Nick Edenetti Interview
(Sinatra Impersonator)

Nick Edenetti is in trouble. With Frank Sinatra, you see Nick has been doing a 90 minute tribute to the man and his
music at the Las Palmas Theatre in Los Angeles. Just recently, Nick received a letter from Sinatra's attorney, informing him that Sinatra's name is a federal trademark, and "Your usage of the Sinatra name, persona and unique vocal qualities of Mr. Sinatra are violative of the rights possessed by Mr. Sinatra."
Nick was told to end his "Tribute" show, which he is going to do.
We spoke with Nick about his dilemma.

Q. According to one report, after Feb. 10, you'll no longer be doing your act at the Las Palmas Theatre.
A. That's correct.

Q. So, what happens to you then?
A. Well, we're looking for a new place to put the show. A new revue. Probably into a restaurant somewhere.

Q. Weren't you a talk show host at one time?
A. Yes. I have a talk show on KIEV Radio in Los Angeles. I also had my own television show, which was about a year and a half ago, called the "All Night Show."

Q. And what happened with that?
A. Well, it was just a little bit too much for me, doing it five hours 'live.' It was a variety talk show. I've been asked to do it again, which I just might go into. Right now, I honestly don't know what I'm going to do.

Q. Are you an impressionist? An impersonator? Is your show a "tribute" to Sinatra?
A. It's a combination. I do many impressions. Frank Sinatra is one of them. The play I put together is called 'Sinatra, the Playography," which is a story line on him, as well as, I sing 29 of his songs, in the production. It's dialogue and song, it's not merely just song.

Q. And you've been singing Sinatra's songs for 30 years?
A. Oh, sure. I've been impersonating him for just about 30 years. But then again, I've been doing Louis Armstrong and other people, the same thing.

Q. Prior to the letter being sent to you, had Frank Sinatra ever praised your show or made contact with you?
A. No, not personally. Many of his constituents have come in, including Howard Koch, who is a producer for Paramount, and produced many of his movies. Abby Mann, the writer-producer, as well as Frank Sinatra's daughter, Tina Sinatra. She saw me perform and gave me very nice accolades.

Q. You made music videos with Motley true and Poison?
A. Correct.

Q. What were you doing?
A. Just straight acting. With the Poison video I played a restaurant owner, an angry restaurant owner whose dishwasher was a rock fan. He kept on playing rock music and I yelled at him for not washing the dishes. From that, it goes into the group Poison singing. And then, it fades back to us after the song is over. But I have co-starred in a two-parter on the Bob Newhart Show, that I did Sinatra.

Q. You took a 5 year lease at the Las Palmas Theatre. Do you lose all of that money?
A. You lose all across the board.

Q. What would happen if you just ignored the letter from Sinatra's attorney? Would they put you in handcuffs and throw you in jail?
A. I don't think that's possible today (Laughs.) They can't put you in jail for something like that. What they'll do is sue. For me, anything on that right now, would purely be speculation. Somebody does something that you don't like, or you consider wrong, you take people to court.

Q. Why have they picked "now to go after you? What was the motivation?
A. According to the letter I received, it's based on, you can't have, you can't use his name because it's registered. In 1984. According to the registration and letter, you cannot use his persona or style, basically, without his permission. And, that's what their stand is.

Q. Do you recall the year you met Frank Sinatra?
A. That goes way back, I just got out of the service. That would have to be around 1957 or 1958. I was performing in a club at the time, a place called The Place Pigalle, in Miami Beach, Fla.

Q. Why did the Las Palmas Theatre decide to stop your performances there?
A. It was very understandable. The man who owns it doesn't want his theater tied up in a lawsuit.

Q. Couldn't your show be stopped at another venue as well?
A. Oh, definitely. They can go after me. What can be done about it, I don't know. As of now, I have not been served with a lawsuit. Where it goes from here, is very hard to say.

© Gary James All Rights Reserved