Rat Pack: Sammy Davis, Jr. Performing with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Johnny Carson





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Published on Sep 12, 2011

After this show originally aired in 1965 on a closed-circuit TV transmission under the title The Frank Sinatra Spectacular, an edited version was screened during 1997 in the NYC/L.A. theaters of the Museum of Television & Radio as The Rat Pack Captured: The Only Television Performance. The 90-minute version telecast on Nick at Nite's TV Land in 1998 was part of The Museum of Television & Radio Showcase series. The show is the only known concert recording of the Rat Pack, capturing the on-stage antics and raucous camaraderie that Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin made famous at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas during the five years following their appearance together in the Vegas casino caper comedy Ocean's 11 (1960). On June 20, 1965, Frank Sinatra organized a "summit meeting" of the Rat Pack in St. Louis as a benefit for Dismas House of St. Louis, the first halfway house for ex-convicts. Staged at St. Louis' Kiel Opera House, the evening was televised via closed-circuit to select locations, where ticket buyers watched the live performance on screen. Martin, Davis, and Sinatra each take turns in the spotlight for a selection of songs. After Davis goes galvanic with his drums and vocal on "I've Got You Under My Skin," he ring-a-dings comedic chimes with ten impressions during "One for My Baby."

With Quincy Jones leading the Count Basie Orchestra, the Sinatra standards include "Luck Be a Lady," "You Make Me Feel So Young," and "Get Me to the Church on Time." Sinatra is hip, compelling, and very relaxed -- despite heckling from the wings by Davis and Martin during one Sinatra number. For the finale, the trio was joined by a somewhat stiff and uncomfortable looking Johnny Carson (substituting for the Rat Pack's Joey Bishop, ailing with a bad back). At that time, Carson had been the Tonight Show host for less than three years. Sharing the stage for 15 minutes, the four unleashed gags, comedy antics, and impressions -- closing with "Birth of the Blues."

This program was discovered by producer Paul Brownstein who saw a St. Louis clip of Sinatra and Davis (donated from Sinatra family archives) while watching the CBS Sinatra birthday special (Sinatra at 50). Brownstein saw two TV cameras at the edge of the stage, which led him to believe the entire performance had been televised and recorded. After extensive research, he eventually located a copy of the show sitting in a closet of a secretary's office at Dismas House, where it had been since 1965.

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About Sammy Davis, Jr: Me and My Shadow by Arthur Silber, Jr.

Read the definitive biography about one of the greatest entertainers in history and all the great celebrities he met and mingled with along the way. For over 23 years, beginning in 1949, Arthur Silber Jr. and Sammy Davis Jr. were practically inseparable. They were not only business partners but the closest of friends. As Sammy began to carve out his niche as a solo star, they celebrated the triumphs, suffered the insults and braved the dangers in a world about to go through dramatic changes.

From Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack to Kim Novak and Eddie Cantor, throughout the pages of this book you will read stories never told, see pictures never seen by the public, and get the real story from one who lived it with Sammy Davis Jr. New York, Las Vegas, London and all places in between are visited as Sammy and Arthur make a journey of personal and professional discovery in the midst of fun, great and scary times as millions come to fully appreciate the absolutely mind blowing talent of a man now popularly recognized by just one word, Sammy.

About Arthur Silber, Jr:

My first big professional break came when I was twenty and Sammy Davis Jr. hired me as his personal assistant and lighting director, a position I remained in for over twenty-two years. It would be impossible to measure everything I learned from Sammy about show business.

He was the consummate professional, a genius at his craft. During that time we became business partners and formed Samart Enterprises, which I still own to this day. Some of the highlights of my years with Sammy were when I staged and produced his portions of three Royal Command Performances.

The first was for Queen Elizabeth in London 1960. Then, in 1961 I staged and produced Sammy's portion of Princess Grace Rainier Red Cross Gala in Monaco for their Royal Family, and finally, a performance for England's Queen Mother. Over the years I produced and co-produced many of Sammy's shows including Englandís Best TV Show of the year, 1961, Sammy Meets The British, and the following year Sammy Meets Girls. For eleven years I was company manager, production manager and lighting director for the Lettermen during the height of their popularity.


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