Inside the Long-Forgotten JFK Inaugural Gala

On the night before John F. Kennedy made history as America’s youngest elected president — as well as its first Catholic one — a star-studded bash, hosted by Frank Sinatra, helped usher in what many hoped would be a new era in American history. But the event also revealed the deep racial divisions that still gripped much of the nation.

The Kennedy family had a long fascination with Hollywood

The family patriarch, Joseph Kennedy Sr., made his fortune in banking and on Wall Street, where his business acumen and ruthlessness saw him frequently skirting lax laws to his benefit.

By the mid-1920s, the East Coast-based Joseph had turned his attention West, drawn to the glamour — and business opportunities — of the film industry. In 1926 he led a group of investors who purchased FBO studios, setting out to become a media mogul.  But within a few years, Joseph’s L.A. sojourn was over, and while many of those he had advised were left deeply in debt, Joseph had pocketed millions of dollars, which helped fund the next stage in his endlessly ambitious journey — politics.

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