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Roadhouse Nights

A monologue by Frank Sinatra

I would like to tell you a short story about Mr. Porter and myself. Many many years ago when I was a young man, I was working in what we used to call in those days, a roadhouse, in an area called Englewood, New Jersey, on the Route 9W. It was just across the river from New York, across the George Washington Bridge.
One Sunday evening, when there were about thirty or forty people present in the club, I was working with an orchestra where I was the head waiter, vocalist with the orchestra, answering telephones, and making out the regular programs. It was the usual quiet Sunday evening, sometime about August or September, and a party of people arrived. I noticed, because of photographs, a man who resembled Mr. Porter. Of course I was absolutely astounded to be in the same room with him.
I have been singing only a year and a half or two years, and have tried to sing as much Cole Porter as I could. I enjoyed singing his lyrics. And for another reason. Mr. Porter, unlike Mr. Rodgers, doesn’t go out and get loaded because of any arrangements that somebody else made of his music. Mr. Porter was a very liberal man in that sense. He really didn’t care how you arranged it as long as you did the song in its entirety, even if you change the tempo from a slow fourth or a twelve eighth. It did not make any difference to him.
He came into the room and I very bravely said to the poor souls sitting in the dark room: “We have with us this evening, ladies and gentlemen, one of the greatest artists of our musical world in America, a man of great renown,” and I went on and on and on, and gave him the greatest build-up since Charles Lindbergh. I proceeded to have him take a bow. I asked him would he take a bow and he did, and stared daggers at me. That is when I found out he was a snob, by the way, that was the first time. He hated the whole idea being introduced in a beaten-down nightclub.
Then I proceeded to sing this great song which I dedicated to him. And forgot all the words. That’s an absolutely true statement. I was so nervous I forgot all the words. So tonight I put all of them down on paper, so it won’t happen again. And… (he proceeds to sing and stops)… by the way, who tuned that piano, Irving Berlin for this program? (Sinatra then sings a Cole Porter song)

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