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Frank Sinatra most familiar ‘Joey’

RitHayworth (from left) Frank SinatrKim Novak starred flashy film versiRodgers Hart's landmark Broadway musical 'Pal Joey.'

Rita Hayworth (from left), Frank Sinatra, and Kim Novak starred in the flashy film version of Rodgers and Hart's landmark Broadway musical "Pal Joey."

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While Gene Kelly created the role of Joey Evans on Broadway, it was Frank Sinatra who put his indelible stamp on the character in the 1957 film adaptation which, inexplicably, moved the backdrop of the story from Chicago to San Francisco, and made a number of other changes. Rita Hayworth, with her great mane of red hair, played Vera. Kim Novak, platinum blonde and wide-eyed, played Linda, here turned into a naive chorus girl.

If you have any doubts about Sinatra’s ownership of the role, just head to YouTube There, in a promotional piece, you will find a still lean and hungry Ol’ Blue Eyes in a sharkskin suit and narrow tie, sitting in a director’s chair and explaining Joey’s very special vocabulary as only Sinatra could do.

Along with defining “mouse,” he explains that a “gasser” is “the very best,” while the key to life is staying “loose” and “poppin’.” He also gives us the nutshell version of Joey’s philosophy: “Treat a dame like a lady and a lady like a dame.”

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