Peter Munck now a Canadian Billionaire founder of Barrick Gold had set up a meeting for me in the lobby of the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. It was with another Canadian, who had grown up in a town called Timmins, Ontario before moving to Ottawa the country’s capital. He was short. He wore a black suit, white shirt, with a exquisite black tie (something Tom Ford would recreate for Gucci). A hand was extended to me full of confidence, ” Hello Timothy, I am Paul Anka”. “Hello Paul”, I replied as I shook the hand of the man who had written and recorded so many hit songs and I knew them all. In high school with the school orchestra and my band on stage I had walked on in a black tuxedo and belted out My Way. Yea I knew of Paul Anka. Every songwriter has that one song that catapults them to fame, for Paul Anka, it was that one song, recorded by Frank Sinatra, “My Way“.
Paul Anka and Peter Munck had arranged for a dinner at a private residence on the Bridal Path in Toronto, with former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and insisted that all my guest en route in a private Boeing stretch DC-8 (yes there is such a thing ), from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrive in black tie. I firmly told them black-tie was not an option my itinerary meticulously planned had not called for a black-tie event.
There was nothing to fear my guests were jet- setting, stylish people. Style was paramount to Paul, after all he wrote the song that firmly placed Frank Sinatra as Chairman of the board, leader of the rat pack, of the stylish men of style Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford.
I always wanted to meet Frank Sinatra. So many people I knew had an encounter with Frank Sinatra.
There was my best friend Danny Sarnoff who had talked his way into sitting at Sinatra’s guest table in Vegas only to have the spotlight put on him and Sinatra yelling ” Who the “F” are you?” Danny, told me the spot light was so bright there was nowhere to run, not even hide under the table. Sinatra was expecting Henry Winkler.
My friend Bruce Glatman had been Sinatra’s drinking partner. Sinatra used to pay Bruce $100 to stay up and drink with him, till that one fateful night when Sinatra actually tasted what Bruce was drinking only to find it was without the Jack. “What the “F” is this, there is no booze in this”, Sinatra yelled and that was the end of the drinking relationship. Sinatra never spoke to Bruce again.
The very first person I would meet in Los Angeles when I moved to go make films was Jerry Weintraub. I had come armed with my back pocket full of cash thanks to John Labatt’s and few others, and I wanted to buy Jerry Weintraub’s company, Weintraub Entertainment.
Jerry was a power house in music once he had managed Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and John Denver.
In the ’80s he produced such hits as “Nashville,” “Diner” and “The Karate Kid.” Jerry put together Madison Square Garden! Sinatra! Jerry Weintraub! Boxing! which became the greatest concert for Sinatra, live on television around the world.
Later it was Jerry Weintraub who would end up producing for Village Roadshow the “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise.
My friend Alleya Sairah sent me a text one day to come and experience the style of John Allan’s a men club where you can go chill, have a a drink, get your nails, hot towel, hair styled, shoes cleaned all in one go. Wow! I thought, that was pretty cool, and it was located in the fashionable The Hudson Bay Company on Queen Street.
While this in-itself would have been the allure, it was also how this idea came to stylist John Allan that really pulled me in, it had to do with Sinatra.
John Allan had been watching original Ocean’s Eleven, and he saw the opening scene (below) and this idea hit him, men’s club like salon and it was “viola”.
John Allan took the idea and turned it into reality and what a place John Allan’s is. Frank Sinatra and the “Rat Pack” I can assure you would be hanging out there.
The original Ocean’s Eleven opens with Santa Claus, and Christmas in Beverly Hills, so in keeping with the style of Ocean’s 11, I had one of my friends come over to get the full treatment at John Allan’s prior to going to his office Christmas party. What did he experience at John Allan’s. It in this video clip below.
Coming to John Allan’s was like coming home, in Toronto where the journey to Frank Sinatra began.
Did I ever meet Frank Sinatra? That too one day happened. It was the day that Dodger Stadium had been all done up, with palm tress, transformed as if with a wave of a magic wand, for a concert of The Three Tenors with Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti. Seated in front of me were former President Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was seated right behind none other then Frank Sinatra and his wife.
As the concert finished Frank Sinatra turned around and I took the opening to say “Mr. Sinatra” and extended my arm. He took my hand shook it and without any delay I said “Mr. Sinatra I am friends with two people who wrote songs you recorded”. Sinatra looked at me with his blue eyes and casually said “Oh yea and who would that be”, and that’s when I told him about Paul Anka, and my friend Tippy Bushkin’s dad Joey Bushkin who wrote “Look At Me Now”, recorded by both Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney, George Clooney’s aunt. Bringing the Ocean’s Eleven full circle from Frank Sinatra, to George Clooney and John Allan’s.
John Allan’s where all the team are fun, friendly and very professional. If you are a guy, a man, a dude, there is no place else like this.by