Monday, March 01, 2010

Dean Martin infomercial brings back fond memories of TV variety shows

Hey pallies, likes March blows in with this great Dino-patter from the pen of Texan Mr. Gary Ott writin' for the Midland Reporter-Telegram at the pad "My West" How simply Dino-delightful to read Mr. Ott's ruminations of watchin' the Dino-show as a youngen.... "In the Ott household the "Dean Martin Show" was must-watch TV, as the entire family -- well, except for my older sister, who was above such things -- would join together to enjoy the latest antics of Dino and his cast of merry characters."

It's clear that correspondant Mr. Gary Ott is likes totally Dino-smitten and not ashamed to share his Dino-devotion with his readers. We thanks our pallie for liftin' up the name of our Dino and encouragin' his readers to enjoys the pleasures of the Dino-mercial...simply drawin' more and more dudes to come to know, love, and honor our Dino.

Thanks to Mr. Gary Ott for his kindest of kind Dino-words. To view this Dino-prose in it's original format, just click on the tagg of this Dino-gram. And, for your Dino-viewin' Dinopleasure I have included a simply Dino-grand clip from youtube of a series of vignettes from our great man's great show...makes me yearn more and more to return to the days when Dino walked the earth! Dino-hooked...and proud of it!, DMP

Dean Martin infomercial brings back fond memories of TV variety shows

by Gary Ott

Midland Reporter-Telegram

Published: Sunday, February 28, 2010 2:27 AM CST

When the infomercial first appeared on the TV screen, Dean Martin, with cigarette in hand and a sheepish grin on his face, was exchanging witty one-liners with Jimmy Stewart. Later, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Lucille Ball, Michael Landon, Florence Henderson, Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett would make quick appearances, as did many other stars from the 1960s and 70s. It was all a part of an effort to sell more home videos of the old "Dean Martin Show" that aired on NBC from 1965 to 1974.

For 30 minutes, the infomercial showed highlights from past episodes and each time audience laughter could be heard in the background. Even as a TV viewer watching during the wee hours of the morning, it was difficult not to giggle out loud, too.

That was especially true if you were old enough to have watched the original series. The memories flowed and in a peculiar way you wanted to turn back the clock, back to a time when the three major networks dominated the airways. Indeed, for most of us it would be years before cable TV would greatly expand our viewing options. Until then, it was ABC, NBC and CBS. And if you wanted to switch channels you got up and did it manually. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

In the Ott household the "Dean Martin Show" was must-watch TV, as the entire family -- well, except for my older sister, who was above such things -- would join together to enjoy the latest antics of Dino and his cast of merry characters. And it was indeed an impressive collection. In addition to those mentioned above, other guests appearing through the years included Woody Allen, Ann-Margret, Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Goldie Hawn, Orson Welles, Ella Fitzgerald and even the great Judy Garland.

In a way, it was like viewing a TV version of a Rat Pack performance from Las Vegas. There was singing, dancing and lots of jokes, a few that bordered on being suggestive, especially for that time in America's history. Still, that was part of the charm. The show had a night club feel to it, right down to Martin's traditional tuxedo and repeated references to drinking.

But really, this series did not stand alone. Indeed, for many Americans, especially those my age, the 1960s represent a wonderful era for TV variety shows, although they were slowly disappearing and being replaced by sitcoms and one-hour dramas. Still, the variety show had its place. See if these ring a bell: "The Jackie Gleason Show," "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In," "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."

And they came on the heels of others, those classics that starred legends such as Dinah Shore, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Lawrence Welk.

But the real old-timers will insist you have to go back even earlier to truly appreciate the beginnings of this unique genre. In particular, they point to the "Texaco Star Theater," starring Milton Berle, and "Your Show of Shows," which featured Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and Imogene Coca, among others.

Still, for many Americans one variety show stands alone above the rest ... and that would be "The Ed Sullivan Show," which could be seen every Sunday night for more than two decades. And while it was known for attracting a wide array of guests, it was rock 'n' roll that became most closely identified with the show, specifically Elvis Presley and The Beatles. In a way, the program served as their coming-out party. And this country's youth would never be the same.

So, as you can see, the variety show has a long and rich history. And, frankly, it's a shame you can't find one in prime time these days. At least those of us on the back side of 50 have our memories. As for you youngsters, if you come across that infomercial starring Dean Martin, stop and watch. You'll be glad you did. After all, giggling out loud never gets old.


Amanda said...

I LOVE the Dean Martin Variety Shows! Dean couldn't have been more charming. My favorite bits were with the talented Phil Harris. Great post!

Tom said...

Very cool blog!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, so true Miss Amanda....I've been wantin' to gets my hot little hands on those Dino-dvds for so so very very Dino-long...truly our Dino at his very best...the coolest, hippest, and randiest dude ever!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, Mr. Tom, why thank you so very's truly a labor of Dino-love...please feel free to stop by often to shares in the Dino-passion...

Ralph Baker said...

Hello, Mr. Peters! Hey, this is a super-cool collection of clips from The Dean Martin show, although watching the complete 8 minutes+ took awhile with ordinary dialup.

Mr. Ott was certainly devoted to Dino-watching as I was on Thursday nights, although my parents and sister were ALSO above watching the show. Well, nuts to them. Nobody - I mean NOBODY! - was above our "Mr. Cool" Dino. And that's the truth.

Cheers from pallie Ralph!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, thanks for droppin' some Dino-patter...yeah, when I was lookin' for Dino-pixs and a Dino-clip to enhance Mr. Ott's Dino-prose, I was thrilled to discover the Dino-compilation clip to share with all my Dino-holic Dino-devotees....the dude who created that one has at least a couple more on youtube as well which sooner or later will appear at the ol' ilovedinomartin Dinoblog...makes it a Dino-day pallie!

Maria Jensen said...

Oh you know what! I think i'll sit down and watch some of my DM shows :D Great post, DMP!

ps: i sent you some links for a video that i'm working with, hope you get it ;)

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, what better way to treat yourself to some Dino-magic...I coulda watch Dino-clips 24/7 and never tire of Dino-viewin. Saw the rapid shares...will try to view 'em soon....