One Half of an Awkward Conversation: Table for Mr. Sinatra

Good evening, sir. A big ring-a-ding-ding to you, too. And mademoiselle! Welcome to Toots Shor’s. Yes, quite a swinging clam-bake tonight. I hear it always is.

Table for two? I see. We’ve nothing just now. Perhaps for quite some time.

Yes, I’m sure you are ready to wet your whistles. Unfortunately, as you say, the clams are really baking, aren’t they? What name shall I put your party under?

Could you spell that for me? S-I-N-A-P-R-A. Mr. Sinapra, if I could just get you to step aside–

Oh, Sina-TRA, is it? I beg your pardon. As you can see, Mr. Sinatra, we’re rather busy at the moment. Friday night, all of Midtown swinging. So have a seat, and I’ll call you when—

Seated now? I’m terribly sorry, sir. It’s quite impossible. These good people ahead of you have been waiting–

My name is Eugene, not Charlie. And I assure you Mr. Shor isn’t taking anyone on the express train to Prankstown. Mr. Shor really is quite the card, but no, he’s had a minor procedure done this afternoon. Last I heard he has more dope in him than a jazz club act.

No, I’m not a wise apple. No, not a square either. Trust me, if you’d been around musicians like I have, well, you’d understand. I have your name down, Mr. Sinatra. One moment, sir.

Ah, good evening, Ms. Garland. Our warmest welcome to Toots Shor’s. You’re resplendent tonight. And if you don’t mind my saying so, you were a triumph in “A Star Is Born.” How Grace Kelly won the Oscar–Yes. I see. My apologies for bringing it up. The champagne is of course on us tonight. Giancarlo, please show Ms. Garland to her table.

Can you believe it, Mr. Sinatra? The Judy Garland! Listen to me gushing, will you? Where were we?

I’m an 18-karat Harvey? Bombsville? Sir, I’m not at all certain what that means, but I can imagine, and there’s no call for crude talk. To be honest, since it seems I have to inform you, you’re making matters difficult. You see, Mr. Shor frowns on any of the spousal set in the saloon. Our patrons value a certain level of discretion. He couldn’t have stressed that enough. I have to believe that surely also applies to your daughter here.

No, I don’t think your daughter is a chorus girl. She’s lovely.

Oh, she’s a chorus girl, not your daughter.

No, sir. I would never imply you can’t make better hey-hey than with dames from the chorus.

No, mademoiselle, I assure you I would never insult your job. Doubtless you’re as talented as you are beautiful.

No, Mr. Sinatra, I’m not putting the moves on your date. Yes, I am new here. Thanks for asking. Just this week Mr. Shor stole me away from the Little Club. Here I am. My first night, and I luck into front of house. The Big Podium. I don’t mind telling you, it is as sweet as advertised.

No, I don’t remember you from the Little Club, either. But then, not everyone can get in there, can they? Please, I really must see to this gentleman here.

Mr. DiMaggio, I can’t believe I’m shaking the Yankee Clipper’s hand. Might I…might I trouble you for an autograph? It’s for my father. Addressed to Eugene is wonderful. You have no idea how over the moon he’ll be. Your table is ready whenever you are. Giancarlo, please see Mr. DiMaggio back.

Can you believe it, Mr. Sinatra? I just greeted Joltin’ Joe himself.

Sir, I’ll ask you to calm down. I am not a nowhere punk, and name-calling doesn’t open up tables any faster, does it? Please, enough with the rocket rides to Busted Lipsburg. Mr. Shor left me tonight’s V.I.P. list right here, and I assure you there’s no Francis Albert Sinatra on it. You don’t see these other fine people carrying on, do you?

Mr. Gleason! How are you? Yes, I did bartend at the Little Club! I’m flattered you’d remember something like that. Oh, and I see you also know Mr. Sinatra. How delightful. Mr. Gleason, your table is ready. Rest assured Mr. Shor demands we tear up your bill as usual. Yes, a-waaaay you go. Such the wit.

There goes a show business legend, Mr. Sinatra. If you don’t mind my asking, how do you know Mr. Gleason?

You’ve appeared on his program? How lucky for you. Oh, you’re a singer? New York isn’t running out of those, are we? Perhaps you could treat Mr. Gleason to a few bars of “Melancholy Serenade.” It’s his signature tune. You know it? Excellent.

He’s appeared on your show as well? Hard to imagine Mr. Gleason doing off-Broadway. Well, have a seat, and we’ll call you as soon as we can. I really must see to Justice Warren.



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