In celebration of the longtime Point Loma resident’s impending birthday, Laine’s fan club, Team Frankie Laine, will host a centennial birthday bash for their beloved hometown superstar on March 24 at the Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island.
The doors to the main ballroom will open at noon, and a celebratory luncheon will kick off the event at 1 p.m. amid a milieu of hit songs from Laine’s 75-year entertainment career, with hits like “Jezebel,” “Rawhide” and “That’s My Desire” showcased on large video screens flanking the main stage.
The event for the clarion-voiced singer and actor would not be a proper tribute without live music. And who better to entertain Laine’s biggest fans than those who know his work best?
The sultry sounds of singer Sacha Boutros, who Laine discovered before his death in 2007, will open the show, followed by a Las Vegas-style performance by recording artist and Laine’s friend, Bobby Arvon, along with a big-band show featuring Laine’s former director, Benny Hollman, leading the 12-piece orchestra through his famous songbook.
“The stage will support Benny’s big band and a baby grand piano, which Bobby Arvon will be utilizing from time to time. There will be pictures, posters and other memorable items for the fans to enjoy and remember,” said Jimmy Marino, Laine’s former producer and manager.
Laine was a longtime San Diego resident who gained fame for his eclectic variety of songs ranging form big-band and jazz to Western-theme styles. Throughout his career, he earned 21 gold records and sold more than 200 million records, but for friends and fans, he will be remembered for much more than that.
“Frankie will be remembered for his love of San Diego, respect for his loyal audience and leaving us with all the great music he gave us,” said Marino. “He was hard working, very humble and so very talented. He was so unique. All you had to do was hear a couple of words and you knew who was singing.”
With an appeal to such a widespread fan base that spans many generations, his popularity extends well beyond the Peninsula.
“We receive emails from around the world and they keep coming. Now, we hear from kids and grandkids of his fans,” said Marino. “His popularity is probably larger in other countries than it is here in the U.S. We are in touch with his other fan clubs around the world.”
Marino said Laine was more than just a great singer and entertainer.
“He was a very nice guy,” he said. “He loved his audience and always gave 100 percent in his performance. He would always stay after his show as long as someone wanted his autograph or to have their picture taken with him. He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”
Ultimately, Marino and Team Frankie Laine members hope fans simply enjoy camaraderie among the spirit of the venerable entertainer and help carry on Laine’s legacy.
“Frankie’s fans enjoy seeing each other at these events we put on each year,” said Marino. “The goal of Team Frankie Laine is to keep his music and image alive.”
Tickets to the event are $65 and can be purchased online at www.-frankielaine.com or by calling (760) 943-9911.