For whatever reason I never read Shawn Levy‘s “Rat Pack Confidential” when it came out 16 or 17 years ago, but I suddenly bought it on Amazon right after posting my review of Alex Gibney‘s All or Nothing At All, a two-night, four-hour doc about Frank Sinatra which pops tomorrow night. The old Frank magic vaguely had me in its spell. Levy’s book is a lot more candid and less cautious than Gibney’s doc in terms of portraying the Sinatra who swaggered around like king shit in the heyday. The Sinatra family gatekeepers, Tina and Frank, Jr., got along with Gibney but had no love for Levy. In any event the book arrived today, and here’s a passage at the very end that summarizes how suddenly and quickly the Rat Pack era, which peaked with the shooting of Ocean’s Eleven around January 1960, came to a close with the arrival of the Beatles four years later:

“There [in 1960] you had them — a group consisting of the nation’s greatest and most popular entertainers, with the blessing of a dynamic political star and fearsome crime lords, the favors of gorgeous women, an enviable playground, all the money in the world — and within four years of commanding the world’s attention they were deposed. That blip of teen culture that they’d mocked and derided but secretly envied and aped? It echoed back off the far side of the abyss and overwhelmed them. What seemed like high-spirited fun in the winter of 1960 came to look like pathetic lechery and debauchery by the summer of 1964, the high hopes of one generation — a delusional sham which obscured a corrupt, licentious core — were replaced with the simply adolescent cheeriness of the next.”