Frank Sinatra and son -- We compare Frank Sinatra, Sr. and Jr. on stage and off

By David Browne and Michele Romero
May 20, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

In a once-in-a-lifetime arrangement, Frank Sinatra performed for five nights at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in late April with an orchestra led by his 50-year-old son, Frank Jr. Then, after each show, young Brown Eyes zipped uptown for his own midnight stints at Tavern on the Green. We couldn’t miss the chance to see them both do it their way.

Classy Eats
FRANK SENIOR: 16-oz. sodas in a souvenir cup, pricey Goobers
FRANK JUNIOR: Cold shellfish cocktails on ice ($12.50)

One Night’s Take
FRANK SENIOR: 5,800 tickets priced between $40 and $60, or approximately $290,000
FRANK JUNIOR: 120 tickets at $25 each, or approximately $3,000

Hep Threads
FRANK SENIOR: Formal tux with elevated heels to help him reach drink on piano
FRANK JUNIOR: Black tie, cardigan sweater, and snappy ”Beatle boots” made for walkin’ (in Dad’s footsteps)

Sample Patter
FRANK SENIOR: ”We got the best musicians in the world tonight, and I’ll fight anybody who says otherwise.”
FRANK JUNIOR: (To two bald members of his band) ”You should put your heads together-make an ass of yourself!”

Family Fare
FRANK SENIOR: (To Frank Jr., who prompts him during the show) ”Frank Jr.-still talkin’ back.”
FRANK JUNIOR: ”He (Frank Sr.) says there are no good new songs being written. I don’t agree with him.” (Starts singing) ”Her name was Lola/She was a showgirl ”

Deja Vegas
FRANK SENIOR: Opening set by Yoda-like comedy relic Don Rickles, on leave from the Catskills and still spewing World War II jokes
FRANK JUNIOR: Orchestral medley of James Bond themes, which conjure images of Don Rickles cashing in his chips at the Sands

Crooning Acumen
FRANK SENIOR: So startlingly robust that you forgive the slight rattle and, despite five TelePrompTers, a few forgotten lyrics
FRANK JUNIOR: Surprisingly good and musicianly-and so bluesy and occasionally woeful that you forget who Dad is