Bundle Up With Dean

November 18, 2012

A Comprehensive Review and Analysis of the Dean Martin Show holiday haul gathered by Time-Life from the archives of NBC

BABY, IT‘S COLD OUTSIDE…But with a tray full of hot toddies poured from TV’s best variety show ever (see below), You’ve Got Dean To Keep You Warm.

As those who’ve been following recent events know, in the Northeastern U.S., the weather outside’s been frightful (actually, horrific might be a more apt description). But for those seeking pleasurable diversion, there’s a lot about the new Dean Martin Show releases that’s so delightful.

Just last month, one of the star’s lesser-known Westerns, Something Big, gained new life on DVD. Now, with the approach of the December holidays, the elves in the Time-Life section of Santa’s workshop are bringing Dinophiles something even bigger.

Monday, October 30, saw the unveiling of The Best of Of The Dean Martin Variety Show: Dean’s Ultimate Collection, loaded with 17 discs holding all of the material that made up the first three DMS sets from Time-Life: 1) The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show (June 2011); 2) King of Cool (November 2011); and 3) The Dean Martin Variety Show UNCUT (May 2012).

But the true standout items in this new package are:

1) a first-time-on-home-video Christmas episode from the series’ 1968-69 season;

2) a bonus DVD, containing three DMS episodes, that was heretofore available only with the King of Cool sets sold by Costco; and

3) a condensed softcover version of the hardbound photo book previously introduced in 2011 with the Dean Martin: Cool Then, Cool Now CD compilation.

Those who’ve already purchased the first three Dean Martin Show collections from Time-Life and who want only the 1968 Christmas episode can buy the latter separately; it was released as a standalone disc on November 6.

Unfortunately, we’ve learned that T-L has no plans at this time to issue that King of Cool bonus disc by itself; so for now at least, the only way for diehard Dean devotees to get their hands on it is either to try to obtain it through Costco’s King of Cool collection, or bite the bullet and buy the Ultimate Collection — a decidedly pricey and prodigal option for those who already own the three DMS sets that comprise the bulk of the new 17-disc compendium. We hope that Time-Life will eventually make that bonus DVD available on its own for those of the company’s loyal customers who’ve already invested a substantial amount in the earlier Dean Martin Show treasuries.

As to what’s worthwhile about the musical content featured on that bonus disc, as well as on the 12/19/68 Christmas episode and the rest of the programs that constitute Dean’s Ultimate Collection, we offer the following detailed overview:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Many were hoping that this would be the year that would finally witness the DVD debut of the 1967 Dean Martin Show episode known as “Christmas with The Martins and The Sinatras”. But with rights to that particular holiday favorite unattainable at present, the yuletide celebration from the series’ very next season proves to be a welcome and fulfilling stand-in, with plenty of charm of its own.

JOY TO THE WORLD: Following a decorative opening sequence, Dean moves the party along with his customary yuletide icebreaker, “Marshmallow World”, assisted by the kind of Santa’s helpers one would anticipate meeting on his set — including familiar Dean’s Girl Jeri Jamerson (above left).

In a departure from the series’ normal routine, the festivities kick off not with Dean singing or doing a monologue, but with a rather elaborate production number one would more likely expect to see on the Jackie Gleason or Andy Williams shows than on Dean’s. Nevertheless, our host dives right into the spirit of the occasion — albeit with an arched eyebrow and a sense of bemusement — and plays a good sport as he allows himself to be made up as St. Nick, before yielding the stage to a panoply of dancing Santas, with backing vocals by Jack Halloran‘s choir.

And leave it to the program’s resident music-master, Lee Hale, to tap his encyclopedic knowledge of the pop canon in coming up with a less-than-commonplace, yet still catchy ditty for the opening set piece — “Be A Santa”, plucked from an even-then mostly-forgotten 1961 Broadway musical called Subways Are For Sleeping, which, despite its short run (205 performances), boasted a pedigreed score (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) and cast (among others, Orson Bean, Carol Lawrence and Phyllis Newman).

In fact, from a musical standpoint, the ’68 Christmas show delivers quite a few satisfying moments, including performances by Dean and The Golddiggers (both apart and together), Dennis Weaver, and the entire cast offering a selection of traditional carols.

JINGLE BELLES:Nice but never naughty, the winter ensemble of the 1968 Golddiggers treats viewers to a comfy rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (above), before snuggling up with Santa Baby (below) for the sort of sparkling medley that fans adore (and that we hope the generous Santas who package these DVDs will see fit to shower us with more of in the coming year — hint hint).
Pictured below, huddled around Dean (l. to r.) Front row: Deborah McFarland, Debbie Thomason, Susan Lund, Lynn Steiner; Second row: Brenda Powell, Kathy Brimer, Kathy Wright, Peggy Hansen; Top row: Diana Liekhus, Lezlie Dalton, Pamela Beth, Nancy Bonetti

An interesting footnote to this DVD reissue can be found at the end of the program, wherein a dizzying array of cameos by celebrities announcing charitable Christmas gifts for children includes several appearances that were clearly recorded during the 1970-71 season — two years after the ’68 Christmas episode first aired! To those who might wonder how this could be possible, the answer is supplied courtesy of Dean Martin historian John Chintala, who informs us that because Christmas Eve fell on a Thursday in 1970, the ’68 Christmas show was rerun that night, two years after its initial telecast, with several new cameos inserted. Thus, it’s obviously the tape of that rebroadcast, rather than the original ’68 airing, that’s been used as the master for this DVD release.

THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY: Dennis Weaver elicits smiles not only from the show’s cast and crew, but their children, as well, as he captures the attention of the lads and lassies, joining their parents in attendance, with an offbeat holiday entry penned by singer-songwriter Tom Paxton — the folksy “My Favorite Toy”. (visible in the background, l. to r.: Dean’s Girls Diana Lee and Kate Kahn, and The Golddiggers’ Pamela Beth)

The one lump of coal in this otherwise jolly Christmas stocking is the excision of Dean’s couch number, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Evidently, either the rights to the song couldn’t be secured at all, or else were simply too expensive to fit within the given budget. But if money was indeed the primary issue, we can’t help but wonder whether most prospective purchasers would have been willing to pay a little more in exchange for the chance to see their man croon that missing holiday tune.

Despite its absence, the remaining bill of fare served up by the ’68 Christmas show is still a feast. And compared to the famine that we Dean Martin Show fans endured for so long, every morsel doled out to us is a gift to treasure, no matter what time of year it arrives.

O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL: The episode’s cast gathers ’round the tree for a finale of traditional Christmas carols.

As we’ve done with past DMS release from Time-Life, we herein present a list of the musical numbers from the 1968 Christmas show, denoting which ones were included on DVD. Since none have been previously reissued, the Guthy-Renker column in this instance remains blank.


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 12/19/68 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Opening Production Number, sung by Jack Halloran’s Choir & featuring Dean Martin, Dom DeLuise, Bob Newhart, Dennis Weaver, Dean’s Girls & dancers dressed as Santa Claus: “Look At That Face”; “Be A Santa” Disc 1
Dean Martin: “A Marshmallow World” Disc 1
The Golddiggers: “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” Disc 1
Dean Martin & The Golddiggers:  Medley: “Daddy” / “True Love” / “We Wish You The Merriest” Disc 1
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1
Dean Martin: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
Dennis Weaver: “The Marvelous Toy” Disc 1
Entire Cast: Medley of Christmas Carols: “Deck The Halls” / “Joy To The World” / “Silent Night” Disc 1
Dean Martin: “Christmas Is For Kids” (sung over footage of Christmas toys) Disc 1
Entire Cast: “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” Disc 1

The Second Time Around

Having already reviewed and devoted considerable coverage to the first and third Dean Martin Show sets from Time-Life, we wanted to focus here on the sophomore collection — King of Cool — since we did not survey it in-depth at the time of its original release, and because its presence in the new Ultimate Collection boxed set includes that hard-to-come-by bonus disc, once marketed exclusively through Costco stores.

Before assessing King of Cool, we’d like to remind our readers that a complete review and rundown of the musical content from Time-Life’s first DMS set — The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show — can be found by clicking HERE.

And for a complete review and rundown of the musical content from Time-Life’s third DMS set — The Dean Martin Variety Show UNCUT — click HERE.

RETURN TO ME: The just-released 17-disc Dean’s Ultimate Collection bundles all three previous Dean Martin Show sets from Time-Life — including an enhanced King of Cool collection containing a 7th bonus DVD, until now available only through Costco stores.

Although it was The Golddiggers Super Site that broke the news of which episodes would be incorporated in Time-Life’s follow-up to its first Dean Martin Show collection, there were several reasons why we skipped reviewing the King of Cool package upon its initial release. For one, the same type of frustrating deletions of musical numbers — especially Dean’s — that plagued the maiden iteration also detracted from the second one, so there seemed little point in rehashing all of the factors attendant to that problem. In addition, Time-Life itself adopted a much more low-key approach to releasing the second edition, minus all of the promotional hoopla that accompanied the first, perhaps mindful of the severe criticism that greeted the heavy-handed edits of that initial effort.

The company redeemed itself substantially with the third set of Uncut episodes, and continues to make progress with the largely-intact ’68 Christmas Show. But with the King of Cool compilation now stepping up to the plate for another at-bat, via the Ultimate Collection, we thought it deserved a closer look.

As we indicated, most of Dean’s solo performances have been cut. Surviving are just a handful of his opening numbers and mid-show ballads, with two of the latter, as fate would have it, turning up on the bonus disc. The dearth of those couch songs is not only disheartening to fans, but something of a posthumous affront to the star of the show, given Lee Hale’s past acknowledgement that the couch song was the one number in each episode that Dean himself would pick.

As with the first T-L collection, the second one places a strong reliance on episodes with public domain tunes, in order to sidestep the often exorbitant costs of clearing copyrighted music for reuse on DVD. And of course, there’s no end to the exasperation caused by watching the credits at the end of each show roll over quick glimpses of segments chopped out of the abridged DVDs.

That said, we feel it important to re-emphasize that in the wake of vociferously negative reaction to the first two DMS collections, the folks at Time-Life, NBCUniversal and The Dean Martin Family Trust, to their great credit, have since gone a long way toward addressing and remedying these earlier shortcomings in subsequent releases.

Moreover, lest we leave the impression that the King of Cool set doesn’t possess enough entertainment value to justify its cost (whether by itself or as part of Dean’s Ultimate Collection), we want to stress that the package’s 21 episodes on 7 discs have a great deal to recommend them, not the least of which are some 128 musical numbers — a sizable percentage of which have never been released before on DVD, and in fact, haven’t been seen anywhere since they were originally telecast decades ago.

Among the highlights:

BIDIN’ MY TIME: The 1930 Gershwin classic is taken for a ride, both literally and comically speaking, in this Kerouacian update, driven by Dean and guest Shirley Jones (above) on Disc 2; but those who might be inclined to take the song’s title to heart, bypassing King of Cool in favor of waiting for what may lie ahead, would be leaving some priceless moments behind in the rear-view mirror.

CRAZY RHYTHM: Barbara Eden (above) streams out of the genie’s bottle and back in time to the roaring ’20s for an energetic song-and-dance number, followed by a medley of flapper-fueled favorites with Dean (Disc 2, below).


A COUPLE OF SWELLS: (above) Dapper Dean and beautiful Barbara McNair lend a high tone to “Bummin’ Around” (Disc 1).

MOONLIGHT SERENADE: Dean and Edie Adams duet on “By The Light Of The Silvery Moon” (Disc 1).
IT MUST BE HER: Vikki Carr lays it on the line with “If I Were Your Woman” (above), before joining Dean to declare that “Rainbows Are Back In Style” (Disc 2, below); and in an earlier episode from 1966 on Bonus Disc 7, she and Dean exchange glances on “Them There Eyes” (further below).


ROCK THE BOAT: The Dingaling Sisters sail “On The Good Ship Lollipop” (Disc 1) in a way that Shirley Temple probably never contemplated, but with a cargo full of talent and enough motion to stir even the calmest ocean (above, l. to r.: Lynne Latham, Tara Leigh, Taffy Jones, Michelle DellaFave).
REMINISCING: (above) On the last episode of The Dean Martin Show’s freshman season, guest Liberace joins the program’s host for  a musical retrospective of the year gone by (Disc 1).

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME: On Volume 4 of Guthy-Renker’s Dean Martin Show anthology, Greg Garrison mentions that it was not until the final episode of the series’ first season that Dean actually sang his signature theme, “Everybody Loves Somebody”, all the way through. However, the clip shown in conjunction with that observation is, in fact, taken not from the last episode of the first season, but from the final show of the second season. But on the Season One finale featured on Disc 1 of Time-Life’s King of Cool set, we get to see the authentic footage of the first time that Dean (above, with Ken Lane) sang “Everybody Loves Somebody” in its entirety on his show  — a tradition that continued for the next five seasons of his series’ run.
NOW IS THE HOUR: Kate Smith offers dramatic renditions of a pair of tunes from the late ’60s (above); teams with Dean for a medley of school-related songs (below); and brings down the house at the show’s end with her trademark delivery of “God Bless America” — all on the 3/20/69 episode contained on Disc 2.

TALKIN’ (OR, MORE ACCURATELY, SINGIN’) BASEBALL: Root, root, root for the home team, which in this final inning of the March 30, 1967 ball game, fields (above, l. to r.) Eddie Fisher, Dean, Abbe Lane and Gene Barry (Disc 3). Earlier in the same stadium, Abbe strikes a more elegant pose on her version of the Edith Piaf classic “Milord” (below).


DANDY: Dean was certainly no fan of rock ‘n roll, but a mellow ditty like Herman’s Hermits’ “There’s A Kind Of Hush” (Disc 3) could find a soft, comfortable spot within the show’s milieu.
MAS QUE NADA: Well-known to regular DMS viewers, but also with a huge international following of her own, Caterina Valente, born in Paris of Italian heritage and capable of singing in 6 different languages, brings the cool swing and gentle sway of Brazilian bossa nova to the 12/15/66 episode, first with “So Nice,” the vocal variation on Walter Wanderley’s 1966 hit instrumental “Summer Samba” (above); then with Dean on a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s 1963 evergreen, “One Note Samba” (below) — all on Disc 3.

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: Funny? Sure. But as connoisseurs of dance know, Donald O’Connor’s showbiz strengths extended far beyond yuks, as he demonstrates with a serious display of terpsichorean skill (above), before settling in with Dean for some lighter musical moments (below) — all on Disc 3.


WE CAN WORK IT OUT: Who but The Dean Martin Show’s Musical Director, Lee Hale, could blend a standard such as “Almost Like Being In Love” from the 1947 musical Brigadoon with the 1971 soft rock hit “Sooner or Later”, originated by The Grass Roots, and make it work in such smooth accord as an exuberant cross-generational medley for Dean and The Dingaling Sisters (above, l. to r.: Lynne Latham, Tara Leigh, Michelle DellaFave, Taffy Jones) to open the 10/28/71 episode, seen on Disc 4.

MAMA SAID, THERE’LL BE DAYS LIKE THIS: Rather than one of their more recognizable hits, Diana Ross and The Supremes chose “Mother Dear” for their one and only solo performance on The Dean Martin Show, included on Disc 4.

TEARS OF A CLOWN: (above) Only the hardest of souls would be able to keep from getting at least a little misty-eyed watching Dean cheer up a forlorn Imogene Coca with a heart-rending version of “When You’re Smiling” on the 3/24/66 episode (Disc 4).

THREE LITTLE SISTERS named Laverne, Patty, and Maxene Andrews (l. to r. above), whose vocals were closely associated with the boogie-woogie sound of popular music in the early 1940s, update their repertoire with a pair of high-energy hits from the ’60s on the 12/9/65 episode of The Dean Martin Show (Disc 5).
PUT ON A HAPPY FACE: Carol Lawrence (above) delivers an impassioned solo on “Funny Face”, before affecting a friskier mien with Dean on “Baby Face” (below).


CHANCES ARE that Johnny Mathis aficionados will love his rendition of “I’m In Love For The Very First Time” on Disc 5 (above).

I‘M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE: And in that vein, “I’ll Take Love,”proclaims Robert Goulet (above) on the 12/8/66 episode (Disc 6).
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Deana Martin makes her TV singing debut, as well as her first appearance on her father’s series, on the December 8, 1966 episode (Disc 6), with the two cozying up on “Side By Side” (above). She then returns on the 1/28/71 episode (also Disc 6), this time joined by two of her siblings, plus a flock of other celebrity offspring (below, l. to r., Front row: Desi Arnaz, Jr., Meredith MacRae, Dean Paul Martin, Billy Hinsche; Back row: Maureen Reagan, Frank Sinatra Jr., Deana Martin, Gail Martin, Lucie Arnaz).

Later in the same program, Deana (above left) vies with Lucie Arnaz (right) for the affections of Frank Jr. (center), as they sit and sing “Side By Side By Side”.
In two other musical performances from the 1/28/71 episode, Dean Paul Martin (above right) jams with Dino, Desi & Billy bandmates Billy Hinsche (left) and Desi Arnaz Jr. (center) on “Lady Love”…
…while Meredith MacRae, Gail Martin, and Maureen Reagan (l. to r. below) put their own delicious spin on the cheeky “Triplets” number made famous by Fred Astaire, Nanette Fabray and Jack Buchanan in the 1953 MGM musical The Band Wagon.


