Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history
From our archives, 75 years ago
This was a historic day at the Fox Theater in 1935, but nobody in the audience knew it.
The touring “Major Bowes Radio Amateurs” show was at the Fox, and down near the bottom of the 22-act bill was “The Hoboken Four, singing and dancing fools.”
Anybody who knows their Ol’ Blue Eyes trivia will know the significance of that.
One of the members of the Hoboken Four was a skinny 19-year-old named Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra.
Frank and the other three Hobokeners landed a spot on this tour by dint of winning a first prize on the “Major Bowes Amateur Hour,” the 1930s version of “American Idol.”
The entire touring bill was full of winners, however, and the Hoboken Four was by no means the most popular. One smitten female fan waited outside the Fox stage door for an autograph, but not for Frank’s. She wanted to meet Bob Ryan, “xylophone wizard.”
According to Fox lore, Sinatra got in a backstage fistfight with a fellow Hoboken Four member and subsequently was sent home. We can’t confirm that, but it is true that Sinatra left the Hoboken Four around this time in 1935 and returned to New Jersey – and on to bigger and better things.