Even you’re in Miami, It doesn’t get much cooler than an evening with Frank Sinatra. In 1965 LIFE photographer John Dominis went behind the scenes as Sinatra enjoyed a two week residency at the Eden Roc Hotel, and he captured the spirit of an entertainer who had ascended to icon status but still had a boyish spirit. On stage he could sing deeply felt tales of love and loss, and at a party in his hotel room he could try to tear away the table cloth without upsetting over any of the dishes.
Sinatra had of course come to the Eden Roc hotel for work, and at night he would fly audiences to the moon with his trademark song stylings.
What came next? Some nights doing it Frank’s way meant a run to the hot dog stand in a tuxedo, with fellow crooner Tony Bennett (above, right) there for company. Then maybe back to the hotel for a game of darts (below).The man in the bathrobe is Joe E. Lewis, the comedian who was performing with Sinatra.
Above, Sinatra set up for his attempt to execute the table cloth gag. His technique appears fundamentally sound. Do not try this at home, but if you do, one of the keys to the trick is to make sure the far end of the tablecloth isn’t draping over the table. If the table cloth has to go up before it goes over, the pullaway will be too uneven. So it helps that Sinatra begins with the tablecloth already pulled back some. You also want the dishes to have some weight to them, because inertia is the principle that makes this stunt work. The heavier the object, the more it will resist motion. On Sinatra’s table, for example, it’s helpful that the ketchup bottle is nearly full.
Said the photographer, John Dominis, “I’d never seen that trick really done. It worked. I was amazed. He didn’t spill any dishes on the floor.”
While the table was a bit of a mess, Sinatra declared victory and flung that tablecloth with the flair of a man who was a master at playing to the audience.
Sinatra bodyguard Ed Pucci could make the cloth go flying too (above). Sinatra (below) was sent rolling on the floor in laughter from the clowning of Joe E. Lewis.
Below, Sinatra relaxed with a massage, tube socks and all. It was a new day, and another audience awaited.