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.

~~~

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

~~~

© Copyright, all rights reserved.

 

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Gala Grand Opening – MGM Grand Hotel Las Vegas!

The Grand Opening of the Grandest Hotel in Las Vegas

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The Celebrity Room menu cover

Dean Martin and The Golddiggers were selected to open the new MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, the world’s largest casino! It was an elegant and gala affair! After the festive opening ceremonies, their sold out performance was held in the expansive, state of the art MGM Celebrity Room.

The story through the eyes of two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers and Las Vegas historians is put together in a book. Excerpts from the book, BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

Linda: “On December 5, 1973 we were back in Las Vegas, this time to appear with Dean opening night at the brand new MGM Grand Hotel. I felt like a princess, the taxi that delivered us to the door could have been a carriage. It was all so glamorous.
Opening night was one of the most fabulous nights of my life. It was such a huge deal, a big event for the city of Las Vegas and for us. Vegas was so different then, it had that old Hollywood magic. The city had style, everybody dressed up in those days. I usually wore long, slinky gowns in the evenings, before and after the show.”

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Linda & Maria Alberici, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers



Maria: “I thought the MGM was incredibly gorgeous, I liked it much better than Caesars because that place was so dark inside. Everything was a lot grander, so to speak, at the MGM—more open, and it was all about the Hollywood experience so I loved it. The movie star pictures beside the rooms were so glamorous. I thought, ‘Oh, what star’s picture will my room be next to? Maybe some of her magic will rub off on me.'”



History in the Making

PBS, The American Experience: “Kirk Kerkorian surpassed the size and scope of the International when he built the MGM Grand. The hotel had 2,100 guest rooms, five gourmet restaurants and the world’s largest casino. At 26 stories high, the MGM Grand was the tallest casino in the free world.

The completion of the MGM Grand led to the corporate revolution in Las Vegas. In order to have the funds required to finance the $106 million MGM, Kerkorian sold his International and Flamingo Hotels to the Hilton Hotel Corporation, marking the first time a publicly owned conglomerate was in charge of a Las Vegas casino…”

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MGM Grand Hotel in the 1970’s – Photo Credit: UNLV Libraries

Dr. Gene Moehring, Professor of History, UNLV: “Raquel Welch was the one that set off the bomb that started the construction of the MGM Grand. You didn’t have any high rise hotels in Las Vegas until the Riviera in 1955 because there’s water under the valley and no one knew if the aquifers would mess up the high buildings. All the early hotels were two and three stories, that was it; they were like ranches that went on for fifty rooms but they weren’t high rises.

Vegas was the first place to give deluxe, using the French word, luxury rooms to the middle class for a low rate. When they ran the place in the fifties and sixties the mob would give you a nice room for ten dollars a night. They’d get it all back in the casinos. Very few hotels opened in Las Vegas in the seventies but in the sixties you had Caesars Palace open in 1966, Kerkorian had opened The International which is today the Las Vegas Hilton in 1968, and the first MGM Grand, today Bally’s, in 1973. ∗ So you had all that growth but it slowed down in the seventies…”

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

∗ The MGM fire in 1980 was the worst disaster in Las Vegas history.

Read more in the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS.

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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. 

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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

Read more! 

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Book Now on Amazon!

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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

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

The Dean Martin Show – Golddiggers Reunion 2013

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Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg at The Dean Martin Golddiggers reunion,

A highlight of 2013 was the “Gold Event”! It was a reunion for those involved in the Dean Martin television shows and specials. Over the years, we performed with a variety of gals as the Dean Martin Golddiggers, some of them we haven’t seen in years, so this was a wonderful way to celebrate along with celebrities and those who worked so diligently behind-the-scenes.

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The Golddiggers with Lee Hale, Dean Martin Show musical director

Lovely Ladies from all over America attended, representing several groups of “Golddiggers”  from 1968 to 1991.

