Today I am focusing on the coolest of the cool, The Rat Pack.
Their original leader was my childhood idol, Humphrey Bogart and one theory of how the name came about was from the groups original 'den mother' Lauren Bacall who commented on her husband (Bogart) and his friends return from a Vegas night out - "You look like a damn rat pack."
The original members are stated as being 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 confirms iIn his autobiography that the Rat Pack originally included him but not Sammy Davis, Jr. or Dean Martin.
Other visiting members of note are Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, Mickey Rooney and Cesar Romero.(source)
The press by the mid sixties was using the term Rat Pack to refer to the later line up of the group and those who we immediately think of when the term Rat Pack is brought to mind - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy David Jnr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.
For this post I shall simply pay homage to this latter group but also, the original Rat, my idol as a little thing (I was an odd child, granted) Mr Humphrey Bogart ..
Humphrey DeForest Bogart
December 25th 1899 (New York City, New York, USA) - January 14th 1957 (Los Angeles, California, USA)
I used to watch a lot of old black and white films when I was wee and especially liked the ones with Bogie in them. He was probably the first actor I ever liked and I even had his photo on my wall. That picture went missing one day and I have no idea where it went and oh I miss it.
Dino Paul Crocetti
June 7th 1917 (Steubenville, Ohio, USA) - December 25th 1995 (Beverly Hills, California, USA)
For a long time I would have nothing to do with Dino, as Jerry Lewis annoyed me so much and those were the only times I ever used to see him, but in later years I came to realise what an incredible singing voice he has. I believe Elvis Presley greatly admired his voice.
Ol' Blue Eyes
(or Ol' Tin Ribs as my nan called him)
Francis Albert Sinatra
December 12th 1915 (Hoboken, New Jersey, USA) - May 14th 1998 (West Hollywood, California, USA)
How can you not like Sinatra? He had it all I think, looks, blue eyes, the singing voice and he epitomised cool .. oh and he acted too!
Joseph Abraham Gottlieb
February 3rd 1918 (Bronx, New York, USA) - October 17th 2007 (Newport Beach, California, USA)
I am first to hold my hands up and say I know nothing of this man, not one little thing.
Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen
7th September 1923 (London, UK) - 24 December 1984 (Los Angeles, California, USA)
As with Joey, I also know nothing of Peter Lawford, but I need to see this man in a film I think.
Sammy Davis Jnr.
Samuel George Davis, Jr.
December 8th 1925 (Harlem, New York, USA) - May 16th 1990 (Beverly Hills, California, USA)
Such a fabulous voice and the picture of him laughing with Frank and Dino is one of my absolute favourites.
So, only one thing left to do and that's to ask, who is your favourite Rat? I shall always have a soft spot for Bogart but if we're talking this Pack below, then I would have to say Dino as he makes me laugh and has an incredible singing voice. Although my word, wasn't Peter Lawford a looker! We certainly know how to turn out good looking actors in Blighty.