Since first meeting with Frankie Laine on a personal level, I have been privileged to have chatted with him on several occasion—both in person and at his home as well as on the telephone—and have corresponded with him, by letters written, throughout the years.
It all began when I wrote a letter to Frankie in 1985. It took several weeks to receive a response, but I did. Frankie Laine has never failed me. I have kept that first letter from him. It is his reply to my original letter. And, as far as I am concerned, was the beginning of my true friendship with him.
September 26, 1985
Thank you so much for your very interesting letter. It makes me feel great to know there are people out there listening to me who care.
I don’t know how many songs I’ve recorded—many. I’m happy to report that I’m feeling fine after my surgery and am singing again and recording. I have just released a single, and I am finishing a jazz album, Frankie Laine’s . . . Place in Time. I will have my secretary write to you about our society. I’m sure they would be pleased to have you as a member. They also have tapes and records that are available to club members.
Thanks again for writing, and do keep in touch, as I would like very much to hear from you again.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite personal and in-person lines from Frankie regards this writer. When I brought my girlfriend, Marlene (Marlene and I were married 15 months later), to visit Frankie’s home in July 2000, we had a wonderful visit. Frankie told me several times that I had good taste and that Marlene was beautiful. As we were preparing to leave and standing in the entryway in front of the door, Marlene and I both gave Frankie a big hug. As Frankie was hugging Marlene, he said to her: “Take good care of him; he’s a good guy!”
A Special Letter
Each year, I present a series of presentations that I call Remembering Frankie Laine. I’ve presented this “class” to senior citizens and baby boomer for three years. While I was busy promoting my very first one, I was fortunate the Des Moines Register covered my initial upcoming programs (please see my August blog “Frankie Laine is a ‘Tough Sell’”).
During this time, and after the article was published, I received the following touching letter from an elderly lady:
Dear Mr. Cronbaugh,
I hope you have found your seven students and can hold your class on Frankie Laine. I would gladly sign up, but I am now too old—86—and live too far away.
Since I was about 30 years old, Frankie Laine has been my favorite singer. His voice has always thrilled me, and I have just been in awe of his singing. I knew very few people who shared that passion with me. One who did was my oldest son, Robert, who played the electric guitar and had his own band, the Lyres, when he was in high school. However, Bob died in Vietnam in 1969 at the age of 21. He and I shared so much about music, and his death was a terrible blow to me.
I still get stopped in my tracks when I happen to hear some of those old Frankie Laine hits. It was a thrill to me when I read Munson’s article about you in the Des Moines paper. Frankie just had a voice like no other.
I hope you get your seven students and just keep Frankie’s music going.
Thanks for the memories.
That letter depicts the true Frankie Laine charm and mystique. I can’t end this particular blog with a better memorandum.