The Rat Pack

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  • The “Rat Pack” was the name used by the media to refer to a group of entertainers who frequently performed in Las Vegas during the 60s. The 3 leaders of the Pack were singers Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The other 2 members were entertainers Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
  • The original Rat Pack dates to the 50s, evolving from entertainers who used to hangout with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It included celebrities Judy Garland, David Niven, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracey, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison and others.
  • The 60s version was huge for Las Vegas. When one of the performers was scheduled for a concert, frequently the rest of the Pack would show up for an impromptu mega-concert. As their reputation to do this grew, high rollers would pour into Las Vegas to be part of the experience.
  • They also performed together in 3 films in the early 60s – Ocean’s 11, Sergeants 3 and Robin and the 7 Hoods. Only the last of these was a musical film.
  • Their only televised concert together was in St. Louis in 1965, a fundraiser for a charity. It was a closed-circuit broadcast that was fed live to movie theaters across the country.
  • Davis, Martin and Sinatra were huge stars in the day. Davis won a Lifetime Grammy award in 2001, and his song What Kind of Fool Am I? was given a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2002. He released 89 singles, including a surprise #1 hit in 1972 with The Candy Man. He won an Emmy award and was selected for a Kennedy Center Honors award in 1987. He died in 1990. Martin performed in over 60 films (many famously with comedian Jerry Lewis), made numerous television specials, and The Dean Martin Show was a long running variety show that won a Golden Globe award, running for 264 episodes. He released 33 studio albums and had 108 singles, including the #1 hits Memories Are Made of This and Everybody Loves Somebody and his signature piece, That’s Amore. In 2009, he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He died in 1995. Sinatra’s legacy eclipsed Davis’ and Martin’s. His records sold over 150 million copies worldwide, with 59 studio albums and 297 singles spanning 7 decades – perhaps the most famous is Theme From New York, New York. He won 11 Grammy awards. He was accomplished as an actor in over 70 films, winning an Oscar for From Here To Eternity, and 4 Golden Globes. He was selected for a Kennedy Center Honors award in 1983, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985 and a Congressional Gold Medal in 1998, the year of his death.
  • Here’s a clip from the 1965 charity concert that they did. It’s pretty cool – including the emcee of the show, Johnny Carson, and their acknowledgement of the band director, Quincy Jones, who became one of the most accomplished figures in music history. Enjoy!

 

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