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Frank Sinatra: The Main Event (1974)

With an introduction by Howard Cosell and an audience filled with celebrity fans, The Main Event is a real standout show. Filmed live at Madison Square Garden, a venue famed for having huge... See full summary »


Bill Carruthers




Credited cast:
Frank Sinatra ... Himself
Howard Cosell ... Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mike Douglas ... Himself - Audience Member
Woody Herman ... Himself - Bandleader
John V. Lindsay ... Himself - Audience Member
Buddy Rich ... Himself - Audience Member


With an introduction by Howard Cosell and an audience filled with celebrity fans, The Main Event is a real standout show. Filmed live at Madison Square Garden, a venue famed for having huge concert productions and sporting events, the Chairman stands solo and makes the massive venue feel intimate. The audience clearly feels the energy and Sinatra even joins in as the fans are dancing in the aisles to Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. Sinatra's version of You Are The Sunshine Of My Life is a joy to watch. His story telling and anecdotes are as poignant as ever. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Music


Not Rated






Release Date:

13 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Sinatra: The Main Event See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




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Did You Know?


On November 2, 1970 before his self-imposed retirement, Frank Sinatra (b.December 12, 1915), at age 54, recorded the last songs for his personal record label Reprise Records. Sinatra announced his show-biz retirement the following June, 1971 at age 55, at a concert in the Hollywood Bowl to raise money for the Academy of Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund. He finished the concert with a "rousing" performance of "That's Life", and stated "Excuse me while I disappear" as he left the Hollywood Bowl stage. Sinatra told LIFE journalist Thomas Thompson that "I've got things to do, like the first thing is not to do anything at all for eight months ... maybe a year" ... while his wife Barbara Sinatra later claimed that Sinatra had grown "tired of entertaining people, especially when all they really wanted were the same old tunes he had long ago become bored by". Frank's category of song material in his repertoire were his stand-by populist list. Ironically, Frank refused to learn new song material. Any composer offering Sinatra their material was usually turned away unless their song would guarantee Frank Sinatra a winning single chart performance. While he was in retirement, President Richard Nixon asked Sinatra to perform at a Young Voters Rally in anticipation of the upcoming campaign. Sinatra obliged and chose to sing "My Kind of Town" for the rally held in Chicago on October 20, 1972. A CBS TV prime-time special, arranged by his manager Jerry Weintraub, for Magnavox Presents Frank Sinatra, "Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back" on a Sunday prime-time night on November 18, 1973, reuniting Sinatra with his MGM "Anchors Away" (1945) and "On The Town" (1950) feature film musical co-star Gene Kelly, each performing individually and again together. The studio audience members featured Hollywood elite-royalty star personalities including Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball and her husband Gary Morton, Richard Conte, Sammy Davis Jr., Jane Morgan Weintraub, his son Frank Sinatra Jr. and Barbara Sinatra. Sinatra, at age 58, decided timing was ripe for his return to his entertainment concert schedule, having his manager Jerry Weintraub contract ABC Television to book and produce an exclusive "live color televised concert" in New York City's Madison Square Garden. What is unusual for this televised exclusive engagement is that Sinatra's usual 1960s prime-time network color television specials had always been video-taped on a "closed set" at NBC's two largest Burbank color television studio stages, on stage 2 and 4, never with an audience present. The network specials were edited and given an air date several months after being video-taped. On a Sunday prime-time night, October 13th, 1974, an ABC exclusive television entertainment "Frank Sinatra special live concert event" was staged and televised by "ABC's Wide World of Sports - The Main Event", for his triumphant exclusive return to show-biz and out of his self imposed retirement, televised in color and broadcast "live" from New York City's Madison Square Garden arena. The televised "live" show's audience featured many iconic and famous personalities from the Broadway stage, from the Hollywood film and television entertainment industry, important professionals from social, political and sports society elite. The New York City's Madison Square Garden televised concert was later released as a Reprise Records' album under the title "The Main Event - Live". Backing Sinatra was bandleader Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd, who accompanied Sinatra on a European tour later that October month. Sinatra initially developed problems with his vocal cords during the comeback due to a prolonged period without singing. That 1974 Christmas he performed at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, and returned to Caesars Palace the following month in January 1975 (at age 59), despite previously vowing never to perform there again. He began what Barbara Sinatra describes as a "massive comeback tour of the United States, Europe, the Far East and Australia". There-after Frank Sinatra resumed performing on a regular schedule at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. See more »


Featured in Sinatra: All or Nothing at All: Part 2 (2015) See more »


You Are the Sunshine of My Life
Written by Stevie Wonder
Performed by Frank Sinatra
See more »

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User Reviews

The Main Event
22 January 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Frank Sinatra filled the most famous indoor sports arena in the world Madison Square Garden for this concert. A quick look around during audience shots you'll see many a celebrity. The event is introduced by a man more known for sports than entertainment Howard Cosell.

The current Madison Square Garden is either the fourth or fifth arena to use that name. A few months earlier the first entertainers to open the place were Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Like them Frank Sinatra sold the place out.

The vocal highlight for me of all the songs he sang was Angel Eyes. He recorded it for Capitol records in the 50s and it's usually was included in his live concerts. He puts a lot into this version.

I have to say that I was amused by the fact that Buddy Rich was in the audience. These two had a rough history going all the way back to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Never though I'd see him at a Sinatra event.

Frank's usual standard of vocal excellence is met.

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