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DVD Review: THE DEAN MARTIN VARIETY SHOW UNCUT



Studio: Time Life
Year: 2012
Cast: Dean Martin, Abbe Lane, Leslie Uggams, Cyd Charisse, buddy Ebsen, Caterina Valente, The Letterman, Tommy Tune, Zero Mostel, Joey Heatherton, Buck Owens, Barbara McNair, Orson Welles, bob Newhart Dom DeLuise, Sid Caesar, George Gobel, Jackie Mason
Director: various
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Rating: Not Rated for adult themes
Run Time: 05h:09m:00s
Genre(s): television, comedy

"Uh, look. No, I mean it, if you're looking at me, look!" - Dean Martin

THE DEAN MARTIN VARIETY SHOW UNCUT

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Campy, shlocky, silly and imminently entertaining, The Dean Martin Variety Show roped in viewers week after week during its entire run. This set contains six full episodes in all their uncut glory.

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Grade: C+

The story is that Dean Martin didn't want to do a regular TV series if it meant turning down movie and nightclub performances. So he demanded an outrageously high salary and that he be able to bypass rehearsals and only perform at the taping of the show. The network agreed. So he smoked non-stop, and was always seen with a drink in hand on The Dean Martin Variety Show. This set contains the jokes, the music and the memorable moments that made the show a surprise blockbuster on NBC for almost ten years. Forgotten and flubbed lines or lyrics became a part of the party as Martin did not retake a mistake and the charmingly goofy way he played them off is part and parcel of the charming goofiness of the show.

In his career Dean Martin earned the nickname "King of Cool", he was one of the members of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack" and a major star in four areas of show business: concert stage/night clubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. His career kicked off as a Sinatra-style night club singer and then he joined forces with comedian Jerry Lewis in one of the most successful comedy teams of all time. After the split of the team, Martin was successfully starring in films and on stage in Las Vegas during all the years of his television show.

The structure of the show featured Dean in solo songs and monologues. He would make a weekly visit into a fake den with pianist Ken Lane (often jumping up on to the piano). His guests would do their performance solos and then often perform with Dean. Sometimes unusual combinations of the guests would perform together. There was acrobatics, magic, dancing by Cyd Charisse, stand-up by a young Jackie Mason and more. This set features a reading by Orson Welles which is a return performance due to a huge positive audience response to a previous appearance. They just don't make shows like this anymore. Dean did a surprising amount of physical comedy on the show and got his guests to do some strange bits themselves. The shows usually ended with a large song and dance production number that included all the guests on that week's show.

The show received a dozen Emmy nominations for performance, writing and directing. Dean Martin won a Golden Globe in 1967 as Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series out of four nominations. Over the years, The Dean Martin Variety Show showcased an astonishing array of the talent of that era. These six episodes are a mere drop in the bucket of what this series contains but these episodes are a fun introduction to a different, simpler, less vulgar time.

Digitally restored and re-mastered, the video is quite acceptable and in some parts really crisp and the sound is also reasonably acceptable for some of the wackiness variety of performances one might see. The disc menues use what could be called a fun and amusing animation in the titles screen. But, it would become annoying eventually no doubt.

Episode 0025 Original Air Date: March 3, 1966

Cold Opening - Dean
"The Bird and the Bees" - Dean
West Side Story Medley - The Lettermen
Comedy Spot - Dean & Sid Caesar
"Whatever Lola Wants" - Abbe Lane
"Real Live Girl" - Dean, Abbe Lane, Sid Caesar
"Come Back to Sorrento" - Marguerite Piazza
"Santa Lucia" - Dean & Marguerite Piazza
Station Break Tease - Dean & Sid Caesar
Comedy & Singing Spot - Dean & Ken Lane
Acrobatics - David & Goliath
Folk Singing Comedy - George Gobel
Comic Banter - Dean & George Gobel
"There's Nothing Like a Dame" - Dean, Sid Caesar (tap dancing), George Gobel & dancers

