Friday, Feb. 10, 2006 | 12:33 p.m.
Tales of the Fountain of Youth are older than Juan Ponce de Leon, the 16th century Spanish explorer who is alleged to have discovered Florida during a search for the rejuvenating waters.
Sonny King's Fountain was the spotlight. Despite personal tragedies, sickness and failing health, when he stepped into the light, his youth was restored and his problems retreated into the shadows.
King died last week with a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave.
Robert Goulet will be among the guest speakers in the 350-seat auditorium.
Frankie Scinta will eulogize King.
Scinta, a member of the Scinta family that performs at the Rio, was among those who performed at a tribute Saturday night at the Bootlegger, where King had hosted the revue "Off the Cuff" on Fridays and Saturdays for the past five years.
When King fell ill last summer, a recurrence of throat cancer that threatened his life almost 15 years ago, several friends filled in for him, anticipating that he might once again beat the Big C and return to the rejuvenating glow of the spotlight.
It became apparent that there would not be an encore for King, and on Jan. 1 longtime friend Freddie Bell took the microphone in a show now called "Freddie Bell's Open House."
Saturday night's "Open House" began with a video highlighting King's career.
The video was created last year by Ron Mancuso - son of Bootlegger owner Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt - for King's birthday party in April. He was born on April 1.
That party was hosted by comedian Joey Villa, who died Dec. 16, almost six weeks before his longtime friend King.
Both were close to the members of the Rat Pack.
King is credited with introducing Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and the three initially had an act called "The Three Lads" - but King, who had roomed with Martin for years, dropped out and went his own way.
Mancuso's video included a scene in which King was reunited with Martin and Lewis for an evening.
Among those performing during the Saturday night tribute - in addition to Scinta and Bell - were Carme Pitrello, Kathleen Dunbar and Derek David.
It has been reported that when he died, Sonny was 83 years old.
He would never say how old he was, perhaps because the number of years did not matter. The only numbers that mattered to him were the number of friends, the number of fans and the number of smiles he brought to their faces.
The Oliver Future band will perform at the Celebrity Club, Third Street and Ogden Avenue (across the street from Lady Luck) at 9 p.m. Saturday. There is a $5 cover charge.
The group, originally from Austin, Texas, moved to Los Angeles in August, where they have become one of the most popular bands in town with their latest album, "The Bear Chronicles."
Acoustic guitarist Michael Soli will be performing in an "unplugged" showcase at 9 p.m. Monday at the House of Blues.
Joining Soli will be Sarah Thiele, Chrisitan Brady, Sara Patterson and Slow Children.
The show is free. For information, call 632-7600.
Chuy & Company has replaced the Peter Love Band at the Tropicana's Celebration Lounge.
The group will perform from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 9 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays; and 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Jerry Fink can be reached at 259-4058 or at [email protected]