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Friday, May 13, 2011


(Sam Marais and Mario Monteregge)

Rat Pack group originally sprung up around actor Humphrey Bogart, whose wife Lauren Bacall first named them. Seeing Bogie, Frank and a few of their cronies come straggling in from a night of carousing, Lauren exclaimed "You look like a goddamned rat pack!" The name stuck.

After Bogie's death, Frank became the group's nominal honcho ("the Leader"). Sometimes called "the Clan," Dean Martin (Dag) and Sammy Davis, Jr. (Smokey) were the other two full-time members. Peter Lawford (JFK's "brother-in-lawford") and Joey Bishop rounded out the Pack, with occasional appearances by Shirley Maclaine as their honorary mascot and Girl Friday. (Frank never liked the name Rat Pack. When he called the group anything, he preferred "The Summit.")

The Rat Pack made their home at the Copa Room in Jackie Entratter's Sands Hotel and Casino on the famed Las Vegas Strip. Surely these "Summit" meetings were the ultimate night club acts ever assembled. Frank, Dean, and Sammy carried the bulk of the show, singing, telling jokes, doing impressions. Often, when one of the members was scheduled to give a performance, the rest of the Pack would show up for an impromptu show, causing much excitement among audiences, resulting in return visits. They sold out almost all of their appearances, and people would come pouring into Las Vegas, sometimes sleeping in cars and hotel lobbies when they could not find rooms, just to be part of the Rat Pack entertainment experience. The marquees of the hotels at which they were performing as individuals would read, for example, "DEAN MARTIN - MAYBE FRANK - MAYBE SAMMY" as seen on a Sands Hotel sign.

"The Rat Pack" was a term used by journalists, outsiders and the media in general and remained the lasting name for the group.

Coming up at the Italian Club in Durban North is a show not to be missed - The Rat Pack featuring Sam E Marais and Music Unlimited led by Mario Monteregge.

Sam E Marais is an extremely experienced performer. An actor, singer, dancer and musician, he has been seen in many musicals and dramas both on stage and on television. Sam returned recently to South Africa from Europe where he has been performing cabaret in Turkey and Austria for the past couple of years. He is completely comfortable with the swinging music of the Rat Pack and will be remembered for his effervescent performance of Sammy Davis Junior in the show I Gotta Be Me in the Playhouse Drama.

Backing Sam will be the highly popular eight-piece Music Unlimited under the baton of Mario Monteregge who will perform a selection of ‘Rat Pack’ numbers including Sam’s great rendition of the Sammy Davis Jnr all time hit, Mr Bojangles. The band line up will be Mario Monteregge (trombone); Martin Sigamoney (tenor and soprano sax); Diana Bell (alto sax and flute); Khulekani Bhengu (trumpet); Ollie Hart (keyboards); Graham Buckle (drums) and Jill Murraybrown (bass).

The Rat Pack has one performance on May 29 at 15h00. The Italian Club will be serving lunch from 13h00. Tickets R160 include three-course meal and show (R80 show only). The Italian Club is situated at 82 Fairway, Durban North, with free secure parking in front of the Club. Bookings can be made by calling 031 564 2567 (between 09h00 and 14h00) or email