Frank Sinatra in Kenya and Bruce Steadman in Georgia.

This report consists exclusively of data which was comprehensively acquired by Bruce Steadman, which he published on both 12.19.2012 and 12.21.2012, on the InspectorSmith Forum.  However, this report is not verbatim and supplemental material such as additional references, pictures, questions, answers and precise page numbers have been added.

First, I want to thank Bruce Steadman for his time as well as his impressive and remarkable detective work!  Steadman discovered a great deal of compelling information within the pages of Donald Clarke’s book, “All Or Nothing At All: A Life of Frank Sinatra” (1997).

Could Stanley Ann Dunham have traveled expeditiously and competently to, and from, Kenya in 1961?

Could Dunham have received, commissioned and sent telegrams while in Kenya?

In 1952, nearly nine (9) years before baby Obama was born, Frank Sinatra flew from the United States of America to Kenya. Moreover, he did so on at least three (3) occasions (and probably more) in 1952/1953.  Furthermore, on one of those occasions we know that the total flight time for the return trip from Kenya to the California, United States was less than 36 hours.

Page 131  -  “Sinatra’s last recording date at Columbia Records (no connection with Columbia Pictures) was in September 1952; he was over $100,000 in debt for taxes, and somebody joked that the government would either put him in jail or recognize him as a foreign power. Columbia Records may have lent him the money to pay his taxes, because when he left there he was over $100,000 in debt to them. At the beginning of November, his career at rock bottom, he flew with Ava to Kenya, where shooting for Mogambo was to begin. They celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the Stratocruiser; he gave her a flashy diamond ring, and sent her the bill. (Later she cracked, ‘It was quite an occasion for me. I had been married twice but never for a whole year.’)

The film set, in the Kenyan bush, was hot and dusty, and Ava did not get along at first with director John Ford. When the British governor of Kenya and his wife visited the set, Ford asked Ava what she saw in her ‘one-hundred-and-twenty-pound runt’ of a husband, and she replied, ‘Well, there’s only ten pounds of Frank but there’s one hundred and ten pounds of cock.’ Ford was aghast, but the governor and his wife roared with laughter, and that was the beginning of Ford’s respect for Ava, reinforced by her professionalism as an actress. But she did not feel well (it turned out she was pregnant), and Sinatra was bored and restless.”

Page 132  -  “Sinatra went back to New York for a club date. His reviews were good, but a reporter who talked to him found him ‘a restless unhappy man in his middle thirties who wants very much to re-establish himself and who wants to be an actor, not just a singer playing himself.’ Back in Africa he finally received a telegram offering him a screen test for the part of Maggio. He jumped on the first plane to Hollywood (Ava paid for all the plane rides, too) and Alder was astonished to see him thirty-six hours after sending the telegram. When the test was arranged, Adler handed him a script, but he had read the part so many times he didn’t need it. It was the last test of the day and Adler wasn’t going to bother to attend, but then he got a call from the director, Fred Zinneman: ‘You’d better come down here. You’ll see something unbelievable.’ Zinneman had already filmed the test, and made Sinatra do another take without any film in the camera; this time even Adler was impressed. But Cohn was out of town, and anyway they were also testing Eli Wallach, a first-rate Broadway actor who had never made a film. Sinatra flew to Africa yet again, knowing the he’d done a good test but worried that he’d lose the part to Wallach, and Ava and Clark Gable did their best to cheer him up.”

Lets go over more of what we’ve ascertained from pages 131 & 132 of Donald Clarke’s book:

1.  In September of 1952 Frank Sinatra was in debt $100,000.00 US dollars but still managed to fly to Kenya a few months later in November.  He also made two (2) additional trips to Kenya in late 1952 or early 1953.  It appears that his wife, Ava Lavinia Gardner, paid the airfare for the first trip and perhaps some of the subsequent trips.

2.  On at least one of the flights to/from Kenya Frank Sinatra and his wife Ava were aboard a Boeing 377 aka Stratocruiser.   The aircraft was a large long-range airliner built after World War II. It was developed from the C-97 Stratofreighter, a military derivative of the B-29 Superfortress used for troop transport.  Top speed: 375 miles per hour.  Wingspan: 141 feet.  Length: 110 feet.  First flight: July 8, 1947.

3.   In 1952 there was a ‘British Governor of Kenya’.

4.  Frank returned to the United States in late 1952 or early 1953.  (“Sinatra went back to New York for a club date.“)

5.  Frank returned, for at least the second (2nd) time now, to Kenya in late 1952 or early 1953.   (“Back in Africa he finally received a telegram offering him a screen test for the part of Maggio.“)

6.  While in Kenya during late 1952 or early 1953 Frank received a telegram sent from the United States.  (“Back in Africa he finally received a telegram offering him a screen test for the part of Maggio.“) (“…Alder was astonished to see him thirty-six hours after sending the telegram.“)

7.  Frank returned, for at least the second (2nd) time now, to the United States in late 1952 or early 1953.  (“He jumped on the first plane to Hollywood (Ava paid for all the plane rides, too) and Alder was astonished to see him thirty-six hours after sending the telegram.“)

8.  One of Frank’s trips from Kenya to the United States took a total of less than 36 hours.  (“Back in Africa he finally received a telegram offering him a screen test for the part of Maggio. He jumped on the first plane to Hollywood (Ava paid for all the plane rides, too) and Alder was astonished to see him thirty-six hours after sending the telegram.“)

9.  Frank Frank returned, for at least the third (3rd) time now, to Kenya in late 1952 or early 1953.   (“Sinatra flew to Africa yet again, knowing the he’d done a good test but worried that he’d lose the part to Wallach, and Ava and Clark Gable did their best to cheer him up.“)

Frank and his wife Ava:

Mogambo movie poster:

Please exercise your free speech in the comments section below. There are no stipulations of political correctness on this blog. Speak your mind, give us your thoughts, both objective and subjective. Share your ideas, hunches, inklings or your expertise. Please provide recommendation and corrections if you spot errors in fact within the blog report. Lastly, remember that posting a comment is much like casting a vote, so please do so!

About Lucas Daniel Smith

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
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2 Responses to Frank Sinatra in Kenya and Bruce Steadman in Georgia.

  1. Bruce says:

    The video linked below presents a good view of British aviation capabilities in 1952, at the time Sinatra was traveling back and forth to Kenya.

    Included are some great shots of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser mentioned in the current post.

    The footage in the video was filmed about 9 years prior to what I believe was Ann Dunham’s flight from Nairobi, Kenya via London to Vancouver, Canada in mid to late August 1961, after giving birth to BHO-II at the CPGH in Mombasa.

    Video: Stratocruiser & Douglas DC-4-”Into The Blue”-1952

    Uploaded on Feb 22, 2009 by mcdonnell220

    View the video at:

    http://youtu.be/dTf_RKGlqhk

    The following link leads to my post on the InspectorSmith Forum titled, ‘Traveling in 1961 from Hawaii to Kenya and then back to Seattle was relatively easy!’

    http://www.wasobamaborninkenya.com/InspectorSmith/showthread.php/1169-Traveling-in-1961-from-Hawaii-to-Kenya-and-then-back-to-Seattle-was-relatively-easy!

  2. Pingback: Pregnant actress Ava Gardner flew, both to and from, Kenya in 1952. | Lucas Daniel Smith's Blog

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