BE A PERFECT SLEEPER: Joey Heatherton’s sultry romp through “Nice ‘N’ Easy” on Bonus Disc 7 (above) is not only a sensual treat in and of itself, but undoubtedly also provided her with invaluable preparation for her future role as spokeswoman for Serta mattresses.
DO THAT TO ME ONE MORE TIME: Although they already made a splash on the Guthy-Renker volumes, segments with Ella Fitzgerald (above, Discs 1 & 5), Louis Armstrong (below, Disc 5) and Ginger Rogers (further below, Bonus Disc 7) are nonetheless engaging enough to appeal to both Dino debutants and those up for a second go-round.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Long-time, sharp-eyed viewers of The Dean Martin Show will have fun recognizing some familiar names and faces popping up in unexpected places in the King of Cool collection. On the 5/5/66 episode, the man behind the music on Dean’s series, Lee Hale (above left), steps in front of the camera to play straight-faced foil to singer-comedienne Dorothy Loudon (above right) and her looney advances.
Meanwhile, for Golds and Dings fans, a couple of early appearances by future Dingaling Sisters will surely ring a bell: Helen Funai, who was a dancer on Dean’s series during its first two seasons before returning as a Dingaling Sister in Season 8, can be seen in the two stills below from Disc 1, first with Vic Damone, and then with other members of Dean’s cleanup squad…
…while Lynne Latham (below left) takes part in the kickline on the 10/16/69 program (Bonus Disc 7), two years prior to her initiation into the Dingaling sorority.

As was true of T-L’s first and third DMS collections, the second installment comes with well-documented liner notes, save for one error and one omission. Regarding the former: The lineup for the 3/24/66 episode, included on Disc 4, lists the instrumental played by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass as being “Winds Of Barcelona”. In point of fact, the band did perform that song on the episode in question, but it’s cut from the DVD. What’s actually shown is the other number that the Brass did on that occasion: “Bittersweet Samba”.

A TASTE OF HONEY flavors the 3/24/66 episode, as Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass blow away the crowd with “Bittersweet Samba” (Disc 4).

As for what’s missing from the liner notes, that turns out to be a most agreeable surprise — an Easter egg in the form of one-third of the “Welcome To My World” medley from the close of the 10/22/70 episode. The portion retained is of Dean and The Golddiggers harmonizing on “Look For The Silver Lining”, and it’s actually the tune’s second appearance in this collection; Dean also sings a solo version of it on the 3/3/67 episode. But while there’s no disputing that it’s a lovely composition, there should also be no doubt as to why it made it past the executioner’s axe twice: Having been published before 1923, it’s in the public domain.

MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY: It seemed as though that was the attitude toward the “Welcome To My World” medleys when the Guthy-Renker volumes were put together, as not a single one of the lush, beloved closing segments from The Dean Marin Show’s 6th season made it into those earlier DMS compilations. The first breakthrough on this front came with inclusion of at least a portion of the medley from the 10/22/70 episode on Disc 4 of the King of Cool set (surrounding Dean above, clockwise l. to r.: Melissa Stafford, Tara Leigh, Patricia Mickey); and as we’ve previously reported, the first full-length WTMW medley was presented in its entirety on Disc 3 of last spring’s Uncut collection; so we can only hope that more will follow.

In Your Easter Bonnet — Without All The Frills Upon It

SHAKING THE BLUES AWAY: Nipsey Russell and The Dingaling Sisters (above, l. to r.: Helen Funai, Michelle DellaFave, Jayne Kennedy, Lindsay Bloom) shake up a storm as part of the 4/12/73 episode’s salute to the 1948 MGM musical Easter Parade on Disc 6. But nothing can shake the feeling that something’s missing on DVD from the way the segment was originally broadcast. And indeed, something essential IS missing — namely, clips from the film itself, which were so deftly interspersed with fresh takes on the material by The Dean Martin Show’s cast — the same format employed week in and week out for every MGM musical tribute at the close of each episode during the DMS’ 8th season.
Below: The full cast at the conclusion of the Easter Parade finale (l. to r., Front row: Dom DeLuise, Kay Medford, Dean, Nancy Sinatra, William Conrad, Nipsey Russell; Back row: Helen Funai, Michelle DellaFave, Jayne Kennedy, Lindsay Bloom).

As Lee Hale has noted, Irving Berlin loved Dean’s show and always granted it permission to use his songs — which likely accounts for the composer’s estate giving its okay to the reuse of his tunes from Easter Parade for the King of Cool collection. But considering the fact that the Guthy-Renker DVDs managed to include tributes from two other MGM musicals WITH clips from the films intact, why is there no footage from Easter Parade on this set?

Its absence not only leaves yet another gaping hole in one of Dean’s shows on DVD, but fails to take advantage of what one would think could have been a mutually rewarding cross-promotional opportunity that’s as old as the shows themselves. Here’s what we mean:

When the clips were originally used on Dean’s series, they were furnished by MGM in exchange for a promotional announcement at the end of each program, touting one of the studio’s new, upcoming theatrical releases. But even though it might not have been realized at the time, of far greater long-term value to MGM than a quick plug for its largely forgettable modern flicks was the hefty exposure being given to some of the finest gems in the company’s library, via The Dean Martin Show. Suddenly, millions of viewers too young to have seen the studio’s musicals when they were first issued were discovering them on prime-time network television — a process that yielded a whole new generation of admirers. In fact, it was this very showcase that helped spur a latter-day revival of interest in these vintage titles, culminating in the That’s Entertainment series of motion pictures, which celebrated the Lion’s golden age musicals on a grand scale and raked in fresh coin for cash-strapped MGM in the 1970s.

Today, with technology that enables anyone who wants to buy and own those musicals to do so, a potentially even more synergistic opportunity exists for cross-promoting The Dean Martin Show’s salute to MGM Musicals with DVD and Blu-Ray releases of those films, the distribution rights to which are now held by Time Warner. So it’s hard to see why retention of clips from those movies in DMS releases wouldn’t represent smart marketing and a win-win for all parties concerned.

GLOW LITTLE GLOW WORM, GLOW: In interviews, Dean, like many crooners of his generation, always cited Bing Crosby as his major professional influence. Yet in his commentary on the Guthy-Renker volumes, Greg Garrison recounts how Dean once told him that it was actually The Mills Brothers’ Harry Mills (above), more than Crosby, that shaped his own performing style.
While both showbiz vets doubtless had a significant impact, lending some weight to the Mills side of the equation is a segment on the 10/16/69 episode, seen on Bonus Disc 7, in which Dean attests to how Harry Mills gave him some sage advice early on in his career, and goes on to provide living proof of it, with an on-stage recreation of his first gig with The Mills Brothers in his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio (below: Dean with Harry Mills; and further below: Dean is flanked by Herbert and Donald Mills on the left and Harry Mills on the right).

For those considering a purchase of the Ultimate Collection boxed set, King of Cool helps round out the package. And for those who might have passed on it when it first came out, Time-Life’s second DMS outing is definitely worth a second look.

At the same time, with fresh servings of The Dean Martin Show on DVD promised for the year ahead, we hope that the recent trend of offering fewer episodes at a time, each with more meat on its bones (i.e., more musical content), will continue. It’s a recipe that should keep both preparers and consumers of these precious, tasty delicacies well-sated long past the holidays and beyond.

Finally, once again, we present a Sondheimian (that is, a side-by-side-by-side) comparison of the musical segments featured in the 21 King of Cool episodes, contrasting what was on their original NBC broadcasts with what’s contained on the Time-Life DVDs and with what can be gleaned from the now-discontinued Guthy-Renker volumes, all with the aim of helping Dean Martin fans understand not simply what’s been left out of both T-L and G-R’s disc reissues, but more importantly, how they can fill in some of the gaps in their own collections.


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 5/5/66 (Last Show of the 1st Season) Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “That Old Clock On The Wall”
Guy Marks: “Granada” (a comical version of the song, followed by a monologue) Disc 1
Liberace: “Clair de Lune” (piano recital) Disc 1
Dean & Liberace (in place of Ken Lane) at The Piano: Song Parodies
Dean Martin: “The Last Time I Saw Paris”
Liberace: “The Poor People Of Paris” (instrumental)
Dean Martin & Liberace: “I Love Paris”
Dean Martin, Liberace & Guy Marks: “Lovely To Look At” (comical version, sung as an introduction to comedienne Dorothy Loudon)
Dorothy Loudon: Musical Comedy Segment in which she sings “Every Little Movement (Has A Meaning All Its Own)”, “If You Talk In Your Sleep Don’t Mention My Name” and “I Just Can’t Make My Eyes Behave” to a phalanx of tuxedoed gents that includes The Dean Martin Show’s Musical Director, Lee Hale, and Choral Director, Jack Halloran Disc 1
Dean Martin & Liberace: Medley that applies special lyrics to the melodies of several w.k. standards —  “After The Ball” / “And The Band Played On” / “Pretty Baby” / “Hallelujah” / “Rigoletto” / “Makin’ Whoopee” / “Ain’t We Got Fun” — in reviewing the highlights of the first season of Dean’s series. Disc 1
Dean Martin: “Everybody Loves Somebody” (marking the first time in the series’ run that he sang the full version of the song, in what would become a tradition on the final show of the season for the first six years of the series) Disc 1


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/16/72 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin & Barbara McNair: “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” / “Pennies from Heaven”
The Dingaling Sisters: “On the Good Ship Lollipop” Disc 1
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Medley: “Mean to Me” / “Why Can’t You Behave?”
Dean Martin: “I Don’t Know What I’m Doing”
Barbara McNair:  “Something’s Comin’ On”
Dean Martin and Barbara McNair : “Bumming Around” Disc 1
Dean Martin: “Pardon”
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Musical Questions
Entire Cast: “Records ‘Round and ‘Round” Finale (comical lip-synching to vintage pop recordings)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/16/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” Vol. 24
Edie Adams: “If Love Were All” ; “Gotta Dance”
Dean Martin & Edie Adams: “By The Light Of The Silvery Moon” Disc 1
Dean Martin & Red Buttons: “Thank Heaven For Little Girls”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Born To Lose”
Ella Fitzgerald:  “Hallelujah, I Love Him So”; “You’ve Changed” Disc 1 (“Hallelujah, I Love Him So” only) Vol. 7 (“Hallelujah, I Love Him So” only)
Dean Martin & Ella Fitzgerald: Medley: “For You” / “I’d Climb The Highest Mountain” Disc 1 Vol. 7
Finale: Dean, Dom DeLuise, Edie Adams & Red Buttons: Medley of Children’s Songs: “I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard” / “Playmates” Disc 1 (edited)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/23/71 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin & Vikki Carr: “Proud Mary” / “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans”
The Dingaling Sisters: “I Got Love”
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Medley: “Real Live Girl” / “Thank Heaven For Little Girls”
Vikki Carr: “If I Were Your Woman” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Vikki Carr: “Rainbows Are Back In Style” Disc 2
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Detroit City” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Cast: Finale


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/20/69 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Not Enough Indians”
Barbara Eden: “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Barbara Eden: Medley: “Stumbling” / “Jada” / “At Sundown” / “Diga Diga Doo” Disc 2
Times Square Two: “Hello, Hawaii, How Are You” Disc 2
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Young At Heart” Vol. 23
Dean Martin & Dean’s Girls: Musical Questions
Kate Smith: “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”; “As Long As He Needs Me” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Kate Smith: School Days Medley: “School Days” / “The Farmer In The Dell” / “Mary Had A Little Lamb” / “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” / “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” / “Little Annie Rooney” / “Barnacle Bill The Sailor” Disc 2 Vol. 21
Dean Martin, Kate Smith, Barbara Eden, Mickey Rooney, Norm Crosby & Chorus: Patriotic Medley: “Yankee Doodle Dandy” / “God’s Country” / “My Old Kentucky Home” / “Back Home In Indiana” / “Yankee Doodle” / “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans” / “California, Here I Come“ / “Stars And Stripes Forever” / “You’re A Grand Old Flag” Disc 2 (“Way Down Yonder In New Orleans” & “California, Here I Come“ cut Vol. 23 (complete)
Kate Smith: “God Bless America” Disc 2 Vol. 23


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/24/70 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Heart Over Mind” Disc 2
Shirley Jones: “On the Road”
Dean Martin & Shirley Jones: “Bidin’ My Time” Disc 2
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2 (song parodies cut)
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition: “Tell It All, Brother” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Kenny Rogers and the First Edition: “Hey, Good Lookin’“ Disc 2
Dean Martin: “Turn the World Around”
Dean Martin & The Golddiggers: “Welcome To My World” Medley: “Everything is Beautiful” / “Gentle on My Mind” / “Little Green Apples”


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/30/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Baby Face” Vol. 20
Abbe Lane: “I Love Paris” & “Milord” Disc 3 (“Milord” only)
Dean Martin & Abbe Lane : “C’est Magnifique”; “C’est Si Bon”
Gene Barry: “Sherry” (includes a pas de deux w. Wisa D’Orso) Disc 3
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Paper Doll” (sung to a toy doll)
Herman’s Hermits: “Dandy”; “There’s A Kind Of Hush” Disc 3 (“There’s A Kind Of Hush” only)
Dean Martin & Herman’s Hermits:  “Mairzy Doats”
Dean Martin: “Look For The Silver Lining” Disc 3 Vol. 3
Eddie Fisher: “People Like You”; “I Will Wait for You” Disc 3 (“I Will Wait for You” only)
Dean Martin, Abbe Lane, Eddie Fisher, Gene Barry: Baseball Medley: “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” / “O’Brien to Ryan to Goldberg” / “Bless Them All” Disc 3 (“O’Brien to Ryan to Goldberg” cut)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 12/15/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Nobody’s Baby Again”
Don Cherry: “Married”
Dean Martin & Don Cherry: “The Glory of Love”; “Gotta Travel On”
Vic Damone: “She Loves Me” Disc 3
Dean Martin & Vic Damone: “Ciao Compare”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Home”
Caterina Valente: “So Nice” (a.k.a. ““Summer Samba”) Disc 3
Dean Martin  & Caterina Valente: “One Note Samba” Disc 3
Dean Martin, Caterina Valente, Vic Damone, Sid Caesar, Don Cherry: International Medley: “Auf Wiedersehen” / “Yankee Doodle Dandy” / “Funiculi Funicula” Disc 3


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/26/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “I’m Gonna Change Everything” Disc 3
Donald O’Connor dances to “España Cañi” Disc 3
Dean Martin & Donald O’Connor: Workout Medley: “The Lady’s In Love With You” / “They Didn’t Believe Me” / “My Buddy” / “He’s A Ladies’ Man” Disc 3
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “I’m Confessin’ That I Love You”
Nancy Ames: “Pow, Pow, Pow”; “Fly Me to the Moon”
Dean Martin & Nancy Ames: Medley
Dean Martin, Nancy Ames, Donald O’Connor, Jonathan Winters: “To The Movies We Go” Finale Disc 3


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/22/70 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
Patricia Crowley: “Rockin’ Ghost”
Dean Martin & Patricia Crowley: Positive Song Medley: “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” / “You Mustn’t Feel Discouraged” /
Dean Martin & The Golddiggers: “Hallelujah” Disc 4
Engelbert Humperdinck: “My Wife, The Dancer” (featuring Golddigger Wanda Bailey as the dancer)
Dean Martin & Engelbert Humperdinck: “Crosby, Sinatra & Me” Disc 4 (Engelbert’s impressions of Crosby, Sinatra & Dean and a few bars of “Release Me”, as well as Dean’s impression of Engelbert, cut) Vol. 8 (complete, except for a few bars of “Release Me”)
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 4 (song parodies cut)
Dean & Leo DeLyon: “Blue Skies” (comical rendition) Disc 4
Dean Martin: “I Cried For You”
Dean Martin, Engelbert Humperdinck & Dom DeLuise: “Three Coins In The Fountain” (comic version, w. dancing by Golddigger Wanda Bailey) Disc 4
Dean Martin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Patricia Crowley, Dom DeLuise, The Golddiggers: “Everybody’s Got A Song” (singing impressions and parodies)
Dean Martin & the Golddiggers: “Welcome To My World” Medley: “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever” / “It’s Been A Blue, Blue Day” / “Look For The Silver Lining” Disc 4 (“Look For The Silver Lining” only)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/28/71 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: “Sooner or Later” / “Almost Like Being In Love” Disc 4
The Dingaling Sisters: “Fool On The Hill”
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Medley: “Embraceable You” / “You Took Advantage Of Me”
Elaine Stritch: “Someday My Prince Will Come” (comic version, w. assists from Ernest Borgnine & Dean Martin) Disc 4
Dean Martin: “La Vie En Rose”
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Musical Questions
Dean Martin & Cast: “Records ‘Round and ‘Round” Finale (comical lip-synching to vintage pop recordings) Vol. 21


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/24/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “I’m Gonna Change Everything”
The Step Brothers (dance act) perform, and are then joined by Dean for some additional fancy footwork Disc 4  Vol. 6
Imogene Coca: “People” (performed in pantomime, with her vocals on the soundtrack) Disc 4
Dean Martin: “When You’re Smiling” (sung to Imogene Coca) Disc 4
Dean & Ken at the Piano Disc 4 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “I Don’t Know Why”
Diana Ross and The Supremes: “Mother Dear” Disc 4
Dean Martin & Marty (a Krofft Puppet): “Side by Side”
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: “Bittersweet Samba” / “Winds of Barcelona” Disc 4 (“Bittersweet Samba” only)
Jane Morgan: “Downtown”; “More” Disc 4 (“Downtown” only)
Dean Martin, Jane Morgan, Imogene Coca, Diana Ross and The Supremes: Love Medley: “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” / “I’m in the Mood for Love” / “Our Language of Love” / “Fools Fall In Love” / “Let There Be Love” / “Careless Love” / “Hooray for Love” / “Down with Love” / “It’s Love” / “Love Is The Sweetest Thing” / “Love” / “Love Is A Simple Thing” / “Love Is Just Around The Corner” / “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” / “Love Is The Reason”


