The Coolest Guys to Ever Hit the Vegas Strip! ūüėé

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

The Rat Pack

This New Year’s Eve some of us movie junkies are staying in for the festivities. If you’re doing the same, I recommend adding to your viewing list, “Ocean’s 11.” It’s a great New Year’s Eve, buddy movie and heist caper all in one. What better way to ring in the new year than with the coolest guys to ever hit the strip.¬†

Ocean’s 11 (1960)

Ocean'sEleven(1960)Poster

I can just hear Sinatra’s proposal. ¬†How about this, we’ll shoot a film during the day in Las Vegas then party and work the Sands Hotel at night. ¬†Unanimous vote. ¬†(EE-O-Eleven.)

 Look out Vegas, here we come!

The Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Humphrey Bogart (regarded as the greatest male star¬†by the American Film Institute in 1999) originated the concept of the “Rat Pack” with his “Clan.” ¬†He was “the man”, holding court nightly in the 50’s at Holmby Hills. (home of Bogey and his wife Lauren Bacall) ¬†He passed the torch to Frank Sinatra, (an original member of Bogart’s “Pack” who served as “pack master.”) ¬†After Bogey’s death in 1957, ¬† Frank’s boys became his “Rat Pack.”

Humphrey Bogart

Bogart

Performers commonly associated with The Rat Pack:  Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

Angie Dickinson¬†and Shirley MacLaine were often referred to as the “Rat Pack Mascots.”

Rat Pack all

(Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Dean Martin)

Danny Ocean isn’t really a fictional character, he is Frank Sinatra. ¬†You better believe his boys would do anything for him. Except Dean, he was the only one who ever said no to old blue eyes. ¬†Frank really dug Dean’s truthfulness.

The plot revolves around a group of former World War II army buddies (under the command of Danny Ocean) conspiring to rob, on New Year’s Eve, five casinos on the Vegas strip. ¬†When Peter Lawford presented the story idea Frank Sinatra joked: “Forget the movie, let’s pull the job!”

 

Whenever one of the “Pack” was performing at a club in Vegas, the others would show up to support and usually put on an impromptu performance. ¬†While they were in town, Las Vegas was jam packed with¬†admirers¬†hoping to catch a show.

ratpack

 And, over 50 years later, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis, Jr. are still the coolest guys to ever hit the Vegas Strip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The coolest guys to ever hit the Vegas strip

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

The Rat Pack

 

Ocean’s 11 (1960)

Ocean'sEleven(1960)Poster

I can just hear Sinatra’s proposal. ¬†How about this, we’ll shoot a film during the day in Las Vegas then party and work the Sands Hotel at night. ¬†Unanimous vote. ¬†(EE-O-Eleven.)

 Look out Vegas, here we come!

The Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Humphrey Bogart (regarded as the greatest male star¬†by the American Film Institute in 1999) originated the concept of the “Rat Pack” with his “Clan.” ¬†He was “the man”, holding court nightly in the 50’s at Holmby Hills. (home of Bogey and his wife Lauren Bacall) ¬†He passed the torch to Frank Sinatra, (an original member of Bogart’s “Pack” who served as “pack master.”) ¬†After Bogey’s death in 1957, ¬† Frank’s boys became his “Rat Pack.”

Humphrey Bogart

Bogart

Performers commonly associated with The Rat Pack:  Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

Angie Dickinson, and Shirley MacLaine were often referred to as the “Rat Pack Mascots.”

Rat Pack all

Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Dean Martin

Danny Ocean isn’t really a fictional character, he is Frank Sinatra. ¬†Believe it, his boys would do anything for him. Except Dean, he was the only one who ever said no to old blue eyes. ¬†Frank really dug Dean’s truthfulness.

The plot revolves around a group of former World War II army buddies (under the command of Danny Ocean) conspiring to rob, on New Year’s Eve, five casinos on the Vegas strip. ¬†When Peter Lawford presented the story idea Frank Sinatra joked: “Forget the movie, let’s pull the job!”

 

Whenever one of the “Pack” was performing at a club in Vegas, the others would show up to support and usually put on an impromptu performance. ¬†While they were in town, Las Vegas was jam packed with¬†admirers¬†hoping to catch a show.

