For a glittering five-year period Frank Sinatra and a group of Hollywood stars became the bad boys of fame - and the unofficial rulers of American society. They christened themselves the Rat Pack, and each member -- Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Sinatra himself -- was already a star in his own right. Together they were unassailable. Whether performing on stage in the lounges of Las Vegas or acting the fool on the set of movies such as “Ocean's Eleven,” the Rat Pack became a byword for all that was good and much that was bad about 1950s America. Airing on KUED-Channel 7 Saturday, March 24, at 8 p.m., “Rat Pack: A Conference of Cool”
shows the heyday of the Rat Pack, from the parties with John F. Kennedy to the intrigues with the sinister forces of the Mafia. Hollywood stars Angie Dickinson and Janet Leigh and music great Buddy Greco are just some of the interviewees who talk about the fun, the fame and the frenzy of the golden years of the Rat Pack. The story begins in the mid 1950s. Former war time general Dwight D Eisenhower is in the White House. America is emerging from the McCarthy era to lead the free world against Communist aggression. Kennedy’s assassination and Vietnam have not yet eroded the post-war, feel-good mood reflected in feel-good Hollywood films with glamorous but homespun stars . The clean-cut, small-town boy epitomized by Jimmy Stewart are the matinee idols of the day. But behind the celluloid images, America and its dream is changing. Puritanical attitudes towards sex, drugs and personal style are not shared by a group of Hollywood stars led by the hard-drinking Humphrey Bogart and his young wife, Lauren Bacall. Around them gathered the Hollywood ‘Set’ -- a “who’s who” of the hottest and most maverick screen and showbiz idols . Celebrities like Judy Garland, David Niven, Mike Romanoff, Swifty Lazar, Martha Hyer, Jimmy Van Huesen and Angie Dickinson. Also among the regulars at Bogart and Bacall’s house was Frank Sinatra. After the resurrection of his career, he was back in the spotlight. And he became an integral part of the group of people who formed what was to become known as the ‘Rat Pack’. “Rat Pack: A Conference of Cool” airs on KUED-Channel 7 Saturday, March 24, at 8 p.m.
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