This was Frank's baby.
Onstage, Dean singing almost straight, then pissing away anything like real feeling with jokes.
In the wings, Sammy, Peter, Joey.
Out front, a mob scene: Marilyn, Little Caesar, Kirk, Shirl, Mr. Benny, that Swedish kid that Sammy was so crazy for, that senator and his tubby kid brother, a few broads without addresses, a few guys without real names . . .
Famous faces at ringside for the cameras, infamous ones in the shadows in the back, plus a hundred or so civilians as bait for the rest of the world _ suckers with money to blow and dames to blow it with them until it ran out.
In the casino, every schmuck that couldn't pay or beg or muscle his way in was betting his rent money just to feel as big as the ones who could.
The joint was packed; the rest of the town might as well have been dark.
_ Rat Pack Confidential by Shawn Levy (Doubleday, $23.95)
WHAT THE LOCALS READ: The top five sellers in April at Brigit Books, 3434 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg:
1. Witches Almanac, Spring 1998-1999 by Elizabeth Pepper (Witches Almanac, $6.95) Non-fiction, paperback.
2. Love In the Balance by Marianne Martin (Naiad Press, $11.95) Fiction, paperback.
3. Grief, Nurturing the Process by Gale Massey (Gale Massey, $1.95) Non-fiction, paperback.
4. Women's Traveller 1998 (Damron, $12.95) Non-fiction, paperback.
5. Feminist Fairytales by Barbara Walker (HarperCollins, $12) Fiction, paperback.