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 12/9/65 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Singing the Blues”
The Andrews Sisters: Medley: “A Lot Of Livin’ To Do” / “My Favorite Things” Disc 5
Dean Martin & The Andrews Sisters: Medley: “Don’t Fence Me In” / “Apple Blossom Time”
Carol Lawrence: “Funny Face” Disc 5
Dean Martin & Carol Lawrence: “Baby Face” Disc 5
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 5 (song parodies cut)
Line Renaud: “Lui et Moi” (“Side by Side”)
Louis Armstrong: “Someday”; “So Long, Dearie”
Dean Martin & Louis Armstrong: Medley: “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” / “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” / “Mississippi Mud” / “Down By The Riverside” / “Swanee” / “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” / “Gotta Travel On” / “Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight” / “When The Saints Go Marching In” Disc 5 (“Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody”, “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”, “When The Saints Go Marching In” only) Vol. 23 (complete medley)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/10/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “My Kind of Girl” Special Edition Vol.
The Young Americans: “Pass Me By”
Dean Martin & The Young Americans: “Under The Lollipop Tree”
Johnny Mathis: “I’m In Love For The Very First Time”; “Lost In The Stars” Disc 5 (“I’m In Love For The Very First Time” only)
Dean Martin & Johnny Mathis: “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” Disc 5
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 5 (1 song parody included, 1 cut)
Dean Martin: “What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry”
Dean Martin & Shelley Berman: “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey” Disc 5
Ella Fitzgerald: “That Old Black Magic” Disc 5
Dean Martin & Ella Fitzgerald: Gershwin Medley: “S’ Wonderful” / “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” / “How Long Has This Been Going On?” /  “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” / “Nice Work If You Can Get” / “They All Laughed” Disc 5 (last 3 songs cut) Vol. 1 (complete medley)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/26/68 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Rainbows Are Back in Style”
Patricia Crowley: “All I Need Is The Boy” Disc 5
Dean Martin & Patricia Crowley: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 5 (1 song parody included, 1 cut)
Dean Martin: “That Old Time Feeling”
Dean Martin, Orson Welles, Jack Gilford, Patricia Crowley, Dean’s Girls: “Everybody Ought To Have A Maid” Disc 5 Vol. 21
Dean Martin, Patricia Crowley, Jack Halloran’s Choir: “Orange Colored Sky” Disc 5


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 4/12/73 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin, Dom DeLuise, Nipsey Russell: “Somebody Stole My Gal” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Nancy Sinatra: Medley of “Happy” songs
William Conrad: Medley of Anthony Newley songs
The Dingaling Sisters: “Love is Surrender”
Dean Martin & Nancy Sinatra: “Where Or When” Disc 6
Dean Martin & William Conrad: Medley of songs about Girls
Dean Martin & Cast: “At The Movies” Finale pays tribute to the MGM musical Easter Parade (1948) Disc 6 (“Steppin’ Out With My Baby”, “A Couple of Swells”, and all clips from the MGM movie, cut)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 12/8/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Cold Cold Heart”
Robert Goulet: “I’ll Take Romance” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Robert Goulet: “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 6 (1 song parody included, 1 cut)
Dean Martin: “The Things We Did Last Summer”
Gisele MacKenzie: “Mrs. Worthington”
Dean Martin & Gisele MacKenzie: Medley
Dean Martin: “You Are My Lucky Star” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Deana Martin (making her TV singing debut): “Side by Side” Disc 6
Dean Martin, Robert Goulet, Gisele MacKenzie, Jonathan Winters: “Silent Movie” Finale Disc 6


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 1/28/71 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “On A Slow Boat to China”
Celebrity Offspring (Meredith MacRae, Frank Sinatra Jr., Maureen Reagan, Deana Martin, Gail Martin, Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Dean Paul Martin, Billy Hinsche): “Applause” Medley”: “Applause, Applause” / “Applause” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Celebrity Offspring: “Love Is The Reason”
Frank Sinatra Jr., Deana Martin, Lucie Arnaz: “Side By Side By Side” Disc 6
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 6 (song parodies cut, but Dean sings “Sonny Boy”, interspersed w. sarcastic commentary by Kay Medford as Ken’s mother)
Dean Martin: “Mean to Me”
Dino, Desi and Billy: “Lady Love” Disc 6
Meredith MacRae, Gail Martin & Maureen Reagan: “Triplets” Disc 6
Dean Martin, Bob Newhart, Celebrity Offspring: “Everybody’s Got A Song” (singing impressions and parodies)
Dean Martin & The Golddiggers: “Welcome To My World” Medley: “Street of Dreams” / “Memories Are Made of This” / “The Very Thought of You”

Note: The three episodes listed below on Bonus Disc 7 are available ONLY on the King of Cool sets sold by Costco and those packaged with the 17-DVD Dean’s Ultimate Collection.

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/6/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Today Is Not the Day”
Vikki Carr: “You’re Gonna Hear from Me”; “Before The Parade Passes By”
Dean Martin & Vikki Carr: “Them There Eyes” Bonus Disc 7
Dean’s Girls dance around George Gobel to “St. Louis Blues” Bonus Disc 7
George Gobel: “That Old Irish Mother Of Mine” Bonus Disc 7
Dean Martin & George Gobel: “There’s A Hole In The Bucket” Bonus Disc 7
Dean & Ken at The Piano Bonus Disc 7 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Stars Fell On Alabama” Bonus Disc 7
Dean Martin & Phil Harris: “Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Shean” Bonus Disc 7 Vol. 2
Old-Time Medley Finale: Dean Martin, Vikki Carr, Phil Harris, George Gobel, Dean’s Girls: “Old Songs” / “Barney Google” / “Row, Row, Row” / “Who Takes Care Of The Caretaker’s Daughter?” /  “In The Evening By The Moonlight” Bonus Disc 7


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/16/69 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Singing the Blues” Vol. 27
Joey Heatherton: “Nice ‘N’ Easy” Bonus Disc 7
Dean Martin & Joey Heatherton: Medley: “London Bridge Is Falling Down”  / “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” / “The Farmer in the Dell” / “Surrey With The Fringe On Top” / “A Tisket, A Tasket” / “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Bonus Disc 7 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Where The Blue And Lonely Go”
Dean & Dean’s Girls “Sing-on” Orson Bean
The Mills Brothers: “Paper Doll” Bonus Disc 7
Dean Martin & The Mills Brothers: “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” Bonus Disc 7
Entire Cast: “Here We Go Again” Finale Bonus Disc 7


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 12/16/71 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin & Ginger Rogers: “Too Marvelous For Words”
Ginger Rogers Medley: “That’s How Young I Feel /” “Ain’t She Sweet” / “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” / “Brazil” / “Change Partners And Dance” / “Sing, Sing, Sing” Vol. 9 (last part w. “Sing, Sing, Sing” & “That’s How Young I Feel” only
Dean Martin & Ginger Rogers: “Dancing” Bonus Disc 7 Vol. 9
The Dingaling Sisters: “Girl Talk”
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Medley: “I Only Have Eyes For You” / “You Do Something To Me”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Bonus Disc 7 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Musical Questions
Dean Martin & Ginger Rogers: “Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered”
Dean Martin: “The Tips Of My Fingers” Bonus Disc 7
Entire Cast: Records ‘Round And ‘Round Finale (comical lip-synching to vintage pop recordings)

To comment on this article or share your views about The Dean Martin Show on DVD, please feel free to do so in the space provided below.

For breaking news and exclusive information about The Dean Martin Show, plus a forum to mingle with The Golddiggers, Dingaling Sisters, and other alums from Dean’s series, be sure to LIKE us on our Facebook page:

Almost Like Being In Love: The Dean Martin Variety Show UNCUT

June 21, 2012

An in-depth review, plus insights and analysis, focusing on the third Dean Martin Show DVD outing from Time-Life and NBC.

Just as this review was about to be posted (the online equivalent of going to press), The Golddiggers Super Site received confirmation that Time-Life has definite plans to produce more Dean Martin Show DVDs, culled from the archives of NBC. We’ll report further details as we receive them.

Now, on to our comprehensive look at the most recently-issued set:

JUST IN TIME: Before Time-Life’s new 3-DVD set came along, many fans who yearned for whole shows believed their time for hope was running low. They figured all was lost, the losing dice were tossed, their bridges all were crossed, and there was nowhere to go. But with the release of six unedited episodes on May 22nd, most feel that the suppliers of this product found their way, changing life for the better that lucky day.

After Time-Life‘s release during the past year of two separate collections of episodes from The Dean Martin Show — episodes marked by substantial edits that left fans disappointed and discouraged — the company’s third entry in the franchise proves to be the charm: The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut, is, unequivocally, a cut above.

What a pleasure it is — indeed, it feels like a luxury — to be able to view the programs in their entirety, the way they were originally broadcast on NBC, without watching in dread of those wince-inducing deletions that marred and scarred the two earlier sets of T-L’s DMS DVDs. From the NBC peacock at the top of the show to the network’s trademark snake and chimes at the bottom, these half-dozen gems are the real deal.

AIN’T SHE SWEET…Yet sublimely saucy, too. Abbe Lane, fourth wife of Cuban bandleader Xavier Cugat and a fiery chanteuse in her own right, brought her powerful pipes and seductive charms to Dean’s show a number of times during the early years of the series — in this instance (above and below), cooing “Whatever Lola Wants”, from the musical Damn Yankees, on Disc 1.


VOLARE: The 3/3/66 episode, seen on Disc 1, soars above the standard pop canon, as it takes on a decidedly Italian flavor with two quintessential Neopolitan songs. First, American soprano Marguerite Piazza beckons the audience to “Come Back To Sorrento”, before joining Dean (above) on a vocal journey to “Santa Lucia”.

PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND ME, HONEY: And if Dean’s involved, he may well have both arms occupied, as he does in this humor-tinged medley of songs about “Dames”, seen on Disc 1.

It’s A Good Day

As we noted last March, when The Golddiggers Super Site broke the news of what material this newest edition would feature, the Uncut discs emphasize quality over quantity: Instead of the 18 to 20 condensed episodes that comprised the first two 6-DVD sets and proved less than satisfying, we are treated this time around to 6 unabridged shows, ensuring that every musical number seen in the original telecasts, including Dean’s, has remained intact in its home video reissue (save for one that had been irretrievably damaged over time — for specifics, see our rundown of musical highlights at the end of this article).

The 6 Uncut episodes, spread over 3 DVDs, span the first six years (1965-71) of The Dean Martin Show’s 9-year run, with one show each from Seasons 1, 2 and 6, and three from Season 3. As such, this installment (with the exception of the episode from the ’70-’71 season) leans heavily toward the series’ early years, reflecting fashions and styles more café society than swinging ’60s, music more standards-oriented than pop-inflected, comedy more broad vaudeville than sharp satire, guest stars more Old Hollywood than New Wave, and a host still dark-maned, trim, full of youthful energy and enthusiasm, and in great voice.o

MAKE ‘EM LAUGH: Many of the comedy routines on older variety shows seem passé when compared to today’s more explicit material, but several of the acts on the new Uncut collection, including the one above fronted by the team of Marty Allen (center) and Steve Rossi (right), are so zany that they hold up surprisingly well.
I GOT RHYTHM: Indeed, George Gershwin’s ”Fascinating Rhythm”, as interpreted by Leslie Uggams (above), with an assist from Jack Sperling on drums (below), makes for fascinating viewing on the 1/12/67 episode, seen on Disc 1.
Though her own 1969 variety series on CBS failed to catch on, Leslie frequently turned up on other star’s programs during the ’60s, and her standout performance here shows why.


OH, YOU BEAUTIFUL DOLL: Dean sings it to a toy doll on Disc 2 (above), and romps with some live ones (including a pre-Dingaling Helen Funai, third from left below) on Disc 1.

With superb musical selections and diverse, highly entertaining lineups, these 6 episodes are a representative sampling of the formative years of Dean’s series that serves as a showcase not just for the performers on screen, but also the gifted men and women who toiled behind the scenes — not the least among them, Producer-Director Greg Garrison, whose creative decisions always kept the action moving and displayed on-camera talent to its best advantage; and Musical Director Lee Hale, whose endlessly ingenious arrangements infused the show with rich, glorious melodies that helped lift it above every other variety program of its era.

STEPPIN’ OUT WITH MY BABY: Whether tapping with dancer Barbara Perry (above) or with Dean (below), Eddie Foy Jr., best known of The Seven Little Foys immortalized in the 1955 Bob Hope film of the same name, mixes humor with years of honed show business polish to enliven the 1/12/67 edition of Dean’s show.


SHALL WE DANCE?: Few ever did it better than Cyd Charisse, as she demonstrates to the appropriate accompaniment of “Music To Watch Girls By” (above & below), before attempting to coax some steps out of Dean (further below), who demurs with “I Won’t Dance”.

Who Could Ask For Anything More?

Reaction to the new Uncut anthology has thus far been overwhelmingly favorable — in stark contrast to numerous and vehement complaints leveled against the excisions of the first two T-L sets — but even this latest release has drawn a few minor criticisms. Although we feel that these gripes are trifling and largely unjustified, we deem it important to address them, lest they cause anyone to think twice about purchasing an item that we believe should be a must-buy for anyone who’s a devotee of Dean, or for that matter, anyone who appreciates compelling musical performances.

Some who’ve reviewed the Uncut DVDs have questioned the choice of episodes, finding them dated or just not terribly engaging. Many, though by no means all, of those unimpressed with these particular shows admit to being of a younger generation that came of age after variety programs had mostly faded from prime-time TV schedules. Having been conditioned by the faster pace of fare such as music videos, it may be that these individuals can’t quite fathom the appeal of more leisurely-paced song-and-dance offerings.

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING: Lovely Barbara McNair enjoyed a two-year run, from 1969-71, with her own syndicated variety series, but found time both before, during and after to guest on other such skeins, as when she visited Dean’s for the 11/16/67 episode (above and below), shown on Disc 2.

Then there are those who may be slightly older and whose view of the episodes in the Uncut collection is skewed by their having a better recollection of The Dean Martin Show’s later seasons, which, by contemporary standards, were certainly more modern in tone and appearance than the earlier seasons.

Of course, assessments of this kind tend to be highly subjective and a matter of individual taste. Nevertheless, we would contend that what both of the aforesaid groups of folks may be overlooking is that the earlier episodes were simply a product of their time, in the same way that movies and musicals of the ’50s and ’60s have a different sensibility than those that followed in the ’70s and ’80s. All have their place, and for those who, no matter what their age, have deep affection for the vintage stuff (and fortunately, a large number of younger people seem to join their elders in this category), the Uncut collection will unquestionably hit the spot.

S’WONDERFUL: A frequent visitor to The Dean Martin Show during its early seasons, Caterina Valente infused her performances with a continental flair that both sparkled when she soloed (above), and mingled gracefully with Dean’s style when the two worked in tandem (below).

And in a seriocomic sketch on the 12/14/67 episode included on Disc 2 (above and below), she also matched the vulnerability and pathos of Dom DeLuise’s character with a delicately rendered turn of her own.

One or two online critics have also carped about the technical quality of the episodes that make up the DMS Uncut set. What they seem to forget is how we viewed those episodes when they first aired. Back then, the vast majority of us had only black-and-white sets, and even those lucky (and rich) enough to have color ones were watching on screens much smaller than today’s, with far lower resolution. As Denny Coyle, one of the many perceptive regular contributors to our sister website, Dean, Golds, and Dings, has rightly pointed out about the digitally remastered Uncut episodes, “the quality is at least as good or better than we saw when they were the originally broadcast so many years ago.”

MY KIND OF GIRL: Make that girls, since it’s often the plural form of the female gender that one finds surrounding Dean — and in the case of the three above, their trio’s sobriquet even bears their boss’ name. Melissa Stafford, Julie Rinker and Diana Lee (l. to r. above and below) were actually the first ladies on the show to be called Dean’s Girls, a handle eventually applied to all of the series’ pre-Golddiggers/ Dingalings female singer-dancers. During the 1967-68 season, the vocalizing trinity both performed their own standalone numbers, and harmonized with the host, as on the episode depicted here, originally telecast on 12/14/67 and contained on Disc 2.


I LOVE A PIANO: The first two Dean Martin Show sets from Time-Life included the banter that would take place on each week’s episode between Dean and his pianist, Ken Lane, but omitted most of the song parodies that were an integral part of the segment, to avoid having to pay for the rights to the music. Thankfully, because this third, Uncut collection truly lives up to its title, all of Lee Hale’s clever song send-ups have been left as is.

Call Me Irresponsible

Nowadays, anyone with a website can profess to be a critic, and one extraordinarily uninformed character in this mold has gone so far as to allege that the episodes that make up the Uncut set really aren’t uncut at all. As his supposed proof, he cites a comedy sketch on one episode in which he detected an abrupt cut. What this person is apparently unaware of (most likely because he’s largely unfamiliar with the series) is that the original shows themselves were often trimmed, due to time requirements or to keep the programs’ pace flowing.

