A kinescope of the only known television performance featuring Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. working together has been discovered and donated to the Museum of Television & Radio, which will hold screenings of the concert special in Los Angeles and New York beginning in April.
The June 20, 1965, program – titled “Frank Sinatra Spectacular” – was telecast exclusively via closed-circuit to a select group of theaters and has not been seen publicly since. It was organized in St. Louis by Sinatra as a benefit for the city’s Dismas House, the first halfway house for ex-convicts.
In fact, it was at that very halfway house where producer Paul Brownstein discovered the kinescope and arranged for Dismas House to donate the show to the museum’s permanent collection.
Brownstein was watching a CBS special featuring Sinatra when he noticed that, during a clip of Sinatra and Davis performing at a concert in St. Louis, there were two TV cameras at the edge of the stage. He surmised that the entire performance must have been televised and recorded and began searching it out, finally locating the kinescope in a closet in a secretary’s office at Dismas House.
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In the show, Sinatra, Martin and Davis take turns in the spotlight performing a song selection that includes “Fly Me to the Moon,” “My Kind of Town,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Luck Be a Lady.” Toward the end of the evening, all three appear onstage to tell jokes, do impressions and sing “Birth of the Blues.”
It also includes performances by Count Basie, the Step Bros., Kaye Stevens and Trini Lopez. Quincy Jones is seen conducting a series of bands. Johnny Carson makes an appearance as well.
“This rare discovery supports the museum’s ongoing search for lost programs,” museum prexy Robert M. Batscha said.
Nick at Nite’s TV Land cable net is expected to air the program at an undetermined date. The museum will showcase the concert special under the title “The Rat Pack Captured: The Only Television Performance,” premiering it at the TV & Radio Museum locations in New York on April 11 and in Los Angeles on April 18.