Dean Martin’s 100th Birthday Tribute

Smiles of heartfelt memories sweep over us as we celebrate Dean Martin’s 100th birthday on June 7th. Dean’s charismatic talent personified a debonair and cheeky demeanor with an underlying charm and allure that transcends time.

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Dean Martin and The Golddiggers circa 1977

We were blessed to be a part of The Dean Martin Golddiggers for almost two decades. We witnessed Dean’s mastery of entertainment and light-hearted fun on the Las Vegas stage and on television.

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Dean’s special warmth touches us even now as we listen to his unique inflections while he sings a song, tells a joke or casually gives a fun-loving look.

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The a glimpse of Dean and his Golddiggers from his TV 1973 show, with Country legend, Ray Stevens!

Our Las Vegas performances opening for Dean spanned from the 1970’s to the early 90’s. We became like a family and shared special occasions like birthdays and Christmas together, even some heartbreaking times.

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Backstage at Bally’s on Dean’s birthday about 32 years ago! Dean Martin and The Golddiggers circa 1985 – 86.

We are forever grateful for being a part of this dynamic time in show business but especially for sharing in Dean’s humanity.

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Giving Dean a birthday present after our show! From bottom left to right: Maria (Alberici) Lauren, Patti Gribow, Dean Martin, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg, Robyn Whatley

“What do you get the guy who has everything? He appeared to treasure those moments and, little by little, during our Vegas stays, he warmly unveiled his vulnerability and softer side to us.”

– Quote from, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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And he did, he gave it his all! Thank you Dean and happy 100th birthday. We love you! 

 

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The book Beyond Our Wildest Dreams is available on Amazon!

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Dean Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award Ceremony

Walking The Red Carpet

Excerpt from the book – BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

What are the chances? The odds certainly were against us but out of thousands of young women, two humble girls from a family of nine children were chosen to be featured singers and dancers on The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Now, here we are walking the Red Carpet at the 2009 Grammy Awards ceremony with Dean Martin’s family.

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Alberici Sisters

On this day a downpour was expected but it didn’t rain on our parade as waves of anticipation carried us to this moment. Dean was being honored for his “Lifetime Achievement” in entertainment along with R&B legends, The Four Tops, country icon Hank Williams, and pop singer Brenda Lee.

We felt like giggling teenagers again as we reunited with our special friends to walk the red carpet together as a group. Dean affectionately called us “my girls” and we were proud to have performed with him from 1973 through the next two decades as The Dean Martin Golddiggers. While the paparazzi snapped away, without missing a beat all of us struck a pose, just like the old days!

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The Golddiggers – Deborah Pratt, Linda Eichberg, Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner, Marie Halton, Peggy Gohl

One of the reporters pushed forward with his microphone and pulled me and my sister aside to ask us a typical Dean question, “Ladies, ladies, tell me, did Dean Martin really drink?” We chuckled in unison and said in true Dean Martin fashion, “No, Dean didn’t drink; he told us he freezes it and eats it like a Popsicle.”

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Once inside we were guided to our VIP seats. The ceremony warmed our hearts and it was hard to hold back the tears when Dean was given recognition with a video montage of some special moments from television, recordings and movies. We beamed with pride for our hero, who helped shape our careers with his charm, wit and showmanship.

Dean Lifetime Acheivement

When the time came for Dean’s children to accept his Grammy, we couldn’t help but recall being told the devastating news in 1987 that his son Dean Paul had been killed and the toll it took on Dean. In spite of his overwhelming sadness Dean continued to fulfill all his performance commitments with us as his opening act. He told us in a tender moment that entertaining helped him to ease his pain.

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Ricci steps to the podium and then Deana. They share their hearts about what their father meant to them and to the world of entertainment. There will never be anyone like Dean Martin.

As the award ceremony came to a close, it was off to the ‘after party’ where we listened to fantastic music and chatted with Dean’s daughter Gail, who was toasting her dad with a martini. We loved the story she told about her grand- son recently buying a skate- board with Dean’s picture on it, “With two other guys….” that would be the Rat Pack.

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Dean’s Girls: Peggy, Marie, Maria, Linda, Deborah and Susan

As we celebrated that evening it all came flooding back—the stars, the memories… Touring with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the same bill, hanging out in the dressing rooms and at home with Sammy Davis Jr.; taping the Dean Martin TV show; opening the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with Dean and then appearing at Bally’s for so many years until Dean’s final performances. What an experience!

