Ocean’s Eleven and Classic Vegas

We all know that the George Clooney/Brad Pitt version of Ocean’s Eleven was a great hit. I love that film. Some of you might not know that it was a remake of the original from 1960 starring many of the members of the Rat Pack!

Here is some information about the film, some photos from it, and some shots of vintage Vegas. Enjoy your Tuesday friends.

–Sammy Davis Jr., required wooden blocks attached to the pedals on the garbage truck he drove in the film so that he could reach them.

–In a scene between Danny (Frank Sinatra) and Adele (Patrice Wymore), Adele throws a dish of candy at Danny. The throwing of the dish was ad-libbed, which accounts for the genuine look of surprise on Sinatra’s face and the faces of his co-stars.

–Most filming was accomplished early in the morning, before sunrise, since most of the actors also had shows in Las Vegas that they performed nightly during the shooting. The actors would wake up in the afternoon, do one or two shows in the evening, then go through make-up and arrive at the shooting locations for principal photography. Each shooting location was fully set up in advance so that minimal time would be wasted once the actors arrived.

–In the final shot of the film, the eleven walk past the famous sign in front of the Sands hotel. The five members of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford) are billed on the sign.

–One of the most difficult tasks facing the film’s production team, was actually convincing Nevada’s Clark County officials to let them use one of their garbage trucks.

–Shirley MacLaine’s tipsy uncredited cameo was ad-libbed by the actress, for which she reportedly received a brand new car from Warner Bros. as compensation. Her line, “I’m so drunk I don’t think I could lie down without holding on,” was a rehash of a classic Dean Martin line.

–As Peter Lawford, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra attempt to disguise themselves by blackening their faces in the garbage truck near the end of the movie, ‘Sammy Davis, Jr.’ says, “I knew this color would come in handy some day.” Martin and Sinatra teased Davis about that scene for as long as they knew each other thereafter.

–According to Frank Sinatra Jr. on the DVD Commentary, Sammy Davis Jr. was forced to stay at a “colored only” hotel during the filming because Las Vega would not allow blacks to stay at the major hotels despite his appearing with Sinatra, Martin, and the others at the Sands Hotel. He was only allowed to stay at the major hotels, therefore breaking Vegas’ unofficial color barrier after Frank Sinatra confronted the casino owners on his behalf.


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Join the Discussion!

  1. What a fantastic post, honey. It reminds me of when I was little and I would daydream about one day being a writer, working out of a Vegas hotel, channeling my inner Hunter S. Thompson from dusk to dawn every day ;D (Life didn’t quite turn out that way, I seem to have landed in Toronto, not Las Vegas.)

    Wishes of joy & inspiration to you, darling gal!
    ♥ Jessica

  2. Once again…thank you all for your wonderful comments. I tried to comment back on each of your blogs individually! Kori xoxo

  3. Just found your blog… and I love it!

    It’s so different, and fun.

    I’ll be a regular, for sure. I found you from Colette. I finished NaNo too! So happy!!!!


  4. I love this post. So ultra cool. This is right up my alley. I love the Rat Pack and I love this film. It’s one of the coolest flicks ever. You’ve got such a fantastic blog. I really dig it. Cheers!

  5. Yeah!! You did it! Congratulations on the NaNoWriMo challenge! I’m so so happy for you. I scrolled through all your past blogs to check just now. Sorry I have been AWOL this month turned out to be absolutely nuts! But nothing makes me happier to now that you finished!!!! Hoping your holiday adventures are finding you well.

    Love & Hugs,

  6. Another fabulous post, I just love old movies and I soaked up every word and fact you highlighted. I’m so fascinated with this era and I swear I was born a couple decades too late!

    I want to thank you sweet friend for your kind words and for cheering me up with such an awesome award…I adore!

    Love and hugs,

  7. Great post Blondie..I love all the details you wrote about too. And if I remembering correctly, when Sammy wanted to marry British actress May Britt, he wanted Frank to be his best man, but he didn’t want to put Frank in a bad position. Frank was gonna go it, but at Sammy’s request did not. I think they even did that scene in the movie bio they did called The Rat Pack back in the late 90’s. I like the fact that these guys had each other backs no matter what. Great blog Blondie. By the way love the new pic of Marilyn. She is my classic movie goddess of the week. Check out my blogs of her when you get the chance. I think by Thursday I will write about my favorite films of her.

  8. I must say this was interesting. I knew some of it but not all. I must admit..I have a soft spot for Sammy Davis Jr. I always thought he was the most talented person around. Acting, dancing singing…everything…plus we have the same b-day….great post!


  9. This is great background on the film. I haven’t seen the original version and now I want to, especially the ad-lib tossing of the dish.

  10. Well, Miss Blondie–it seems like whenever you write a post it evokes a childhood memory! We used to live in LA and occasionally would DRIVE to Wisconsin to visit family. When I was 10, we all piled into the family station wagon in the middle of the night to start our journey, water bag dangling from the front grill. Back then, you wanted to do the desert at night (which was soooooooo dark!) with a full water bag. When we drove through Vegas, my father took a picture of that very sign, as he’s told us several times. Unfortunately, the photo has disappeared and the negatives are long faded. Guess I’ve just dated myself there. I always thought Peter Lawford was so gol-darn handsome!!

  11. Brilliant! That movie was great! And a much better ending the remake, I think. If only I were alive to see the rat pack in Vegas…Well, thanks for the great (and informative) post!

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