This performance was on June 20, 1965 featuring, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.   Johnny Carson (known for The Tonight Show) served as the emcee, filling in for Joey Bishop who had hurt his back.

It would be their only televised concert together.

 

Robin and the 7 Hoods 1964

Robin_and_the_7_Hoods_Poster

¬† Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the film is a take on the classic Robin Hood tale. ¬†This engaging musical features the Academy Award nominated song “My Kind of Town” sung by Frank Sinatra.

¬†My favorite number is “Mr. Booze” sung by Bing Crosby. ¬†I love this scene because Robbo’s (Sinatra) club miraculously converts into a mission (due to some clever architectural tricks) to fool the police during a raid. ¬†Robbo’s gang breaks into the gospel version of “Mr. Booze” with Alan A Dale (Crosby) preaching and Little John (Dean) testifying on the lessons of temperance.

Peter Lawford was originally cast as Alan A. Dale, but due to a falling out with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby took over the role. ¬†At the time, Lawford’s brother-in-law was President John F. Kennedy and Lawford had arranged for The President to stay at Sinatra’s home. ¬†However, because of concerns over Frank’s ties to the “Mob”, the plans were scraped.

“Mr. Booze, Mr. Booze, Mr. B double O, Z, E, don’t ever choose.”

Other numbers include:

“Don’t be a Do-Badder” sung by Bing Crosby

“Bang, Bang!” sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.

“Style” sung by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby

My favorite Rat Pack movie reference line is from Clueless (1995).

Cher’s dad talking to her date who is dressed circa 60’s “Pack” style:

“What’s with you kid? You think the death of Sammy Davis, Jr. left an opening in The Rat Pack?”¬† ¬†Too hilarious!!

 

Over 50 years later, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. are still the coolest guys to ever hit the Vegas Strip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fab Five “Days Night” 50 Years

A Hard Day’s Night

July 6, 1964

Beatles hey mister

Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon & Paul McCartney of the Beatles in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

In celebration of film’s 50th anniversary Criterion Collection issues 4K digital restoration

What an inspired idea Beatles manager Brian Epstein had to introduce the world to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the 1964 film “A Hard Day’s Night”. ¬†Naturals for the camera, the lads stole our hearts and delivered a funny, nonstop scream fest! ¬†Paul’s “grandfather” (“villain, a real mixer” ūüôā (Wilfrid Brambell) practically stole the show ascending from under the stage during the middle of a number!

 Wilfred BrambellWilfred B

The film never gets old and always lifts my spirits and brings a smile with thoughts and memories of a glorious time gone by.

Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Walter Shenson
Written by Alun Owen
Starring John Lennon Paul McCartney George Harrison Ringo Starr Wilfrid Brambell Norman Rossington John Junkin Victor Spinetti Maggie d’Abo
Music by The Beatles George Martin
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Editing by John Jympson
Studio Proscenium Films Walter Shenson Films Maljack Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates 6 July 1964 (UK)

 

2001: A Space Odyssey with Pink Floyd

Classic Rock Meets Classic Film. Groove for the weekend!

Listening to Pink Floyd‘s “The Darkside of the Moon” sync up with “The Wizard of Oz” blew up my belief that it was just an “urban legend“. ¬†A few years back – and I don’t think we need to get into the number – my daughter had me cue up “Wizard of OZ”, put on Pink Floyd’s “Darkside of the Moon.” ¬†And holy crap! ¬†It worked.

Here’s a twist: “2001: A Space Odyssey” with Pink Floyd. ¬†Some mind-blowing ¬†fun for the weekend. ¬†Enjoy!

 

“A Hard Day’s Night” 1964

A Hard Day’s Night

beatles hard days night

Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon & Paul McCartney of the Beatles in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

 

In celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary, cities across the U.S. will screen movie on Fourth of July weekend

 

A_Hard_Days_night_movieposter

 

What an inspired idea Beatles manager Brian Epstein had to introduce the world to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the 1964 film “A Hard Day’s Night”. ¬†Naturals for the camera, the lads stole our hearts and delivered a funny, nonstop scream fest! ¬†Paul’s “grandfather” (“villain, a real mixer” ūüôā (Wilfrid Brambell) practically stole the show ascending from under the stage during the middle of a number!