The simple fact is that besides the one musical number that Time-Life candidly acknowledged had to be snipped because it was unsalvageable, the 6 episodes in the Uncut collection are indeed COMPLETELY UNCUT — and anyone who would argue to the contrary is not only acting utterly irresponsibly, doing a huge disservice to Dean Martin fans, but also revealing himself to be, as George Will recently labeled Donald Trump, “a bloviating ignoramus.”

Wishin’ And Hopin’

Finally, we’ve come across one or two fence-sitters online, who claim to be holding out for complete season sets. To them, we would say respectfully: Don’t hold your breath. The fact is that there are certain musical numbers from the series that, regrettably, may not be able to be shown again for years, if ever, no matter how much money might be thrown at their owners, either because the owners refuse to give their permission or because the rights are tied up in litigation or other commitments.

Consequently, we would make the case that those of us of the generation most apt to treasure The Dean Martin Show are reaching an age when it would be foolhardy to postpone the pleasure of seeing what we can see now for a future outcome that may well never come to pass.

What’s more — and this may surprise many, if not most, of our readers — even if they were feasible, we would actually advise against the issuance of full season sets, in favor of a more diversified release slate — and here’s why:

Many of us are aware of what’s happened in the past when a TV series made its long-awaited debut on DVD, starting with its first season, only to sell poorly, with the result that later seasons wind up never making it to market.

Since we already know that connoisseurs of The Dean Martin Show divide into different camps — those who prefer the early years, those more partial to the later ones, and those who like them equally — why take a chance on disaffecting a whole faction of Dino denizens by risking a complete season reissue that may not live up to sales expectations and therefore puts the kibosh on future releases?

Instead, we’d advocate a more eclectic approach that takes the basic concept of the current Uncut set and expands on it: To please as many DMS fans at one time as possible — and help ensure that the whole project doesn’t run off the rails — we recommend that future releases offer one uncut episode from each season of the series. Since such a bundle would thus contain a couple of more episodes than the current Uncut release, it would obviously have to be priced somewhat higher, but even so, it would still be within an eminently affordable range. And this way, every fan would have some incentive to add future sets to his or her collection.

I FEEL PRETTY: And if you were Joey Heatherton, why wouldn’t you? Six months before she would go on to co-host the very first season of the Dean Martin Presents The Golddiggers summer replacement series, the blonde sex kitten who had already sizzled on Dean’s program a number of times (including on his 1965 debut), as well as traveled the world on two USO tours with Bob Hope, set the stage ablaze on the 1/25/68 DM show (above and below), before returning later in the program with a sensitive ballad (further below), and then pairing up with Dean for a mod take on his hit, “Just In Time”, from the 1960 feature film Bells Are Ringing (still further below). All of it’s on view on Uncut‘s Disc 3.


COUNTRY ROADS: Years before he became more famous for co-hosting, with Roy Clark, the long-running hillbilly answer to Laugh-In, TV’s Hee Haw, Buck Owens and his Buckaroos were riding high on the country music charts. Dropping in on Dean’s hoedown in January ’68, the band tore through a spirited “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone” (above), before Buck teamed with Dino for “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail” — all seen on Disc 3.

PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC: Hatched by R&B songwriter/vocalist Rufus Thomas at the beginning of 1970, the soul-cookin’ “Do The Funky Chicken” was poached later that summer by The Golddiggers In London, wherein Tommy Tune strutted as lead rooster on the number, backed by several of the program’s resident chicks.
But it was in the fall of 1970, on Dean’s weekly wingding, that the tune really broke out of its shell, when Michelle DellaFave (second from left above, and again below) led her Dingaling Sisters Susie Lund (above left), Tara Leigh (third from left above), and Wanda Bailey (above right) through a torrid rendition that witnessed fringe (rather than feathers) flying fast and furious — as those who purchase the Uncut set can discover for themselves on Disc 3.

The Dings were also invited to serve up the “Funky Chicken” to American service personnel on Bob Hope’s 1970 USO Tour, and the whole country got a gander at it on Hope’s annual Christmas special, telecast on NBC in January 1971.

Some 36 years later, Michelle, Susie and Wanda reunited to stage the number anew, this time before hundreds of vets (many of whom had seen them do it back during the 1970 Hope Tour) at the 2007 convention of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Since then, Michelle has gone on to entertain audiences with a solo version of the song, both in her own act and during her Blue Eyed Soul concerts with another Dingaling Sisters colleague and friend, Lindsay Bloom.

None of this, of course, does anything to resolve that age-old question of which came first — the chicken or the egg?…

You Do Something To Me

Precious few episodes of variety series have ever been released on DVD in their complete, original form, and that’s because obtaining the necessary rights to all of the musical numbers in any given episode is a tremendously complex, time-consuming and expensive proposition. Thus, executives at Time-Life, NBC Universal and The Dean Martin Family Trust deserve enormous credit for responding to the pleas of The Dean Martin Show’s fan base with bold and meaningful action— coming through with whole, uncut episodes of the best variety show ever made, at an amazingly reasonable price. For many of us who’ve patiently waited years for this moment to arrive, it’s almost too good to be true.

So, there must be a catch, right? Well, no, we promise that in this case, there is no catch…But we do have a concern — and it’s this:

There’s been some speculation online that the six shows in the new Uncut compendium were picked primarily because the rights to the music contained in them were available and could be cleared without incurring too much expense. While it’s hard to imagine that those factors wouldn’t be taken into consideration with regard to ANY home entertainment release, any bearing that they might have on this particular collection in no way diminishes how enjoyable these six programs are to watch. With their strong repeatability quotient, the shows are keepers in every sense of the word.

What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?

However, looking ahead, we can’t help but wonder about the prospects for potential future Dean Martin Show DVD releases. As we first reported back in March, those well-connected with this venture have told us that if this current set sells well, there will be more to come. And indeed, as we announced at the beginning of this piece, we’ve now learned that production of future editions will definitely proceed.

But will episodes that contain even more musical content than found in the six most recent ones — especially shows featuring long medleys and/or song-laden spots such as Musical Questions — prove possible to clear in their entirety?

That question brings us back once again to the issue of price and its relationship to the number of episodes packaged per reissue. It seems pretty clear that the overwhelming sentiment among fans is for fewer, uncut shows per set, versus a larger number of edited ones.

But to reinforce that point, fans need to support this current collection. The obvious way to do that is by buying a copy for themselves, but they can also aid the cause by purchasing it as a gift for someone else, and by letting the powers that be know, in online forums such as this one, how much we fans desire unabridged episodes.

The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut is a breakthrough — one that all who love Dean and his series should hope represents not just a one-time experiment, but a turning point in the franchise’s history. However, if we want to keep the uncut collections coming, we need to make our voices heard — with both our words and our wallets. Because to go back to anything less than uncut episodes would be, as Marc Antony termed Brutus’ stabbing of Julius Caesar, “the most unkindest cut of all.”

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD: It’s perhaps fitting that a Dean Martin Show collection that gave fans the unedited approach to episodes that they’d long craved would be topped off by a deliciously sweet coda that they’ve waited more than four decades to behold again.

The much-revered “Welcome To My World” medleys, blending three dulcet tunes on which Dean harmonized with The Golddiggers in a relaxed setting, capped each weekly edition of the series’ 6th season, sending viewers off to dreamland with the beautiful strains of Lee Hale’s arrangements, Van Alexander’s orchestrations, and the soft sounds of Dean and his girls gently streaming through the ether. (above, l. to r.: Michelle DellaFave, Susan Lund, Wanda Bailey)

Marking the first time that one of these segments has been reissued in its entirety on DVD (but hopefully not the last), the “Welcome To My World” medley from the 2/25/71 episode of Dean’s series, contained on Disc 3, constitutes the pièce de résistance of a deeply satisfying set of shows. (above: left of Dean, Pat Mickey; right of Dean, Jackie Chidsey; back row left, Paula Cinko; back row right, Rosetta Cox)

(above: Liz Kelley, Pauline Antony)
(above: Tara Leigh)
(above: King of his World)

All The Way

At the end of our review of Time-Life’s first Dean Martin Show treasury, we provided a chart listing all 20 episodes included in that set and contrasted the musical content of the shows as they were originally telecast on NBC with what was included in the T-L edition, and with segments from the same episodes found in the earlier Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show volumes from Guthy-Renker. The purpose of this comparison was to point out what had been retained in the T-L discs vs. what had been excluded, and to let fans know how they could fill in some of the gaps.

Presenting the same type of rundown for the new Uncut set is a much happier exercise, because we can demonstrate that all of the musical numbers (save for the one already mentioned and noted again below) have been left intact, and have little overlap with what’s come before from Guthy-Renker (incidentally, important news about the G-R volumes appears at the end of this article).

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/3/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “The Birds And The Bees” Disc 1
The Lettermen: West Side Story Medley: “Something’s Coming” / “Maria” / “Cool” / “Tonight” Disc 1
Abbe Lane (with dancers): “Whatever Lola Wants” Disc 1
Dean Martin, Abbe Lane & Sid Caesar: “Real Live Girl” Disc 1
Marguerite Piazza: “Come Back To Sorrento” Disc 1
Dean Martin & Marguerite Piazza: “Santa Lucia” Disc 1
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1
Dean Martin: “Hands Across The Table” Disc 1
Dean Martin, Sid Caesar & George Gobel: “Dames” Medley: ““There Is Nothing Like A Dame” / “Smiles” / “Standing On The Corner” / “Girls” / “I Can Always Find A Little Sunshine In The Y.M.C.A.” Disc 1


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 1/12/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “A Marshmallow World” Disc 1
Steve Rossi: “My Lonely Room” Disc 1
Marty Allen & Steve Rossi: “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” Disc 1
Leslie Uggams (with Jack Sperling on drums & dancers): Medley: “Fascinating Rhythm” / “Slap That Bass” Disc 1
Dean Martin & Leslie Uggams: Medley: “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive” / “Clap Yo Hands” / “Snap Your Fingers” Disc 1
Dean Martin & dancers: “Playmates” Station Break Tease Disc 1 Special Edition Vol.
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1 Vol. 14
Dean Martin: “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” Disc 1 Vol. 14
Eddie Foy Jr. & dancers mime to “Standing On The Corner” Disc 1
Eddie Foy Jr. (accompanied in dancing by Barbara Perry): “Gigi” (comic version) Disc 1
Dean Martin & Eddie Foy Jr. tap-dance to “Tea For Two” Disc 1
Dean Martin, Leslie Uggams, Eddie Foy Jr., Marty Allen, Steve Rossi, Jackie Mason: Back Porch Medley: “Sing Along” / “On Moonlight Bay” / “Heart Of My Heart” / “When You Wore A Tulip And I Wore A Big Red Rose” / “Toot Toot Tootsie (Goodbye)” / “Ma (She’s Making Eyes At Me” / “I’m Looking Over A Four-Leaf Clover” Disc 1


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 11/16/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Turn to Me” Disc 2 Vol. 6
Cyd Charisse dances to “Music To Watch Girls By” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Cyd Charisse: “I Won‘t Dance” Disc 2
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2
Dean Martin: “Nevertheless” Disc 2
Buddy Ebsen, Wisa D’Orso & Dean’s Girls: “I Like The Likes Of You” Disc 2 Vol. 20
Dean Martin & Buddy Ebsen: ‘Sam’s Song” Disc 2 Vol. 20
Barbara McNair: “Nothing Can Stop Me Now”; “Where Am I Going?” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Barbara McNair: “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” Disc 2
Dean Martin, Buddy Ebsen & Dom DeLuise: “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again” Disc 2
Dean Martin, Cyd Charisse, Barbara McNair, Buddy Ebsen, Dom DeLuise: “That’s Entertainment” Finale: “That’s Entertainment” / “Bye Bye Blues” / “He Touched Me” / “Be My Love” Disc 2 (full version) Vol. 23 (edited)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 12/14/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Where Or When” Disc 2
Caterina Valente: “What A Night This Is Going To Be” Disc 2
Caterina Valente (w. dancers): “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Caterina Valente: “Rain”  Medley: “Rain” / “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine” / “Sunny Side Up” / “Look For The Silver Lining” / “There’s a Rainbow Round My Shoulder” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Dean’s Girls: “Walking on New Grass” Disc 2
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2
Dean Martin: “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” Disc 2
Dean Martin, Caterina Valente & Dom DeLuise perform in a bittersweet sketch, set to the soundtrack of Caterina singing “Ten Cents A Dance” Disc 2 Vol. 7
Dean Martin, Caterina Valente, Bob Newhart & Dom DeLuise: “Seven-and-a-Half Cents” Disc 2


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 1/25/68 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Things” Disc 3
Joey Heatherton & Dancers: “You Came A Long Way From St. Louis” Disc 3
Dean’s Girls: “My Mammy” Intro to Bob Melvin (w. special lyrics) Disc 3
Dean & Dean’s Girls high-kick to an instrumental version of “Who Cares” for a Station Break Tease Disc 3
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3
Dean Martin: “Welcome To My World” Disc 3
Buck Owens and The Buckaroos: “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone” Disc 3
Dean Martin & Buck Owens: “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail”; “Love’s Gonna Live Here” Disc 3 (as Time-Life has acknowledged,  “Love’s Gonna Live Here” had to be cut because the original tape was damaged beyond repair)
Joey Heatherton: “You Can Have Him” Disc 3
Dean Martin & Joey Heatherton: “Just in Time” Disc 3


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2/25/71 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “There’s A Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” Disc 3
The Dingaling Sisters: “Do The Funky Chicken” Disc 3
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3
Dean Martin: “It’s The Talk Of The Town” Disc 3
Dean Martin & Zero Mostel: “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” Disc 3 Vol. 14
Dean Martin, Zero Mostel & Tommy Tune: “Me And My Shadow” Disc 3 Vol. 18
Zero Mostel & Kay Medford: “Do You Love Me?” Disc 3 Vol. 15
Dean Martin & The Golddiggers: “Welcome to My World” Medley: “I Could Write a Book” / “Just Friends” / “It’s Easy to Remember” Disc 3

So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You

One final word about the Guthy-Renker volumes: Remember the company’s infomercials warning that their own Dean Martin Show collection would soon be going back into the vault? Many people thought they were bluffing in order to goose sales. Well, evidently, they weren’t just whistling Dixie.

Guthy-Renker has, in fact, stopped marketing the discs — this time, for good — no doubt as a stipulation of the settlement of the lawsuit filed back in 2007 by NBCUniversal against G-R, Greg Garrison Productions and others. For the time being, individual volumes of Guthy-Renker’s Dean Martin Show collection can still be found on Amazon, ebay, and a few other websites — but, as they say in the advertisements, “When they’re gone, they’re gone.”

If you’d like to comment on this article or share your views about The Dean Martin Show on DVD, please feel free to do so in the space provided below.

For the latest updates on these and all other matters pertaining to Dean Martin, be sure to click the Like button on the Facebook page of our sister website, Dean, Golds and Dings, where you’re cordially invited to join not only other fans of Dean Martin but many alumnae of The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, as well. Participate in ongoing conversations, or just observe — the choice is yours. To get started, just click below:

Dino Vino — Undiluted!

March 22, 2012

For The Golddiggers Super Site’s exclusive review and analysis of The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut, click HERE.


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 pageRichard 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.

To stay on top of developments related to Dean, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, with faster, more accurate and more thorough updates than you’ll find anywhere else, we invite you to follow and LIKE us on our Facebook page:

© 2012 Integrity Communications Corp. All Rights Reserved.

For The Good Times: The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show

July 31, 2011

An In-Depth Analysis and Review of the new Dean Martin Show DVDs from Time-Life, by way of NBC

IN THE COOL, COOL, COOL OF THE EVENING: From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, The Dean Martin Show held sway as the toniest spot on the television dial. In the final hour of prime-time each and every Thursday, the party was getting a glow on, and singing filled the air. In the shank of the night, they were doing it right, and much of America was there.
But the second major attempt to recapture the magic of this hippest-of-hip series and bottle it for home video has drawn lukewarm reviews at best and ignited a firestorm of fury among fans. In the piece that follows, we cover the heat, but also endeavor to shed additional light, on the subject at hand.

“Wonderful, Wonderful Television.”

It’s the title lyric of one of those catchy jingles that served to introduce an assortment of regular segments that appeared on The Dean Martin Show during the course of its 9-year run from 1965-74 — indeed, the refrain pops up several times on the new 6-DVD Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show: Collector’s Edition recently released by Time-Life — and it’s a phrase that aptly sums up the high levels of both esteem and affection with which Dean’s original landmark series is regarded by its millions of fans throughout the world.

But with a substantial portion of the sweet sounds that once emanated from this finely-tuned instrument muted in the new Time-Life treasury drawn from the vaults of the network that first brought us the series, NBC, many are left to wonder what happened to so much of what made the show so great in the first place — the musical content.

Now that Deana Martin, one of Dean’s daughters and a popular entertainer in her own right, has told columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith that a second installment of material from her father’s series is already in the planning stages (a fact that we have independently confirmed with officials at both Time-Life and NBCUniversal), we thought that this would be the ideal time to take a comprehensive look at the first collection that went on sale a few weeks ago, examining what’s good about it, what’s not, and how any possible future editions could be improved.

