Friday, June 15, 2012

Case Number 23946 The Dean Martin Variety Show (Uncut)

Hey pallies, likes woo-hoo dudes! Likes we just struck Dino-pay dirt pallies. In reviewin' google Dino-lerts just came 'cross this new-to-ilovedinomartin blog pad tagged "DVD Verdict" that does vid reviews likes they were court cases...likes how ubber cool is that?

The particular case that I came upon is this totally totally randy review of The Dean Martin Variety Show (Uncut) by "Appellate Judge James A. Stewart." Said review is laid out just likes it was a case bein' heard in court with such themes as "All Rise," "The Charge," "Opening Statement," "Facts Of The Case," "The Evidence," "The Rebuttal Witnesses,"Closing Statement," and "The Verdict."

Gotta likes tells you pallies that I thinks this is simply the hippest of the hippest way to do a Dino-review and this dude "Judge Stew baby" is certainly with it in every Dino-way. Likes he hugely delivers the goods when it comes to an all-round view of this great Dino-treasure. It is obvious that Stewart viewed each and every segment of each and every episode 'cause he gives us cool detail-upon-detail 'bout each and everyone of the 6 glorious episodes...truly truly in-depth in their description.

And, best of all, when I perused the "DVD Verdict" blog pad, I likes found a TON of reviews of Dino-productions...flicks, concerts, likes you names it, you know that you will be in for many many Dino-investigations from this swingin' review pad!

Kudos to the max to the pallies gathered at "DVD Verdict" and to "Appellate Judge James A. Stewart" for this stunnin'ly stellar glace at the spectacular Dino-release, The Dean Martin Variety Show (Uncut). To view this in it's original format, likes just clicks on the tag of this Dino-devotion. Keeps lovin' our Dino pallies! Dino-thrivin', DMP

Case Number 23946

The Dean Martin Variety Show (Uncut)

TimeLife // 1965 // 309 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // June 9th, 2012

All Rise...

Last time Appellate Judge James A. Stewart sang "Welcome to My World," someone came up with Mars One.

The Charge
"It sounds so good I may even be here for it myself."—Dean Martin

Opening Statement
"Welcome to My World" is a song that Dean Martin sings twice in the six episodes on The Dean Martin Variety Show. It certainly looks like he's enjoying that world of his. He's hanging out in a groovy pad with abstract art, a firepole (which becomes a descending balcony in later seasons), a piano, and an animal print couch. Visitors like Bob Newhart, Leslie Uggams, Orson Welles, Joey Heatherton, and Zero Mostel drop by to joke around or sing a medley with him. The men wear tuxes. The women wear glittery and often revealing outfits. That's the world of the variety show, something they still had on TV when I was really little.

Just in case you didn't know, the DVD case tells you that The Dean Martin Variety Show was a top ten ratings grabber from 1965-74, so a lot of people enjoyed Dean Martin's world.

Facts of the Case
The Dean Martin Variety Show features six episodes on three discs:

Disc One
• March 3, 1966—Music from Abbe Lane, The Lettermen, and Marguerite Piazza; comedy from Sid Caesar and George Gobel; acrobatics from David & Goliath.

• January 12, 1967—Music from Leslie Uggams; comedy from Allen & Rossi and Jackie Mason; tap dancing from Eddie Foy. Pat Boone does a cameo, bringing milk, but forgetting the cookies.

Disc Two
• November 16, 1967—Song and dance from Cyd Charisse and Buddy Ebsen; music from Barbara McNair; comedy from Dom DeLuise and Albert T. Berry. Phil Harris has a cameo.

• December 14, 1967—Music from Caterina Valente; impressions from Guy Marks; comedy from Bob Newhart and Dom DeLuise.

Disc Three
• January 25, 1968—Song and dance from Joey Heatherton; music from Buck Owens and the Buckaroos; comedy from Bob Melvin and Professor Backwards (who pronounces and spells words backwards, naturally); an excerpt from The Merchant of Venice and a magic trick from Orson Welles.

• February 25, 1971—The Dingaling Sisters do the Funky Chicken; comedy from Jackie Vernon and Fred Smoot; comedy, song, and dance from Zero Mostel. Robert Wagner has a cameo and Tommy Tune plays Mostel's "Huckleberry Tiparillo" shadow in a "Me and My Shadow" song-and-dance bit.

