Gigi keeps her name alive.

Lawford was known mainly as the lesser member of the Rat Pack – and also as JFK’s brother-in-law - but that still makes him more famous than the Hi-Lo’s or the Red Norvo Quintet. Both seem to be completely forgotten these days.

It’s too bad Sinatra used up the big-name guests for “Timex”, as otherwise, “Afternoon” works much better. As I mentioned, it seems more polished and coherent, so it may well be the more entertaining of the show, as it just seems like a more mature, sophisticated package.

And yet I still find it tough to pick “Afternoon” over “Timex” due to the star power. I admit that I don’t care much for the musical artists of the pre-rock generation, so while I respect Sinatra and his peers, their music simply doesn’t do a lot for me.

Nonetheless, I recognize the talent on display, so the sight of legends Sinatra, Martin and Crosby together on one stage maintains power. Throw in some sex appeal from Gaynor and a quick bit from the irrepressible Durante and “Timex” overcomes its unsteady production values with magnetic celebrities.

If you don’t care about star power, though, “Afternoon” becomes the more enjoyable show. Sure, it sags at times – the Hi-lo’s! – but it maintains a generally good pace and blends together well.

As I mentioned, the Sinatra specials aren’t really up my alley, but I enjoyed my time with them. They’re entertaining snapshots of a bygone era.

The DVD Grades: Picture C-/ Audio C-/ Bonus F

Frank Sinatra: The Timex Shows appear in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD. Due to those dimensions, the image has NOT been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As expected, the programs showed their age.

Because of the source material, regard my “C-“ as a grade that comes on a curve – objectively, these shows looked pretty awful. Close-ups offered passable delineation, but anything wider became soft and mushy, with artifacts that manifested as heavy edge haloes.

Source flaws turned into a consistent distraction. Through the shows, I saw specks, marks, thin lines and other issues. These gave the episodes a messy feel.

Blacks tended to seem wan, as the shows offered iffy contrast and tended to appear too bright much of the time. This meant the black and white image seemed off and never gave us a particularly good silvery sheen.

Again, in an objective sense, these shows offered poor visuals. However, I had to factor in their age and source for my grade, so I felt comfortable with a “C-“.

Similar thoughts greeted the shows’ Dolby Digital monaural audio, as it suffered from issues related to its vintage and origins. While dialogue and singing showed acceptable intelligibility, these components seemed thin and without natural qualities.

Effects became a minor consideration, but music turned into a prominent aspect of the audio, and the songs seemed limp and without range. Some distortion crept into the mix and the songs never sounded better than decent, as they lacked much heft.

Moderate amounts of background noise accompanied the track, and those issues cropped up on a pretty consistent basis. While they didn’t dominate, they still appeared an awful lot of the time. All of these factors added up to a tinny track that merited a “C-“ due to its source.

The DVD includes no extras.

Frank Sinatra remains one of the 20th century’s biggest musical stars, and we see him in action via the two episodes in Timex Shows Volume One. Both offer entertainment as well as star power from Sinatra’s guests. The DVDs come with dated picture and audio, and the set lacks bonus materials. With a list price of under $10, Sinatra fans will want to nab this package.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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