Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ Surprise Reunion

dean-martin-jerry-lewis-reunion-with-frank-sinatraJerry Lewis’ birthday is March 16th and we are reminded of when history was made in 1976. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis finally made peace. Frank Sinatra brought them together on the Jerry Lewis’ 1976 Labor Day MDA Telethon at the Sahara in Vegas; it was almost exactly twenty years to the day since their split in 1956. The event made headlines all over the world but it was not news to us and the rest of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. You see, weeks before we saw the rekindling of their relationship unfold at the MGM. 

Dean Jerry Lewis reunion - Life

Center: the ‘matchmaker’, Frank Sinatra with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Excerpt from “BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS”

“Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio (Golddigger, 1973 – 1991): Before the telethon reunion, Dean let us in on the private messages and jokes written with our lipstick that he had been leaving for Jerry Lewis via his dressing room mirror. Jerry played the MGM Grand and had left Dean some razzing but good humored remarks on the mirror prior to our engagement. Dean was like a little boy bragging about it to us, ‘Look at what I wrote to Jerry; look what ‘Crazy’ wrote to me. I answered him real good…’ He was so cute!”

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“Linda Alberici Eichberg (Golddigger, 1973 – 1989): When I congratulated Dean on making up with Jerry he blushed and said, ‘Aw, Frank’s idea, he wouldn’t leave me alone about it.’ I asked him, ‘Are you going to stay in touch?’ He only shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘Who knows?’ In any case, the world had been waiting for this moment for two decades and the press had a field day. And the Telethon took in boat loads of money because of Dean’s surprise visit…”

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

 

 

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Tom Jones – He’s Still Got That Lovin’ Feeling!

This years 57th Grammy Awards held a lot of surprises. One of the biggest was hearing Tom Jones sing. He sounded fantastic, as powerful as ever.

jessie-j-and-tom-jones-grammys-2015The legendary entertainer took on The Righteous Brothers’ pop hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” on the Grammy Awards, singing it as a duet with English vocalist Jessie J.

His appearance brought back memories of the first time we met Tom Jones. It was in 1973/1974. The Golddiggers were performing in Puerto Rico and so was Tom. At that time he was the hottest male sex symbol in the world. Women were throwing their hotel room keys onto the stage during his shows.

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Tom Jones with the 1973 Golddiggers group. From bottom left to right: Deborah Pratt, Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Robin Hoctor Horneff, Tom Jones, Susan Buckner, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow

Excerpts from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

Robin Hoctor-Horneff, Golddigger 1973-1974: “We were headlining in Puerto Rico at the Helio Isla Hotel when Tom Jones dropped in to see us perform, he was there in the front row so we all got together at an afterparty. He left and a bunch of us girls stayed behind to grab something to eat. All of a sudden these three or four men came down, actually one of them was Tom’s teenaged son, they came over to me and said, ‘Tom Jones wants to see you up in his room.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean he wants to see me in his room?’ ‘He’s inviting you up to his room.’ ‘Well, if he wants to see me he can come down here and see me with everybody else.’” …

Maria (Alberici) Lauren-Riccio, Golddigger 1973-1991: “We couldn’t believe it! Tom was sitting in the front table throughout our show like he was the King of Sheba and we were his dancing girls. Then, he summoned the one he wanted and expected her to appear in his room. I thought, Yes, you are Tom Jones, a great entertainer with sexual energy but really!?” …

After the initial awkward meeting, Tom turned out to be a pretty friendly guy but did he ever get a room key? 

To view more go to: http://www.BeyondOurWildestDreams.com

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The Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra Rat Pack Tour – 1977

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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.”

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“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.”

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The Playbill at our first tour stop in New York!

 

“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.

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Two pros at dress rehearsal

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.”

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The Dean Martin Golddiggers with Frank Sinatra: Clockwise from the bottom are Robyn Whatley-Kahn, Maria Lauren (Alberici Sisters), Joyce Garro, Frank Sinatra, Patti Pivarnik-Gribow, Linda Eichberg (Alberici Sisters) and Peggy Gohl.

