One day in 1963, Barry Keenan heard the voice of God blaring from his car radio’s speakers. The voice informed him of a redemptive solution he’d long been seeking. An answer to solve his life’s problems with an easy fix; kidnapping Frank Sinatra Jr. Sorry, what? For Barry, this was real. He was just about ready to try anything to undo the knots his life had been tightly tied into. So he was game for criminality, or any means, if that meant saving himself.
Barry was at rock bottom. In addition to his crumbling home life, he also grappled with alcohol and pill addictions, and faced unemployment. As a former securities trader, Barry was now broke. He felt it was his duty to get his life back on track. This message from God, Barry reported, was a shred of hope.
So what did Barry do? He obeyed the voice he heard.
Spoke Media and Wondery’s new true crime podcast, “The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra,” chronicles Barry’s twisted story filled with odds and ends and in-betweens. Barry Keenan joins actor and host John Stamos to recount his story. This real-life heist has some serious Fargo vibes.
In the episodes, we learn this otherworldly realm encounter was not Barry’s first. He reported seeing an angel as a child. Barry walks the audience through his brainstorming process on how to execute the kidnapping. Barry targets Frank Sinatra Jr., decides he’ll ask for a ransom, and will use that money to purchase real estate. The next step is to reimburse everyone with interest.
Barry gathers a group of old friends to aid and abet his endeavor. He’s surprised when his love interest, Pam, gleefully jumps on board. The crew heads to Arizona to stalk Frank Sinatra Junior’s hotel. The group fails to kidnap Junior, and he’s set to embark on the leg of his European tour. But he’s not quite safe.
In the wake of president Kennedy’s assassination, Barry reconsiders his plan, but ultimately decides to move forward. Junior is captured and Barry receives the cash. But, Barry’s plot is foiled when the FBI catches up with his crime brigade and we hear what happens next.
John Stamos heard about Barry’s story a few years ago and was intrigued with this complex, true crime narrative. He wanted to turn it into a podcast, hence the long-form narration with Barry to guide the show’s helm.
If you’re looking to hear a true crime tale where neither blood is shed nor physical wounds are inflicted, you might want to add “The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra” to your new podcast lineup. 10 episodes are slated for release, plus bonus streaming content online.