Culture & Literature
LIFE The Rat Pack

LIFE The Rat Pack

LIFE The Rat Pack

They weren't the original bad boys of stage and screen, but they were the most famous: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford and so many hangers-on and wannabes, male and female. Revisit the 60s in this reissue of a classic LIFE special edition and invite the Rat Pack back to town. Among the highlights: Rare and intimate photos from the great LIFE magazine photographer John Dominis; Inside the friendship between Sinatra and John F. Kennedy Jr.; The birth of Vegas and how Sin City became the sensation it is today.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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$21.47(Incl. tax)

in this issue

3 min.
the kings of cool

As the ’60s dawned that election year—six extraordinary decades of American history ago—an historic convergence of show business and politics occurred in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. For three weeks in the first months of 1960, the packed nightclub was the glittering center of the showbiz universe, where the combined star power of the performers onstage and the constellation of Hollywood luminaries in the audience outshone the blinding neon blaze that lighted the desert skies outside. Headlining was the now legendary Rat Pack, starring three of pop history’s great entertainers—Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.—and two lesser showmen enjoying the ride of their lifetimes, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. In the audience over the course of those three weeks were so many marquee…

91 min.
the summit of some thing the summit of something

“This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”—The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) The line is from an old movie about myth and reality in the Old West, but it might as well have been written about a legend that was born a half century ago in Las Vegas, a town whose own myth has shimmered like a mirage on the high Nevada desert for as long as anyone alive can remember. The legend is the sometimes true, often highly imaginative story of the Rat Pack. We will get to truth and fiction presently, but first, like the newspaperman in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, we must acknowledge the very real power of legends. They compel us, they stir us, they fill our…