Then, in a Super Site exclusive, we provide a guide to how the musical selections found in Time-Life’s bundle of episodes stack up against both the musical components of those same episodes when they originally aired on NBC and what’s available in the earlier 29-volume Dean Martin Show anthology from Guthy-Renker.

For Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “The play’s the thing.” When it comes to The Dean Martin Show, for us — and judging from comments left on our website and others, for most fans of Dean’s series — the music’s the thing; and so, that is the aspect of the new DVD set on which we’ve herein trained our attention.

A Blue, Blue Day

In our detailed preview posted here on the Super Site at the beginning of April, we reported that the framework of Time-Life’s new 6-DVD set would be formed around freestanding episodes from The Dean Martin Show’s original NBC broadcasts. But based on information that we received from sources connected with the project, we also conveyed the news that each of the episodes included would, in fact, run only 30 to 45 minutes in length. Inasmuch as those same episodes, when first broadcast on NBC, had running times of approximately 52 minutes, we predicted — all too accurately, as it turned out — that for DVD, the parts relegated to the chopping block would be musical in nature, due to the exorbitant cost of licensing DVD rights from composers and publishers.

In actuality, after screening all of the DVDs, we can attest to the fact that at least one episode clocks in at less than 20 minutes, with most averaging in the neighborhood of 25 to 35 minutes. What’s more, while we anticipated that many of the songs would face the executioner’s axe, we never imagined that such a huge proportion of them would be ones performed by the star of the show himself.

I NEVER PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN: Despite our cautionary note last Spring that Time-Life’s new Dean Martin Show collection would be released minus a good deal of each featured episode’s original musical performances, even many of those who read our preview of the set were caught off-guard by the extent of the cuts — not unlike Dean’s surprise at seeing Ralph Edwards emerge from his closet in the scene above, from Disc 4 of the T-L compendium (though probably no one would be too taken aback if “This Is Your Life, Dean Martin” brought forth a parade of “friends” such as those pictured here).

You’re Breaking My Heart

Of the 20 episodes in the T-L package, only 5 retain Dean Martin‘s opening number, and not a single one of the ballads that he would perform in a relaxed mode, midway through the show — the segments that have been dubbed the “couch songs” — made their way onto this collection. Also absent are most of the song parodies that Dean would warble whilst sitting atop Ken Lane‘s piano. The banter from those segments remains — it’s simply the music that’s been extracted — as if no one familiar with the show’s format would notice.

LOOK WHAT THEY’VE DONE TO MY SONG, MA: Fans have been disheartened to see most of Dean’s opening numbers, as well as all of his couch songs, removed from episodes contained in the new T-L set.

I Can’t Help Remembering You

By contrast, even though the earlier Guthy-Renker compilation of Dean Martin Show highlights consisted of excerpts from different episodes and different seasons of the series’ run all mixed together, Greg Garrison, the Producer/Director of the program who oversaw assemblage of the G-R set, made sure that virtually all of its 29 volumes included one of Dean’s opening numbers near the beginning of the disc and one of his couch songs around the midway point — in keeping with the natural sequence and rhythm of the DM shows as they were originally telecast.

Almost all of the G-R volumes also included one of the Dean and Kenny piano vignettes, and every single one of those was left untouched, with the song parodies intact.

The employment of self-contained episodes in the new Time-Life collection was supposed to address one of the foremost complaints about the Guthy-Renker volumes — namely, that they took a scattershot approach to arranging footage from the series’ near-decade-long tenure. Ironically, with so many obvious gaps, choppy edits and abrupt transitions marring this newer outing, the end result seems like a pale, eviscerated abridgment of the original. Patchwork though they may have been, the G-R volumes at least sought to replicate the structure, if not the identical lineup, of the original series, and each one thus comes closer to succeeding as a more faithful facsimile of a whole Dean Martin Show episode than those found in the new T-L set.

THAT OLD TIME FEELIN’: Greg Garrison (above) and Lee Hale seemed to capture it on the Guthy-Renker volumes in a way that the new Time-Life set doesn’t.

All Or Nothing At All

In his running commentary on the Guthy-Renker discs, Greg Garrison notes that up until the time that he assumed the reins as Producer of Dean’s series a few weeks into its first season (after the first occupant of that job was fired by NBC because of the program’s initially low ratings), Dean’s role on the show was largely confined to that of being “a pointer”, à la Ed Sullivan — meaning, basically, an emcee who would introduce other acts.

Once fully in charge, Greg changed that situation by involving Dean to a much greater degree in the show’s comedy sketches and in song pairings with his guests. Lee Hale, The Dean Martin Show’s revered Music Director, avers this recollection of events in his own remarks on the new Time-Life set. And yet, by virtue of so many of Dean’s solos being excised from the latter collection, the role of “pointer” is precisely the status to which he frequently winds up being reduced on these new DVDs.

All Of Me, Why Not Take All Of Me?

However, it’s not just a lot of the host’s numbers that have gone missing in action on this front; many of his guest stars’ showpiece turns have suffered the same fate (while others not only survived, but sparkle; more on that below). Compounding the frustration of those who’ve purchased this set is the fact that the opening and closing credits of each episode have been left unexpurgated, teasing viewers with tantalizing glimpses of personalities and scenes from the original telecasts that they never have a chance to see on the edited DVDs.

Among those who work in the entertainment industry, there’s a common saying about how to save a production that’s gone awry during shooting, whether it be a feature film or a TV show: “We’ll fix it in post” (in other words, salvage it in post-production, or editing). In the case of The Dean Martin Show, though, it’s the other way around: The original footage is just fine — it’s “in post” that so much of the heart and soul of the program has been lost beyond repair.

With so many of Dean’s solo numbers cut from the T-L DVDs, those viewing them who are too young to remember the original telecasts (a demographic that the promoters of this fare seem eager to court) are liable to wonder what all the fuss is about. Meanwhile, those of ALL ages familiar with the series can be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu if they recognize, from not that long ago, segments such as Dean crooning with The Mills Brothers (above) and crooning and spooning with Lainie Kazan (below) — performances which, terrific as they are, were already part of the previously-distributed Guthy-Renker collection.

On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Flaws aside (and we’ll try to pinpoint their root causes later in this piece), there are, to be sure, plenty of examples of “Wonderful, Wonderful Television” in the new 6-disc Time-Life collection that make it worthwhile to own — it’s just a shame that few of them appearing for the first time on DVD (that is, not already seen on the Guthy-Renker volumes) feature Dean.

Of those that do, we’re delighted to see the inclusion of:

• A cozy rendition of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” by Dean, Peggy Lee, and Jack Jones from the first year of the series; as well as a more modern variation on the same tune seven years later by Dean and The Dingaling Sisters.

Especially when a standard like “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” is served up not just once, but twice in the new T-L set — first in 1965 (above), as sung by Dean, Peggy Lee and Jack Jones; and again (below) in a 1973 show opener by Dean and The Dingaling Sisters (l. to r.: Helen Funai, Michelle DellaFave, Jayne Kennedy, Lindsay Bloom).

• A finale to the 9/29/66 episode that ended with Dean, The Andrews Sisters, Lainie Kazan, Tim Conway and Frank Gorshin, gathered ’round a piano — played by no less than Duke Ellington — to sing “Swingin‘ Down The Lane”.

• Dean opening the 2/11/71 show with a rousing “Somebody Stole My Gal”.

• Dean and Gene Kelly cheerfully harmonizing on a medley of “When You’re Smiling” and “I Want To Be Happy”.

• Dean wrapping up the last show of the series’ third season with a contemplative ”Look For The Silver Lining”, followed by his annual, complete “Everybody Loves Somebody” closer.

• Dean dueting with Kate Smith on “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.

• Dean and Janet Leigh getting intimate with a short, but cute “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey”.

In truth, much to the chagrin of Dean’s fan base, who bought this package hoping and expecting to see more of him, the real showstoppers in this compendium turn out to be the liberal helpings of solo performances by some of the guest stars on the show. Among the standouts in this category making their DVD debut are numbers by Joel Grey (as we had hoped), Peggy Lee, Jack Jones, Michael Landon, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett, The Andrews Sisters, Debbie Reynolds, Florence Henderson, Ethel Merman, Roger Miller, Kate Smith, Janet Leigh, and Eddy Arnold (for a complete rundown of their song selections, see the chart at the end of this article).

C’EST MAGNIFIQUE: Even with much of the original series’ musical edifice torn away, among what’s left standing in the T-L collection are some real humdingers, including glittering production numbers by (above, from top) Joel Grey, Debbie Reynolds, Kate Smith, and Janet Leigh; as well as heartfelt vocal renderings by Roger Miller and Eddy Arnold (respectively, below).

Have A Little Sympathy

Even among the non-musical portions of the shows are a few intriguing tidbits here and there — none more fascinating than a surprise moment at the close of the premiere episode of the series’ third season, when, before saying goodnight, Dean advises his audience to “Do Yourself a favor. Tune in to Jerry Lewis‘ new show Tuesday night…because I’m going to.”

Now, consider the circumstances: Dean had long since silenced the skeptics who believed after his break-up with Jerry that his career would sputter, while Jerry’s would thrive. Of course, just the opposite came true: By 1967, Dean was an international movie star, a hit recording artist, a leading draw in Las Vegas, and the highest-paid performer on television; and in its third season, his series would finish for the first time in the top ten. Although some of Jerry’s films made out well at the box office, his celebrity had undeniably faded from what it had been during the glory days of Martin and Lewis, as well as the heights that some had thought it might one day reach.

The team’s breakup had been marked by rancor, and the two hadn’t been on speaking terms for years. Yet here was Dean, taking the time on his own highly-successful show to give a gracious and generous plug to his erstwhile professional partner’s fledgling series. That effort by Jerry would struggle in the ratings and be off the air by the end of its second season (another regular series attempt by Jerry in 1963 lasted only 13 weeks), while Dean’s skein would continue for another 7 years. But to watch the magnanimous nod that Dean gave to his old colleague on that Thursday night in September 1967 affords some rare insight into the man’s character. It was pure Dean — that is to say, pure class.

(EX-) PARDNERS: Dean gave Jerry Lewis’ nascent Tuesday night series a sincere promotional push on his own popular show.

There Is Nothing Like A Dame

“Hey, where are the girls, pal?”

According to Greg Garrison, that’s what Dean told him the guys back in his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio (and by extension, presumably all over the country) were wondering when they watched The Dean Martin Show. And, as Greg affirmed in his commentary on the Guthy-Renker reels, it was that thinking, along with Dean’s encouragement, that prompted him to keep the series’s regular cast well-stocked with a steady contingent of attractive female singers and dancers.

But the question of “Where are the girls, pal?” is also one that a lot of those (not only men, but women, too) who fondly recalled the programs’ sizable distaff presence found themselves asking when viewing the 29 volumes of the G-R collection. While various members of The Golddiggers, The Dingaling Sisters, and their predecessors (usually referred to as “Dean’s Girls”) can be seen from time to time on those discs, in production numbers and comedy sketches, they generally appear in the background.

The new Time-Life set isn’t much better on this score, but does take a few steps in the right direction. Although, regrettably, there are no fresh restorations of those prized medleys in which Dean and his resident gals make beautiful music together, and no numbers at all featuring The Golddiggers, there are several first-time-on-DVD breakthroughs: 1) The first opening song performed not just by Dean alone, but accompanied by The Dingaling Sisters; 2) the first “Club Dingaling” intro by The Dings to Rodney Dangerfield‘s stand-up comedy segment during the 8th season; and 3) the first full-length solo spots by any of Dean’s female troupes, with one song by The Dingalings, and another by the original trio christened “Dean’s Girls”, that’s followed by Dean chatting with the ladies and giving each one a chance to tell a little bit about herself.

It’s likely not enough to sate the gang in Steubenville (or anywhere else, for that matter) — but it’s a start.

I’M LOOKING OVER A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER (THAT I OVERLOOKED BEFORE): The first set of Dingaling Sisters from the 1972-73 season of Dean’s series distinguish themselves both individually and as a quartet with their performance of “Four Of A Kind” (above, l. to r.: Helen Funai, Lynne Latham, Jayne Kennedy, Tara Leigh).

LOVE FOR SALE: As Lee Hale recounts in his book Backstage At The Dean Martin Show, when the decision was made to let three of the gals in the chorus step into the spotlight with their own number, an impish Greg Garrison, who loved to push the envelope, dreamed up a name for the new trio that he knew would give NBC’s censors fits: The Hooker Sisters! Eventually, a tamer monicker was chosen — Dean’s Girls, comprising (above, l. to r.): Melissa Stafford, Julie Rinker, Diana Lee — and the group’s maiden performance, on the Nov. 23, 1967 episode, can be seen on Disc 6 of the Time-Life collection.

I Don’t Know Why

As disappointing as some of the Time-Life collection’s edits and omissions may be, the handling of the set’s “bonus features” is exponentially — and inexplicably — worse.

Constituting the extras are comments and reflections from a cadre of those who worked on Dean’s series, either regularly or as guest stars. In sections set apart from the original episodes, each of the notables invited to speak holds forth in individual turns that last anywhere from 9 to 18 minutes at a sitting, with three to four such extended soliloquies appended, back to back, to each of the six DVDs in the package. No interviewer is seen or heard on-screen during these segments; instead, the clunky and tedious device of title cards is used to pose questions, with long-winded answers then following.

A few of the interviewees supply some pointed observations and compelling tales, but one is hard-pressed to glean much that’s meaningful amid a mountain of folderol resulting from a lack of editorial judgment that allows these personalities to ramble on at length. At times, it begins to resemble an exercise in free association, with the participants going off on maundering, often incomprehensible tangents about whatever comes to mind. It could be Phyllis Diller talking about Fang (the fictitious husband she invented for her comedy routines)…Florence Henderson venting about Kate Smith…or Norm Crosby opining about the tendency of some contemporary comics to use profanity in their acts…among other excursions into off-topic arcana.

Say It Isn’t So

What’s worse is that we’re once again taunted by the specter of musical sequences that never materialize. In this case, the lure stems from several of the subjects relating stories about scenes in which they appeared on Dean’s show, but which aren’t part of this collection.

Hence, we hear Angie Dickinson going into elaborate detail about a production number that she did on the show revolving around then-husband Burt Bacharach‘s hit tune, “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”  — but we’re never given the opportunity to see it. Dean’s daughter, Gail Martin, talks about being on the program on several occasions — yet not one of her performances is shown. In fact, neither Angie nor Gail is featured in ANY of the episodes in the Time-Life release.

Florence Henderson references a medley that she did with Dean in which the two of them took a pratfall, and while one of her solos from a different episode is included in this compilation, that duet with Dean that she mentioned is not (for the record, it does appear on Volume 2 of the Guthy-Renker set).

And so these talking head sessions unfold, one after another, with nary a video clip or even a still photo woven in to illustrate any of the points being made.

(HOW LITTLE IT MATTERS) HOW LITTLE WE KNOW: Some of the celebs taking part in the T-L set’s Bonus Interviews have some interesting things to say, but they’re ill-served by a static format and irrelevant queries, like the one above asked of Carol Lawrence, that prompt guests to dwell on non-germane topics.

My Favorite Things

Even with those shortcomings, however, some of these witnesses to history come off better than others. Lainie Kazan is animated and concentrates her remarks on her experiences with Dean and working on his show. At least Jonathan Winters injects a little levity to break up the monotony. And Susan Lund (now Susie Ewing) adds some entertaining anecdotes about Dean’s series and her group, The Golddiggers (despite the fact that, as previously noted, The Golddiggers are all but invisible on the original episodes in the T-L set).

The one genuinely invaluable contribution comes from the lone interviewee whose domain was behind the cameras rather than in front of them — The Dean Martin Show’s Music Director and all-around go-to guy, Lee Hale. The elder statesman of the collective providing commentary on these DVDs, he’s also far and away the sharpest, most focused, most articulate, and most interesting. It’s just a pity that his remarks (as well as those of some of the others) weren’t more skillfully massaged into the proceedings, as was done with Greg Garrison’s input on the Guthy-Renker volumes.

  SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: Lainie Kazan and Lee Hale are among those who wax eloquent and nostalgic about Dean and his series.

As Time Goes By

Now, it may well be that those who assembled the Time-Life collection didn’t want to interrupt the continuity of the original episodes with commentary. Nonetheless, there are other, vastly more adroit and effective means by which these interviews could have been sewn into the fabric of the presentation. For instance, as is so often done with the DVD format, a separate audio track for commentary could have been included. Or if on-camera appearances, segregated from the original episodes, were desired, they could have at least been spliced together to achieve a brisker, livelier pace, and then interspersed with clips — or if that posed licensing (read: financial) difficulties, then, at a minimum, stills — to provide some stimulating visual accompaniment.

But let’s face it: The real purpose of these bonus interviews was padding — to fill in the gaping holes left by the chunks of original program footage that were discarded on the cutting room floor. Still and all, a more imaginative approach could have yielded much more satisfying results. As it is, the lazy, banal manner in which these commentaries were cobbled together gives new meaning to the old cliché “talk is cheap.”

The same cleaver that hacked away so much of the main attraction should have been wielded in equal measure on the extras. Indeed, it’s hard to envisage all but the most diehard Dean Martin fans having the patience to wade through the bulk of these ineptly-presented bonus segments. The show business pros who took part in these sessions deserve much better — and so does the audience.

LET’S PUT OUT THE LIGHTS (AND GO TO SLEEP): Watching some of these bonus interviews, you may doze off before you can hit the switch.

