Strangers On My Flight
FOR ADULTS ONLY, PLEASE. RATED R.
We were sent this funny parody of "Strangers in the Night". We're not sure who the singer is but you can hear Howard Stern's voice at the beginning. It's an MP3 file. Enjoy!
Strangers on my Flight
For All Of You Rat Pack Pack Rats
(Nancy's title - not the Tribune's)
THE ARTS/Chicago Tribune
†By Steve Knopper
Special to the Tribune
Published November 25, 2001
RAT pack redux
Ring-a-ding-ding! Frank and the boys are back to teach a new generation about swinging, singing, all-night parties and staying cool.
The Rat Pack will never happen again. Who can imagine Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears getting on stage with their arms around each other, slamming shots and delivering snappy one-liners between songs? Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. were not only big stars of stage and screen, they were best pals who really knew how to have a good time.
And after disappearing for a while after Sinatra's death, the pack is back. The George Clooney-Julia Roberts update of "Ocean's Eleven" is out Dec. 7, and two new Rat Pack CDs, a collection of their greatest hits ("Eee-O-11") and the previously unreleased "The Rat Pack Live at the Sands," came out on Capitol just last week.
Why does the Pack still fascinate us? Because they set the standard for cool. They wore immaculate suits, drank all night and set behavioral rules for every would-be hepcat. And for all their stardom, riches and wives -- and Sinatra's legendary temper -- they always laughed.
"They made fun of everything because they were kings of the world," says Bill Zehme, Chicago-based author of 1997's "The Way You Wear Your Hat," a book about Rat Pack style and attitude. "These were three supremely confident men.
"And I don't think anyone will be as powerful in show business and enjoy it more than Sinatra. Clearly he was the most confident man who ever lived. We all wish we didn't have a single doubt."
The Rat Pack lineup
- Frank Sinatra. The Rat Pack's indisputable leader, Sinatra set the style standards, demanded all-night party allegiance and made tough-guy statements like "I don't drink that sissy stuff, for Christ's sake -- you drink white wine!"
- Dean Martin. Rarely seen without a glass in hand, Martin specialized in suaveness and schtick. Unlike the trailblazing Sinatra, he was content to croon Bing Crosby style, releasing an overwrought dud for every stellar song such as "Everybody Loves Somebody."
- Sammy Davis Jr. Unable to keep up with the big-spending Sinatra, Davis once went broke. According to Zehme's book, a day after his accountant made Davis swear to give up his excessive ways, the singer sent him a gold cigarette case inscribed with "Thanks for the advice. Sammy."
- Joey Bishop. The Rat Pack's only surviving member, comedian Bishop befriended Sinatra in 1952 and quickly became one of the few living humans who could mock the Chairman publicly. ("Mr Sinatra will now speak of some of the good things the Mafia has done," Bishop would tell crowds -- leading to an awkward silence, of course.) He had his own '60s sitcom and filled in for Johnny Carson hundreds of times.
- Peter Lawford. By the '60s, this British actor was a sort of male Zsa Zsa Gabor, a celebrity for celebrity's sake. But he was a prolific actor in the '40s and '50s ("Royal Wedding"), using his looks to snag dates with Ava Gardner and Lana Turner. And as John F. Kennedy's brother-in-law, he was the Rat Pack's executive liaison.
- Humphrey Bogart. Although he wasn't the type to tell one-liners on stage with Frank and the boys, the great actor was the founding member of an early version of the Rat Pack. His wife, Lauren Bacall, dubbed her husband and his pals the Holmby Hills Rat Pack; when Bogart died, in 1957, Sinatra and his crew took over the Pack.
- Shirley MacLaine. Long before she was the Oscar-winning star of "Terms of Endearment," MacLaine was the group's beloved Girl Friday. Her 1996 tell-all, "My Lucky Stars: A Hollywood Memoir," focused in part on her relationships with Sinatra, Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Adjunct Rat Packers: Comedian Don Rickles, singer Steve Lawrence, songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen and actors Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas and Robert Wagner.
Where they hung their hats
Las Vegas: Copa Room, The Sands. When Judy Garland summoned guests Sinatra and Martin to the stage during a late 1958 appearance, the two singers clicked immediately. Thus began a legendary Vegas run, in which all five Rat Packers rotated onstage to accommodate their film schedules.
