The Sinatra Handshake

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April 18, 2013 10:15 AM by Wade Blogs

Frank SinatraWhat does the term “shook Sinatra’s hand” mean?

I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen last night because all things on television are  just too depressing and I need a break from reality for a moment. So I decide to watch Ocean’s Thirteen from the George Clooney and Brad Pitt trilogy of Vegas heist movies. It takes you back to a simpler time (Original Ocean’s Eleven was filmed in 60’s) when the only terror were con-men trying to steal money and not really harm people. I know this is fictional and far from the world we live in. Nonetheless I love these movies.

One of the best scenes in the movie is when Rueben (Elliot Gould) is speaking with Willy Bank (Al Pacino) and simply says: “You shook Sinatra’s hand.” This phrase is not well-explained in the movie. However, it does imply a sort of ‘gentlemen’s agreement,’ an unbreakable code between the members of an exclusive group of businessmen who have been operating in Las Vegas since the days when (Frank Sinatra) was a Vegas performer and a man’s word was his bond. The inference is that one does not attempt to fleece another member of the group. Clearly, Bank screwed over Reuben by making him sign over his investment for a small cash payment.

I’m not saying Old Blue Eyes was an angel and never in the wrong but would the world not be a better place if everyone followed this rule? Stick to your word and honor it. That is why I am sealing all gentlemen agreements with a Sinatra handshake, in my world it is stronger than steel and deeper than any ocean.

Fun Fact for You: Frank Sinatra played the role of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in the original Ocean’s Eleven movie.

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