*** BREAKING NEWS — EXCLUSIVE ***
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?: Attention, Walmart Shoppers! Flying below the radar of publicity, a freshly-pressed disc filled with lots of new-to-DVD music and comedy from The Dean Martin Show, and prepared especially for America’s biggest retail chain, is in stores now.
It was just a little over three weeks ago that we reported the news that StarVista Entertainment (the newly-rechristened name for Time-Life Music & Video) would be reintroducing The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts on DVD this fall. That development made us wonder about the fate of future reissues of Dean’s Variety series.
So we made some inquiries, and based on what we learned from informed sources, we were glad to be able to reassure fans of The Dean Martin Show that additional episodes were indeed planned for re-release. What we didn’t anticipate at the time was just how soon some of them would be arriving.
In point of fact, it’s only because of a random discovery passed along to us by a good friend of the Super Site that we’re able to inform all of our readers that a brand new DVD, containing material from The Dean Martin Show not seen since the series’ original run over 40 years ago, is now available at Walmart stores in the U.S., through an exclusive arrangement with StarVista.
The single disc contains three episodes from the first five seasons of Dean’s variety series and retails for just under $10. Why its existence has largely been kept under wraps is a mystery: It was released a little over two weeks ago with no promotion to speak of, and its title — The Best of Dean and His Friends — is certainly nebulous enough to avoid detection by anyone searching for new volumes of the entertainer’s TV series. Had it not been for Dean Martin historian John Chintala (whose newly-revised Dino discography we spotlighted only a couple of weeks back) inadvertently coming across the DVD and alerting us to it, it might have completely escaped our notice — as well as the awareness of thousands of Dean devotees.
MAÑANA may have been soon enough for Peggy Lee — at least in the lyrics to the hit song that she co-wrote and rode to the top of the charts — but fortunately, connoisseurs of her music won’t have to wait until tomorrow to see Peggy deliver impassioned performances of two stirring numbers on the 9/15/66 episode of The Dean Martin Show (above), since they’re on the new Walmart DVD that’s in stores today. Later, on the same program, Peggy joined Dean and the rest of the cast for a finale of two tunes from the musical “Guys and Dolls” (below, l. to r.: Guy Marks, Buddy Hackett, Dorothy Provine, Dean, Peggy Lee, Dan Rowan, Dick Martin).
Shrouded in secrecy though it may have been, this latest unearthing of episodes from the archives of NBC offers some hidden treasures to Dino prospectors. Sure to cheer those disappointed by past reissues that cut one or more of Dean’s solos, the three shows on the new Walmart DVD, while they do contain a few edits, nevertheless retain ALL of Dean’s opening numbers, couch songs and musical parodies at the piano with Ken Lane. Officials at StarVista, The Dean Martin Family Trust and NBCUniversal deserve major plaudits for listening to the public’s requests on this score. (For a complete rundown of all of the musical highlights on the new DVD, see the table at the end of this article.)
IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMIN’ I’D’VE BAKED A CAKE: Not only has the Walmart DMS DVD come right of left field, but just as delightfully surprising is the fact that all of Dean’s opening numbers (above) and couch songs (below) on the three included episodes have been left intact.
Especially curious — in a way likely to please Dinophiles — is the content of the Oct. 16, 1969 episode. It’s the only one of the three programs on the Walmart disc to have been previously released — it was among the shows on the Bonus DVD first sold exclusively by Costco and later repackaged with last fall’s Dean’s Ultimate Collection boxed set — yet in this newest incarnation, it’s actually been expanded to include four additional numbers NOT found on the Costco version: Dean’s opening and couch solos, a medley with Dean and Joey Heatherton, and an extra tune sung by Dean and The Mills Brothers.
HEY, GOOD LOOKIN’: What’s Joey got cookin’? For starters, her own steamy rendition of “Nice ‘N’ Easy” (above and below), topped off by a cool dessert with Dean (further below), consisting of, of all things, a “Mother Goose” medley that was chopped out of the 10/16/69 episode on the Costco Bonus Disc, but thankfully remains in the mix on the Walmart DVD.
DOWN BY THE OLD MILL(S) STREAM: The version of Dean’s segment with The Mills Brothers on the 10/16/69 episode previously released on the Costco Bonus Disc was truncated, omitting the second number that they performed together — “Bye Bye Blackbird” — but happily, the entire sequence runs in its original, unedited form on the new Walmart DVD. Pictured below: Dean with (l. to r.) Herbert, Donald and Harry Mills.
Unlike StarVista’s previous Dean Martin Show DVD exclusive with Costco, the new disc from Walmart is more widely available, due to the latter retailer’s massive presence in the U.S., and the fact that it, unlike Costco, doesn’t require membership to purchase the items it sells.
THE WILD AND WOOLY WEST: Having to report for duty to tape the 2/29/68 episode of his show in-between shooting his big-screen epic Bandolero, Dean (above), already sporting whiskers for his film role, decided to keep the look consistent by trading his customary tux for full-fledged cowboy duds.
