"Do you know why the kidnappers let Junior go? Because they heard him humming in the trunk."
On December 8, 1963, while Sammy Davis, Jr. was celebrating his 38th birthday on the set of Robin and the 7 Hoods, Frank Sinatra, Jr. was abducted at gunpoint from his hotel room at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. Amateur crook Barry Keenan, 23, and his high school pal Joe Amsler cooked up the crackpot scheme with "seed money" from fellow alumni Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean. Another dubious accomplice, John Irwin, 42, was hired to negotiate the ransom solely for his gravelly, gangster-like voice. Tossed in the trunk of a white Impala, Junior was transported across the snowy state lines to a rented cottage in Canoga Park, LA for safekeeping. A series of eight phone calls were exchanged between the kidnappers and Frank, Sr., each one on a different pay phone which required The Chairman to carry a roll of dimes with him at all times. (This became a lifelong habit and he was eventually buried with a roll of dimes in his jacket pocket.) Frank offered a million dollars for the safe return of his son. The kidnappers held their ground and demanded $240,000 and a deal was struck. The ransom was dropped at a gas station in Carson City, Nevada and Frankie was duly deposited at a Mulholland Drive overpass, a short walk from his mother's house in Bel Air. Junior was safe, the kidnappers got away with it and Frank, Sr. ever-slightly unclenched his grip on the roll of dimes.
Then it all went to heck. The next day Keenan blabbed to his brother in San Diego about the perfect crime and the authorities were summoned. Keenan, Amsler and Irwin were apprehended, convicted and each served brief prison sentences. (Torrence wasn't charged.) It was at the trial where celebrity defense attorney Gladys Towles Root branded Frank, Jr. with the Mark of The Loser forever when she suggested that he faked his own kidnapping for publicity purposes. Naturally, this claim was dismissed yet the stink of the accusation clung to and has defined Junior's legacy for the past forty-six years.
At this point, writing and recording the theme to The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965) was actually a step up.
Frank Sinatra, Jr. Beach Girls and the Monster