Dean Discography Dives Into Digital Domain

The Dean Martin Variety Show

HEY, BROTHER, POUR THE WINE: As admirers of Dean Martin (above) commemorate his birthday, interest in his artistry, life and legacy continues to grow. One of the more rewarding by-products of this renaissance is that John Chintala’s exhaustive and much-sought-after resource guide to Dean’s extensive oeuvre has become available for the first time as an ebook (below) that can be bought and downloaded online from sellers such as Amazon and itunes and viewed on any Windows or Mac computer, as well as Kindle, ipad or similar device.

Dean Martin cover by John Chintala

Were he still with us, Dean Martin would today have turned 96. And although he’s been gone for over 17 years now, his life and professional accomplishments are currently experiencing their greatest surge in popularity since his heyday in the late 1960s, when he held the distinction of being the highest-paid entertainer in the world — not to mention, one of the most beloved.

Rather than simply rehashing a few of the highlights of Dean’s career, or posting yet another gallery of his photos, or reiterating the by-now oft-repeated mantra of how “cool” he was — all of which can be found ad infinitum in numerous places on the Internet and elsewhere — we thought we’d pay homage to Dean on this, his day of birth, with a present of sorts for his most ardent fans, by calling attention to the new edition of a book that serves as the definitive documentation of his body of work over the course of his life.

Originally published in 1998, Dean Martin: A Complete Guide to the “Total Entertainer” represented author John Chintala‘s encyclopedic 450-plus-page survey of Dean Martin’s musical output as featured in sound recordings, motion pictures, and on radio and television. Printed in a softcover edition limited to 500 copies, it was snapped up quickly by the Dino cognoscenti, and soon became a scarce commodity. With those fortunate enough to have purchased the volume early on reluctant to part with it, secondhand copies were seldom available for sale, and those that were fetched anywhere from $150 to $250 each on sites such as Amazon and ebay.

But with the advent of electronic publishing has come a new opportunity for the author to present a revised version of his tome, and for Dean Martin devotees to acquire it in a more conveniently accessible form and at a vastly more affordable price.

The recently-issued ebook edition of John Chintala’s Dean Martin reference contains all of the thoroughly-researched text of the original, including a listing of just about every song that Dean ever recorded, either solo or in tandem with other performers, accompanied by details on where the numbers appeared in all applicable media formats — vinyl, audio tape or CD; movies; radio; television; DVD and videocassette.

WHERE OR WHEN: The ebook’s Table of Contents (below) previews the scope of its in-depth coverage of Dean’s professional achievements…
 Chintala Table of Contents b
…while specific chapters, such as the one dealing with his television appearances (illustrated by the page below) provide a substantial level of detail rarely found anywhere else, and even indicate whether each particular song, program or movie is available for consumers to purchase, and if so, in what configuration.

Chintala Sample Page d

Expanding upon the first edition, the new ebook, now coming in at some 641 pages, has added, among other things: mention of the filming dates of all of the Martin and Lewis big-screen adventures; a roster of the personnel who worked on Dean’s recording sessions for Reprise; the actual taping dates of all the episodes of the Variety Show‘s first season; a comprehensive breakdown of which celebrities’ appearances on the Roasts were taped individually and later edited into the program, as well as which ones were never aired at all; and an addendum to the index of magazine covers that have been graced by Dean’s visage, with 200 more appended to those already enumerated.

The one element of content omitted from the ebook is the handful of photos that were sprinkled throughout the printed edition. Apparently, changes in copyright laws posed some thorny issues for their continued use; but their exclusion is of little consequence to the value of the material that remains, since, as the author himself pointed out to us, “These days you can get over a million Dean images on Google in under a second!”

Perhaps the two biggest improvements in having Dean Martin: A Complete Guide available in digital form spring from the advantages that the ebook’s underlying technology offers over the printed page: First, by virtue of the work residing on your computer, ipad, Kindle, Nook, or other device, it can be searched instantly. So, for example, if you want to find all of the times that Dean sang “They Didn’t Believe Me” — a number that he never recorded for Capitol or Reprise, but performed on several occasions on his own TV show and others, too — all you have to do is enter the song title into a search field and immediately, you can locate every instance in which Dean crooned that particular tune. To find it in the print edition would require the tedious task of thumbing through the entire book.

The other tremendous benefit to readers of the digital version is the price: Because its publication doesn’t entail a print run, the cost is a fraction of what it was previously, now selling on Amazon, itunes, Barnes and Noble and other online vendors for under $10.

Taken together, all of the above factors make the new ebook version of Dean Martin: A Complete Guide to the “Total Entertainer” not only attractive to first-time buyers, but also a worthwhile upgrade for owners of the older print edition. As an indispensable trove of fascinating, and more importantly, highly useful, information for Dinophiles who want to explore as much of their favorite performer’s canon as possible, it’s one birthday gift sure to yield many happy returns.

Dean Martin: A Complete Guide to the “Total Entertainer” can be purchased at Amazon and other online merchants.

To stay abreast of the latest news about Dean Martin and mingle with others who share an appreciation for the man and his work — including many of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters who joined him each week on his TV series — we invite you to LIKE and follow our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook Page:

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