Gold Star

vlcsnap-6413367wht.jpgEVERYBODY MAY LOVE SOMEBODY SOMETIME, but for this dashing chap, the adulation seemed almost nonstop — what with being swarmed by Dean’s Girls (above, 1967)…
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…flanked by The Dingaling Sisters (above, 1971)…
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…and engulfed by The Golddiggers (above, 1972).

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“We suddenly started saying: Let’s get some performers. Let’s get some girls. Let’s surround Dean…And Dean once said to me, ‘Hey pal, I really like the girls. You know what the guys are saying over at the bar in Steubenville, Ohio?: Hey, where are the girls, pal?’ And he kept encouraging me. And the more he encouraged me, the more girls I brought on.”

………………………………………………— Greg Garrison
………………………………………………….Producer/Director
………………………………………………….The Dean Martin Show

……………………………………………………………………………….

Long before The Dean Martin Show made its debut on NBC on the night of September 16, 1965, the series’ eponymous star already seemed to have a natural and very special chemistry with women.

As the romantic half of his fabled partnership with Jerry Lewis, Dean was the handsome straight man who could also be funny, the charming lothario quite capable of being a heel, but then using his relaxed, confident way with a song to acquit himself, and in the end, nab the girl.

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OFF TO A FAST START:
Dean serenades French screen siren Corinne Calvert in the second of his many films with Jerry Lewis, 1950’s My Friend Irma Goes West.

Once on his own, he was the consummate leading man, rising to the top of his profession in motion pictures (often playing opposite gorgeous starlets), on record charts and on the Las Vegas nightclub circuit — all the while cutting a debonair profile that made the ladies swoon and the fellas not envious, but rather, intrigued vicarious observers, thrilled to be along for the ride. It was around this time that a now well-known adage about Dean was coined: “Men want to be him; women want to be with him.”

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DELICIOSO!:
Years before she became the commercial spokeswoman for Good Seasons salad dressing, Anna Maria Alberghetti played one of two sisters competing for Dean’s heart in Ten Thousand Bedrooms, his first solo film following his acrimonious break-up with Jerry Lewis. The movie was a flop at the box office, but one from which Dean rebounded in short order with his lauded co-starring role in The Young Lions.
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vlcsnap-16675890.jpgTHE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME: Dean’s 1958 NBC special was enlivened by a clutch of attractive young ladies dubbed “Look’s Hidden Beauties” (among them, a then-unknown Jill St. John, pictured above), and presaged the direction that his future series would take.

Given this background, it was probably inevitable that when Dean Martin was finally persuaded to star in his own weekly television variety series, good-looking young women would play an invaluable role on the show. But exactly how invaluable that role would become is something that most likely neither Dean, nor the program’s producer-director, Greg Garrison, could have envisioned during the skein’s early stages.

Yet over the course of The Dean Martin Show’s nine-year run (1965-74), the group of regular female singer-dancers — at first just casually referred to internally on the show as Dean’s Girls; then a second set dubbed The Golddiggers; and later, a third called The Dingaling Sisters — would become such established fixtures on the program and so popular with viewers that they often collectively drew as much fan mail as the star and, in the waning years of the series, sometimes — in the eyes of some watchers — seemed nearly as important.

Both The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters even branched out beyond Dean’s program, taking their acts on the road, playing dates across the country, traveling abroad with Bob Hope to entertain American troops on the comedian’s annual Christmas trips and TV specials, and in the case of The Golddiggers, headlining their own immensely popular summer and syndicated series.

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MORALE BOOST:
In 1970, at the height of America’s involvement in Indochina, Bob Hope borrowed both The Golddiggers (above) and The Dingaling Sisters (below) to entertain the troops during his annual Christmas show tour. Earlier sets of Golddiggers had also joined the USO-sponsored tour in 1968 and 1969.9c64.jpg

Much was written about these groups, both while they were active and in the years since — much of it accurate and highly informative, (as in Dean Martin Show veteran Lee Hale’s wonderful tome, Backstage At The Dean Martin Show), and a good deal of it erroneous and misleading.

The purpose of this effort from an historical standpoint is both to set the record straight and to provide expanded details and context heretofore not made available anywhere else.

The aim from a social and purely pleasurable perspective is to provide a central location where former members of these groups can reunite, exchange thoughts, and share memories; and a forum for fans to learn more and ask questions. (More in-depth conversations have been ongoing for some time at our sister site, a Yahoo Club called GoldsAndDings. To apply for membership, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/
GoldsandDings
).

Perhaps the ultimate triumph of this enterprise would be if it could help engender a groundswell of grassroots support to press the case for the release of complete season sets of both The Dean Martin Show and The Golddiggers summer and syndicated series.

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NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT:
Over the course of his series, Dean crooned to, and with, a parade of scintillating songstresses, with some of the most memorable having been Ann-Margret (above left), Abbe Lane (above right), The McGuire Sisters (below left), and perhaps his most simpatico on-stage partner of all, Petula Clark (below right).
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CAPTAIN KANGAROO NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD:
Indeed, ladies of ALL ages were crazy about this cat.

During an interview conducted in the early 1980s, in which he reflected at length on his life and career, Dean Martin was asked if the term “Wine, Women and Song” pretty much summed up what he was all about. Humble in a manner true to his working-class roots, he replied simply that he didn’t particularly care for wine, but as for women and song, he added, “What else is there to say about me? I love to sing…and I LOVE women.”

To all the guys out there who feel the same way — and all of the women for whom that love is eternal — we invite you to explore and enjoy this site.

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THAT’S AMORÉ: Dean loved the ladies, but the love of his
life was second wife Jeanne.

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