Remembering Lee Hale

May 17, 2019
Lee Portrait (descreened)
A portrait photo of Lee Hale used for the jacket of his first tome, Backstage at The Dean Martin Show, co-authored with Richard Neely.

“I wasn’t born in a trunk. I never heard of ‘greasepaint’ or a ‘follow spot.’ But I think I knew from the beginning that I was going to be in show business.” So reads the opening paragraph of The LEE HALE Story, the autobiography of The Dean Martin Show’s longtime Music Director who, we are profoundly saddened to report, passed away last Friday at the age of 96.

One-third of the triumvirate largely responsible for molding Dean’s weekly television program into what many consider to have been the best variety series ever made (the other two being Producer-Director Greg Garrison and of course, above all, Dean himself), Lee Hale, during his long and storied career, amassed a slew of credits and a pile of awards, and gained the respect and admiration of legions of prominent figures in Hollywood.

After a triumphant debut in September 1965, Dean’s weekly variety series had in subsequent outings started to sputter in the ratings, and unhappy with the results, NBC brass fired the program’s original producer, Bob Collier, replacing him with the show’s Director, Greg Garrison, who in turn recruited Lee Hale — the latter having already chalked up a considerable number of professional accomplishments — to bring some fresh musical ideas to the proceedings.

Lee Hale’s screen credit on a 1972 episode of The Dean Martin Show.

Just prior to coming aboard, Lee had served as Choral Director on a CBS-TV variety series called The Entertainers that, although it lasted only one season, boasted as regulars Carol Burnett and a stellar cast of both established and up-and-coming performers, many of whom — often through Lee’s recommendations — would later become familiar faces to DMS viewers — among them, Bob Newhart, Caterina Valente, Dom DeLuise, Ruth Buzzi, and a young former Miss America contestant by the name of Melissa Stafford.

Even before overseeing The Lee Hale Singers on The Entertainers, Lee had himself been a vocalist with a group called The Manhattans, and as a part of Buster Davis’ choir on NBC’s Bell Telephone Hour. But his love of music, including his knack for composing lyrics and melodies, stretched all the way back to his youth, growing up in Tacoma, Washington and writing musical numbers, first for high school and college theater productions, and then as a lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. 

Indeed, his affection for movie musicals of the 1930s and ‘40s, especially the Busby Berkeley-Warner Bros. pictures and MGM extravaganzas like The Wizard of Oz, would eventually yield artistic dividends, presaging and informing his creation and supervision of The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters; his screening and fashioning (along with choreographer Ed Kerrigan) of movie musical finales for the 8th season of the DMS; and the fondness that he shared with Dean, raised during the same era, for vintage songs.

In point of fact, through his work on The Dean Martin Show and Golddiggers series, Lee almost singlehandedly kept alive tunes from The Great American Songbook on regular weekly television between the mid-‘60s and mid-‘70s, enabling those numbers to be enjoyed by an older generation, while introducing them to a whole new one. It was a feat not lost on the great Irving Berlin, who routinely granted Lee permission to use his music on the DMS, even while turning down other shows  — a symbol of recognition in which Lee rightfully took enormous pride.

A replica of the emblem used to showcase the honoree (or victim, depending on your point of view) on each of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts — in this instance, one created especially for The Golddiggers Super Site’s 2008 salute to Lee Hale.

For The Dean Martin Show, Lee — usually alone but sometimes in collaboration with Van Alexander and/or Geoffrey Clarkson — authored numerous clever jingles and special lyrics, and arranged hundreds of other songs, drawing upon his encyclopedic knowledge of 20th Century popular music. He not only did the same for The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters, but also wrote, along with Geoff Clarkson, more than twenty original numbers for those female ensembles.

Due to Dean’s contract that required him to appear only on the actual day of his show’s taping, Lee customarily stood in for the host during rehearsals, thus giving him the opportunity to bond with the likes of guest stars such as Peggy Lee, June Allyson, Florence Henderson, Carol Lawrence and other showbiz luminaries with whom he would go on to develop lasting friendships. Occasionally, he would even be tapped to appear on camera when an extra was needed in a particular scene.

Lee is survived by his spouse (with whom he shared his life for the last 35 years) and coauthor of his first book, Backstage At The Dean Martin Show, Richard Neely, and their beloved dog, Jesse, as well as a niece and several cousins.

