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The Real Rat Pack Story

Many people think that the Rat Pack originated with Frank Sinatra and his friends. Actually, the original "Rat Pack" centered around Humphrey Bogart and his fellow actors. After Bogart’s death, the press resurrected the name "Rat Pack" and used it to refer to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. This Frank Sinatra-Centric "Pack" was comprised of actors who had appeared together on stage and in films, most notably the original Ocean's 11.

It's rumored that, when Bogart and his friends returned to New York from Las Vegas, Bogart’s wife, Lauren Bacall said they looked like a "Rat Pack". Members of the New York "Rat Pack" included Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, Mickey Rooney and Cesar Romero. Alternately, Bogart and Bacall’s Holmby Hills, California home was called the "Holmby Hills Rat Pack", which was a regular hangout for many actors.

Stephen Bogart has said that the original members of the "Holmby Hills Rat Pack" were Frank Sinatra (pack master), Judy Garland (first vice-president), Bacall (den mother), Sid Luft (cage master), Bogart (rat in charge of public relations), Swifty Lazar (recording secretary and treasurer), Nathaniel Benchley (historian), David Niven, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, George Cukor, Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, and Jimmy Van Heusen. David Niven confirmed in his book, The Moon’s Balloon, that the "Rat Pack" originally included him, but not Sammy Davis, Jr. or Dean Martin.

The later, 1960’s version of the group, (Bogart died in 1957) included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Norman Fell (briefly) with Marilyn Monroe, Angie Dickinson, Juliet Prowse, and Shirley MacLaine often being called mascots. The members of this group reportedly never called themselves the "Rat Pack" instead, they used "Summit" or the "Clan". "The Rat Pack" was coined by journalists and outsiders - but hey, we like the "Rat Pack"!

The famous Las Vegas shows, featuring the "Rat Pack", began when other members of the "Rat Pack" would appear, unannounced, at solo performances and then, perform collective, impromptu shows. These shows became so popular that they were sold out almost all of the time. Hotel marquees for individual performers would include other "Rat Pack" members. Once the Sands Hotel marquee read, "DEAN MARTIN - MAYBE FRANK - MAYBE SAMMY".

Regardless of which "Rat Pack" you remember, their style and fashion, from hats to ties or suits are timeless. Their cool and sophisticated style have been reproduced at RatPackHats.com, modern versions with a retro vibe - "Too Cool for Your Dad".

Information was taken from many Rack Pack sources.


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