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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Happy Birthday Dean!

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Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg and Maria Lauren with Dean Martin backstage at Bally’s Las Vegas

 

Excerpts from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

“Maria:  Before our last shows, I made a point of visiting Dean for more than the usual few minutes. I asked him if he thought he would do another tour with Frank Sinatra. In his loose Dino way he shook his head, pointed his finger and said, “He’s too pushy….” I finished his sentence with, “And you’re an easy going guy.” I knew Dean’s remark was truth said in jest. I was going to miss this pre-show ritual of give and take. I could feel the buzz and energy of the audience on the other side of the curtain which always got my heart pumping faster. Backstage we had our own buzz. While a few of the musicians tuned up, Ken Lane joked around with them.”

“Linda: Vegas was fun, easy, comfortable—too comfortable. I was getting this ‘now or never’ feeling about branching out in show business. There was so much more I wanted to do. But I was torn between enjoying this moment of success or pushing ahead to what was next, career wise. We were developing friendships, getting chummy with the guys in the orchestra and with Roger, Dean’s personal valet and assistant. Roger said that Dean liked to have a hotel room where he could sneak backstage without using any common areas or elevators…”

Dean -Martin- Backstage

“Maria: Our times in The Golddiggers gave us a lifetime of experiences. All of us girls were very different but very alike in many ways. We had a deep sense of caring for each other and professionalism. Besides our talent, we all contributed a special something to the group…. Linda and I always knew how blessed we were to be a part of the ‘Big Time’ and the magic that surrounded Dean Martin. He worked with our favorite entertainers but he treated us like we were his favorites too. We celebrated special occasions and shared private jokes and messages together. Dean was so dear to us.” – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

We are very grateful for the many years we spent working and playing with Dean. From his television show in the early 1970’s to his retirement in the early 1990’s, each moment was “beyond our wildest dreams”! Happy Birthday Dean!! 

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Our Summer With Jerry Vale

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The Golddiggers backstage with Jerry Vale – 1973 Summer Tour – Pictured clock-wise from left to right: Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Maria (Alberici) Lauren, Robin (Hoctor) Horneff, Jerry Vale, Colleen (Kincaid) Jackson, Lee Nolting, Deborah Pratt, Susan Buckner

We are sad to hear about the passing of Jerry Vale at 83 years old. It was a privilege to listen to his silky voice during our performances with him. We have some very fond memories of him. One of them was when he cooked a gourmet Italian meal for all of us. He had a beautiful family and was dearly loved.

Excerpts from “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams”…

“Maria: We toured almost the entire summer of ‘73 with the legendary Italian crooner Jerry Vale. I personally loved listening to his show because in my teens I used to sing along with his albums at home. Now, as The Golddiggers we shared the co-star billing with him.

Jerry-ValeJerry Vale opened the show with a few songs like ‘Lonely is a Man Without Love’ which had a lilting melody and built into a dramatic ending. Jerry’s songs were brilliantly arranged but the orchestrations were crisp and not overpowering with tasty tempo changes which usually led the way to a flawless high note soaring above the orchestra. His clear, cultured voice was always the focus of attention. After he engaged the audience, he would introduce us for our portion of the show.”

 

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Alberici Sisters: Maria Lauren (bottom) and Linda Eichberg (top)

“Linda: We did a wide variety of music. ‘I Want to Be Happy’ was done in a campy Marilyn Monroe style then the tempo would swing during ‘Black Magic,’ while the ‘Torch Medley’ gave each girl a featured song… The duet, showcasing Maria and me, brought in the sounds of contemporary pop music, segueing into a foot stomping, hand-clapping gospel version of ‘Time and Love.’”

Jerry Vale, Las Vegas Visitor:

‘What’s it like working with the Golddiggers? I love it. What’s not to like? They’re eight beautiful young ladies giving the audience all they have. I watch their show almost all the time. I enjoy going to work just to see them. They wouldn’t have to do anything, just stand there and let me look at them.'”

“Maria: Jerry Vale flirted with the audience as he sang his sophisticated version of the Tom Jones hit, ‘Help Yourself’—“Just help yourself to my lips, to my arms….” then turned the mood with the romantic, ‘My Love Forgive Me.’… I think all the women in the audience believed he was singing to them. Jerry would lighten it up with some Italian jokes and stories, keeping everyone in the palm of his hand as he sang the classics, ‘Return to Me,’ ‘Mala Femmina,’ ‘Mama’ and ‘Al-di-la.’ As soon as he opened his mouth to sing those Italian standards there would be thunderous ovation…”

 

Jerry-Vale-The-Golddiggers-poster“We played a lot of the Music Fairs with Jerry Vale, some of these theaters were shaped like circus tents, some were open to the outside and some were enclosed. The Valley Forge Music Theater and the Cape Cod Melody Tent were humongous ‘theaters in the round’ that seated three thousand or more. Another stop on our way was the Westbury Music Fair…

During our summer tour, Jerry Vale’s five-year old daughter visited him. She was adorable and was in awe of our sparkling costumes. With the help of the staff, we had a modest little Golddigger outfit made for her birthday. She looked really cute in it. We gave her the finishing touches by fixing her hair and applying a touch of make-up. One night, she surprised her dad by coming out on stage in the outfit. The audience loved it, especially her dad.”

 

Copyright: Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

The Alberici Sisters and the LA Winds Jazz Band at Vitello’s

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“SHOWSTOPPERS” The Alberici Sisters & the LA Winds Jazz Band!

A musical tribute to the showstopping entertainers of the Big Band & Rat Pack era!

You will be transported back to the glamorous days of The Rat Pack and dazzling Las Vegas! The fabulous music and big band sounds from the LA Winds Jazz Band will bring to life this golden era as the sisters sing the songs that were famous when ‘swing was king’ plus other showstopping favorites!

Come join us Sunday, June 1st, Upstairs at Vitello’s Jazz and Supper Club for the fun and for a toast to launch Dean Martin’s birthday week! Let’s party! ~ Maria & Linda

For Tickets

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ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

ALBERICI SISTERS

Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg are the youngest generation of singers around today who toured with The Rat Pack and are the musical link to entertainment icons of the 20th Century! During their show you’ll hear what it was like to perform and hang-out with entertainment legends Louis Prima, Eydie Gorme, Bob Hope, Joan Rivers, Milton Berle, Jay Leno, Sammy Davis Jr. and tour with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as well as other celebrities. Fox TV recently called the Alberici Sisters: “Glamour gals from the Rat Pack days… grooviest girls of all time!”

The Alberici Sisters started their careers on the east coast singing with Big Bands in their early teens and became internationally renowned entertainers who boast a command performance for the Royal Family of Monaco. Critics claim their vocal blend is both “dynamic” and “smooth as silk.” Singers and dancers, the sisters were part of The Golddiggers, regulars on The Dean Martin Show and also performed on The Tonight Show and many other television variety series.

Maria and Linda are co-authors of the exciting book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams… “a backstage pass to entertainment life in the 1970’s.”

“DELIGHTFUL ALBERICI SISTERS ARE SHOWSTOPPERS ANYWHERE …together they are loaded with talent.” –  Gen Tully, Philadelphia Inquirer

LA WINDS JAZZ BAND

Big band jazz was born in the mid-1920’s, one of American music’s most enduring
creations. The LA Winds Jazz Band keeps the tradition hotter and more alive than ever.
This 17-piece firecracker pays homage to classic Basie-style grooves but also explores
exciting newer sounds. And all of it, every note, is smokin’.

