On a chilly evening in December of 1961, a brand-new twin-engine Martin Convair airplane, trimmed in orange and white, touched down at the Palm Springs Airport.
Purchased by Frank Sinatra just a short time earlier that year for $100,000, the airplane had been immediately upgraded to include an enlarged kitchen, a large and fully stocked bar, a piano and a state-of-the-art hi-fi system for an additional $300,000.
The passengers disembarking from the airplane on its maiden voyage to Palm Springs included Sinatra, songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen, restauranteur Mike Romanoff and his wife, Gloria, baseball great Leo Durocher and Dominican diplomat, Porfirio Rubirosa, one of world’s most notorious playboys. The entourage, with the exception of Jimmy Van Heusen, stayed in Sinatra’s home at Tamarisk Country Club. They ventured out for dinner parties at Don the Beachcomber, Ruby’s Dunes and at Van Heusen’s home in Silver Spur Ranch.
Durocher, Sinatra, Peter Lawford and Romanoff also attended a cocktail party at the Indian Wells Hotel held in conjunction with the second annual Music Industry Golf Tournament.
After five days enjoying a pre-Christmas holiday in and around the greater Palm Springs area, they all jumped back aboard Sinatra’s plane, “El Dago” and headed back to Las Vegas.
There is a multitude of ways to Explore Palm Springs, which turns 81 in 2019. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring Palm Springs history.
The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a story whose time and place corresponds with today.
The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Visit pshistoricalsociety.org for more information.