Sunday, August 26, 2007, 9:15 PM // 0 comments

Memories of Dean, Frank & Sammy at the 500 Club

by Don Altobell

Memories of Dean, Frank & Sammy at the 500 Club - Don AltobellI will never forget August 26, 1962.

I was 24 at the the time and after having the good fortune of seeing Dean Martin's appearance at the 500 Club in Atlantic City on Aug 19 -- his first solo gig since his split with Jerry Lewis -- the following week gave me an added treat.

Thanks to a drawing I did of Dean, I was able to see his opening shows and also attend rehearsals. And 500 Club owner Skinny Damato introduced me to Dean, who autographed my drawing, which still hangs on my living room wall.

Fans knew that Dean's pal, Frank Sinatra, would join him midweek to conclude the engagement. Atlantic City was bursting at the seams, with all hotels, motels, and restaurants jam-packed. At the club itself, tables were pushed together to make room for more patrons. It was a bonanza time for Atlantic City long before the first casino was opened.

That closing night after early dinner, I made my way through the block-long line and was ushered inside by a policeman who remembered me after seeing me at so many shows. I didn't mind that I had no seat.

Dean was introduced as the star of the show and opened with "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" followed by "Volare," "On An Evening in Roma" and "Goody, Goody."

Then Sinatra sang, "I Get a Kick Out Of You," followed by Sammy Davis' Jr. doing "The Lady Is A Tramp." (Davis also imitated some actors singing the song including James Cagney and Marlon Brando).

Then Frank, Dean and Sammy clowned around and sang "You Are Too Beautiful," "Love Walked Right In" and "This Is My First Affair."

While Dean and Frank sang, Sammy danced to "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "Too Marvelous for Words," "It Had To Be You," and "I've Got the World on a String."

Then all three stars joined to close the show with "The Birth of the Blues."

We all left in the early morning sunlight of Monday morning before making our way to work.

It was the last time the Rat Pack ever performed as a trio in Atlantic City.

In retrospect, I must admit that their singing probably suffered, but the pure entertainment and thrill of seeing them all on the stage overcame any vocal lapses. It was a night that no one in attendance would ever forget.

Click here to view more of dad's original "Rat Pack" photos and artwork.

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Friday, August 24, 2007, 7:54 AM // 0 comments

Altobelli meets Altobelli

Two artists have more in common than a name.

I "Googled" my last name and found this article. Cousins?

Gabriele Altobelli, VENUS KALLIPIGIA 3Chester — Gabriele Altobelli, a native of Rome, Italy, and Mary Altobelli of Chester, N.Y., discovered each other from different parts of the world while searching out URLs for web sites. They are not related but have a common bond as artists who capture the sensual images of female figures.

They consequently set up a meeting at the Museum of Modern Art while Gabriele was in the United States on a project for the Italian Consulate. The two agreed to exhibit their work in each other’s countries.

The two Altobellis will be featured at the Piermont Art Gallery from Aug. 9 to Aug. 27. Mary, a who has exhibited at the gallery before, will show her most recent collection of paintings, “Gardens and Goddesses.”

It’s the first time at the gallery for Gabriele, a sculptor.

The opening reception for “Gardens and Goddesses” will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, where attendees will have the opportunity meet the artist. The gallery is located at 223 Ash St, in Piermont, N.Y.

The “Gardens and Goddesses” collection encompasses a wide range of themes that include both natural elements and an introspective look into the feminine soul. Mary Altobelli is known for her intimate portrayal of women in her oil painting and continues the tradition of displaying the goddess inherent in all women.

On most days, Gabriele Altobelli can be found working in his studio in Cervteri, located just outside Rome. His recent works explore the raw essence of the uncensored feminine form in marble. He has exhibited at the Spike Gallery in Manhattan as well as traveling shows in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt.

For more information visit, and

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Saturday, August 11, 2007, 7:47 PM // 0 comments

Dear Richie Ashburn

Yesterday, I found a letter my father wrote to Philadelphia Phillies great, Richie Ashburn. Below my father's letter is Ashburn's reply written this very day 42 years ago.

July 30, 1965

Hi Rich,

The Pirates pitcher who struck out 27 in the minors was Ron Necciai. I think it was a no hitter, and it may have been a perfect game. A pitcher with a future like that, who doesn't make, brings to mind a Phillies pitcher from the early '50s, Niles Jordan. Do you remember his first game? A two-hit shutout against the Reds.

When I think of those super-catches you used to make, the one I remember the best were against the Giants and Bucs. The first was one of those back-to-the-infield jobs on Ray Nobley. I think it was a Saturday afternoon. The other was a night game, and also with your back to the infield. Don't remember the batter though. Do you?

Hope I've stirred up a few memories for you, you always to for me.

Don Altobell

Richie Ashburn letter and autograph

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About Paul Altobelli

Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

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