To invoke Lee’s own lyrics from a song he wrote for The Golddiggers: Lee, “There’s Nobody Else Like You”…And we’re all the richer for it. May you rest in peace.

55564292_2312579338764428_3184186936759681024_nLee Hale, in his final apperarance in 2018 at the annual Awards Luncheon held by The Professional Dancers Society, on whose board he served as Vice President, is here surrounded by five of the dozens of women he selected and nurtured as performers in The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters. Pictured clockwise from left: Susie Ewing, Lindsay Bloom, Michelle DellaFave, Wanda Bailey, and Rosie Cox Gitlin.

Much more on the life and times of Lee Hale, including tributes penned several years ago by many of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters, can be found in two other articles on The Golddiggers Super Site:

WE Hail LEE Hale

Words and Music: The Lee Hale Story

Stay up-to-date on news and information about Dean Martin, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters by Liking and following our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook Page:

Oven-Ready: The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts

August 8, 2013
Dean Martin Celebrity Roast boxed setALMOST DONE: An all-you-can-eat spread of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts will be wheeled out by StarVista beginning September 23rd.

Following up on our June 1st story about plans by Time-Life/StarVista to reheat the Dean Martin Roasts that were originally telecast on NBC from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, one of our star correspondents, Richard Wierzbowski, has alerted us to a report on the website that pre-orders are now being taken for The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: The Complete Collection — a 25-DVD boxed set that includes all 54 Roasts ever recorded, as well as a number of extras.

Among the latter are four Dean Martin TV specials from the mid-to-late ’70s (two editions of The Red Hot Scandals Of 1926 and two of Dean’s Place); interviews with celebrities who took part in the Roasts; featurettes (one of which contains home movies of Dean and his friends); and a 44-page accompanying book.

Also included in the package are 7 episodes of The Dean Martin Show, but be aware that all of these are edited versions that have been previously released by Time-Life. Those awaiting fresh reissues of Dean’s variety series will have to wait a little longer, but we CAN report exclusively that at the very least, The Best Of Dean and His Friends — the news about which we broke here a few weeks ago — WILL be back in Walmart stores early next year, hopefully soon to be joined by more music-rich material from Dean’s program.

In the meantime, for those licking their chops over the Dean Martin banquet on StarVista’s upcoming menu, here’s the link to the ingredients, and to put in an order, for the big Roast feast about to be served:

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: The Complete Collection

For our original article on the re-release of the Roasts, click HERE.

For more on The Best of Dean and His Friends DVD sold through Walmart, click HERE.

And to stay informed about all details and events pertaining to Dean Martin, The Golddiggers, and The Dingaling Sisters, we invite you to join us by LIKING our Facebook page:

DeanMart at Walmart

June 24, 2013


The Best of Dean and His Friends Cover
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.

Peggy Lee (9-15-66)
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).
Guys and Dolls Finale (9-15-66)

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.)

Dean Opening Number (Dean & Friends)
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.
Dean on the couch (Dean & Friends)

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.

Joey Heatherton Close-up (10-16-69)
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.
Joey Dancing (10-16-69)
Joey & Dean on Tricycles (10-16-69)
Dean & The Mills Brothers (10-16-69)
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.
Dean on stage w. The Mills Brothers (10-16-69)

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.

Dean in Cowbiy Hat & Shirt (2-29-68)
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.
Melissa, Julie & Diana (2:29:68)
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.
Arthur Godfrey (If I Were A Rich Man)
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.

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (StarVista)
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.

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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

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For more on the newly-revised ebook version of John Chintala’s voluminous Dean Martin discography, click HERE to see the Super Site’s recent article.
To always be among the first to get the scoop on breaking news about The Dean Martin Show, and to join other fans AND many of the cast members who worked with Dean each week on his series, we invite you to LIKE and follow our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:

Dean Discography Dives Into Digital Domain

June 7, 2013

The Dean Martin Variety Show

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

Dean Martin cover by John Chintala

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chintala Sample Page d

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heatwave: The Dean Martin Roasts

June 1, 2013

LIGHT MY FIRE: Time-Life, which brought fresh servings of The Dean Martin Show to home video in 2011 after a 10-year absence from the market, is cooking up new platters of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts for DVD consumption this fall, as noted in the appetite teaser above, prepared by the company’s chefs.

