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Las Vegas Legends

Writer Harlan Ellison vs Frank Sinatra

Harlan Ellison vs Frank Sinatra

By Billy Ingram

Here's another great story about Las Vegas legend Frank Sinatra.

Harlan Ellison, Hollywood curmudgeon that had zero f*cks to give if you disagreed with him, and Ellison seemingly had an opinion about everything. One of the greatest science fiction authors and editors of all time, his sci-fi compendium Dangerous Visions is a must-have for any library.

Ellison's 2018 New York Times obit called him, "a furiously prolific and cantankerous writer," he commanded respect from a wide spectrum of fans, many who had never read a word he'd written. “He always said, ‘Pay the writer,’” his longtime literary agent Richard Curtis told the L.A. Times. “That was his motto.”

In his lifetime he published more than 1,700 short stories, novellas, screenplays, even a few comic book scripts. He also wrote for various TV shows including the pilot for Space:1999 and was famous for punching out producer Irwin Allen when he was a writer for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Ellison admitted to being, “a hard pill to swallow.”

Quick to sue about any grievance, he won a $337,000 judgement in 1980 after he took ABC and Paramount Pictures to court over a short-lived TV show, Future Cop, proving it was plagiarized from one of his short stories, "Brillo". It's believed to be the largest television plagiarism lawsuit payout ever but often these types of settlements often come with a non-disclosure agreement so who knows?

Ellison's screenplay for the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" is considered to be the best episode of the entire series. "Terminator was not stolen from 'Demon with a Glass Hand," Ellison was quoted as saying. "It was a ripoff of my OTHER Outer Limits script, 'Soldier.'"

My favorite Ellison book is a collection of essays he wrote for the L.A. Weekly (and others) in the early-1980s entitled An Edge In My Voice. Ellison won multiple Hugos, Nebulas, and Edgar awards.

The 1966 Esquire article Ellison discusses here, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" written by Gay Talese, describes a brouhaha that happened during a billiards game when Sinatra made fun of his outfit. After the confrontation Sinatra's bodyguard asked Ellison to leave. "He says, 'C'mon, what don't you leave?' I said, 'What'dya mean why don't I leave? I have a membership, I'm a member here!' 'Well, Frank doesn't like the way you're dressed.' I said, 'I don't like the way Frank is dressed.' And Sinatra's saying something from behind him and I say, 'Hey you. Shut the f*ck up. The contest for the fastest mouth in the West isn't open, you got the title.'"

It was on again after that!

 

Harlan Ellison talks plagiarism and Hollywood on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, taped soon after his court victory over Paramount and ABC.

 

BONUS: Harlan Ellison does a Q&A with Josh Olson after a screening of Erik Nelson's brilliant documentary, Dreams With Sharp Teeth at the New Beverly in Los Angeles, April 23, 2009.

Las Vegas Legends

 

 

IMDB: Harlan was married five times. He lived in Sherman Oaks at "Ellison Wonderland". He had the same address and phone number for decades, was a non-smoker and non-drinker, and had never used drugs.

 

Stuff you might not find at other web sites - Vegas Legends collects obscure stories about the greatest entertainers of all time! With rare performances from the casino showrooms and from the world of Television.

Frank Sinatra

Dean Martin

Sammy Davis Jr Story

Dean Martin Live in Las Vegas

Frank Sinatra
with Dean Martin

Las Vegas in 1977

John Oliver: Las Vegas Is the Worst Place on Earth!

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George Burns

Don Rickles' Last Carson Appearance

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Angie Dickinson

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Who Killed Elvis?

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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Elvis

Las Vegas in the 1950s

Lola Falana

Don Rickles

Don Rickles' Last Show

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Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

Louis Prima

Pat Cooper

Johnny Carson

Mort Lindsey

Liberace

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Ernest Borgnine on Frank & Dean

Harlan Ellison vs Frank Sinatra

What Las Vegas Looked Like Under Lockdown

Sammy Davis Jr.'s Home Was Looted!

Very Revealing Interview with Sammy Davis Jr.

Frank Sinatra's Last Major Interview

Drummer Hal Blaine on Recording with The Rat Pack

Donny & Marie Are Calling It Quits

Totie Fields

Sinatra's First Palm Springs Home

Phyllis Diller: An Appreciation

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Rich Little

Betty White on Don Rickles

Totie Fields

Sinatra's First Palm Springs Home

Phyllis Diller: An Appreciation

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Rich Little

Betty White on Don Rickles

Elvis' Background Singers

Wayne Newton

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Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme

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Rodney Dangerfield

How Las Vegas Has Changed Since the 1970s

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Vegas Fashion

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Las Vegas Postcards

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