It’s The Talk Of The Town

As those hungry for the first new Dean Martin Show offerings in eight years have had a chance to digest T-L/NBC’s freshly-prepared bill of fare, many have turned dyspeptic over the meager servings of solo numbers by Dean. Indeed, the preponderance of reaction on websites such as Amazon has been scathing, with some of the headlines of reviews by purchasers exclaiming: “Where Is Dean?”…“Really Sad”…“Very Disappointing”…“Sliced ’N Diced”…“Death By A Thousand Cuts”…“Dino Disaster!” As if that weren’t enough, in many cases, the reviews themselves have been even more caustic.

People have described these shows as having been butchered — and they’re right in the sense that a lot of the programs’ musical meat has been stripped from the bone. Fans starving years for a feast and expecting fillet mignon have instead been served up a far more plebeian cut: chopped chuck (or ground round — take your pick).

We hope that the powers that be at Time-Life, NBC, and the Dean Martin Family Trust (whose imprimatur is also on these new releases) will heed these criticisms, as they are an important starting point for devising a better solution to the problem of satisfying consumer sentiment for the inclusion of more musical content.

At the same time, we recognize that this is a complex and thorny issue, and believe that the purveyors of this product need to do a better job of communicating that fact to the fans. In the current absence of such explanations, we’ll give it a shot here…

Let’s Face The Music And Dance

Time-Life’s liner notes — which commendably provide informative background on, and synopses of, each episode in the set — list Lee Hale, as “Chief Creative Consultant”. But while he doubtless was involved in making the determination about which episodes would be included in the new collection (he also culled all of the clips for the Guthy-Renker volumes), the ultimate decisions about what musical numbers would make the final cut and which had to be set aside were very likely the results of agreements negotiated by clearance specialists, attorneys, and executives with Time-Life on one side, and administrators of publishing companies and composers (or their estates) on the other.

And therein lies the crux of the problem with not just The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show, but indeed, ALL DVD reissues of vintage television programs that utilized a significant amount of copyrighted popular music as an integral part of their productions.

These Foolish Things

The real culprit here is the fact that unlike a CD release — for which the rights to record a particular musical composition can be obtained automatically, in one simple step, by paying a pre-set fee known as a “mechanical license” — the makers of a video production (or film) that incorporates a copyrighted musical work are not only required to secure what’s called a “synchronization license” from the work’s publisher, but before that can even happen, they must first receive permission to use the piece from its composer(s) or representative(s) of the composer(s).

Because this authorization may or may not be granted, and because there are no established rates for the inclusion of copyrighted music when it’s paired with a visual presentation, suppliers of video and film projects that want to employ copyrighted music are at the mercy of the copyright holder of each individual work, as to whether the work can be used at all, and if it can, how much it will cost to use it.

Moreover, each time that a film or TV show is given fresh exposure on a new medium (e.g., DVD), a new array of clearances must be procured and a new round of fees paid.

YOU BROUGHT A NEW KIND OF LOVE TO ME: DVDs have given a new lease on life to vintage television programs that fall outside the age range coveted by advertisers, but in the case of variety shows like Dean’s, music clearances have posed a stumbling block to their re-release. (above: The first group of 1972-73 Dingaling Sisters hang with Dean — or at least, hang onto his namesake — at the start of the 11/23/72 episode seen on Disc 2 of the T-L set)

Ain’t That A Kick In The Head

A formidable wall of secrecy shrouds the whole subject of how much publishers typically demand for the use of copyrighted musical compositions used on TV programs seeking new life on DVD; but some eye-opening revelations about the matter were provided a few years ago by one star so outraged by the prevailing system that she decided to go public regarding the kind of stratospheric — indeed, almost insane — costs that can be entailed in trying to clear the music for the DVD release of a vintage television series.

In 2008, actress Cybill Shepherd elected to take an active role in choosing episodes from her eponymous 1995-98 CBS sitcom for a “Best Of” reissue on DVD, and discovered to her amazement — and ours — just how high the license fee can run for the use of only one single song.

“Well, we couldn’t have any (episode) that I sing in,” Cybill told trade periodical Home Media Magazine. “One of my favorite episodes is when I sing ‘That’s Life’ on top of the sushi bar, but it would have cost $65,000. I thought about paying for it myself.”

In the end, she didn’t, and the number was deleted from the final package.

WITHOUT A SONG: Cybill Shepherd chose to forgo using her rendition of “That’s Life” in a DVD reissue of her TV series, after laying bare just how expensive music rights can be.

Crying Time

Now, couple that little tale with the fact that no television variety show ever used more copyrighted music than Dean’s, then multiply the figure that Ms. Shepherd quoted by the number of musical copyrights that, on average, each original episode of Dean’s series contained, and you can begin to see how costly a proposition it would be to clear ALL of the music on every Dean Martin Show.

That’s not to excuse some of the decisions that were made about what musical selections to cut from this first Time-Life release of DMS episodes. And even taking into account the cost factors cited, there is a certain unshakable aura of parsimony that hovers over the musical choices in the T-L collection — a cutting of corners when it comes to the trimming of medleys, a distinct chintziness in recurrently favoring the inclusion of public domain songs while eschewing copyrighted works for which fees would have to be paid — especially in contrast with the less frugal, more musically felicitous picks made by Greg Garrison and Lee Hale for the Guthy-Renker volumes.

LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: Cost factors are, of course, the reason that skits, monologues, and the like remain largely untouched on the Dean Martin Show DVDs, even as so much of the music has been purged — and that situation has impacted not only songs by Dean and his guests, but also those by series regulars like The Golddiggers, whose appearances on the Time-Life discs are limited to the non-musical portions of the show. Thus, 1972-73 Golddigger Karen Cavenaugh’s few minutes on-screen come in a comedy sketch (above, with guest star Gene Kelly)…
…while not one, but two incarnations of Kitty, The Tiger Girl briefly scamper into view — the first played by 1969 Golddigger Joy Hawkins (below), and the second (further down) by Michelle DellaFave, a triple threat DMS regular who’s enjoyed stints with The Golddiggers, The Dingaling Sisters and The Soul Sisters (in the latter instance, as part of the cast of Greg Garrison’s The Wacky World Of Jonathan Winters).

They Can’t Take That Away From Me

So what would it take to bring The Dean Martin Show to DVD with more, most, or — dare we even say it — ALL of its original music intact? Indeed, is that even a possibility?

Well, as a practical matter, there were certain musical works used on the show at the time of the original telecasts which may now be off limits, either because the composers (or their estates) refuse to give consent for the music’s re-use or because the rights to a particular work are tied up in one or more legal disputes. Retention of those numbers, tragically, may well be a lost cause.

Money Makes The World Go Round

On the other hand, the goal of preserving the rest of the series’ repertoire may simply boil down to an issue of dollars and cents. Underscoring that point is a conversation that we had several months ago with sources involved in putting together this first Dean Martin Show collection for Time-Life. Upon learning that the sets would be organized by original episodes, we asked if that meant that all of the songs from those programs would be left as is.

“Unfortunately, no,” came the honest reply. “If we kept all of the music, we couldn’t charge only $59.95 for the whole thing (20 episodes)…It would have to be more like $59.95 PER episode.”

While that amount may be a bit of an exaggeration, it brings into sharp relief what may very well have been the biggest miscalculation of this whole enterprise — trying to squeeze in too many episodes at too low a price.

That figure of $59.95 is, of course, the suggested retail price for the 6-DVD DMS Collector’s Edition; in reality, most vendors are selling it for much less. But even the high-end price tag of just under $60 couldn’t possibly cover the rights fees for all of the music in 20 episodes of The Dean Martin Show. As a result, in making the decision to lowball the price, the producers of this venture underestimated not only the commercial appeal of their product but also the value that their customers place on the unadulterated integrity of that product.

Something’s Gotta Give

The other side of this coin is that consumers have to come to grips with what the manufacturer of this merchandise already knows — namely, the hard truth that if we Dean Martin fans want DVDs of his shows with more music, we’re going to have to shell out the big bucks to pay for them. It’s no accident that the Guthy-Renker volumes, which, by all accounts, offered more uncut musical segments than the T-L DVDs, and certainly more solo numbers by Dean, also cost more — to wit, $19.95 per disc (plus shipping and handling) for generally about one hour’s worth of material.

It’s quite conceivable that there’s a market — perhaps even a robust one — for those who mainly enjoy The Dean Martin Show’s comedy skits and/or those who aren’t that bothered by the exclusion of some musical numbers, as long as what’s left is available at a very affordable cost. But for others who are willing to pony up higher prices for more musical content, having that kind of of option has the potential to pry open the gates to their field of Dino dreams. And rest assured, Time-Life and NBC: if you build it, they will come.

I FOUND A MILLION DOLLAR BABY IN A FIVE AND TEN CENT STORE: But unlike the lucky fella who nabbed himself a sweet little bargain in that old Tin Pan Alley ditty, if you want more music flowing from your Dean Martin Show DVDs, you’re very likely going to have to part with more greenbacks to make it happen. (above: Dean discovers his own priceless babe in Juliet Prowse on Disc 1 of the T-L set)


In light of the news that plans are already under way for a second edition of The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show (with a release date aimed at perhaps as early as this fall, per Deana Martin), we thought that this might be an especially opportune juncture to take stock of some of the lessons to be learned from Time-Life’s inaugural batch of DMS DVDs. With that in mind, and in the spirit of constructive engagement, we humbly offer the following unsolicited, but well-meaning, pragmatic advice on ways that the next set of Dean Martin Show DVDs could be made better than those that have come before it:

1) Don’t Fence Me In: Abandon the idea of arranging the content of reissues by original episode air dates. Grouping the material in this fashion suggests to buyers of the DVDs that they’re acquiring whole, uncut shows; and since music licensing restrictions will almost always, to one degree or another, prevent that from happening, the practice of organizing a compilation around original episodes that have been conspicuously edited only serves to leave many of Dean’s most dedicated fans feeling angry, frustrated, deceived and cheated.

It’s also a formula that imposes an artificial limitation on the range of program riches that can be utilized, by straightjacketing the ability to cherry-pick what are truly the best selections from the series.

A return to showcasing a blend of highlights from various episodes, along the lines of the approach employed for the G-R volumes, would free up the process of choosing material, and at the same time, provide for smoother integration of interstitial elements, such as commentary. As an enhancement that would lend historical context, a caption could appear on the lower-third of the screen at the beginning of each segment to indicate the original air date of the episode from which the segment is taken.

An exception to all of the above could, and should, be made for certain outstanding episodes — such as the 1967 holiday treat commonly known as Christmas with The Martins and The Sinatras — which, if most or all of the accompanying music could be cleared, could be sold as single, standalone items and carry a premium price.

But for everything else, it’s doubtless best to follow that old rule of thumb: Don’t promise — or raise expectations about — what you can’t deliver.

2) (It Seems To Me) I’ve Heard That Song Before: Don’t recyle any more of the segments that have already been included in the Guthy-Renker volumes. Most of those who will purchase future Dean Martin Show DVDs either own the G-R discs or have seen much of what’s on them repeated ad infinitum in informercials and on clips uploaded to YouTube.

In point of fact, for those who don’t want to subscribe to the entire G-R series, individual volumes can generally be obtained through sites such as ebay and Amazon, so further duplication of Guthy-Renker content on future T-L releases would only be redundant.

3) Money Burns A Hole In My Pocket: As advocated above, in acknowledgment of the budgetary burdens of music licensing, give the legion of devoted Dino enthusiasts out there the chance to buy higher-priced collections consisting of fewer episodes, but more music.

4) The Second Time Around: Construct a subtler and more polished platform for Bonus Features. And if, during the course of these extras, a reference is made to a specific scene, then at least dissolve to a still image of it, if not a clip.

Deana Martin has told columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith that she is among those slated to take part in providing commentary on the next installment of Dean Martin Show DVDs, and we applaud her participation. She’s someone with the background, knowledge and verbal fluency to illuminate the subject at hand in a substantive and rewarding way that few others can match. We can only hope that this next time around, the presentation of the bonus features lives up to the worthiness of what she — and anyone else who might be called upon — has to say.

DOIN’ WHAT COMES NATUR’LLY: With not only hit records, sold-out concert engagements and a bestselling book to her credit, but also, as a compelling personality who’s done more than anyone else to keep Dean’s image fresh in the public mind, Dean’s daughter, Deana Martin, is a natural to talk about her father and his series on the next set of T-L DVDs (as she thankfully will).

5) (Remember Me) I’m The One Who Loves You: Put an ear to the ground and listen to the types of segments that rank-and-file fans have been pining for — quite vociferously, in fact — for years now: More medleys, and specifically, more spots with Dean and The Golddiggers, The Dingaling Sisters and Dean’s Girls. The songs incorporated into these medleys, and in vignettes like Musical Questions, might be costly to clear, but the on-screen results are endlessly charming and audiences love to watch them — meaning that they’ll be willing to fork over extra dough to see them.

By the way, we’re not touting this notion just because we’re The Golddiggers Super Site. Look at comments not only on this site, but on our sister site, Dean, Golds and Dings, as well as on Amazon, Facebook, and yes, even YouTube. Dean had a special rapport with the female singer-dancers on his show, and coupled with the melodious arrangements that Lee Hale penned for them, their collaborations were a joy for viewers to behold.

6) It’s Been A Long, Long Time: Speaking of those exquisite medleys, for goodness’ sake, how about finally giving us AT LEAST ONE of the “Welcome To My World” medleys from the 1970-71 season of the show! Fans have been clamoring for this since the early days of the Guthy-Renker releases, and here we are, 40 years after the last prime-time network broadcast of these coveted gems — and we’re STILL waiting. To the powers that be who may be reading this: Welcome to our woe.

MIRACLES, I GUESS, STILL HAPPEN NOW AND THEN: If a still frame from one of the Welcome To My World medleys symbolizes progress (it appears on the closing credits of one of the T-L episodes), then perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be given the chance to see an actual whole segment of this acclaimed regular feature of the 1970-71 season.

A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening

So, is this first 6-disc Collector’s Edition of Time-Life’s Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show worth buying? For hardcore Dinophiles, the answer is, of course, a resounding YES. As we’ve stated in the past, we true believers will gobble up whatever morsels of Dean’s series are doled out to us.

For those with a more casual interest in the star, the guests, and the music, it might be a somewhat more difficult call. But in the end, we feel that for admirers of this genre of entertainment, there is a sufficiently high quantity of crowd-pleasing production numbers, and enough differentiation in content from the earlier Guthy-Renker volumes, to warrant a purchase, especially given the reasonably low price (heavily discounted by online merchants like Amazon and Time-Life’s own website).

You Always Hurt The One You Love

While sales of these initial releases have thus far reportedly been strong, that’s no doubt due in large part to the years of built-up yearning for more material from the series. Whether unfavorable word-of-mouth will, over time, dampen demand is uncertain, but there is no disguising the widespread public disenchantment with the outcome of this maiden effort, born of dissatisfaction with the deletion of so many songs.

We realize — and hope that the buying public does, as well — that the good folks who molded the musical make-up of the Time-Life releases were not intentionally or willfully withholding segments from us. We understand that this is business, not a charity, and that to continue, this franchise needs to be able to turn a profit.

Marketing higher-priced packages for those willing to foot the additional expense in exchange for more musical content stands as one potentially viable compromise in this microcosm of the age-old struggle between art and commerce.

Try A Little Tenderness

But by the same token, as is almost always the case in any situation, money alone will not solve all of the problems involved. As proof, one need look no further than at some of the injudicious choices made with the already-considerable funds that must have been allocated for this first release — in terms of such matters as which musical numbers were deemed worth paying for and which weren’t, and how the bonus interviews were presented.

It’s almost as if the entities that have responsibility for this exemplar of “Wonderful, Wonderful Television” — Time-Life, NBCU and the Dean Martin Family Trust — are sitting on what they instinctively know is an incredibly valuable property, yet they can’t quite figure out how to give it its proper due in re-release.

To address that situation, we feel strongly that beyond just offering higher-priced DVDs with more music, the bottom-line mentality of the corporate bean counters must be better balanced with the intrinsic artistic assets of this one-of-a-kind creation— and to accomplish that objective, either more of those who have an innate feel, appreciation and respect for the material need to be engaged in planning these re-releases, or else, those currently working on the DVDs need to listen more closely to what the grassroots fans are saying. Otherwise, if future output of this series simply mimics the same blueprint used for this first effort, there’s a danger that this most passionate of fan bases could become permanently alienated, posing a risk of subsequent reissues playing to ever-diminishing returns.

YOU’VE EITHER GOT OR YOU HAVEN’T GOT ‘STYLE’: Dean had it…and so did his show…Shouldn’t its presentation on home video have it, as well? (above: Dean and Ken Lane, from Disc 6 of the T-L set)

High Hopes

With a second iteration of Dean Martin Show DVDs in the works comes an opportunity to fix what’s broken, as well as renewed hope that a better day for fans of the man and his music might be in the offing. Should all of that come to pass, then perhaps, in time, we may actually have the chance to see most of The Dean Martin Show’s musical moments that we cherish in as unspoiled a form as they once appeared on the medium from whence they came — Television.

Now THAT would be Wonderful.

A HUNDRED YEARS FROM TODAY, most or all of Dean’s series will probably be in the public domain…but that’s a little longer than most of us who are around now can wait.

