Excerpts from the book – BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS
“Linda: We were booked for what was being nicknamed the Rat Pack Tour in early summer 1977 with Dean and Frank Sinatra. Frank was already on the road with Pat Henry as his warm up so Dean brought us along for his opening act. Dean would have his conductor Ken Lane whereas Frank brought along Bill Miller to lead the orchestra while he sang. We’d worked with so many legendary Italian crooners and now to share the stage with both Dean and Frank Sinatra—it was a thrill of a lifetime.”
“Maria: The tour kicked off on May 16, 1977 with two weeks at the Westchester Premier Theatre in Tarrytown, New York to be followed by a week at The Latin Casino, where we’d appeared so many times before. That meant home sweet home for us. After that we’d travel with Dean and Frank to Chicago’s famed Sabre Room for four nights. We had worked with Dean many times in Vegas and on television but this was far different. For one thing Dean rarely traveled outside of Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe to perform. It was an honor to be opening for Dean and Frank together, they were bigger than rock stars, they were the top.”
“Maria: When the first day of rehearsal at the Westchester Premier Theatre arrived there was an air of respectful anticipation backstage as everyone hurriedly prepared for the headliners as if history was in the making. We began to feel the weight of their celebrity. Was Frank in the building yet? Would Dean arrive first to break the mounting tension? I lingered around with the rest of the backstage workers to get a first peek.
They both showed up for rehearsal in tuxes. Frank was a little more casual, he was wearing a black top coat instead of his tux jacket. They faced off onstage like two matadors in search of a bull.
Our first rehearsal with the orchestra ended up like a private audition for Frank Sinatra. When we assembled on stage we were told Frank wanted to see our act—so we gave it our best shot. Would he like us? Well, he loved us. I never remember Dean or any other star asking to see our performance before the audience arrived so this revealed a lot about Frank Sinatra.
Opening night, some of us Golddiggers were backstage sitting on the stairs having a little chit-chat. We were waiting for the stage manager to give us the cue to take our places in the wings before the show. All of a sudden we gazed up to the top of the stairs—standing in the archway was Frank Sinatra. He had a powerful aura, he wasn’t a big man but he was bigger than life. Of course, we were speechless. He broke the silence by wishing us a good show and told us to “get that audience all worked up for us.” Wow, it felt like the king had arrived and was addressing his court.”
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
“Elaine Bissell, Reporter Dispatch, White Plains, N.Y., May 18, 1977:
The pre-curtain arrival of celebrities, including Gov. Carey, former New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and even the beautiful Barbara Marx Sinatra, caused a flurry of excitement in the crowded theater as they settled down in the first row center, but the real thunder of applause and shouts from the adoring fans came when first Mr. Martin appeared and swayed precariously through a number of songs and then Mr. Sinatra, who simply walked on stage as though strolling to the corner to mail a letter—and the roof seemed to fall in.
For the next hour the flash of cameras and streaking ladies dashing down the darkened aisles to the stage to throw or hand flowers to the two singers in the spotlights was like half of an army choreographed in a ritual dance, while the other half sat with dazed faces and roaring with approval, with love, with worship, or moaning then shrieking with hysteria when either one walked anywhere near the edge of the stage.” – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams
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