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Golddiggers Reunite! From left to right: Peggy Gohl, Colleen Kincaid Jackson, Linda Alberici Eichberg, Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio, Melody Walczuk, Linda Bott, Patti Pivarnik Gribow, Marie Halton Peck & Joyce Garro

At the reunion, we had the opportunity to spend a few moments with the incomparable Florence Henderson and other guests of “The Dean Martin Show.”

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We wish you a blessed Holiday season. As we begin to celebrate the joys of Christmas, it is also sad to remember the passing of Dean Martin on Christmas day. However, this feeling is short lived as we remember our cherished moments with Dean.

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Photo Credit – timelife.com

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The Golddiggers, Christmas album

A GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS…

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS captures behind-the-scene stories at the Dean Martin Show and touring with superstars like Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Gene Kelly, Jerry Vale, Donald O’Connor, Steve & Eydie,  Bob Hope, and so many more. Over 300 pictures! Exciting book selling on Amazon!

Enjoy some laughs! Dean Martin Roasts on YouTube!

All contents of this blog, copyright – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters

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Dean Martin and Jonathan Winters as Maude Frickert
Photo credit – YouTube.com

Last month our friend from television, Jonathan Winters, passed away. We had the good fortune to work along side him for several years on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters and several Dean Martin TV specials. He was the master of improvisation and had a great influence on other comedians. Robin Williams was one those comedians who looked up to Jonathan. In a New York Times article, Robin called him, “a madman but angelic.” We think that is a perfect description. Jonathan’s death was a great loss to the world of entertainment. To remember him, we would like to share some memories of Jonathan from our book.

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Dean Martin’s Christmas in California – Photo courtesy of Robyn Whatley, one of Dean’s Golddiggers. Robyn is center next to Jonathan with her arms wrapped around Linda Lavin. With Patti Gribow, Mireille Mathieu & Crystal Gayle (far right)

Excerpts from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

 “Linda: Our first TV show taping was The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters, a variety show which featured a spot where the comedian would rummage through his ‘attic,’ pick up some random object and do a whole monologue on it. We were on for something like eight shows, we shot two a day.”

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Deborah Pratt

Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974:
Jonathan Winters’ mind was just so explosive, he was in his own world. My favorite
part was to come and watch the ending where he would take nothing and make it into fifty things just with the sound effects he did with his mouth while his hands were doing mime.”

 

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Linda (Alberici) Eichberg

Linda: There was not much interaction with Jonathan Winters on the set but our trailers were side by side so I would talk to him outside the soundstage. I had pleasant conversations with him, he was very approachable, very mellow and warm when he wasn’t on stage.

One day when I was talking with Jonathan he invited me into his trailer. If it had been someone else I would have had second thoughts but not with Jonathan. In spite of his zany TV characters he was pretty normal, super nice and very intelligent. We talked about our mutual November birthdays and The Twilight Zone episode he did. I was a big fan of Twilight Zone.
Jonathan was an incredibly talented, funny guy. He invented lots of crazy characters, I adored his old lady character Maude Frickert. Every time he became her, everyone was hysterical with laughter. As Maude he stole every scene he was in. The other guest stars didn’t have a chance except to go with the flow and let whatever happened happen. That’s what was so great about his show, the improvisation and spontaneity.”

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Maria (Alberici) Lauren

 

Maria: Jonathan Winters as Maude Frickert was also a guest on The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Dean would try to hold his own as Maude flirted shamelessly, his reactions were priceless. One smirk would say it all. Dean was the perfect straight man—although his TV persona could not walk a straight line.”

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Dean Martin, Jonathan Winters and the Golddiggers from Dean Martin’s Christmas in California special.

A favorite Jonathan Winters TV clip is on the YouTube link below, narrated by producer, Greg Garrison. It’s too funny!

 

Our television debut as two of “The Golddiggers” was on The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters show. This YouTube contains a clip of our performance on his show along with a Larry King interview and recent highlights of our entertaining in “Showstoppers.”

Copyright – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams