FRIDAYS ARE FOR FRANK: “The House I Live In (That’s America to Me)”
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, tensions were high domestically over who might be the next great threat to our way of life.
Despite our hard-fought triumph over the evils of fascism and mass-scale racial degradation throughout the globe, some Americans still saw fit to judge others based upon prejudice or their own baseless paranoia.
Frank Sinatra was a lot of things—he wore his personality flaws on his sleeve, and by 1945 he had already managed to make a name for himself as a short-tempered hot-head with some anger management issues. But one thing Frank was not, was a bigot.
He despised all types of social bigotry—as a man who clawed his way out of the backstreets of Hoboken to ascend to the forefront of the world stage, Frank recognized the potential in all people, regardless of their backgrounds.
With post-war America starting to slide back into the rut of intolerance, Frank starred in a ten-minute short film called The House I Live In, written by Albert Maltz, produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy.
In the film, Frank spots a gang of kids chasing a Jewish boy down an alley. Frank intervenes, discusses the diversity in his own life growing up as a kid in Hoboken, and why it is important to accept all Americans, regardless of race, color, creed or lifestyle.
In conclusion, Frank sings “The House I Live In,” which asks the poignant question, “What is America to me?”
The House I Live In won a Golden Globe in 1946, as well as an honorary Academy Award. CLICK HERE for a link to the film in its entirety, or enjoy the song below.
We’ve come a long way in our history, and we still have a ways to go. But despite our own personality flaws as a nation, every now and then we manage to do the right thing…