New York City: Jilly's. Owned by the giant, glass-eyed Jilly Rizzo, this New York City joint was Sinatra's favorite for decades, especially in the '60s. As the biggest star in a nightclub filled with stars, including Tony Bennett and Garland, Sinatra owned the place, relentlessly kibitzing with the chefs and waiters. It closed in the '80s; Chicago's Jilly's opened years later as an homage.
Chicago: The Pump Room, in the Ambassador East Hotel. Sinatra always made a big entrance, bandleader Stanley Paul told the Tribune shortly after the singer's death: "When he would come into the room, it was like royalty. People would whisper and look. You knew somebody -- a presence -- was in the room."
California: Nicky Blair's. One famous story from "The Way You Wear Your Hat" involves owner Nicky Blair upbraiding Hector, a waiter who'd broken several glasses in Sinatra's presence. Sinatra had his boys peel off big bills from a wad and asked Blair to bring out $4,500 in glasses -- then smashed them all. Sinatra: "Every time I come in here I want to see Hector working for you." Blair: "I always loved Hector!"
"Ocean's Eleven" (1960). A simplistic Vegas tough-guy heist movie with live tunes from Dean ("Ain't That a Kick in the Head") and Sammy ("Eee-O- Eleven").
"Robin and the 7 Hoods" (1964). Sinatra plays Robbo, a Chicago mob boss in the '20s who wears impeccable double-breasted suits and battles other wise guys (including an over-the-top Peter Falk) and a femme fatale (Barbara Rush). Between murders, they burst into song.
"Swingers" (1996). In an obvious homage to Frank and the boys, schmendrick Vince Vaughn drags his down-and-out pal Jon Favreau to Las Vegas to get his mind off an old flame. Although they paraphrase carefree Pack-speak -- "beautiful babies," "you're money" -- "Swingers" has a certain non-retro wistfulness you didn't see when Sinatra sang and Davis danced.
"The Rat Pack" (1998). Released at the height of Rat Pack mania, this HBO movie cut right to the dirt, tackling Sinatra's mobster ties, his stormy relationship with the Kennedys and Davis' reaction to his pals' racist humor.
"Jackpot! The Las Vegas Story" (1996). This cocktail-culture classic isn't technically a Rat Pack recording, but it has Dino's "That's Amore" and Sammy's "I've Gotta Be Me." Among the essential Vegas-cheese artifacts: Buddy Greco's snappy "The Lady Is a Tramp"; Liberace shoehorning "MacArthur Park" into a medley; and Louis Prima and Keely Smith trading barbs on "That Old Black Magic."
"The Rat Pack Live at the Sands" (2001). Martin's slurred ad-libs open these 1963 shows at the Sands' famous Copa Room. The mutual (and politically incorrect) Sinatra-Martin harassment is something else. Dean: "Did you know Lincoln was Jewish?" Frank: "I did not know." Dean: "Yeah, he was shot in the temple."
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., "Eee-O-11: The Best of The Rat Pack" (2001). Though this is an all-music album, with familiar classics such as Sinatra's "The Lady Is a Tramp" and Martin's "Volare," the best bits are the exchanges between the singers. Don't miss "Sam's Song," in which Martin keeps trying to call it "Dean's Song," Sammy insists on the formal title and Dean finally suggests, "Clyde's Song."
Ten Rat Pack Style Rules:
1. Never wear brown after dark.
2. Jack Daniels. Always Jack Daniels.
3. Give the ice a few minutes to sink into your glass.
4. Hats are to be tilted. Unworn coats are to be carried nonchalantly over one shoulder.
5. Sinatra's orange fuzzy sweater at the beginning of "Ocean's Eleven" was an anomaly.
6. For the ultimate sign of friendship, share one of your martini olives.
7. Cuff links.
8. And a tuxedo.
9. But never on Sunday.
0. The worst thing you can do in front of a woman is yawn.
Sources: Bill Zehme, "The Way You Wear Your Hat" (HarperCollins, 1997); Steve Knopper (ed.), "MusicHound Lounge: The Essential Album Guide to Martini Music and Easy Listening" (Visible Ink Press, 1998); Mike Weatherford, "Cult Vegas" (Huntington Press, 2001); Hollywood.com Celebrity Biography; Internet Movie Database.