A Whole Lot Of Suin’ (Exclusive)

A second front has been opened in the war over what many believe to be the best — and increasingly, the most prized — television variety series ever made.

Lee Hale, The Dean Martin Show‘s longtime celebrated Music Director and the man credited with creating both The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, has jumped directly into the fray in the ongoing legal battle over the rights to material from Dean’s hugely popular television program that aired on NBC Television for 9 years, from 1965-74.

The Golddiggers Super Site has learned that on September 17, Lee Hale, along with Van Alexander, arranger/conductor for both The Dean Martin Show and Golddiggers syndicated series, and Geoff Clarkson, responsible for many of the music routines on both Dean’s and The Golddiggers’ series, filed a $6 Million suit in U.S. District Court for The Central District of California (Los Angeles County) against Guthy-Renker Corporation, Greg Garrison Productions, Michael Garrison and Patricia Dru Garrison (son and daughter, respectively, of the late Greg Garrison) and Barrump-Bump Publishing Co.

There is also a fourth plaintiff in the case by the name of James Hill, whose identity we have not yet been able to confirm, but whom we believe may be the same James Hill well known to the West Coast musical community since the early 1950s as an arranger and composer, and a trombonist who has played with Les Brown and His Band of Renown. Les Brown and his orchestra served as the house musicians for the entire run of The Dean Martin Show.

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(above) The actual first page of this newest filing.

NBC Universal, which is also suing Greg Garrison Productions, Guthy-Renker and Barrump-Bump Publishing, among others, is not a party to the suit filed by Hale, Alexander, Clarkson and Hill.

Also of note is the fact that Barrump-Bump Publishing is a defendant in this newest suit. Barrump-Bump, as pointed out here earlier, is the publisher of, among other compositions, “Whole Lot of Lovin’”, the catchy theme penned by Lee Hale, Van Alexander and Geoff Clarkson, performed by The Dingaling Sisters, and used to open every episode of the 1971-72 season of The Dean Martin Show, as well as every volume of The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show from the 5th to the 28th and last. An instrumental version of the song was also used on The Dean Martin Show from 1970-73, as well as on the Dean Martin Variety volumes.

The latter series, a collection of highlights from Dean’s program produced under the banner of Greg Garrison‘s company and marketed by Guthy-Renker, was sold from 2002 until the beginning of August of this year, when the entire series was pulled from the market in the wake of NBC U’s initial lawsuit filing.

As with the NBC U suit, this newer case is currently in the Discovery phase and the cause cited by the plaintiffs is “Copyright Infringement”.

So what does this latest development in this unfolding legal saga tell us? Well, for one thing, since Barrump-Bump has been named as a defendant by attorneys for Lee Hale, Van Alexander and Geoff Clarkson, that would seem to indicate that none of those gentlemen presently holds a stake in Barrump-Bump, or at the very least that none holds a majority stake in the company.

And if they indeed own no portion of Barrump-Bump, then beyond just their suing Barrump-Bump, that would also mean that none of them, as had earlier been speculated, are defendants in NBC Universal’s lawsuit. (Our earlier plea to “Free Barrump-Bump” was really a plea to free Lee Hale from the shackles of the NBC U suit. But if Lee Hale is not, in fact, a party to that litigation, then that alone would be cause for some rejoicing.)

But of equal significance is that this latest filing pits Lee Hale, who for years worked hand-in-glove with Greg Garrison, against Garrison’s estate and his children.

So as the cases now stack up, it appears that while NBC Universal and the quartet of Lee Hale, Van Alexander, Geoff Clarkson and James Hill may not be at odds with each other, both camps ARE training their sights on Garrison Productions, Guthy-Renker and Barrump-Bump Publishing.

Thus far remaining on the sidelines in this increasingly complicated fight is The Dean Martin Family Trust. And while we have no way of knowing whether or not that entity will eventually become involved in either of these cases, at the very least, the entry of this newest set of plaintiffs demonstrates that the contentious legal brawl over what was always regarded as one of the smoothest, most relaxing hours on television is just getting under way.

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