 

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In Memory Of Ricci

We were shocked and saddened to here about the death of Ricci Martin this past week. Our hearts and condolences go out to his family.

RICCI-MARTIN

 

Dean Jeanne Ricci

The last time we spoke to Ricci was at the Grammy Awards. He was a dear man, a talented singer who carried on the legacy of his father with his love, stories and music.

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Rest in peace dear friend.

 

Las Vegas – ‘Lady Luck’

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Alberici Sisters – Marianna Riccio ‘Lady Luck’ – The Rat Pack – Las Vegas

Things sure changed in Las Vegas since our first adventure performing in the main show room at Caesar’s Palace as members of The Dean Martin Golddiggers. That was in 1973 and for two Catholic girls who had never traveled away from home, this was the big time! However, we were a little timid about entertaining in ‘Sin City.’

On the other hand, we were tickled pink to know that we were performing with the best of the best. We savored the experience as entertainers working our charm on audiences that were dressed to the nines. Sinatra made Caesars Palace the place to be after a few brawls with hotel officials at The Sands.

Excerpt from the book, Beyond our Wildest Dreams… 

TV Radio Mirror Magazine, December 1973: “You can’t go home again.” Frank Sinatra takes exception to Thomas Wolfe’s infamous words. Frank practically lived in Las Vegas in the days of the legendary Clan (or Rat Pack). Then a series of punch-ins with various hotel officials made Frank so angry that he vowed he’d never appear again in the gambling spa that he helped put on the map. Maybe the years have mellowed the star but he’s planning a Las Vegas comeback. He’s set to resume his nightery career at Caesars Palace, certainly a fitting place for the “King of Singers.”