The Evidence
There's a lot of risque business on The Dean Martin Variety Show, whether it's sultry singing from the likes of Abbe Lane or Joey Heatherton, or Bob Newhart playing a topless bar visitor, or Dean Martin clowning around with the lovely dancers, or the Murphy bed in Dino's pad that comes occupied by a woman in lingerie. It's all joined together with quips by Dino ("Joey Heatherton has such a beautiful singing voice, I could look at it all night"), often delivered with flubs.

Of course, Martin lets you know that he's not swinging that much. His wife Jeannie just wouldn't let him ("My wife worries every time there's a beautiful girl on this show" or, as Sid Caesar puts it, "In the morning, we're going to get clobbered"). Moreover, even as he's making lustful one-liners, he's also talking about his family. The rapport that Martin has with his guests helps to take the edginess off some of the risque lines even more. Still, the double-entendres can be surprisingly wild if you think of old TV as G-rated.

I much prefer actual full songs to the handful of medleys, which seem to be a variety show tradition that I'd blessedly forgotten. The best medley came from Leslie Uggams, with "Fascinating Rhythm" at its core; the worst was a Reduced Shakespeare Company-style version of West Side Story from the Lettermen. When you do get full songs (fortunately, more often than not), whether from Dino or his guests, they're usually a delight, and the strength of the show. You'll hear "Whatever Lola Wants" from Abbe Lane, "Santa Lucia" from Martin and Marguerite Piazzi, "Music to Watch Girls By" from Cyd Charisse, "Nothing Can Stop Me Now" from Barbara McNair, "On a Clear Day" from Caterina Valente, "You Came a Long Way from Saint Louis" from Joey Heatherton, and "How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" from Buck Owens. Martin sings two songs per episode by himself usually and cuts up with pianist Ken Lane every week. He's also up for duets and group numbers (yeah, they even got Bob Newhart to sing).

The comedy's more scattershot, but Bob Newhart, as always, is hilarious as he helps defuse a bomb; there's a silly Superman parody with Dom DeLuise; Sid Caesar singing "Real Live Girl" as a bashful suitor to Abbe Lane; George Gobel recreates his old hillbilly radio show; Jackie Mason riffs on the IRS; and magician Orson Welles gives Martin a scare with a guillotine. You may notice that some comedy routines—Newhart is a prime example—have elaborate intros that would probably lose the audience before they actually started the routine today.

The picture quality isn't bad. The Dean Martin Variety Show was done up in bright colors, since color TV was a new thing back in 1965. The standard definition 1.33:1 full frame image still holds up, with occasional fading. Lines and flecks are more prevalent. The Dolby 2.0 Mono audio does okay, but the mix offers nothing special. There aren't any commentaries, but there is a booklet with full music lists.

The Rebuttal Witnesses
Yeah, some of you may just not like this. The music leans toward standards, the jokes lean toward double entendres, and the glitzy production numbers are…well, glitzy. Since it's variety, there are a couple of clunkers, like some ancient jokes from Marty Allen.

Those of you who do like this will probably wish Time-Life would have gotten a full season set together. I don't know for sure what the Time-Life folks were thinking, but I suspect the usual DVD music rights hangups were involved.

Closing Statement
I can't imagine The Dean Martin Variety Show getting on the air, let alone lasting nine seasons, in our modern world. Of course, I could imagine a camera crew following Martin and his family around at home or something like that; I'd rather not, though. Some jokes fall flat, and I craved full songs every time there was a medley, but, for the most part, it works. It's an agreeable hour, if you'd like to get a little naughty—but not too naughty—or if you'd just like to hear some standards. Dean Martin's world is a nice place to visit, even if you wouldn't want to live there.

The Verdict
Not guilty.


CarolMR said...

FYI, RIO BRAVO will be shown on TCM on Sunday, June 17th, at 6:00 p.m. Mountain time. I can't believe Dean didn't get an Oscar nomination for his incredible performance in this movie.

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes thanks CarolMR for puttin' us on to that Dino-showin' Indeed it was unbelieveable that our Dino not only did not win the Best Actor Oscar as the Dude, but that he didn't even get a best actor nod. Keeps lovin' our Dino!