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Hosted and narrated by John Stamos, The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra is a complicated, nuanced story of one imperfect man trying to redeem himself by pulling off the perfect crime. Did you ever feel like everything’s broken, and it’s your job to fix it? That’s how Barry Keenan was feeling back in 1963. He was broke, unemployed, hooked on booze and pills, and his family was falling apart. Barry needed a miracle. And against all odds, he got one. One day the voice of God came over the radio in Barry’s car and told him there was a simple solution to all his problems: all he had to do was kidnap Frank Sinatra, Jr. For the first time ever, Barry Keenan shares his version of the bizarre story in his own words, from beginning to end.
Snatching Sinatra | Smoke One For Me, Johnny
Series writer Sam Dingman joins John for a discussion about John’s early interactions with the legend of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, how working in his dad’s restaurant laid the groundwork for his long career in showbiz, and why Barry Keenan’s story matters.
Snatching Sinatra | Dippy Dean and the Safe Deposit Box
John talks to Dean Torrence, Barry Keenan’s high school buddy and fellow Baron. Dean tells the story of his harrowing visit from the FBI in the days after Barry’s arrest, and how he unwittingly helped them uncover a damning piece of evidence.
Snatching Sinatra | Frank Sinatra’s Side of the Story
Series writer Sam Dingman talks to Tony Oppedisano, Frank Sinatra Senior’s former road manager. Tony recently published a book called Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours, chronicling his many years of intimate conversations with the Chairman of the Board. In this bonus episode, Tony describes Frank’s experience of Junior’s kidnapping, which he recounted numerous times during their late-night sessions.
Snatching Sinatra | Chapter 10: The Rights
This episode comes out for free on 9/21, and is available early and ad-free for Wondery+ subscribers.
Back on the streets after four and a half years behind bars, Barry gets right back to scheming. Before long, he finds himself rich with casino money, and retires to a farm. But as the years go by, something starts to nag at him: even though the Wes gambit failed at trial, the narrative that Junior plotted his own kidnapping lingers in the popular imagination. Barry longs to tell his side of the story - but what if Frank Sinatra Senior won’t let him?
Snatching Sinatra | Chapter 9: The Stunt
This episode comes out for free on 9/14, and is available early and ad-free for Wondery+ subscribers.
Barry’s trial is an overnight circus, and the evidence against him is overwhelming. But when Junior takes the stand and reveals his compliance with the demands of Barry and his accomplices, the defense team smells an opportunity. Determined to convince the jury that Junior’s kidnapping was engineered by the Sinatra family as a publicity stunt for his concert tour, Barry cooks up a story about a mysterious operative named Wes who put him up to the kidnapping. It’s a bold gambit - and, it turns out, a spectacular failure.
Snatching Sinatra | Chapter 8: The Bust
This episode comes out for free on 9/7, and is available early and ad-free for Wondery+ subscribers.
Barry makes one last attempt to ride off into the sunset with Pam, but by the time he makes it to her house, she’s got company. And it turns out the FBI’s been listening in on their phone calls. After a series of narrow escapes, Barry finally finds himself handcuffed and brought up on serious charges. And then, just as he’s writing out a confession, the man Barry hoped would be saved by the Plan of Operation (his dad) intervenes to save Barry from the Plan of Operation.
My new favorite!
Thank you so much for sharing this story!! This was truly wonderful and I’ll never forget it! I plan to recommend this every chance I get! The host and production was top notch!
Sad this had to end
Thanks to Rob Lowe’s podcast guest John Stamos I found myself intrigued by a story I’d only heard a bit about when I was a kid. Wow! This was fun, informative and nostalgic. I held off binging it and kept it to two to three a week. I’ve never listened to such a likable criminal as Barry Keenan. Would love to hear John Stamos do more of these types of stories.
Truth is stranger than fiction
I’m on episode 6, but this story is amazing and funny. Have been a John Stamos fan forever and I’m searching for other things he’s narrated…does a great job on this! I hope he will do more!