First of all, feel free to skip to the spectacular hour and a half video below. Grab a tea or a latte…some snacks and just kick it! If you’re a baby boomer, you may find yourself choking up with happy tears so keep a napkin close by too.
I was only 4 years old, in 1965, when this was recorded and broadcast for black and white television sets. The music plunged my heart into a sea of every kind of emotion and enchantment that I couldn’t see coming even if you had warned me! If you’re not a baby boomer, but you are susceptible to great music having an effect on your soul, than you’re probably in trouble too.
Let’s start with the line up:
Young Johnny Carson enters, flawlessly hosts the show and, no peaking, no kidding, surprises everyone at the end.
Dean Martin opens it up and sets the bar high.
Sammy Davis Jr. follows and is more than equal to the challenge.
Frank Sinatra takes it away, as the chairman of the board, and gives a signature performance.
The entire ensemble closes the show.
These “gentlemen” were ingeniously skilled at their craft. The personality and confidence oozing out of these legends defines charisma, is humorously irreverent, (and while we’re all here thinking about MLK Jr. Day), takes a bold stance for racial equality, lampoons bigotry, and is dripping with mannerly charm.
That said, they also glamorized alcoholism (like getting trashed is loads of fun) and smoking, the addictions of the popular culture that they’re elegant personas encouraged our parents/grandparents to emulate. Dino (Martin) quips, “You’re not really drunk if you can lay on the ground without holding on.” You see the brilliance, humanity, and darkness of Americana all converging on one electrifying stage.
They were world-class artists who delivered the greatest musicality of their century. And they were so much more…the total package as entertainers who could also improv their way through anything. Their mythic force transcends what we see in most of today’s comedic icons. I would say that Jimmy Fallon comes the closest to their spontaneous, welcoming chemistry with other entertainers and audiences.
I want to thank and applaud TheSinatrafans for posting it on YouTube. I hope it goes viral into the millions!
A Little Rat Pack Trivia:
Sinatra, Davis, and Martin were all awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dean Martin – also known as “The King of Cool” was born on June 7, 1917. Was 48 years old when he appeared on the above show called, “Frank Sinatra Spectacular.” Was a highly successful singer, musician, actor, comedian, businessman, and film and television producer. Was not born into privilege. Was a boxer at the age of 15. Dropped out of high school. Hosted two prime time, hit television shows. Jerry Lewis called him “one of the great comic geniuses of all time.” Has 3 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Footprints are in Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Died at the age of 78 of lung cancer in Beverly Hills, CA.
Sammy Davis Jr. – also known as “Mister Show Business” was born on December 8, 1925 in Harlem, NY. An acclaimed singer, tap dancer, actor, Broadway star, musician, comedian, impersonator, civil rights activist, and photographer. Served in the U.S. Army in World War II. Said of himself, “I’m a one-eyed Negro Jew.” Had one glass eye. Kissed Archie Bunker. In 1973, he and his wife were invited by President Nixon to spend the night at the White House. It was reported to be the first time an African-American received an invitation to stay. Won both Grammy Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement awards. Died at age 64 of throat cancer in Beverly Hills, CA. Adopted his youngest son, Manny, within two years of his passing.
Frank Sinatra – also known as Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Voice, and the Chairman of the Board was born on December 12, 1915 in New York. Singer, actor, producer, director, and conductor. Began singing professionally as a teenager. Dropped out of high school. Was not allowed to serve in the armed forces. Suffered from depression. Was closely watched by the FBI due to organized crime relationships. Won 11 Grammy’s including Lifetime and Legend awards. Was said to be “the first modern pop superstar” who “invented modern pop song phrasing,” in Rolling Stone Record Guide. Hosted the Oscars twice. Received the Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan and hosted the 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala. Died at age 82 of a heart attack and cancer in West Hollywood, CA. The following evening, the lights of Empire State Building were turned blue.
Other Rat Pack members included Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.