The film never gets old and always lifts my spirits and brings a smile with thoughts and memories of a glorious time gone by.

 

 

Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Walter Shenson
Written by Alun Owen
Starring John Lennon
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
Wilfrid Brambell
Norman Rossington
John Junkin
Victor Spinetti
Maggie d’Abo
Music by The Beatles
George Martin
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Editing by John Jympson
Studio Proscenium Films
Walter Shenson Films
Maljack Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates 6 July 1964 (UK)

 

Guilty Pleasures – “Wild in the Streets” 1968

Wild_in_the_streets_dvd_cover

“Wild in the Streets”

Open up the confessional of guilty pleasures cause this film is mine. Obsessed since I was a kid, I totally related to the “younger generation” running things and not the “old cats” who always mess things up in this country. “Thirty¬†and out” was my mantra. “Old fat cats” only in the game for their own personal gain. Yeah, I was a bit of a rebel. (or so my sister’s always say:)

Directed by Barry Shear
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
James H. Nicholson
Written by Robert Thom
Based on novella The Day It All Happened, Baby by Robert Thom
Starring Christopher Jones
Shelley Winters
Richard Pryor
Diane Varsi
Hal Holbrook
Music by Les Baxter
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • May¬†29,¬†1968
Running time 94 min.

 

 

And don’t get me started on Christopher Jones. Love him, and his hair? ¬†It was awesome! ¬†Jones had that whole brooding, tortured vibe like Marlon Brando and James Dean. ¬†The Christopher Jones character Max Frost was a pop star millionaire who gets “turned on” to the 60’s political scene and decides to exercise his views on free love, youth is the majority, women have rights and ultimately runs for President of the United States. ¬†And it only gets better from there!

 

Max Frost sayings: “Troops”, “Babies”, “14 or Fight.”

 The Music

The soundtrack is the backdrop for the politics. Max and The Troopers deal with current issues of the time (’67). ¬†Voting age: “14 or Fight”.”If I can fight I can vote”. ¬† Ageism: If you’re 50 does that make you more competent? ¬†The 25 and under age group is the majority. ¬†“We have the power”. ¬†Women’s rights: “Chicks would have killed for the vote”.

The Troopers:

Sally LeRoyDiane Varsi

Stanley XRichard Pryor

Billy CageKevin Coughlin

The Hook, AbrahamLarry Bishop

Trivia

“The Shape of Things to Come”, written by¬†Barry Mann¬†and¬†Cynthia Weil, was a #22 chart hit for Max Frost and the Troopers (a “studio group”, made up of session musicians) in 1968.

Nominated for Oscar:

Best Film Editing
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Eve Newman

Best Film
Barry Shear

 

 

What resonated with me then and now? The political implications of organizing and using that voice and numbers for change. But also the nightmare when ideas become an extreme.

 

 

This flick was over the top but had it’s pulse on the fears of the 60’s and a possible dysfunctional future. American¬†International ¬†founders Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson were genius! They were one of the first production companies to recognize and capitalize on the growing teen market. Think beach, biker, monster, drive-in movies. Think American International.

 

American International Pictures
Industry Filmed entertainment
Fate Acquired by Filmways
Successor(s) Filmways
Founded April, 1954
Defunct 1980
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Key people James H. Nicholson, Samuel Z. Arkoff

 

C Jones

 Christopher Jones

After “Wild in the Streets” Christopher Jones only made a couple more films, “Three in the Attic” 1968. Classic 60’s love in fest. The big studios took notice and David Lean offered him the romantic lead in the big budget drama “Ryan’s Daughter” 1970. Reportedly it was on the set of the film he had a nervous breakdown after hearing of Sharon Tate’s murder¬†and shortly after left the Hollywood scene.

His last appearance was in the 1996 crime comedy “Mad Dog Time” opposite Richard Dreyfuss. ¬†In his later years he had a career as an artist and sculptor. He died from cancer on January 31, 2014 at the age of 72.