An Apples-to-Apples Comparison of Musical Highlights from The Dean Martin Show


To give our readers the most complete picture available anywhere of what musical numbers are, and are not, on all of the DVDs of The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show collection from Time-Life, we’ve put together the first and only side-by-side chart comparing the differences between: a) the musical content of all the episodes that make up the T-L set; b) the music contained in those same episodes when they originally aired on NBC, and c) the music from those episodes that can be found on volumes of the Guthy-Renker series. The latter has been included to enable existing and prospective owners of the T-L and G-R sets to gauge instances of overlap, as well as help direct them to a means of filling in some of the missing pieces of this musical pie.

Rundowns of the 20 episodes shown below are arranged in the order in which they appear on Time-Life’s 6-DVD Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show: Collector’s Edition:

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2/3/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin : “C’est Si Bon” That’s Amore*
Juliet Prowse: “Blue Prelude”
The Lively Set : “Try to Remember”
Dean Martin & The Lively Set : “Get Happy”
Joel Grey: “Shine On Your Shoes” / “Whipped Cream” Disc 1
Dean Martin & Juliet Prowse: Dance Medley: “Gotta Dance” / “I Won’t Dance” / “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” / “Ballin’ The Jack” / “Begin The Beguine” / “Ten Cents A Dance” / “The Varsity Drag” / “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” / “The Old Soft Shoe” / “Papa, Won’t You Dance With Me?”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1
(song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Home”
José Greco: Flamenco Dance Number
Donna Butterworth (8-year-old singer): “Hello Dolly”
Dean Martin: “Real Live Girl” (sung to Donna Butterworth while dancing with her)
Donna Butterworth: “It’s So Nice To Have A Man Around The House” (sung to Dean)
Dean Martin & Donna Butterworth: “We Always Will Be Together”
Pete Fountain: “Basin Street Blues”
Dean Martin, Juliet Prowse & Bob Hope: “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” Disc 1 Vol. 5
*“C’est Si Bon” is NOT part of the Guthy-Renker collection, but IS contained on That’s Amore, an earlier and now out-of-print single-DVD anthology of Dean’s musical performances excerpted from his TV series.

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/23/65 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On”
The Krofft Puppets: “Tweedlee Dee”
Peggy Lee: “When A Woman Loves a Man”; “I’m Just Wild About Harry”; “Bill”; “Alright, Okay, You Win” Disc 1 (“Alright,
Okay, You Win” only)
Dean Martin & John Wayne: “Don’t Fence Me In” Disc 1
Dean Martin & The Krofft Puppets: “I’ve Got Your Number”
Shari Lewis: “The Name Game”
Jack Jones: The Sound of Music Medley: “The Sound of Music” / “My Favorite Things” / “Climb Every Mountain” Disc 1: (“Climb
Every Mountain” only)
Dean Martin, Peggy Lee & Jack Jones: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” Disc 1


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/14/67 (3rd Season Premiere) Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “The Birds and The Bees” Disc 1 Vol. 3
Juliet Prowse: “The Very Soft Shoes”
Dean Martin & Orson Welles: “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”
Dean Martin & Juliet Prowse: “Cheek To Cheek” Disc 1 Vol. 3
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1
(song parodies cut)
Vol. 3
Dean Martin: “Welcome To My World” Vol. 3
Dean Martin: “Real Live Girl” (sung in voiceover, while Dean romps with children of Dean Martin Show staffers) Vol. 4
Dean Martin & Jimmy Stewart: “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” Disc 1 Vol. 3
Dean Martin, Jimmy Stewart & Orson Welles: “Personality” Disc 1 Vol. 3


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 4/3/69 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “The Birds and The Bees”
The Kids Next Door: Medley: “Cotton Candy And A Toy Balloon” / “Love Makes The World Go ‘Round” / “Lydia” / “Be A Clown”
Dean Martin & The Kids Next Door: “I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts” Vol. 20
Dean & Dean’s Girls: Musical Questions
Bobbi Martin: “I Walk the Line”
Dean Martin & Bobbi Martin – “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 1
(song parodies cut)
Vol. 18
Dean Martin: “True Love” Vol. 18
Michael Landon: Dixieland Medley: “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”) / “Swanee” / “Rock-a-bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” / “Waiting For The Robert E. Lee” Disc 1
Dean Martin & Michael Landon: Dixieland Medley: “Is It True What They Say About Dixie?” / “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans” / “Sweet Georgia Brown” / “Hard Hearted Hannah” Disc 1 Vol. 4
Dean Martin , Dom DeLuise & Dean’s Girls: “A – You’re Adorable” Disc 1
(comedy segment only; song deleted)
Vol. 20
Cast plus Dean’s Girls Chorus: “Wonderful, Wonderful Television” Finale Disc 1


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 11/23/72 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters” “Then I’ll Be Happy”
Lynn Anderson: “Stand By Your Man”
Dean Martin & Lynn Anderson: Flowers Medley: “April Showers” / “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” / “Sweet Violets” / “Sweet and Lovely” / “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden”
Dean Martin & Kitty (Joy Hawkins): “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”
Dean & Kitty at The Piano Disc 2
(song parodies cut)
Dean Martin : “Non Dimenticar”
The Dingaling Sisters: “The Laziest Gal In Town”
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Medley: “Love Is Just Around The Corner” / “My Ideal”
Dean Martin and Jack Benny hold a sing-off, each with their own set of Dingaling Sisters, performing: “Mr. Wonderful”, “Why Don’t We Do This More Often?”, “Anything You Can Do”, and “You” Disc 2 Special
Edition Volume
Dean Martin & Cast: “At The Movies” Finale pays tribute to the MGM musical Words and Music (1948)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/13/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “If You Knew Susie” Disc 2
Dean Martin & Dinah Shore: Medley: “It’s Wonderful” / “Take It Easy” / “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)” Vol. 28
Dinah Shore: “Bye Bye Blackbird” Disc 2 Vol. 28
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2
(song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: I’m in the Mood for Love”  That’s Amore*
The Pair Extraordinaire: “Love”
Jonathan Winters & Wisa D’Orso: “Standing on the Corner”
Dinah Shore: “I Had Myself a True Love”
Vaudeville Finale: George Burns: “It Was A Very Good Year”… Dean Martin & George Burns: “I Ain’t Got Nobody”… Dean Martin & Dinah Shore: “Shine On Harvest Moon” Dean Martin, George Burns, Dinah Shore, Jonathan Winters & Wisa D’Orso: “Yankee Doodle Dandy” / “Give My Regards To Broadway” Disc 2
*As with “C’est Si Bon” above, “I’m In The Mood For Love” is available on the That’s Amore single-DVD compilation.
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 1/15/70 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “(Open Up The Door) Let The Good Times In” Vol. 26
Sammy Davis Jr.: “Wichita Lineman” Disc 2
Andy Griffith: “Lydia, the Tatooed Lady” Vol. 26
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 2
(song parodies cut)
Vol. 26
Dean Martin: “I Don’t Know Why” Vol. 26
Dean & Dean’s Girls: “Let’s Play” Musical Questions
Dean Martin  & Sammy Davis Jr.: Medley: “Sam’s Song” / “What Kind Of Fool Am I” / “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” / “I’ve Gotta Be Me” / “Pennies From Heaven” / “Stay Away From My Door” / “Back In You Own Backyard” / “The Birth Of The Blues” Disc 2
(truncated to include only “The Birth Of The Blues” and closing portion of “Sam’s Song”)
Dean Martin, Dean’s Girls & Cast: “Here We Go Again” Finale

Disc 2


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 3/21/68 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Here Comes My Baby”
Florence Henderson: Medley: “I’ve Told Ev’ry Little Star” / “Beyond the Blue Horizon” / “The Continental” / “We’re In The Money”
Dean Martin & Florence Henderson: Dancing Medley: “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” / “Hernando’s Hideaway” / “Sway” / “Cheek To Cheek” / “Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing In A Hurry” / “Papa, Won’t You Dance With Me?” Vol. 2
Dino, Desi & Billy (Dean Paul Martin, Desi Arnaz, Jr. & Billy Hinsche): “My What A Shame”
Dean & Dean’s Girls: Station Break Tease: “Top Hat, White Tie And Tails”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3
(song parodies cut)
Vol. 2
Dean Martin: “Pennies From Heaven” Vol. 2
Dean Martin & Dean Paul Martin: “Small Fry” Disc 3 Vol. 2
Tony Bennett: “Fool of Fools”; “For Once in My Life” Disc 3 (“For
Once in My Life” only)
Dean Martin & Tony Bennett: Medley of songs with women’s names in their titles: “There Is Nothing Like A Dame” / “Delores” / “Sweet Lorraine” / “Mimi” / “Sweet Sue” / “If You Knew Susie” / “Mame” Vol. 2
Cast & Jack Halloran’s Choir: “Wonderful, Wonderful Television” Finale Disc 3 Vol. 2


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 4/5/73 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” Disc 3
Dean Martin & Phyllis McGuire: “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big”
The Dingaling Sisters: Club Dingaling Intro
Dean Martin: “Just Say I Love You”
Dean Martin & Cast: “At The Movies” Finale pays tribute to the MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) Vol. 22


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/29/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “My Heart Cries for You”
The Andrews Sisters: “What Now, My Love?”; “That’s How Young I Feel” Disc 3 (“That’s
How Young I Feel” only)
Dean Martin & The Andrews Sisters: Medley: “Memories Are Made Of This” / “Manana” / “South America, Take It Away” / “Rum and Coca Cola” Vol. 28
Frank Gorshin (with dancers): “The Riddler”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”
Duke Ellington Trio: Medley: “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” / “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” / “Mood Indigo” / “Caravan” / “Satin Doll” Disc 3 (“Caravan” & “Satin Doll” only) Vol. 20
Lainie Kazan: “Porgy, I Is Your Woman Now”; “I Loves You, Porgy”
Dean Martin & Lainie Kazan: Medley: “You’ve Got Possibilities” / “I Got Plenty Of Nothing” / “Teach Me Tonight” / “The Glory Of Love”
Full Cast: Around The Piano Finale: “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” / “Hold Tight” / “A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba (Dig You Later)” / “The Music Goes Round And Round” / “Swingin’ Down The Lane” Disc 3 (“Swingin’ Down The Lane” only)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2/11/71 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Somebody Stole My Gal” Disc 3
Debbie Reynolds: Medley: “Carolina In The Mornin’” / “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” / “When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam” / “Sweet Georgia Brown” / “Me and My Shadow” Disc 3 (“When
the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam” / “Sweet Georgia Brown” / “Me and My Shadow”)
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 3 (1 song parody included, 1 deleted)
Dean Martin: “Together Again”
Dean Martin & Debbie Reynolds: “A Couple of Swells”
Dean Martin, Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde & The Golddiggers: “Everybody’s Got A Song” (singing impressions and parodies) Vol. 24
Dean Martin & The Golddiggers: “Welcome To My World” Medley: “It Happened In Monterey” / “South Of The Border” / “Red Sails In The Sunset”


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/14/72 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin, Gene Kelly & The Dingaling Sisters : “When You’re Smiling” / “I Want To Be Happy” Disc 4
Dean Martin: “Give Me Something To Remember You By” Vol. 23
Dean Martin & Kitty (Joy Hawkins): “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”
The Dingaling Sisters: Club Dingaling Intro Disc 4
Gilbert O’Sullivan: “Alone Again (Naturally)”
Dean Martin & Gilbert O’Sullivan: “Gentle On My Mind”
Gene Kelly recreates his song-and-dance performance of “Singin’ In The Rain” from the MGM movie musical of the same title. Disc 4 Vol. 15
Dean Martin & The Dingaling Sisters: Medley: “L-O-V-E” / “I Love The Way You Do Your Thing”
Dean Martin: “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”
The Dingaling Sisters: “Four Of A Kind” Disc 4
Dean Martin & Cast: “At The Movies” Finale pays tribute to the MGM musical An American in Paris (1951) Vol. 27


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 1/18/68 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Singin’ The Blues”
Florence Henderson: “Smarty” Disc 4
Dean Martin & Florence Henderson: Medley of 1930s-era Depression songs
George Burns & Lisa Miller: “Some Of These Days” Disc 4
Dean Martin & George Burns: “It’s A Well-Known Fact” Vol. 15 (tail end only)
Dean Martin & Janie Gee: “Sleepy Time Gal”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 4 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “S’Posin’”  Vol. 25
Eddie Albert & Dean’s Girls: “Live A Little” / “Did I Ever Really Live?”
Dean Martin & Eddie Albert: “Mighty Lak A Rose”
Entire Cast, plus Jack Halloran’s Choir: ”Love and Marriage” Finale Disc 4 (unabridged version) Vol. 20 (somewhat abbreviated version, but no songs are cut)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/25/69 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Here Comes My Baby” Vol. 7
Elke Sommer (sung to Dean): “Just A Little Lovin’” Disc 4
Dean Martin & Dean’s Girls: “Let’s Play” Musical Questions and “Sing-on” of David Janssen Disc 4
(contains “Sing-on” only)
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 4
(song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”
Elke Sommer & Dean’s Girls: “Strip Polka” Disc 4
Entire Cast: “Here We Go Again” Finale Disc 4
(unabridged version)
Vol. 9
(abbreviated version, but no songs are cut)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 11/10/66 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “A Million And One”
Diahann Carroll: “Falling in Love with Love”; “Am I Blue?”; “What Did I Have?”
Dean Martin & Diahann Carroll: “A Hundred Years from Today”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 5
(song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry?”
Dean Martin, Sid Caesar & Phyllis Diller, plus Jack Halloran’s Choir: “Applause, Applause” Finale: “Strangers In The Night” / “A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody” Disc 5


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2/15/68 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Clinging Vine”
Ethel Merman: “I’ve Still Got My Health” Disc 5
Station Break Tease: Dean Martin, Dean’s Girls & male dancers dance the kazatzka to “Brahms Hungarian Dance” Disc 5
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 5
(song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “That Old Time Feeling”
Lainie Kazan: “Sunny”
Dean Martin & Lainie Kazan: Medley: “Cuddle Up A Little Closer” / “Put Your Arms Around Me Honey” / “Gimme A Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh?” Disc 5 Vol. 9
Dean Martin & Roger Miller: “Dang Me” / “Chug-a-Lug” / “England Swings” / “You Can’t Roller-Skate In A Buffalo Herd” Disc 5
(“Dang Me” only)
Roger Miller: “Husbands And Wives” Disc 5
Dean Martin, Ethel Merman, Lainie Kazan: Finale Medley: “Let Me Sing And I’m Happy” / “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” / “(It’s Gonna Be) A Great Day” / “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” / “Whispering” / “Secret Love” / “Friendship” / “Love Is Sweeping The Country” / “Hooray For Hollywood” / “San Francisco” / “The Trolley Song” / “Swanee” Vol. 22


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 4/4/68 (Last Show of the 3rd Season) Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Nobody’s Baby Again”
Wisa D’Orso: “I’m the First Girl In The Second Row In The Third Scene Of The Fourth Number”
Dean Martin & Wisa D’Orso: “For Me And My Gal”
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 5 (1 song parody included, 1 deleted) Vol. 6 (unabridged)
Dean Martin: “It’s Easy To Remember” Vol. 6
Dean Martin, Jimmy Stewart, Shecky Greene, Wisa D’Orso & The Kids Next Door: “Wild Wild West” Finale Disc 5 (unabridged version) Vol. 27 (abbreviated version)
Dean Martin: “Look For The Silver Lining” Disc 5
Dean Martin: “Everybody Loves Somebody” (full-length version, which he sang at the end of every season finale for the first six years of the series) Disc 5


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 11/23/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “(Open Up The Door) Let The Good Times In”
Dean’s Girls: “Anything Goes” Disc 6
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 6 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Home”
Kate Smith: “Anyone Can Move a Mountain”; “At the Moving Picture Ball” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Kate Smith: “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Kaye Stevens: “I Wish I Were in Love Again”
Dean Martin & Janie Gee: Medley: “Little Girl” / “You’re An Old Smoothie” / “You Make Me Feel So Young”
Dean Martin & Kate Smith: Medley of Travel Songs


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/5/67 Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me”
Janet Leigh: “Big Spender” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Janet Leigh: “Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey” Disc 6
The Mills Brothers: “Opus One”
Dean Martin & The Mills Brothers: “Paper Doll” Disc 6 Vol. 8
Station Break Tease: Dean Martin & Dean’s Girls: “Ten Little Indians” Disc 6
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 6 (song parodies cut)
Dean Martin: “Green Green Grass of Home”
Eddy Arnold: “Turn The World Around” Disc 6
Dean Martin & Eddy Arnold: Medley: “Lay Some Happiness On Me” / “Sometimes I’m Happy” / “Then I’ll Be Happy” / “Just a Little Lovin’” / “Let the Good Times In”
Dean Martin & Phil Silvers: Vaudeville Medley Finale: “Hello Hello” / “That Old Gang Of Mine” / “Sweet Adeline” / “My Buddy” / “Auld Lang Syne” Disc 6 (unabridged version) Vol. 1 (“My Buddy” only)


ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/19/68 (4th Season Premiere) Time-Life Guthy-Renker
Dean Martin: “Gentle On My Mind” Vol. 25
Lena Horne: “Live For Life” Disc 6 (unabridged version) Vol. 25 (opening instrumental & dance cut)
Dean Martin & Lena Horne: “The Two Of Us” Disc 6 Vol. 25
Dean & Dean’s Girls: “Let’s Play” Musical Questions
Zero Mostel: “Show Me A Rose”
Dean Martin & Zero Mostel: “A Couple of Swells Disc 6 Vol. 28
Dean & Ken at The Piano Disc 6 (showcases the famous gag of Dean jumping on the piano, only to have it collapse beneath him — no song parodies included) Vol. 1 (the piano breaks when Dean jumps on it…but still no song parodies!)
Buddy Ebsen & Dean’s Girls: “Ballin’ the Jack” Disc 6 Vol. 25
Dean Martin & Buddy Ebsen: “Mr. Gallagher And Mr. Shean” Disc 6 Vol. 25
Dean Martin & Little Girls: “If I Was a Millionaire” Disc 6 Vol. 28
Dean Martin, Lena Horne, Buddy Ebsen, Zero Mostel, Shecky Greene & Dean’s Girls Chorus: “Sign of The Times” Finale Disc 6 (unabridged version) Vol. 25 (complete, minus only several interstitial choral jingles

If you’d like to comment on this article or share your views about The Dean Martin Show on DVD, please feel free to do so in the space provided below.

