Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good afternoon bloggers! Last night I wrote a quick bio on the Ratpack, the group of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin who often performed together. Like many of you may have, I got my first real taste of the big band jazz and some blues thrown in from Fallout 3, sure I'd heard some of it before but I didn't really listen to it consistently until I played that game.

I would listen to the music in Fallout 3 all the time while I was playing it, but when I wasn't I would stick to more modern stuff. Not until the release of Fallout New Vegas did I really get hooked on the big band music. The song featured 2 members of the rat pack (Dean Martin with "Somethings Gotta Give" and Frank Sinatra with his rendition of "Blue Moon"), the rat pack, coupled with the familiar blues of the Ink Spots, the game not only had me hooked but the music did as well.

Now back to the subject at hand. I will now give you a biography on the ratpack, enjoy!

Through my research I have learned a lot of things I didn't know before. The rat pack was actually a social drinking club started by Humphrey Bogart in the early 1950's. This club was known as the Holmbly Hills Rat Pack, and was centered around Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The original group did not include Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr. at that time.

But tragedy struck in 1957, and Bogart seemingly succumb to his fame, and weighing only 80 pounds fell in to a coma and never awoke.

This left Frank Sinatra as the head of the rat pack. And he began to associate himself with new stars such as Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford and Shirley Maclaine. After the death of Bogart, people who were members of the rat pack no longer referred to it by that name, it was simply a name members of the public and media, would call the rat pack, and it was a name that stuck.

In 1959 the rat pack came to public prominence. That year was the first time a member appeared on another members album (Frank Sinatra conducted for Dean Martins album "sleep warm"), Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley Maclaine starred in the film "Some Came Running", and it was the first year they appeared on stage together (Frank Sinatra appeared unnanounced at one of Dean Martin's shows at the sands)

After that historic night showing up unannounced at each others shows became a regular gig. This caused excitement and sold out shows nearly every night for the swingers. Some hotels would even write on their signs "Dean Martin- Maybe Frank- Maybe Sammy".Their constant shows created a country-wide buzz and gained them fame all around the United States.

After this, the rat pack released their greatest and most memorable project to date, Oceans 11. The rat pack filmed this movie during the day and then performed during the night, much to the delight of the sands, their new regular home. 

Dean Lawford, who was a prominent member of the rat pack, was also the brother-in-law of president John F. Kennedy. That relation led to the rat pack doing many media appearances supporting the democrats. The attention no doubt helped, and JFK was invited to a performance, which included a custom built helipad. But JFK's brother , Robert, advised him to sever all ties with Frank Sinatra, and Kennedy canceled his stay and stayed with Rat Pack rival Bing Crosby.

This infuriated Sinatra, and Frankie immediately blamed Lawford for it. Sinatra then wrote Lawford out of upcoming movie "4 for texas" and he was replaced by Bing Crosby himself in the movie "Robin and the 7 Hoods). This was the beginning of tensions within the rat pack, and Sinatra asserting himself into a leader type role.

Not long after the sands hotel was sold in 1967, the rat pack began to crumble. Frank Sinatra was cut off from his credit at the Sands, and this infuriated him. Frank reportedly threw furniture at the Casino manager Carl Cohen, who then proceeded to knock some of Sinatra's teeth out. In case it isn't obvious, Sinatra would no longer be performing at the sands, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis jr. remained at the Sands, and the ratpack all went their separate ways.

In 1987 they released Cannonball run 2, which was their first and last movie together since Robin and the 7 hoods.

Also in 1987 they returned to play a sold out show of 14,500 in a reunion tour. Tensions still seemed to be hot between the three, and each had acquired individual success and knew they would not have to rely on one another anymore. In their sold out show Martin threw a lit cigarette into the audience which caused uproar. Martin then left the tour saying he had "kidney problems" and Martin was replaced by Liza Minelli, and the tour still attained great success.

After the tour they did not appear publicly to often and all went their separate ways..

Although the rat pack is gone they will always be remembered through their amazing music, great movies and memorable lifestyle.

I hope you all learned something I know I learned a ton.

I will leave you with this video to remember the good times! One of the best videos I've found.


  1. Great video, and even greater blog.


  2. Interesting, nice find.

  3. I was suprised when I read that Frank Sinatra had connections with the mafia.

  4. Nice read. I miss these kinds of bands. I think the 21st century has been jipped so far, in terms of music.

  5. Frank sinatra is one of my favorite artists, I'm glad i got to learn a little bit more about him

  6. for some reason i never really got into jazz

  7. big band jazz is great stuff