Episode 0718 Original Air Date: January 12, 1967

Cold Opening - Dean
"A Marshmallow World" - Dean
Monologue - Dean
"My Lonely Room" - Steve Rossi
Comedy Spot - Dean, Allen & Rossi
"Let's Face the Music and Dance" - Allen & Rossi
"Fascinating Rhythm", "Slap That Bass" - Leslie Uggams, Jack Sperling
"Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive" Medley - Dean & Leslie Uggams
"Playmates" - Dean & Girls
Pop-in Appearance by Pat Boone
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" - Dean
Comedy Dance Numbers - Eddie Foy & Dean
Comedy Monologue - Jackie Mason
Medley - Dean & All (Marty Allen pulls off Foy's toupee and Dean mocks it in closing)

Episode 0811 Original Air Date: November 16, 1967

Cold Opening - Dean
"Turn to Me" - Dean
Monologue - Dean
"Music to Watch Girls By" - Cyd Charisse & Dancers
"I Won't Dance" - Dean & Syd Charisse
Neutral Sketch - Dean, Buddy Ebsen, Dom DeLuise
Station Break Tease Dean
Ken Lane Spot
Pop-in by Phil Harris
Nevertheless - Dean
"I LIke the Likes of You" - Buddy Ebsen, Wisa D'Orso, Dancers
"Sam's Song" - Dean & Buddy Ebsen
"Nothing Can Stop Me Now" - Barbara McNair
"Where Am I Going?" - Barbara McNair
"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" - Dean and Barabara McNair
Comedy Spot - Albert T. Berry
"I'll Never Be Jealous again" - Dean, Buddy Ebsen, Dom DeLuise
"That's Entertainment" Finale - Dean & All

Episode 0815 Original Air Date: December 14, 1967

Cold Opening - Dean
"Where or When" - Dean
Monologue - Dean
"What a Night This is Going to Be" - Caterina Valente
"On a Clear Day" - Caterina Valente & Dancers
"Rain" Medley - Dean & Caterina Valente
Bomb Guard Sketch - Bod Newhart
"Walking on New Grass" - Dean & Girls
Telephone Booth Sketch - Dean, Caterina Valente, Dom DeLuise, Bob Newhart
Ken Lane Spot
Dom DeLuise Pop-in
"Oh, You Beautiful Doll" - Dean
Topless Clubs Sketch - Dean & Bob Newhart
Comedy Spot Guy Marks
"Ten Cents a Dance" - Dean, Caterina Valente, Dom DeLuise, Dancers
"Seven-and-a-half Cents" - Dean, Caterina Valente, Dom DeLuise, Bob Newhart

Episode 0820 Original Air Date: January 25, 1968
Cold Opening - Dean
"Things" - Dean
Monologue - Dean
"You Came a Long Way from St. Louis" - Joey Heatherton & Dancers
"My Mammy" Intro - Girls
Comedy Spot - Bob Melvin
"The Merchant of Venice" Reading - Orson Welles
"Who Cares?" - Dean & Girls
Ken Lane Spot
"Welcome to My World" - Dean
"How Long Will My Baby Be Gone - Buck Owens & the Buckaroos
"I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" - Dean & Buck Owens
Comedy Spot - Dean & Professor Backwards
"You Can Have Him" - Joey Heatherton
"Just in Time" - Dean and Joey Heatherton
Magic Act - Dean, Orson Welles, Girls

Episode 623 Original Air Date: February 25, 1971
Elevator Opening - Dean & Melissa Stafford
"There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder" - Dean
Monologue - Dean
Love is Blind Sketch - Dean, Zero Mostel, Susie Lund
"Funky Chicken" - Dingalings
Musical Angels Sketch - Dean & Zero Mostel
Ken Lane Spot
Robert Wagner Pop-in
"It's the Talk of the Town" - Dean
Slides Sketch - Dean, Jackie Vernon, Zero Mostel
Shakespearean Sketch - Dean & Zero Mostel
"Brush Up Your Shakespeare" - Dean & Zero Mostel
"Me and My Shadow" - Zero Mostel & Tommy Tune
Comedy Spot - Fred Smoot
"Do You Love Me" - Zero Mostel & Kay Medford
Concert #23 - Dean & Golddiggers

Posted by: Jesse Shanks - June 17, 2012, 4:57 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: television, comedy




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