It was, as they say, a simpler time. A time when making jokes about alcoholism seemed funny and having a black guy on stage with a bunch of white guys seemed daring.
Still, some four decades after they ruled Las Vegas, the Rat Pack still stands as the epitome of cool, or at least that kind of cool where guys wore tuxedos, smoked cigarettes and met "dames" at the craps table after the show.
You probably never saw them live but here's a reasonable facsimile: The Rat Pack — Live at the Sands comes to Carol Morsani Hall at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa, Tuesday through March 29.
The tribute show premiered in England in the 1990s and has been a popular and critical success on both sides of the Atlantic ever since.
One caution, though: Only three of the "rats" — Frank, Sammy and Dino (last names aren't necessary, are they?) — are represented. So if you're a huge fan of Peter Lawford or Joey Bishop, you're out of luck.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $43 plus service charge. (813) 229-7827 or tbpac.org.
Marty Clear, Times correspondent