Rat Pack Confidential : Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Show Biz Party
For the first time, the full story of what happened when Frank Sinatra brought his best pals to party in a land called Vegas.
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December 31, 1997
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Excerpt from Rat Pack Confidential by Shawn Levy
This was Frank's baby.
Onstage, Dean, singing almost straight, then pissing away anything like real feeling with jokes.
In the wings, Sammy, Peter, Joey.
Out front, a mob scene: Marilyn, Little Caesar, Kirk, Shirl, Mr. Benny, that Swedish kid that Sammy was so crazy for, that senator and his tubby kid brother, a few broads without addresses, a few guys without real names . . .
Famous faces at ringside for the cameras, infamous ones in the shadows in the back, plus a hundred or so civilians as bait for the rest of the world--suckers with money to blow and dames to blow it with them until it ran out.
In the casino, every schmuck that couldn't pay or beg or muscle his way in was betting his rent money just to feel as big as the ones who could.
The joint was packed; the rest of town might as well have been dark.
And for what?
A movie, a party, a floating crap game, a day's work, a hustle, a joke: They'd make millions and all they had to do was show up, have a good time, pretend to give a damn, and, almost as an afterthought, sing.
Sometimes it seemed like Dean had the right idea: "You wanna hear the whole song, buy the record . . ."
But there was something in the music, wasn't there? With the right band and the right number, it was like flying--and like you could drag everybody up there with you.
So let Dean do jokes, and Sammy--Sammy would start numbers and they'd stomp all over them and he'd like it.
But when Frank sang, it would be straight. It could be New Year's Eve, the very stroke of midnight, the middle of Times Square, and he would stop time, stop their hearts beating, and remind them where the power was.