For The Golddiggers Super Site’s exclusive review and analysis of The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut, click HERE.
*** BREAKING NEWS — EXCLUSIVE ***
SPINNING THE BEST OF THE WEST — PLUS ALL THE REST!: Swinging cats everywhere who dig The Dean Martin Show will doubtless be exultant over the fact that this spring, in an unprecedented move, Time-Life is releasing UNEDITED episodes of the star’s beloved variety series on DVD.
It’s a Dinophile’s dream come true!
Fans of The Dean Martin Show who eagerly downed earlier rounds of distilled offerings from the series, but found them a bit too watered-down for their taste, should have their spirits lifted sky-high by the news that the next set of DMS shots to be served up by Time-Life will be prepared just the way patrons have long clamored for them — straight up!
The title of the new collection says it all: The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut. Due out May 22, the 3-DVD release contains 6 complete, unedited episodes chosen from the first 6 seasons of the series, marking the first time that ANY episodes of Dean’s weekly shindig have been reissued intact, in their original form.
For the first time anywhere, here is a rundown of which programs will be included in the upcoming set, along with some noteworthy details about their content:
1) Original Air Date: 3/3/66
Guest Stars: Sid Caesar, Abbe Lane, George Gobel, The Lettermen
This is the earliest of the new collection’s episodes, originally aired during the series’ first season. As with all of the programs on these DVDs, all of the music is left in place — meaning in this case that viewers will not only have the chance to see and hear such gems as Latin temptress Abbe Lane purring her way through “Sweet Pussy Cat” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”, but they’ll also receive a little lyrical guidance about the facts of life from Dean via his opening number, “The Birds and The Bees”.
2) Original Air Date: 1/12/67
Guest Stars: Jackie Mason, Leslie Uggams, Allen & Rossi, Eddie Foy Jr.
Highlights include Dean starting off the program with “A Marshmallow World” and performing a lively medley with Leslie Uggams.
3) Original Air Date: 11/16/67
Guest Stars: Buddy Ebsen, Cyd Charisse, Barbara McNair, Dom DeLuise, Wisa D’Orso
Excerpts from some of the musical portions of this episode have been made available on earlier Dean Martin Show compilations — but much of what was originally telecast has never been reissued, and that leaves a lot to savor, including Dean crooning “Nevertheless” from the couch; solo performances by Cyd Charisse and Barbara McNair, followed by each of them joining Dean for a separate duet; and the trio of Dean, Buddy Ebsen and Dom DeLuise melodically maintaining a brave front with “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again”.
MUSICAL TRIFECTA: Dean, flanked by guest stars Barbara McNair on the left and Cyd Charisse on the right, prove to be both a fine-looking and fine-sounding triumvirate on the finale to the 11/16/67 edition of The Dean Martin Show.
4) Original Air Date: 12/14/67
Guest Stars: Caterina Valente, Bob Newhart, Dom DeLuise, Guy Marks
Speaking of threes, we’re treated in this outing to a triad of solo turns by Dean — “Where or When”, “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” and “Walking On New Grass” — in addition to his joining Caterina Valente for a medley.
5) Original Air Date: 1/25/68
Guest Stars: Buck Owens, Orson Welles, Joey Heatherton, Professor Backwards
Among the pleasures to look forward to here are Dean launching the proceedings with “Things”, and later beckoning us from the couch with “Welcome To My World”. Meanwhile, besides belting out two songs of her own, the always-vivacious Joey Heatherton pairs up with Dean for a cozy rendition of “Just In Time” — the same song with which Dean serenaded Judy Holliday in the 1960 film Bells Are Ringing.
In the interest of full disclosure, and to their credit, Time-Life points out that absent from this episode is one portion of a three-song medley by Dean and Buck Owens — thus representing, of the 6 shows in the new collection, the one and only instance in which a musical number from the original broadcast had to be excised. Even in this case, though, the reason is entirely understandable, owing not to the fact that the producers were unable or unwilling to clear the music, but simply to the sad reality that the master tape on which the segment in question had been recorded was damaged, and despite valiant efforts, couldn’t be rescued.
6) Original Air Date: 2/25/71:
Guest Stars: Zero Mostel, Fred Smoot, Jackie Vernon
Given the lineup on this episode, some devotees of Dean, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters may feel that Time-Life has saved the best for last.
Not only has most of the musical material here not been seen in over 40 years, but the show is also packed with crowd-pleasers: Dean opening with a rousing “There’s A Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder” (a different version than the one from the 9th season with which most people are familiar), then melting our hearts from the couch with “The Talk Of The Town”; Michelle DellaFave leading The Dingaling Sisters in doing “The Funky Chicken” (again, a different rendition than the well-known one from The Bob Hope Christmas Special); and for the finale…at last…for the first time ever on a commercial home video release, the inclusion of a full-length “Welcome To My World” Medley, featuring Dean surrounded by The Golddiggers, harmonizing on “I Could Write A Book”, “Just Friends”, and “It’s Easy To Remember”.
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE: Among its numerous virtues, the forthcoming 6-DVD set from Time-Life fulfills a desire that many fans have nurtured for decades — to see the first commercial release of a complete “Welcome To My World” medley. Accompanying Dean for this sonorous songfest are The Golddiggers: (back row, l. to r.) Michelle DellaFave, Susan Lund, Wanda Bailey, Paula Cinko, Rosetta Cox, Liz Kelley and Pauline Antony; stage left of Dean, Pat Mickey; stage right of Dean, Jackie Chidsey; and in the foreground, Tara Leigh.
Even more remarkable than the coup that Time-Life has achieved in clearing all of the musical numbers for these episodes — an extraordinarily rare feat for a variety show — is the fact that they have managed to to do it while keeping the price for consumers eminently affordable. Indeed, the list price is an extremely reasonable $29.95, and as might be expected, online vendors such as Amazon (which is already taking pre-orders) are discounting it for substantially less.
All of the corporate entities involved in making possible this breakthrough release — Time-Life, NBCUniversal, and The Dean Martin Family Trust — should be applauded and commended for both their efforts and their willingness to listen to the fans. In comments posted on websites such as Amazon and our own, aficionados of The Dean Martin Show registered their sentiments with passion and en masse: They made it plain that they wanted uncut shows, and that they were open to purchasing packages with fewer episodes if that’s what it took to realize this long-sought goal.
Now that the powers that be have stepped up to the plate, it is up to all of us in the bleachers — those of us who make up the fan base, and hence, the buying public — to do our parts. And so, we urge all fans of Dean, The Golds and The Dings not only to purchase this upcoming DVD set, but also to support it by spreading the word about it far and wide. For not only does this collection offer superb entertainment and a great value in and of itself, but on top of that, well-placed sources connected with the venture have told us that if this initial group of unedited shows sells well, the door is open to more such editions in the future, drawing on the entire library of over 200 DMS episodes.
That we have reached the point where we are now demonstrates that when fans speak their minds and do so with a common purpose, they CAN make a difference. They did it with Star Trek, and they’ve done it with the revival of other franchises; let’s continue to prove that Dean Martin Show fans are no less dedicated and enthusiastic.
And we can certainly vouch for the fact that they’re no less attentive and committed to their cause. Case in point: It was one of our eagle-eyed regular participants on our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page — Richard Wierzbowski — who discovered the first clues that a new Uncut DVD set was in the offing, and it was his alerting us to that fact that led us to gathering the information for this report. As a result, we and all Dean Martin fans owe Richard a debt of gratitude for his vigilance, and we encourage everyone with an interest in Dean Martin and the women who sang and danced with him on his show to enjoy and participate in the conversations on our websites and in our Facebook forum.