Archive for February, 2009


Origins of the Rat Pack’s Ocean’s Eleven

rat-pack-oceans-11Ocean’s Eleven is the best known of the series of movies featuring the original Rat Pack.  The idea to film it originated with actor Peter Lawford, who  had purchased the screenplay and brought it to Frank Sinatra.  Figuring it would be a good project for him and his pals, Frank put it in motion.  Then, since all the action would take place in Las Vegas, Frank decided that he and his co-stars should film by day and perform at the Sands at night.  He decided that the gathering on the Sands showroom stage would be a summit, much like the political summit planned by world leaders at that time.  And the “summit” is a name he actually preferred to Rat Pack. 

Once plans for the shows were announced, every hotel room in Las Vegas was booked.  Each night,  Frank, Dean and Sammy performed and partied on stage along with Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.  The shows were lively and unpredictable, and it’s those shows that are re-created today by Rat Pack  Tribute groups.


Rat Pack Comedy from Joey Bishop

rat-pack-joey2Most of the comedy performed on stage by the Rat Pack was written by comedian and Rat Pack member Joey Bishop.  Early in his career, he was part of a comedy team with his older brother, and then became a solo act, working nightclubs around the U.S.  In the early 50’s, he started opening for Frank Sinatra, and then joined up with Frank, Dean, Sammy, and Peter Lawford, although he didn’t have a partying lifestyle as intense as theirs. 

In addition to performing on stage with the guys at the Sands in Las Vegas, Joey also appeared in some of the Rat Pack movies.  He had a sitcom called The Joey Bishop Show on NBC and CBS, and hosted a late night talk show on ABC, on which his co-host and announcer was Regis Philbin.  Joey was the last surviving Rat Pack member, passing away at the age of 89 in 2007, approximately 40 years after starring in those legendary Rat Pack shows made history in Las Vegas.