Las vegas: the rat pack's center of the universe
the most exciting show in town
Las Vegas was their workplace & playground
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford were five entertainers and friends who spent time in Las Vegas in the 1960's, making movies during the day and entertaining on stage in the evenings. And the rest of their time was filled with gambling, drinking, carousing, some golf, and the occasional sauna. The movies were fun and well received, and the nightclub shows were exciting, with standing room only crowds, and celebrities spotted at every show. It was a phenomenon that energized Las Vegas and made show business history that we still revisit to this day.
Three singers, A comedian & An actor
Frank, Dean and Sammy were three great concert performers and recording artists and any one of them could light up a stage by themselves. Add a great nightclub comedian named Joey Bishop, and a polished actor named Peter Lawford and you've got a show with no equal. In addition to the great songs, there was comedy, some written by Joey and some spontaneous and unplanned. There was even some soft shoe dancing by Peter. As a package, it was the ultimate entertainment event, and that's what brought the crowds of fans and gamblers flocking to the Sands Hotel through the 60's. For more information about the personalities and the tribute artists that portray them to this day, visit the Frank Sinatra authority.
As home base for the Rat Pack, the Sands Hotel and Casino made news with the crowds it attracted in Las Vegas in the 50's and 60's. And at the Sands, ground zero was the stage of the Copa Room. Danny Thomas helped launch the Copa room as its first headliner in 1952, amid a spectacular grand opening with celebrities, journalists and throngs of gamblers and tourists, according to a Rat Pack and Sinatra tribute site. Through the 50's, many entertainers graced the stage of the Copa Room, but in the 60's when Sinatra and company took over, the Sands really found its place in history.
On any given night at the Rat Pack show at the Sands, you might look around in the audience, and spot stars like Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson, Milton Berle, Jack Benny, Buddy Greco, and Judy Garland. On another night you might even see the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. And it's not surprising, since in Las Vegas in the 60's, the Copa Room of the Sands was the place to be, and the Rat Pack show was the hottest ticket in town.
The most famous Rat Pack movie is Ocean's 11, which featured all five of the Rat Pack principals. A film that followed with all five of them was called Sergeant's 3, andthen there was Robin & The Seven Hoods, although in that last one, Peter Lawford was replaced by Bing Crosby. It was in Robin & The Seven Hoods, a gangster spoof, that Frank Sinatra performed the song My Kind Of Town which Frank performed often in concert. Other films produced through the 60's starred various partial combinations of the Rat Pack members, like 4 For Texas with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and Salt & Pepper with Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford. Finally, in 1984, Frank, Dean and Sammy all appeared in the comedy-action film Cannonball Run II, which also featured Rat Pack friend Shirley McLaine.