Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's like being admitted to their inner circle

In the public eye, they lived a fantasy that mere mortals could only dream of. But between the ellipses of Rat Pack lore existed a carnival of leisure, stress, politics, starlets, heartache and happiness. For decades, some of the only photographic evidence was stashed in a cardboard box labeled "Do Not Print." That is, until now.

"The Rat Pack," a limited-edition volume by Reel Art Press, is a sprawling compilation of visual footnotes in the everyday world of Frank Sinatra and his band of brothers. In private life, their mystique lingered in the clothes they wore, the cigarettes they smoked, the women on their arms and the rules they broke. The bulky hardcover pools guarded snapshots with gems from the cutting-room floor taken at the Cal Neva Resort in North Lake Tahoe and the star-studded gatherings at Peter Lawford's Santa Monica beach house. Among them are shots by Bob Willoughby, Sid Avery, Ted Allen, Bernie Abramson and others in their inner circle.

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