A funny thing happened on the way to releasing more episodes from Dean Martin’s TV series: Those steering the direction of that vehicle have opted to take a temporary detour around the Variety Shows, in favor of reissuing the later-model Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. What this effectively means for DM fans is: Music tomorrow, comedy tonight.

The Roasts, which represented television’s tamer version of the longstanding Friars’ Club events at which show business figures would come together to skewer one of their own, originated as a regular weekly feature of the 9th and final season of Dean’s series, known as The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Despite the latter’s cancellation at the end of the 1973-74 season, NBC executives believed that the Roasts remained viable ratings magnets that could stand on their own in limited airings, and over the next decade or so, they ordered dozens of specials built around the format, using them to plug holes in the network’s prime-time schedule.

Even before Dean’s longtime Producer-Director, Greg Garrison, partnered with Guthy-Renker in the late 1990s to bring highlights of The Dean Martin Variety Show directly to consumers via mail order, the two joined forces to sell the Roasts using the same direct marketing method. However, unlike the variety shows, the contents of which were made available only as excerpts (due to the high cost of music clearances), the Roasts, containing only comedy, landed on home video largely unscathed, with few, if any, edits.

Stemming from the settlement of NBCUniversal‘s 2007 lawsuit against Greg Garrison Productions and Guthy-Renker, the latter two entities agreed to relinquish their rights to Dean’s series, initially ceasing production and distribution of their Variety Show DVDs, and within the last year, halting sales of the Roasts.

Into the breach, in conjunction with NBCUniversal, stepped Time-Life, first in 2011 with fresh episodes of the Variety Show, and now, with just-announced 1- and 6-disc editions of the Roasts, due out in September and sweetened with extra comedy bits from Dean’s 9th season, as well as newly-recorded interviews.

In addition, David Lambert of the website is reporting that T-L will also be offering, online only, what it calls a “Complete Collection” of all of the Roasts, which will include over 10 hours of bonus material (consisting of exactly what remains unknown at this time).

That should certainly be enough to sate Dean’s comedy fans. But what about those who prize his Variety Show mainly for its outstanding musical numbers? Well, that’s exactly the question that we posed to those in the know at Time-Life, and the good news on this front is that we can confirm, exclusively and definitively, that there WILL, in fact, be more episodes of the Variety Show coming down the pike, although a precise date for that eventuality has yet to be determined.

So, over the long haul, it appears there’ll be something for everyone; and this time, it’ll all turn out right: Music tomorrow, comedy tonight.

Our thanks to our intrepid Dean, Golds and Dings correspondent Richard Wierzbowski for his contributions to this report.

For further details, see David Lambert’s article at

And to stay up-to-date on this and all stories relating to Dean Martin, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters, please LIKE our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook Page:

Words and Music: The Lee Hale Story

March 25, 2013

Lee Portrait

It isn’t just Dean Martin, and every individual who was ever involved in any way with his television series, that owes a debt of gratitude to Lee Hale — it’s also every fan of Dean, as well as all of the regulars and guest stars who appeared on his show, who should be thankful for Lee’s invaluable contributions to The Dean Martin Show, The Golddiggers’ series, and numerous other entertainment productions with which he’s been connected.

As longtime followers of Dean and company already know, Lee Hale served as Musical Director for almost the entire 9-year run of Dean’s series; worked with and helped fine-tune the performances of the program’s on-camera talent; and came up with the idea for The Golddiggers, auditioning every young woman who tried out for the troupe and overseeing all of their music, too (in addition to handling the same responsibilities for The Dingaling Sisters, as well as The Soul Sisters for the syndicated Wacky World Of Jonathan Winters).

Those may be the highlights of Lee’s career, but in truth, they are only one part of the life of someone who, from the very start, seemed destined to find his calling in show business, and of a soft-spoken but immensely gifted individual who’s played a large and important, if not always highly conspicuous, role in shaping, enhancing, and preserving the art form of the television variety show and a style of music that’s come to be known as “The Great American Songbook”.

Lee '66
TOP HAT, WHITE TIE AND TAILS: In point of fact, the top hat may be missing, but this well-attired gent is certainly the epitomé of sartorial splendor sporting the rest of the formalwear immortalized in the Irving Berlin song made famous by Fred Astaire. In this instance — one of several cameo appearances that Lee Hale made over the course of The Dean Martin Show’s 9 seasons — the fancy threads were donned for a sketch in which Lee had to fend off the crazed advances of singer-comedienne Dorothy Loudon. The segment first aired on the 5/5/66 episode of the series.