Pat Cooper, comedian: “I opened for Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, the list goes on and on. I played everything in Vegas. Everything. I played the Riviera, I played the Caesars, I played the Flamingo, I played the Sahara, I played them all. At the time Caesars was the best. The Sands started to collapse when that guy hit Frank Sinatra. Frank quit the Sands and went to Caesars and brought all his people over to Caesars and it hurt the Sands.”

~~~

Decades later, in 2003, we started doing reunion shows with the former Dean Martin Golddiggers featuring Marianna Riccio when she still had braces on her teeth. Then, a decade after that she returned the favor and featured us in her music video, ‘Lady Luck.’

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Music Artists: Marianna Riccio and the Alberici Sisters

It was a blast to do a parody of the Frank Sinatra song, ‘Luck Be A Lady’ with all the sophistication of classic Vegas while Marianna brings a little vintage fun to today’s Las Vegas.

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Marianna Riccio is ‘Lady Luck’ featuring the Alberici Sisters

The music video starts with a prelude of Marianna and her girlfriends contemplating a trip to Las Vegas which leads to a magical journey.

‘Lady Luck’ through the decades of Vegas…

Shooting the music video was a family affair, even our mom made a cameo appearance in it! Everything seems to have come full circle for it was our mom who took us on her singing jobs and introduced us to performing.

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Today we’re singing and swinging with the LA Winds Jazz Band a classic Frank Sinatra tune to celebrate his 100th Birthday…

Who would have thought that we would still be singing with a Big Band, the songs made famous by members of the Rat Pack and featured in the music video, ‘Lady Luck?’

What do you have on your coffee table?

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The Alberici Sisters reminisce on times performing with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin

Book, ‘Beyond Our Wildest Dreams’ on Amazon

Life magazine, ‘Sinatra at 100’ on Amazon

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100 Years of Frank Sinatra

Frank-Sinatra

Photo credit: Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Memories of the master entertainer, Frank Sinatra, both on-stage and off-stage come to mind, as this year marks what would have been 100 fabulous years for this nine-time Grammy winner. There’s no better time to celebrate Sinatra’s excellence in the industry and reminisce about our summer touring with Frank and his pal, Dean Martin.

For your enjoyment, we share some of our experiences as the opening act for Sinatra and Martin when we were a part of the singing and dancing girl group, The Golddiggers.  It was a double honor to tour with this historical show in 1977, to say the least!

Excerpts from the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS:

Linda: Frank’s act was superb. When people have their craft down like he did, you can’t put your finger on one certain thing that makes it great but it was. He had a combination of attributes that were spellbinding in the same way his albums had an inherent quality with magnificent Don Costa arrangements on those immortal Sinatra classics like the swinging ‘Night and Day,’ or his signature tune in the seventies, ‘My Way.’ Before breaking into his traditional closer, Frank usually gave a shout out to Don Costa and Paul Anka, the song’s author. ‘My Way’ could have come across as an arrogant declaration of will but Sinatra transformed it into a soul searching ballad that revealed his vulnerability and wisdom.

And then the comedy would start again. The most irreverent comments were made at the mobile bar Dean wheeled out after Sinatra finished ‘My Way.’ That’s where they fired off silly toasts and told jokes. I’m not sure if there was real alcohol in their glasses but the more they drank, the nuttier they got.

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After that, Dean and Frank launched into a lighthearted medley of songs including some of their hits— ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,’ ‘Embraceable You,’ ‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ and ‘When you’re Smiling.’ The audience cheered as the two pros harmonized together, Dean taking the lower baritone notes with Frank taking the higher tenor notes. All of it was sheer magic.

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Frank Sinatra with The Alberici Sisters, Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers

Maria: From our more intimate perspective off stage I could see that Frank was attempting to portray a hipper image. He had changed some of his standard arrangements to be like the trendy music played in New York’s Studio 54 where the ‘Jet Set’ partied. Frank opened with ‘All or Nothing at All’ set to a driving disco beat. Of course, this arrangement still had the big band sound that had become part of the Sinatra experience. Frank also performed ‘Night and Day’ with a percussive big brass beat. Sinatra was so smart to get on the disco bandwagon, he was always adapting to new musical styles and the top forty in 1977 was crowded with disco remakes of familiar songs. I liked the flavor of the music but Frank seemed a little out of his comfort zone, especially with the rhythm. Frank’s style fit better with his standard swing arrangement of ‘Night and Day’ but I would have jumped at the opportunity to sing to this new hip version.
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Linda: Dean was high as a kite during one Sabre Room performance Maria and I had the opportunity to watch from backstage. It could have been that he was drinking but I don’t know…  Dean was really loose during his monologue that evening, he started out stumbling over his words. Dean nicely reminded one heckler, “I don’t need this at all, don’t need this at all…. I love to work because I’m working with my good buddy, that’s all.” I realized, in that moment, that Dean didn’t have to invite us on this tour either. He just wanted us to be there with him. My heart swelled and I appreciated how much he cared about us as a group.

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THE GOLDDIGGERS: bottom Lf. to Rt. – Patti Gribow, Maria Lauren, Joyce Garro, Pegy Gohl and Robyn Whatley

Linda: Dean’s singing was in rare form when he started, ‘Welcome To My World’ but the spell was quickly broken when Frank Sinatra wisecracked from a backstage mic, “Come on, it’s my world, you’re just livin’ in it.” It was a riot.
Of course Dean got back at him. After Sinatra started to sing, “When I was seventeen…. Dean quipped from backstage, “You were a pain in the ass!”

Maria: Frank continued his off mic comments during Dean’s numbers and at one point succeeded in making him really forget the words. They got a kick out of messing each other up but it was the roar of the audience that kept them frisky.

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Souvenir scarf from Frank and Dean’s 1977 tour

Dean on stage in Chicago, June 10, 1977:

Here’s a song that maybe six or seven of you might remember. And I hope I’m one of ‘em.”

Maria: Their medley together had the usual goof ups but they were obviously having such a good time who could help but get caught up in it? A rousing version of ‘ The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game’ from Guys and Dolls closed the show, and the tour, in Chicago on the fourteenth of June.

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Frank Sinatra is a voice for all generations. We are delighted to give a special tribute to Frank in our live shows, singing the best of his signature songs. Thank you for the music and happy 100th birthday Mr. Sinatra!

Be sure to watch Sinatra 100– An All-Star Grammy Concert, on CBS December 6, when the biggest names in the business will come together to honor Frank Sinatra and his music in a television extravaganza. It will be a rare treat.

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS now available on Amazon.

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. Rights reserved. May not be used without expressed written permission.

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.”

Deborah-Pratt-

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!

 

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. All rights reserved.