Playboy Interview: Frank Sinatra by Joe Hyams – 1963 – thank you to: Longform Reprints

Portrait of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., & Dean Martin by Phil Stern
Portrait of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., & Dean Martin by Phil Stern

…Playboy: Hasn’t religious faith just as often served as a civilizing influence?

Sinatra: Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they—or most of them—devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. As I see it, man is a product of his conditioning, and the social forces which mold his morality and conduct—including racial prejudice—are influenced more by material things like food and economic necessities than by the fear and awe and bigotry generated by the high priests of commercialized superstition. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m for decency—period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man. But when lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday—cash me out.

Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine?

Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but…

via Longform Reprints: Playboy Interview: Frank Sinatra by Joe Hyams.

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  1. September 3, 2014

    Although I’ve always loved his singing, and think he was a terrific actor, this is the first time that I understood Mia Farrow’s attraction to Frank. I had always thought of him as rough around the edges, not the thoughtful, logical and completely correct man this shows him to be.

    Thanks for the beam of light!

    • September 4, 2014

      A very smart man, and very complicated. I was struck by this interview as well.

  2. Laura Cook
    September 3, 2014

    Wow, this swinger has obviously done some thinking about what was going on in his world. And still appropriate for today. Thanks for sharing.

    • September 4, 2014

      Hi Laura,
      It’s such a thoughtful piece, and there are very few publications I can think of today where the interview would have been as in depth, or wouldn’t have been controlled by PR. It’s a breath of fresh air.
      Thank you, for dropping in!

  3. September 3, 2014

    A decent man. 🙂

    • September 4, 2014

      In a certain way it reminded me of those interviews from the early sixties about the Civil Rights Movement. Very compelling.

  4. September 3, 2014

    I’d love it if you popped over to my blog–my post today I would welcome your thoughts. 🙂

    • September 4, 2014

      I will be there in a minute. 🙂

  5. September 4, 2014

    Great post – and I agree wholeheartedly with him!

    • September 4, 2014

      Blue Eyes, the wise… I think I’ll have to play some Sinatra and finish my coffee 😉 .

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