December 12th will mark the 100th birthday of Francis Albert Sinatra and that provides us with the perfect excuse to talk about the rarest Frank Sinatra record the shop has ever obtained… this one-of-a-kind 60-year-old MGM rehearsal acetate for the film, The Tender Trap!
You’re probably familiar with the opening scene of the movie: Sinatra appearing in the distance, at the center of a vast blue CinemaScope landscape, slowly approaching the camera, casually strolling along, hands in his pockets, singing the Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen title song as the MGM title sequence begins. Iconic stuff, right? Well, in the pre-pre-pre-digital era, a scene like that required careful execution in post-production and this 78rpm audition disc (prepared by engineers at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Culver City studios on October 19th, 1955) was part of the synchronization/mixing process.
Unlike a normal record, this disc was created in real-time using a lathe that cut grooves into the surface of a blank metal Audiodisc coated in black acetate. These in-house discs would have typically been discarded by MGM after use, but this record was instead gifted to a studio friend who tucked it away for decades. This MGM version was never issued on record… and notice how different it is from the versions released through Capitol and Reprise!