The Jazz Band was born at Pierce College in 2003, as the partner to the Los Angeles
Symphonic Winds. Their reputation spread quickly; the very next year they toured the
south of France, performing seaside along the Cote D’Azur. In 2007, they were invited
back to perform in Austria at the Mid-Europe Festival for Wind Music, which featured
the best groups from around the world. They also play repeat performances at the
Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center and the Warner Center’s Fourth of July concerts.

Directed by John Mitchell and Dave Weston, they’re truly “a rocket, in the pocket.” Don’t
miss them.

Featured Guests

Adding to this evening of musical entertainment are co-hosts and singers, Dave Berges and Marianna Riccio.

Dave Berges is also a featured vocalist with the Woody James Big Band and the Big Bad Jazz Band. As an actor in film and stage, Dave received critical acclaim for his work in original productions that premiered at the Crown Theater in North Hollywood.

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Marianna Riccio rejoins the LA Winds Jazz Band and the Alberici Sisters after her vocal jam with Jamie Foxx and Drake at the BET Award pre-party and her guest appearance on Larry King Live on CNN-TV.

 

upstairslogocsUPSTAIRS AT VITELLO’S JAZZ & SUPPER CLUB

4349 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604

818.769.0905

See you there!

 

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NBC and The Tonight Show ‘Gold’

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Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Carson and Frank Sinatra

We taped Dean Martin’s TV Show at NBC in Studio 4, right next to the famed “Tonight Show”. You never knew who you were going to run in to during a taping or rehearsal. There was always a cavalcade of stars passing through, a Hollywood ‘Who’s Who’. It was 1974 and “The Tonight Show” and “The Dean Martin Comedy Hour” were the ‘kings’ of the television variety shows.

Excerpt from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

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Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Dean Martin Golddigger: We started meeting some other stars and realized they were not like their TV identities. I would come across Johnny Carson in the hallways of NBC a lot and make small talk; he’d ask us who was on Dean’s show that week. He was not as tall as I thought he was going to be but he was every bit as charming as he was on television. In general the celebrities we met were smaller in stature than they appeared on TV.”

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Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974: We saw Johnny Carson at NBC and I thought, ‘Oh my God, my whole life I’ve wanted to be on The Tonight Show.’ I got up and as soon as I got up everybody joined me. We walked over to him and I said, ‘Excuse me Mr. Carson, we’re the Golddiggers and we want to be on your show.’ He sucked in his gut and kind of puffed up his chest and went, ‘Yes, of course, we’ll take care of that.’ Whoever his secretary was at his side said, ‘All right, we’ll handle that, when are you going to be in Vegas, and blah, blah, blah.’ They put it all together for us and the night we were on the show Joey Bishop was hosting… I was mad because he wasn’t Johnny Carson.”

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Maria (Alberici) Lauren, Dean Martin Golddigger: We did ‘Shake Your Tambourine’ and we all got to say something. Here we are two sisters from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania doing The Tonight Show! I didn’t care if Johnny Carson wasn’t the host that night. Joey Bishop was from our hometown area, so that was cool; plus he was a member of Dean’s fabled Rat Pack.”

*****

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The Rat Pack: Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Dean Martin

Johnny Carson also took the stage as a member of the Rat Pack. This famous live performance in St. Louis later became a TV special. Johnny even sings a little. Frank, Dean, Sammy and Johnny are having a ball in this clip from the show. The four of them together are classic!

In the early 1980’s…

We, the Alberici Sisters had a leave-of-absence from The Golddiggers for a few years and had the opportunity of be the opening act for a popular up and coming comedian named Jay Leno. We performed at a convention in Chicago together. He made an impression on us. We liked the refreshing ‘down home’ style of his show. He was the nicest guy.

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We appreciated the many years Jay Leno hosted “The Tonight Show.” There were a lot of laughs and superb guests. It was sad to see Jay leave the show but we are enjoying Jimmy Fallon. He’s a tremendous talent!

Good luck Jimmy; thanks for keeping variety shows alive!

 

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