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'Rat Pack' reunites for nostalgic tour

By
JOHN M. LEIGHTY

OAKLAND, Calif. -- 'Rat Pack' cronies Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin kicked off a nostalgic 29-city reunion concert tour in characteristic style -- crooning and clowning.

Sinatra, 72, Martin, 70, and Davis, 62, the hottest, wildest bunch in show business in their heydey, each received standing ovations as they took the stage Sunday night in the debut of their 'Together Again National Concert Tour.'

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An adoring sold-out Oakland Coliseum Arena crowd of 15,000 is expected to be followed by other packed houses along their 40-performance tour that will reportedly net $500,000 a night. They open next in Vancouver B.C., March 15.

Tickets went for $30 and $40. Souvenir programs sold briskly at $10 each.

The three veteran performers -- backed by a 35-piece orchestra - sang their favorite songs separately, then took the stage together for a well-received finale of jokes, good-natured ribbing and medleys.

The three first appeared together 28 years ago at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.

When Martin and Davis joined Sinatra for the close of the 2 -hour show, Davis told Sinatra he brought him a 'Golden Age Cocktail' made of Geritol and prune juice. 'It gets you going and keeps you going,' the 'youngster' of the trio said.

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Davis also told Sinatra, 'You're still chairman of the board,' a reference to Sinatra's leadership in their old 'Hollywood Rat Pack,' a loosely organized group that included Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lawford, Shirley MacLaine, Joey Bishop, Tony Curtis and Sammy Cahn.

'I'm still chairman and we're still bored,' Sinatra joked.

Their fans, bedecked in gold chains and a smattering of minks and diamonds, would have none of that.

'The songs they played 20 years ago are still good now,' said Millie Jasmin of Alameda, who laughingly gave her age as 39. 'I know I get chills. I may even cry.'

Martin opened the show and did most of the clowning around, heavy with booze gags.

As he climbed onstage with a slow, tipsy motion, took a sip from his cocktail glass, he looked at the audience and in a slurred tone asked: 'How long have I been on?'

The joke brought down the house.

He then sang a series of spoofs like 'When You're Drinking' and 'Bourbon from Heaven.'

But people began yelling 'louder, louder' after Martin's song selections turned serious and his voice could not carry to the top of the Coliseum.

Davis said he hadn't been so nervous in 54 years of show business but provided some of the show's strongest singing with tunes like, 'I've Gotta Be Me' and doing a few dance steps, although he limped slightly.

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Sinatra sang 10 tunes starting with 'Got the World on a String,' and ending with what he called his national anthem, 'New York, New York.' In between, the crooner known as Ol' Blue Eyes sang romantic oldies and belted out an enthusiastic 'Mack the Knife' to loud applause.

The tour also goes to Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and several other stops before playing New York's Radio City Music Hall May 6-9. The tour plays Los Angeles July 7-10 before taking a break. It cranks up again Sept. 17 in Houston before going east to play in 11 more cities.

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