A few years ago, Lee set out to document some of his life experiences in an autobiography published by Richard Gruden’s Celebrity Profiles imprint, renowned for its music-oriented tomes. Although the first edition of Lee’s book came out about 14 months ago and has already been read and enjoyed by many, we thought that as he prepares to celebrate a landmark birthday this week, this would be an apropos time to bring The Lee Hale Story to the attention of those who heretofore may have been unaware of it or who have yet to purchase their own copy.

I COULD WRITE A BOOK: Indeed, Lee has written two — one about The Dean Martin Show, published in 1999 — and last year, a new memoir (above) that, while including a great deal about Dean, his series and others who took part in it, also explores other aspects of Lee’s life and career.

In many ways, this is a tale that mirrors the narratives of so many of the Hollywood musicals of which Lee, and millions of others (including we here at the Super Site) are so fond. At the heart of the story is a protagonist who dreams of coming to the big city and fulfilling his creative aspirations, facing triumphs, challenges and even some tragedies as time goes by, but when all is said and done, succeeding in his ambitions, having a ball in doing what he loves to do, surrounded by a multitude of friends and revered by even more admirers, all making for a happy ending.

As the author’s journey unfolds, he’s impacted by many of the key events of the 20th Century, including America’s entry into World War II (at which time he enlisted in the Navy) and, of course, the growing power and influence of television. Along the way, as could be expected, situations arise that provide plenty of anecdotes about various celebrities and eccentric characters (in some cases, they’re one and the same).

As a mark of the high esteem in which Lee is held by colleagues and friends, the book is sprinkled throughout with testimonials from Tinseltown luminaries and others who’ve known and worked with Lee, including a number of The Golddiggers, some of whose remarks first appeared in our website’s own tribute to Lee, posted a few years ago.

Yet it’s worth noting that even though portions of the book focus on Lee’s life apart from showbiz culture, those slices of his everyday existence also manage to hold the reader’s interest. Still, as appealing as those portions may be, the sections that will no doubt engross the largest number of  readers are the ones covering Lee’s association with The Dean Martin Show. And as he points out, those seeking still more on that subject can find a wealth of additional details in his earlier volume, Backstage At The Dean Martin Show (though long out of print, copies can still be found on Amazon, ebay and the like).

Dean Ronnie Lee
HALE TO THE CHIEF: It was while still in high school, Lee writes in his autobiography, that he first met Ronald Reagan, then an up-and-coming actor being groomed for stardom by Warner Bros. As feature editor for his school newspaper, Lee managed to land an interview with the future President, and decades later, would cross paths with him again while working on both Dean’s variety series and on the Dean Martin Roasts. In the scene above, recorded during the 1970-71 season while Ronnie was still Governor of California, Lee (on the far right in hardhat) did a walk-on as one of the Gov’s highway construction workers.

Meanwhile, for anyone curious to learn more about a man who began as a singer himself and over time utilized his own genius to make others on stage look so good, there’s The Lee Hale Story, told in an easy-to-digest, conversational style which, like one of the maestro’s own musical arrangements, should leave his audience feeling enriched, uplifted, and highly satisfied.

And to you, Lee, we wish a Very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

Paul Golds Lee on a boat
ON A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA: With Paul Lynde as captain (l.), it seems unlikely that this dingaling dinghy would ever make it out of the Port of Los Angeles, let alone halfway around the world to China; but having Golddiggers Pat Mickey, Rosetta Cox and Wanda Bailey on board (center, l. to r.), Lee manning the stern (far right), and Ken Lane hidden behind Rosie’s head, at least there’d be music for the voyage.

