American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Frank Sinatra Auditions

Application for Major Bowes' Amateur Hour
Frank Sinatra (b. 1915)
Application for Major Bowes'
Amateur Hour

Annotated form, 1935
Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded
Sound Division

In 1935, the first year of radio network broadcasts of Major Bowes' Amateur Hour, more than thirty thousand acts auditioned for the talent contest program. One of the successful acts was the "Hoboken Four." The vocal quartet auditioned as "Frank Sinatra and the 3 Flashes," but was renamed, purportedly by Major Bowes himself. The act won the competition of the September 8, 1935, broadcast and joined one of Major Bowes's traveling vaudeville units. Sinatra soon left the tour to strike out on his own.

The Library holds a copy of nearly every radio and television network broadcast of the Amateur Hour program, which ran until 1970, and every successful application form for contestants on the radio series.

Other Amateur Hour performers represented in the collection who went on to achieve stardom include Robert Merrill, Regina Resnik, Beverly Sills, Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, Jack Carter, Dorothy Collins, and Ann-Margret. Many believe that Maria Callas appeared on the radio program, but research has not substantiated this rumor.

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