When Don Rickles sits down for dinner with sportscaster Rich Eisen, the subject quickly turns to — for some inexplicable reason — Frank Sinatra. Rickles and Sinatra were friends for decades, often appearing together and even vacationing in Italy together. Sinatra’s Italian heritage was frequently the butt of Rickles’ jokes, especially the overly cheesy accents and the mafia connotations.
Sinatra was also the subject of one of Rickles’ most enduring stories, one that was repeated so often at parties, in nightclub shows and on television that it became part of Rickles-Sinatra folklore.
It goes something like this … Rickles is on a date in a fancy restaurant when he notices Sinatra sitting at a table across the room. He approaches his friend and asks him if he would be good enough to stop by the table. Having Sinatra stop by the table would impress his date immeasurably, Rickles tells the heartthrob.
Sinatra, being the kind of guy he is, tells Rickles that of course he would. But when Sinatra stops by the table to flash a smile and offer a quick hello, Rickles looks up at the famous crooner and says, “Can’t you see I am eating, Frank? Why you wanna interrupt my meal?”
Perhaps more appropriately, Rickles has some sports stories for Eisen in addition to his Sinatra ones. A favorite involves the time Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda sent Rickles out to remove a pitcher for fun and games. We’ll let Rickles tell the story.
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The series was produced by AARP Studios, Winbrook Entertainment and Stamper Lumber Company.