On The Best of the Dean Martin Show (1965-1974)

Book coverThe Best of the Dean Martin Show was a collection of videocassettes and later DVDs with songs and skits from the decade-long television program along with occasional commentary from guest stars and the producer/director who released this set. It comprises 29 volumes in all, but the Lutherans for Life garage sale only had 7 videocassettes, and not contiguous, which makes me wonder where the other 22 went.

At any rate, as it is a “Best of” series, it does not play the episodes in total. Instead, it features a couple of musical numbers, a couple of skits, and a bit of commentary in each hour-long videocassette. It starts often with Dean Martin sliding down the pole into the living room set and singing “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime”, the show’s theme, but later with the Golddiggers, the all-female song and dance group that opened the show or the pre-show warning users not to touch the dial.

And the guest stars. Jimmy Stewart and Orson Welles team up with Dean Martin at one point to do a comedy and song number about men at a beauty salon. Dom DeLouise is a frequent guest, and Peter Sellers stops by. Lorne Greene from Bonanza sings a song with Dean while they’re astride horses and Dean’s won’t stand still.

The producer/director Garrison, who is behind the collection, said that they often did not tell Dean the punchline when he was being the straight man, or at least as much of a straight man that Dean Martin could be, so that his laughter and reaction would be genuine. And there’s a recurring bit where someone knocks from inside a closet, and when Martin opens it, he’s confronted by a secret guest star who makes a gag or something and then leaves, and Martin doesn’t know who it is in advance.

Much of the humor relies on Martin’s reputation as a sophisticated partier, but in real life, he wasn’t that way, so the Dean Martin character you see is only a character infused with Martin’s warmth and humor.

So it was a fun bit to watch–I am pretty sure I watched my seven cassettes in as many nights–but it would have been better if it was more of a complete first season kind of thing, with the actual episodes collected, but this collection precedes the confidence that people would buy that sort of thing by a couple of years–this collection was packaged in the middle 1990s and sold via infomercials. One assumes that the audience then would have been old people, perhaps my grandparents, who remembered the show and Martin’s movies fondly.

One can only speculate about the kind of audience finds these cassettes secondhand two decades in the twenty-first century, but old man is probably not far off the mark.

And as I mentioned yesterday, Sandahl Bergman, who played in Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja, was one of the Golddiggers, the singers and dancers that opened the show in later years and appeared in skits. So given that I have watched those two films and four or five of this set in which she appeared, I have seen more Sandahl Bergman on screen in the last two weeks than anyone in the world unless 1) Sandahl herself is watching her old films, Norma Desmond style, in a dark room in her mansion or 2) there’s some academic writing a dissertation on her for a film doctorate who has done nothing this summer but watch her movies over and over to gather evidence for some assertions or others. If I yield to the temptation to watch Hell Comes to Frogtown in the coming days, I might surpass either of those cases.

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1 thought on “On The Best of the Dean Martin Show (1965-1974)

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