Friday, August 2, 2013

The Dean Martin Variety Show Uncut

(Time Life) This box set collects six complete episodes of Martin’s variety show, with examples from 1967-1971, and the first thing a rock n roller might say seeing that range of years is ‘Whoah! The prime years for flower power/Woodstock and experimental rock going into the dawn of the greatest era of soul music…I wonder who is on these shows!’ Stupid question: it’s the Lettermen, Tommy Tune, Joey Heatherton, Pat Boone, Dom DeLuise and Professor Backwards, of course! And do you know why Dean’s variety show featured bawdy sex and drinking jokes, goofy skits, dance numbers, standards sung by the host and guest stars, and slurred monologues? Because it was perfect, and it didn’t change during its run because it was sublimely entertaining – singing dancing and jokes never go out of style! There are some hep numbers, (The Dingaling Sisters in go go boots and bikinis sing and do "The Funky Chicken”) but for the most part the key to this show is that charming Dino is charming, Hollywood’s go to talent is talented, and there were only 6 channels at the time. It’s notable that this is not particularly conservative – his sex jokes are pretty unambiguous, and there’s lot of jiggle to those funky chickens. It’s also notable that a compilation of thrilling guest stars and ‘best of’ would not be half as interesting as these “uncut’ epsidoes that show you how the jiggle, the Zero Mostel angel skit, Sid Caeser’s professor’s random comments, an opera song here, an Orson Welles Shakespeare sample there, and a Dino, Dom and Bob Newhart in a telephone booth bit on the other side all fit together to create something that blurrily exceeds the sum of its parts.

1 comment:

  1. Hey pallie, likes thanks ever so much for reviewin' this fabulous set of Dino-discs from our most beloved Dino's fabulous show. Particularly digs your thoughts...."but for the most part the key to this show is that charming Dino is charming".....likes that is absolutely the deepest of deep Dino-truth! Never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth. Know that your reflections are bein' shared this day with all the pallies gathered 'round ilovedinomartin.

    Truly hopes to see more Dino-treasure reviewed here.