For the latest updates on these and all other matters pertaining to Dean Martin, be sure to click the Like button on the Facebook page of our sister website, Dean, Golds and Dings, where you’re cordially invited to join not only other fans of Dean Martin but many alumnae of The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, as well. Participate in ongoing conversations, or just observe — the choice is yours. To get started, just click below:

An Exclusive Preview of The New Dean Martin Show DVD Sets

April 3, 2011

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Following a near-decade-long drought, the spigot has been reopened and footage derived The Dean Martin Show is once again flowing through the pipeline — this time supplied by NBC and distributed by Time-Life Video — with a new stream slated to hit the retail channel this coming May.

Some eight years after the release of the final edition of Greg Garrison‘s 29-volume collection of highlights from The Dean Martin Show, something big — and new — will, at last, soon be coming up on the screens of fans who have patiently (and in numerous cases, impatiently) waited for more.

When David Lambert of the website TVShowsOnDVD.com broke the news on February 3rd that Time-Life Video would be issuing a fresh bundle of material culled from Dean’s television series, it stirred a good deal of excitement among Dino devotees. It was revealed that the new offering would be aimed at the retail sector (as opposed to the aforesaid earlier Dean Martin Show DVDs, which were sold via mail-order subscription), and rolled out on May 24th in three configurations — as a 6-disc treasury, as well as 1- and 2-disc lower-priced subsets of the larger collection. Bonus material, in the form of interviews with some of those who worked on the show, both on-camera and behind-the-scenes, would also be included.

But with specific details about the main content of the programs still a question mark, many were left wondering exactly what parts of The Dean Martin Show this new package would feature, and how that footage would differ from what was seen on Guthy-Renker‘s multi-volume iteration of The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show (the same title, incidentally, that the new Time-Life collection will employ).

About two weeks ago, NBC Universal TV Consumer Products Group issued a press release, announcing its involvement in the new venture and providing additional information about guest stars who appear in the new sets. Around the same time, a five-minute promotional trailer for the package began playing on YouTube. [Note: Time-Life has since pulled that original promo piece, and it’s been replaced with a raft of clips showcasing individual scenes from the DVDs, such as the one below with Dean and Lainie Kazan.]

Although issuance of the news release and YouTube video shone a bit more light on what we can expect from the upcoming DVD entries, they still left us in the dark about much of the lineup and many of the particulars. So we at The Golddiggers Super Site dug a little deeper, and are happy to be able to present herewith the first comprehensive overview of the new Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show, with a level of specificity and detail that has yet to appear anywhere else.

That said, bear in mind that this is not a definitive rundown of the entire content of the discs — that will have to wait until review copies are circulated in advance of the official release — but it is far and away the most complete and accurate picture to date of what this new compendium has to offer.

Singin’ The Blues

First, the not-such-good-news…

For starters, one of the key differences between this new collection and the older one marketed by Guthy-Renker is that while each volume of the latter comprised an assortment of clips drawn from various episodes and seasons of The Dean Martin Show, the new sets are organized by individual episodes. At first blush, that may sound like precisely what those critical of the G-R set’s piecemeal approach have been craving. However, the episode-by-episode strategy, at least as implemented in this instance, comes with a big caveat: It should NOT (regrettably) be taken to mean that these are whole, uncut shows that we’ll be getting.

Sources involved in the project have told us that episodes included on these DVDs run anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, with virtually all of the comedy sketches left intact. When the same shows were originally broadcast on NBC, they had running times of approximately 52 minutes. Reading between the lines, you’ve probably already guessed which portions of the programs had to be deleted for the new sets…

And yes, we’re sorry to affirm that the casualties that wound up on the cutting room floor were the usual victims — some of the musical numbers (though by no means all of them). The cost, difficulty and/or impossibility of clearing the rights simply forced their excision. In fairness, this is the same dilemma that confronts every entity that attempts to release vintage variety shows, and even a few other types of series, such as The Wonder Years (which has still never seen the light of day on DVD) that incorporated large amounts of music.

It should also be pointed out that the original trailer that Time-Life assembled for YouTube to tout the new collection (since withdrawn) contained a couple of misplaced clips. As we learned, neither the sequence in which The Dingaling Sisters performed “A Whole Lotta Lovin'” from the 7th season opening of the series, nor the segment featuring Ginger Rogers with Dean, are included on the new DVDs. Both, however, are featured on the Guthy-Renker set — Ginger on Vol. 9 and The Dings at the start of Vols. 5 through 28.

Look For The Silver Lining

On the other hand, although the rest of the scenes depicted in the trailer are all contained in the new 6-DVD Time-Life set, they don’t do it justice. Not shown are a number of real gems that didn’t make it onto the G-R volumes, but which appear to be, or are likely to be, encompassed within the T-L collection. We’ve called attention to some of them in the passages that follow.

Moreover, NBCU’s press handout about the new set vows that the 6-DVD treasury boasts a whopping 80 musical performances — no small sum by any count, and truly encouraging if a good number of them don’t duplicate what was on the G-R discs.

What we are able to deliver at this point is a marquee listing, obtained by the Super Site from sources connected with the project, of all of the Dean Martin Show episodes utilized for the new Time-Life releases. Included are the shows’ original air dates, guest stars, and bonus features that round out each disc.

Then, to illustrate the potential wealth of material that this new collection could add to the existing DMS oeuvre, we’ve supplemented the information about the first two DVDs with our own notes, offering context and perspective in comparing the new discs with the prior G-R volumes and the original telecasts. For our purposes, we have chosen to focus on the programs’ musical content, since that’s the aspect of The Dean Martin Show that visitors to our site have repeatedly indicated to us is nearest and dearest to their hearts…

(Time-Life Video)
Release Dates: 1- & 2-DVD sets: May 24, 2011; 6-DVD set: June 14, 2011

DVD 1 (to be sold as a single volume, and as part of both the 2- and 6-vol. sets)

1) Original Air Date: 2/3/66
Guests: Bob Hope, Joel Grey, Juliet Prowse

Super Site Annotation: Right off the bat, we can state categorically that even if only some of the musical numbers originally shown on this episode are included on this disc, it would be a worthwhile purchase. To name but one that would make it so: An outstanding, exuberant song-and-dance mélange performed by Joel Grey that blends the standard, “Shine On Your Shoes”, with an excerpt from Herb Alpert‘s “Whipped Cream”. Since Grey is listed by T-L as a guest on this episode, it’s a good bet that the number will be on here (it was not on the Guthy-Renker reels).

Another song from this episode that has never appeared on a commercial DVD is Dean’s warm and cozy rendition of “Home”, which was actually co-written in the 1930s by one of the musical arrangers on Dean’s series, Geoff Clarkson, at the tender age of 16.

Dean opened this episode with “C’est Si Bon” and joined Bob Hope and Juliet Prowse for “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”. Both were on the G-R set (Vols. 3 & 5, respectively), and so, will probably wind up on this new set, too.

Joel Grey (above, with Dean, and below, with dancers) shows off energetic vocal and terpsichorean chops with “Shine On Your Shoes”, topped off by a dollop of “Whipped Cream”, in a number from the 2/3/66 episode of The Dean Martin Show that might be included on Disc 1 of the new Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show collection from Time-Life.

2) Original Air Date: 9/23/65
Guests: Peggy Lee, John Wayne, Jack Jones, Krofft Puppets

Super Site Annotation: This is the second episode of The Dean Martin Show ever broadcast and the earliest featured in this collection. Since Dean’s opening number, “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On”, is his only solo performance on this particular episode, it seems reasonable to assume that it will turn up here, along with his cute duet with The Kroftt Puppets on “I’ve Got Your Number”. He also managed to wrangle John Wayne into pairing with him on “Don’t Fence Me In”. If any of those numbers are included on this DVD, it would be a first; none was featured on the G-R set.

What almost assuredly won’t make the cut here are solos by Peggy Lee, Jack Jones and Shari Lewis (sadly, none of those performances made it onto the Guthy-Renker reels either). What hopefully will survive is a fabulous closing rendition of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” with Dean, Peggy, and Jack.

3) Original Air Date: 9/14/67:
Guests: Jimmy Stewart, Orson Welles

Super Site Annotation: This was the premiere episode of the series’ third season. Musical numbers included Dean opening with “The Birds and the Bees”, singing “Welcome to My World” from the couch, clowning with Orson Welles on yet another rendition of “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”, and moseying along with Jimmy Stewart on “Ragtime Cowboy Joe”. All were included on the G-R volumes.

4) Original Air Date: 4/3/69
Guests: Don Rickles, Don Adams, Dom DeLuise, Michael Landon

Super Site Annotation: The listing of Don Rickles and Don Adams as guests on this episode is somewhat disingenuous: They simply did a walk-on, coming out of Dean’s closet. Besides, it was already on one of the G-R DVDs, as was Michael Landon‘s Dixieland medleys (first solo and then with Dean), and Dean and Dom DeLuise‘s comical recitation of the alphabet with Dean’s Girls, wrapped up with a truncated, but melodious version of “A – You’re Adorable”.

BONUS FEATURE INTERVIEWS ON DISC 1: Florence Henderson, Jonathan Winters, Gail Martin Downey, and Angie Dickinson

DVD 2 (to be sold as part of both the 2- and 6-vol. sets)

1) Original Air Date: 11/23/72:
Guests: Jack Benny, Lou Jacobi, Nipsey Russell, Rodney Dangerfield

Super Site Annotation: This could be a real winner if it includes one or more of the following segments from the original broadcast: Dean’s opening number with The Dingaling Sisters (“Then I’ll Be Happy”); his mid-show solo (“Non Dimenticar”); his medley with The Dings (“Love Is Just Around The Corner” and “My Ideal” ); The Dings’ standalone song-and-dance number (“The Laziest Gal In Town”); the closing tribute to the 1948 MGM musical Words and Music (don’t hold your breath for those last two). None of the above showed up in the G-R collection; but what did was nonetheless both musically and comedically delightful — a “sing-off” between Dean and Jack Benny, with each joined by his own set of Dingaling Sisters — and it may well make it into this release, too.

DING-DONG: Could Dean and The Dingaling Sisters be calling on viewers of Disc 2 in T-L’s new series?

2) Original Air Date: 10/13/66 (Time-Life incorrectly listed the date as 9/13/66)
Guests: George Burns, Dinah Shore, Jonathan Winters

Super Site Annotation: Dean’s opening number on this episode — “If You Knew Susie” — and his duet with Dinah on “Shine on Harvest Moon” graced the G-R discs, and although his on-the-couch rendering of “I’m in the Mood for Love” didn’t, it was featured on the 2001 single-DVD compilation, Dean Martin: That’s Amoré (now out-of-print), so it might pop up anew here.

3) Original Air Date: 1/15/70:
Guests: Sammy Davis, Jr. Paul Lynde, Andy Griffith

Super Site Annotation: Both Dean’s opening and couch songs (“Let the Good Times In” and “I Don’t Know Why”, respectively), as well as Andy Griffith‘s “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” (definitely an acquired taste), had spots on the G-R platters; but that was not the case with either Sammy‘s solo, “Wichita Lineman”, or his medley with Dean, so if included here, either one would be making its official DVD debut (though the medley incorporates so many songs that it’s hard to see an economically viable way that they could all be cleared).

BONUS FEATURE INTERVIEWS ON DISC 2: Jonathan Winters, Phyllis Diller, Norm Crosby, and Lee Hale

SAM’S SONG: That’s one of the tunes on which Dean harmonized with Sammy Davis, Jr. on the original Jan. 15, 1970 telecast of The Dean Martin Show. But the sizable number of compositions mixed into the medley that they performed may well make it too expensive to clear all of the musical rights involved for inclusion on DVD 2 of Time-Life’s set.

DVD 3 (available solely as part of the 6-vol. set)

1) Original Air Date: 3/21/68
Guests: Bob Newhart, Tony Bennett, Florence Henderson

2) Original Air Date: 4/5/73
Guests: Peter Sellers, Rodney Dangerfield, Dom DeLuise, Nipsey Russell, Lou Jacobi

3) Original Air Date: 9/29/66
Guests: Duke Ellington, Andrews Sisters, Tim Conway, Frank Gorshin, Lainie Kazan

4) Original Air Date: 2/11/71
Guests: Debbie Reynolds, Paul Lynde, Marty Feldman, Pat Cooper

BONUS FEATURE INTERVIEWS ON DISC 3: Florence Henderson, Lainie Kazan, and Gail Martin Downey

DVD 4 (available solely as part of the 6-vol. set)

1) Original Air Date: 9/14/72
Guests: Gene Kelly, Dom DeLuise, Rodney Dangerfield, Kay Medford

2) Original Air Date: 1/18/68
Guests: Florence Henderson, George Burns, Eddie Albert

3) Original Air Date: 9/25/69
Guests: Elke Sommer, David Janssen, Charles Nelson Reilly, Ralph Edwards

BONUS FEATURE INTERVIEWS ON DISC 4: Carol Lawrence, Angie Dickinson, and Lee Hale

DVD 5 (available solely as part of the 6-vol. set)

1) Original Air Date: 11/10/66
Guests: Phyllis Diller, Sid Caesar

2) Original Air Date: 2/15/68
Guests: Ethel Merman, Lainie Kazan, Roger Miller

3) Original Air Date: 4/4/68
Guests: George Gobel, Robert Mitchum, Jimmy Stewart, Shecky Greene

BONUS FEATURE INTERVIEWS ON DISC 5: Phyllis Diller, Lainie Kazan, and Susie Ewing (née Susie Lund of The Golddiggers)

DVD 6 (available solely as part of the 6-vol. set)

1) Original Air Date: 11/23/67
Guests: Woody Allen, Kate Smith

2) Original Air Date: 10/5/67
Guests: Phil Silvers, Eddie Arnold, Janet Leigh, Mills Brothers

3) Original Air Date: 9/19/68
Guests: Lena Horne, Zero Mostel, Shecky Greene, Buddy Ebsen

BONUS FEATURE INTERVIEWS ON DISC 6: Norm Crosby, Carol Lawrence, and Susie Ewing (née Susie Lund of The Golddiggers)

We’ve been told to anticipate the arrival of screeners and/or liner notes within the next two weeks or so, and as soon as we have them at our disposal and had a chance to review them, we will post not only complete, verified content listings for all 6 DVDs, but also, the same type of comparative analyses for all of the discs that we applied above to the first two.

Even as Time-Life readies this new collection of material from The Dean Martin Show produced in conjunction with NBC Universal, the 29 volumes of Guthy-Renker’s own The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show remain on the market. And sources close to the Time-Life venture have confirmed to us that neither Guthy-Renker nor Greg Garrison Productions have any involvement with the new Time-Life sets.

It was The Golddiggers Super Site that was the first to report back in 2007 on the filing of a lawsuit brought by NBCU against Guthy-Renker, Greg Garrison Productions and several other defendants over home video rights to The Dean Martin Show. We also broke the news in 2008 that an out-of-court settlement had been reached by the parties in the case; and while terms of that settlement were never publicly disclosed, and the major litigants have declined to comment on them, it would seem within reason to infer that the current availability of Dean Martin Show product from two different companies may be a direct upshot of the settlement, with Guthy-Renker and Garrison Productions apparently being allowed to continue selling via mail order the 29 volumes that they already have in the can, while NBCU was evidently granted the right to create new Dean Martin Show DVDs targeted to the retail market.

Indeed, what both Time-Life and NBC spokespersons have been able to confirm to us is that they have the right to produce future installments of The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show. So with a number of rare, previously-unreleased segments promised in the upcoming set, and the potential for more down the road in future sets (should this new one be well-received), we think it’s important that Dinophiles lend their support to this latest release…and we’ll furnish even more reasons for doing so in our next report.

For ongoing alerts, announcements and developments relating to the new Dean Martin Show DVDs, as well as all aspects of Dean, The Golddiggers, and The Dingaling Sisters, we invite you to visit our sister site — Dean, Golds and Dings — and its Facebook page, where clicking the Like button at the top of the page will automatically deliver important updates to your Facebook news feed:

Many Dean Martin Show fans, as well as industry insiders and observers, will be following this story over the next few days and weeks; so in order to give anyone who would like to express his or her views on the subject the opportunity to do so, we will, for only the second time since launching the Super Site in 2007, herewith open up a special forum, making it possible to leave Comments directly after this post…