August 30, 2011

Guys and Dolls!

by Chris Varaste

The new Sinatra Barbie® doll exudes the superstar’s trademark cool, something I’ve often wished I could do. In high school, I even tried to emulate Sinatra’s song stylings…

A Sinatra LP was often spinning at neighborhood shindigs when I was a teen growing up in New York. Inevitably, someone would break into a rousing (woozy) rendition of New York, New York! That marked the beginning of my own private sing-a-longs with the velvet-voiced crooner. Those vocal stretches were for a worthy cause: my school was putting on the musical Guys and Dolls, and I wanted the part of Nathan Detroit, Sinatra’s character in the 1955 film version.

I rehearsed in front of the bathroom mirror, my hairbrush substituting for a microphone, and pretended I was the coolest cat in the Rat Pack. I even wore blue-tinted Ray-Bans to channel Ol' Blue Eyes preparing to headline Vegas (Baby)! There was only one minor setback — at 15, my voice was a crackin’ baritone/falsetto! I wound up playing a gravel-voiced gangsta who mumbled a few lines and (gratefully) spared the audience any singing.

As a smitten bobby soxer, in the Barbie® Loves Frankie Sinatra Giftset (1999), Barbie® can relate to my Sinatra adoration. A hit with fans of both icons, the giftset inspired Frank Sinatra, The Recording Years (2000), a classic collectible that included miniature sheet music! Now Barbie® is paying tribute to the dapper star as Sinatra Barbie® doll, sporting a sleek update of the idol’s signature style. She jazzes up a swingin’ houndstooth suit with an orange hankie (his fave color) and riffs on the look with a smart fedora tipped at just the right angle to honor the multi-faceted legend!

In celebration, I can state with pride that I once put on my best Sinatra face and — drum roll — did it my wayyyyyyyyyyyy…!

Everyone has a favorite Sinatra song, moment, or movie — what’s yours?


Chris Varaste started out at ABC-TV, producing segments for the Emmys, Tonys & Grammys. A fascination with fashion and pop culture led to his first published book, Barbie: Face of the American Dream – and an appreciation for all things Barbie! His insights on collectibles/brand success have been published in the New York Times, The Economist, and Spotlight Cinema Networks.

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