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Sinatra, Spokesman

Tomorrow Frank Sinatra will join John Wayne and Fred Astaire on the list of dead Hollywood icons chosen to endorse the products and services of major American corporations. Archival film footage of Sinatra has been digitally manipulated so that he’ll appear to be singing the Cole Porter tune “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” at a basketball game in a promotional commercial for the NBA, which will debut during tomorrow’s broadcast of the Boston Celtics/New Jersey Nets and L.A. Lakers/Sacramento Kings games on ABC. The recording of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” used in the spot comes from the 1966 live album
Sinatra at the Sands, recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra.

As when archival Astaire footage was used to sell Hoover vacuum cleaners, and when Wayne’s image was used in commercials for Coors Light beer, the use of Sinatra’s image and voice for commercial purposes without knowing whether the singer would have wanted it that way or not will likely stir debate on whether this practice is right or wrong. The “official” justification for using Sinatra’s image and voice in the NBA spot came from Ol’ Blue Eyes’ family lawyer, Robert Finkelstein, who told Reuters: “Frank had a deep respect for athleticism.”

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Originally Published