THREE TIMES A LADY: The trio of gals from The Dean Martin Show’s choir that were the first to be called “Dean’s Girls” — (above, l. to r.) Melissa Stafford, Julie Rinker and Diana Lee — make one of their earliest on-camera appearances as a group on the 2/29/68 episode, providing musical segues between comedy blackouts.
MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING: During his lifetime, Arthur Godfrey did quite well for himself as the consummate radio and television personality, with some of the highlights of his career ranging from his emotional coverage of President Franklin Roosevelt’s funeral, to hosting several concurrently-airing network programs throughout the 1950s, to serving as a remarkably effective pitchman for numerous advertisers. So credible and versatile a performer was he that the audience easily warmed to his nonstandard interpretation of “If I Were A Rich Man”, from the Broadway smash Fiddler On The Roof, on the 2/29/68 telecast of Dean’s show.
For those without a Walmart store nearby or those living abroad who may feel left out in the cold, there are a few vendors on both Amazon and ebay that are selling shrink-wrapped copies of the new DVD, but at a substantial mark-up over Walmart’s price. However, for those eager to get their hands on heretofore unseen Dean, the extra cost may be worth it.
There’s nary a trace of the new Variety Show disc on Walmart’s own website; but as perhaps a further indication of the big-box giant’s close ties of late with StarVista, Walmart is thus far the only merchant on the Internet to display cover art for the upcoming roll-out of StarVista’s Dean Martin Celebrity Roast collection, scheduled to debut in 1- and 6-disc editions on October 1, according to the sales page on Walmart’s site.
But for fans of Dean and his music, it’s the unexpected gift of StarVista’s partnership with Walmart on the just-released Variety Show DVD that will garner the lion’s share of love. Once it was a secret love. But hopefully now, that secret love’s no secret anymore.
THERE’S A KIND OF HUSH about the new Dean Martin Show exclusive at Walmart, and not that much more about StarVista’s forthcoming reboot of Dean’s Celebrity Roasts, although Walmart has now become the first commercial vendor to upload cover art (above) and start taking pre-orders on its website for at least one of the new Roast platters.
As the comparative chart below illustrates, the majority of musical selections featured on the new Dean Martin Show DVD from StarVista via Walmart have never before been released on DVD:
|ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 9/15/66 (First Show of the 2nd season)||StarVista||Guthy-Renker|
|Dean Martin: “Don’t Let The Blues Make You Bad”||Walmart DVD|
|Peggy Lee: “You’ve Got Possibilities”; “The Shining Sea”||Walmart DVD|
|Peggy Lee & Dean Martin: “Good Morning” medley|
|Dean & Ken at The Piano||Walmart DVD|
|Dean Martin: “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”||Walmart DVD|
|Dorothy Provine: “Lorelei”|
|Dean Martin, Buddy Hackett, Rowan & Martin, Peggy Lee, Dorothy Provine: Guys and Dolls Finale: “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game” / “Guys and Dolls”||Walmart DVD|
|ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 2/29/68||StarVista||Guthy-Renker|
|Dean Martin: “Houston”||Walmart DVD|
|Arthur Godfrey, Singers & Dancers: “If I Were A Rich Man”||Walmart DVD|
|Dean Martin & Arthur Godfrey: 1920s Medley: “Doodle-Doo-Doo” / “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” / “Ain’t She Sweet?” / “Sweet Georgia Brown” / “Singing in the Rain”|
|Dean & Ken at The Piano||Walmart DVD|
|Dean Martin: “Red Sails In The Sunset”||Walmart DVD|
|Tony Sandler & Ralph Young: “C’est Si Bon” / “Cu Cu Ru Cu Cu Paloma” / “Gonna Build a Mountain”|
|Dean’s Girls (Melissa Stafford, Julie Rinker, Diana Lee): Musical Bridges for Comedy bits in Finale built around the theme of “Yankee Ingenuity”||Walmart DVD|
|ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10/16/69||StarVista||Time-Life||Guthy-Renker|
|Dean Martin: “Singing the Blues”||Walmart DVD||Vol. 27|
|Joey Heatherton: “Nice ‘N’ Easy”||Walmart DVD||Costco Bonus Disc|
|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”||Walmart DVD|
|Dean & Ken at The Piano||Walmart DVD (song parodies intact)||Costco Bonus Disc (song parodies cut)|
|Dean Martin: “Where The Blue And Lonely Go”||Walmart DVD|
|Dean & Dean’s Girls: Musical Questions|
|Dean & Dean’s Girls “Sing-on” Orson Bean|
|The Mills Brothers: “Paper Doll”||Walmart DVD||Costco Bonus Disc|
|Dean Martin & The Mills Brothers: “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”; “Bye Bye Blackbird”||Walmart DVD||Costco Bonus Disc (“Bye Bye Blackbird” cut)|
|Entire Cast: “Here We Go Again” Finale||Walmart DVD||Costco Bonus Disc|