In a move he hopes will lead to the development of an episodic series about the lives of his parents — iconic “Mack The Knife” singer Bobby Darin and actress Sandra Dee — Dodd Darin has reorganized the management team running the business and creative affairs of the Darin and Dee estates. This comes on the 60th anniversary of the launch of Darin’s career in music, and follows the regional success of the stage show Dream Lover, The Bobby Darin Musical in Sydney, Australia.
Darin feels that musical has demonstrated the continued interest in his father and his finger-snapping signatures. He said the management team is developing a slate of projects that includes a biographical episodic series that will chronicle the ups and downs of his parents’ short marriage, a union challenged by their immense popularity. There is a feature documentary and planned re-releases of Darin’s classic recordings in box set and vinyl. There is even the hope for another feature film.
South Bay Music’s Seth Berg is managing the licensing of Darin’s music catalog, a task he handles separately for the estates of Nat King Cole and Peggy Lee; he also licenses the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin catalogs. Owen Husney, who was Prince’s first manager, will manage marketing and publicity. He has also been a senior exec for Musicland/Sam Goody and K-Tel International. Arthur E. Friedman will produce the theatrical and TV projects with Dodd Darin through Darin/Friedman Productions. They have been working together since 1988, hatching at Warner Bros the feature on Bobby Darin that Darin’s life story was ultimately captured in the form of the Kevin Spacey star turn Beyond The Sea in 2004. Friedman also produced Price Of Glory and was an original investor in Circle Distribution, the indie shingle that launched with the early films of Joel and Ethan Coen.
What does all this mean? Darin said the Aussie musical showed how popular the songs of his father remain, even though the singer who developed heart problems after a childhood bout of rheumatic fever, was hampered by ticker problems and died in 1973 at age 37 in Los Angeles. “This show finally got it right,” said Darin, who wrote about his parents in the memoir Dream Lovers. “It’s got the emotion, drama, pathos, humor, excitement and of course the music of my parents’ lives. It was a thrill for me to see sold out audiences in Sydney laughing, crying and cheering for what is simply great entertainment. The show is brilliant and to me, has the feel of Jersey Boys and Beautiful. It is my sincere believe that it will eventually go to Broadway and travel the world.”
The estate has control of signature Darin songs from “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” “Mack The Knife,” “Beyond The Sea” and “If I Was A Carpenter.” He met and fell in love with Dee on the set of the film Come September. She became a top star in the late 1950s and ’60s with such films as Gidget, A Summer Place and Imitation Of Life. Darin was posthumously inducted into both the Rock and Roll and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.