Watch Out Sinatra


(Fact - Drawn from Memory)


One of the joys of being a Probate and Family Court judge in Boston was the opportunity to review and approve entertainment contracts for children performing on local PBS television shows such as Zoom and Fetch!.  The contracts were always reviewed by an independent attorney, called a guardian ad litem, who was instructed to ensure that the child’s best interests were protected.  For me, when I had confidence that the guardian ad litem had carefully reviewed the contract, my approval was more of a formality. 


I would always try to make these reviews festive occasions.  The children were so outgoing and friendly, it was easy to engage them.  We would run through a series of questions – “What show will you be on?” “Do you sing or act, or do both?”  “Have you been taking singing lessons?” and so on.


On a particularly memorable occasion, a young actor demonstrated remarkable enthusiasm and confidence.  The courtroom was packed with young performers, their parents, the attorneys, and court personnel.  As Judicial Case Manager, Dan Gibson, and I finished up the paperwork for each case, I remarked that while I had met all of these young people over the years and was sure they were all quite talented, I had never seen any of them perform.  Well, one of the youngsters who was about age 11 or 12 jumped right up in front of the whole courtroom and offered to remedy the situation.  He stood at the microphone and belted out “When I was 17”. 


That day, this young actor not only brought some welcome entertainment and enthusiasm to the courtroom, he also brought down the house.


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