Friday, March 11, 2011

Dean Martin was up first

Hey pallies, likea as a follow-up to yester-Dino-day's post of the airin' of "Rat Pack Live and Swingin'" on PBS is today's Dino-devotion via the San Rafael/Terra Linda "News Pointer" where Slice of Life columnist Miss Win Murphy does a sorta review of this historic 1964 Rat Pack concert live from the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis.

Likes pallies, gotta 'fess up that I likes totally totally digs the way that this Murphy chick patters on how she just happened on this PBS special while channel surfin' last Saturday night and likes how she wakened her hubbie from sleep so that he could enjoys it as well.

Our Dino loved to say that he loved playin' to de common folk, and likes Miss Murphy and her man seem likes just the sort of people that our Dino loved entertainin' for.

So, takes some time to soak in this very very cool read of a review of "Rat Pack Live and Swingin." ilovedinomartin sez our Dino-appreciato to the pallies at "News Pointer" and columnist Win Murphy for liftin' up the name of our Dino in this way. Obviously Win and her hubbie Owen are Dino-devotees and her patter certainly oughta help brings others to fallin' for our beloved Dino. To view this in it's original format, likes just clicks on the tagg of this Dino-message. Dino-loved, DMP and, likes btw pallies, checks out the clip followin' the patter for our Dino's opennin' set of Dino-magic from the Kiel....likes totally totally Dino-rad!

Slice of Life

Icons of U.S. history

Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 2:06 PM PST

Win Murphy

Who would be more surprised to be called icons of American history than Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. — or to have one of their concerts aired on public television as “Legends of the 20th Century”?

I can hear Dean Martin saying, “I ain’t any legend. Frank, are you a legend? And what about you, Smokey?” They’d all laugh and say, “We ain’t any legends.” But leaving the planet changes things, and the Rat Pack is considered legendary stuff that “repeats, repeats in my ear,” as Sinatra would sing in his smash-hit standard “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

Oddly enough, though “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is a Sinatra classic hit, it was Sammy Davis Jr. who hit one out of the park with this classic Cole Porter song. It sounded like a familiar but totally different melody — that’s how each of these recording giants has left his permanent mark on the world of music.

The event, airing last Saturday night, March 5, on KTVU, San Jose, was an hour and a half of pure delight. And I just happened upon it. My husband, Owen, said, “There’s nothing on that interests me; I might as well go to sleep” (we were watching TV in bed).

“OK, “I said, lowering the volume so he could sleep. I tried all my favorite channels — “Ancient Aliens” on History, “Pit Bulls” on Animal Planet — but found nothing that would capture, entertain me or make me smile or learn something new.

I gave our TV one last chance by surfing channels at random, and there it was, on Channel 28, with one of my favorites, Johnny Carson, another icon of the last century, as emcee. Carson came onstage, looked around as if he didn’t know where he was, and without saying a word had the audience roaring with laughter and applause.

The concert, videotaped in 1965 at the Kiel Opera House in St. Louis, was a charity fundraiser organized by Sinatra. They did the whole show for no pay, the same way they used to drop in on whoever was performing at the Sands, their “headquarters” in Las Vegas. “Sinatra was a sucker for charity events,” said Shawn Levy, author of the book “The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’,” which was the name of the television show.

“Owen, Owen,” I yelled, shaking my sleeping husband, who was not amused until I said, “They’re airing a video tape of a lost concert by the Rat Pack. You won’t want to miss this one.” And he didn’t. He bounced right into viewing position and said, “There’s a taped concert we missed?” It seems Nancy Sinatra (the daughter, not the first wife) has the master tape of this concert, and somehow someone unearthed a copy. It was indeed a first-time viewing for Owen and me because we’ve seen just about every Rat Pack tape that’s aired. Even flew to Vegas and drove to Reno to see Frank and the boys in person.

The very sight of Johnny Carson on stage made me wish they’d rerun his old late-night shows (sigh — Leno and Letterman just ain’t got it the way Johnny did). We heard each Rat Pack member doing a set of songs, then the group sang together.

Dean Martin was up first, strolling in with his glass of apple juice (his producers insist he never drank on stage). His relaxed manner made him seem to glide in, and his smile was wide and wonderful, as only Dino could make it. One verse of “Volare” and the audience was in his talented Italian hands. Tall and handsome in his tux, he wowed ’em — natch.

Next up was Sammy Davis Jr. (they were obviously saving the Chairman of the Board for last). I’d forgotten how diminutive Davis was, how he danced like cooked spaghetti gliding on ice. Each singer was spectacular, “owned” each song he did. The long years of singing in nightclubs, concerts, fairs — wherever — prove valuable in each of their abilities to take the stage, make it theirs, and perform with such incredible ease and not a hint of concern because they know they’re great at what they do. Sammy did a remarkable take on “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” He didn’t use the orchestra (led by Quincy Jones), but sang and danced only to the beat of drums, including bongo and kettle drums. He was years ahead of his craft on this. Marvelous.

There was lots of teasing and joking around (Dean Martin on a mike backstage really heckled Sinatra, who was singing onstage and cracking up). The final number, in which Johnny Carson joined in, was the singing of “The Birth of the Blues.” Carson began singing (with a nice voice and guts to sing with these pros). Sinatra moved closer to Carson’s mike and Johnny said, “I’ll call you when I need you, Frank.”

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