Thursday, December 12, 2013

Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin - The Rat Pack Tour 1977

 In the summer of 77 Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra did something they had never done before - they went on tour together. This is a little known fact, I've never read about this experience in any of the many books about the guys. If you want to read in detail about it check out the oral history, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams - the story of the Alberici Sisters when they went to work with Dean in The Golddiggers girl group. In the book they and other former Golddiggers share stories working with these two legendary performers on this moving feast.

Sinatra was on the road a great deal in 1977 but Dean mostly stayed put in Las Vegas, he had no desire to travel, he lived to play golf. It was an unlikely booking.

As a request from the owner of The Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, NJ, Frank asked Dean to accompany him for a month of shows starting with 2 weeks at the Westchester Premier Theater in Tarrytown, New York on May 17, 1977. Next they performed a week at The Latin Casino and ended their run at Chicago’s fabled Sabre Room.

In my research I came across actual table-top recordings from many of the shows at the Latin Casino, and further down the road as well, captured on portable tape recorders fans brought with them. Both entertainers were at the top of their games in 1977. Though people at that time complained that Sinatra had lost his voice he sounds amazingly vigorous here, a creamy richness.

These selections were recorded from nights at the Latin Casino & Westchester Premier. Frank & Dean did 2 shows a night.

Dean from the 1977 Rat Pack tour: “Here’s a song that maybe six or seven of you might remember. And I hope I’m one of ’em.”

Here from the Westchester is Dean's opening comedy monologue:

Frank sings his favorite 'saloon song' Here's That Rainy Day - he never sounded better than he does here. This is an incredible performance from the Westchester Premier.

From The Latin Casino stage Dean clowns around, sings his signature tune - then Frank hilariously
 butts in from a mic backstage.

Dialogue from the 1977 Rat Pack tour:
Frank: I want to ask you a question. What the hell were you doing drinking 7-Up? How dare you, you’re out of the club.
Dean: I wasn’t drinking 7-Up.
Frank: What were you cleaning with it? Your lighter?
Dean: No, I was pouring it for Rocky.
Frank: Oh, Rocky. I didn’t know he drank 7-Up either. You go out with him now?
Dean: Yeah, what the hell? I’m gettin’ tired of them girls.
(Dean was dating a girl named Rocky at the time.)

From The Latin Casino - Dean & Frank do their Rat Pack schtick for the show's conclusion. Boy is Dean drunk here.

While Dean stuck to the same songs every night Frank switched things up a bit as the tour progressed. Sinatra began the engagement opening with a disco version of 'All Or Nothing At All,' a tune he introduced on Sinatra and Friends, his TV special from April of that year. He must have realized the song was a stiff because by the time you arrived at the Latin Casino he dropped 'All Or Nothing At All' and replaced it with a more traditionally arranged 'I've Got You Under My Skin' which was a real crowd pleaser.

The Westchester Premier Theater was where Frank Sinatra was photographed backstage with the area’s most notorious mafia figures. That picture, taken in 1976, would haunt him for the rest of his life after the FBI got a hold of it.

For more on classic Las Vegas Entertainment go to TVparty!