The Lee Hale Story can be ordered directly from by clicking the icon below:


Additional information about Lee’s book, as well as many others written about the singers, composers and instrumentalists famous for Big Band, Jazz, and Tin Pan Alley standards, can be found on Richard Gruden’s Celebrity Profiles Publishing website:

Celebrity Profiles

Much more about Lee Hale’s work with Dean Martin, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters appears throughout the pages of The Golddiggers Super Site, including in the following articles:

Lee Hale Tribute (2008)

Open Letter To Lee Hale (2007)

Review of the 1st Dean Martin Show DVD set from Time-Life (2011)

Review of the 2nd Dean Martin Show DVD set from Time-Life (2012)

Review of the 3rd Dean Martin Show DVD set from Time-Life (2012)

And to rub elbows (figuratively speaking) with cast members of The Dean Martin Show — among them, many who were members of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters — we invite you to LIKE and regularly visit our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:

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:

Dean Comes Home For Christmas

September 7, 2012

For a complete review of both The Dean Martin Christmas Special and the new 17-DVD Dean’s Ultimate Collection, click HERE



A WINTER ROMANCE: For those looking to spread the kind of holiday cheer that made The Dean Martin Show a treat for all seasons, Time-Life is presenting the DVD debut of the series’ Christmas episode from December 1968, which can be purchased either on its own, or as part of a new giant boxed set, described below.

It may not even yet be fall, but for fans of The Dean Martin Show, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. That’s because we’ve just received word that on the eve of Halloween, and only days before Americans go to the polls to cast their ballots in the Presidential election, two new candidates selected from Dean’s weekly TV party will begin vying for our attention — and both will come bearing a shiny new yuletide present in an effort to snag our vote.

For starters, Time-Life has gathered together all three of the Dean Martin Show treasuries that the company has released to date, bundled them with a trio of appealing extras, and placed them all in a big 17-disc boxed set that they’re calling The Best Of The Dean Martin Variety Show: Dean’s Ultimate Collection, due out October 30.

Inside the package will be:

1) the six volumes of the first DMS anthology, issued in May of 2011;

2) the 6 DVDs of the second set, King Of Cool, which came out last November;

3) the 3 platters containing the Uncut episodes that went on sale this past May.

The three stocking stuffers that top off this Dino extravaganza are:

1) a bonus disc, comprising three additional Dean Martin Show episodes, that had been available ONLY as part of the special 7-DVD King of Cool editions that up until now have been sold exclusively through Costco stores (as with the other episodes in the King of Cool collection, those on the bonus disc are edited, but nonetheless entertaining);

2) a condensed softcover version of the photo book that had earlier been obtainable only in conjunction with the Dean Martin: Cool Then, Cool Now CD compilation, released in June 2011;

3) a brand new DVD featuring the never-before-reissued December 19, 1968 Christmas episode of The Dean Martin Show, with guest stars Dennis Weaver, Bob Newhart, Dom DeLuise, and The Golddiggers (this particular group of gals includes a number who had appeared in the very first Golddiggers series that premiered in the summer of ’68).

I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT DEAN: A bounty for the DM Show enthusiast who wants its all (or wants to share the experience with others), Dean’s Ultimate Collection combines all of the previous Time-Life releases of Dean Martin Show DVDs with a newly-restored Christmas episode and two more extras, all in a deluxe boxed set.

The 1968 Christmas special will also be marketed as a standalone item, providing a money-saving option for those who already own the first three Time-Life collections or those who simply want a single, Christmas-themed Dean Martin Show.

We’ve been given to understand that the ’68 Christmas episode will be minus some of its original musical content, but we don’t yet know what’s been left in or what’s been cut.

And while we’re aware that many were hoping to finally see the release of the cherished 1967 episode commonly known as “Christmas with The Martins and The Sinatras” — in fact, a couple of other websites had erroneously speculated that it would be the Christmas show featured on the new T-L DVD — we’ve been told by authoritative sources that the rights to the ’67 program remain out of reach at this juncture. So, in light of that, a vintage Christmastime show from the following year may well be the next best gift that Santa could put under a Dean Martin fan’s tree.

What’s more, Dinophiles should certainly take heart from this promising piece of news: The Golddiggers Super Site has learned that there will DEFINITELY be more Dean Martin Show DVDs to come. And as we’ve noted in the past, your support for the current and forthcoming titles will be vital in ensuring how much of that future product will come to market, as well as how complete it will be.

We’ll provide a thorough overview of the just-announced releases as soon as they’re made available to us. In the meantime, to be certain that you stay informed of the latest developments relating to the DVDs, Dean, The Golddiggers, and The Dingaling Sisters, we invite you to join the many Dean Martin Show alumnae and aficionados who already LIKE our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:

Our thanks to regular Dean, Golds and Dings participant Richard Wierzbowski for his contribution to this report.

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:

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