From the swingin'ly tagged blog "FFMS - Five Men Making Sh!t - We make cool sh!t and then tell you about it," comes some of the most powerfully, purely poetic prose that ilovedinomartin has ever ever had the privilege of sharin'. Simply stated, "Style Icon: Dean Martin," has been scribed by one of the "Five Men," namely Mr. Mano Kardaras, who hails from Ottawa, Canada.
Posted a bit over six months ago on May 12, Kardaras's kindness and deepest of deep respect shines brightly through his excellent essay on our King of Cool. This remarkable read is actually the first of a series of posts that Manno has 'stablished "on specific male celebrities who exemplify class, style and sophistication." And we gotta say that we are more then pleased as punch that Kardaras chose our most beloved Dino as the focus of his premier entry sayin'.....
"In the first of the series, we’ll be looking at the late crooner, actor, and all-around boss, Dean Martin. He’s an excellent choice to start with because he had it all – the looks, the charm, the sophistication – many traits that seem to be falling out of favour with the modern man. A man that always made people smile, Dean Martin set a standard for how a man should carry himself."
And, this homage only gets better from there dudes! Included as some standard bits from the life, times, and teachin's of our main man. It is likes completely coolly clear that Mr. Manno Kardaras is truly truly in the Dino-know and deeply deeply devoted to our Dino. Likes we coulda goes on and one 'bout how fantasticly fabulous Manno's salute is, but then that will only delay youse from delvin' deeply into his powerfully passionate prose.
We do want to 'specially salute Manno for closin' his Dino-essay with wise words accentin' our Dino's "generosity and loyalty – that truly made him special." Kardaras relates a Dino-tale that we have never come 'cross before of our great great man's great great kindness to a mother and daughter in distress. It's the most heart-warmin' of heart-warmin' Dino-remembrances and the bestest of best part of all of Manno's wondrously wise words of Dino-wisdom.
Words can not express our deepest of deep appreciato to Mr. Manno Kardaras for his powerfully potent prose of Dino-devotion. Thanks ever so much for so so openly and carin'ly sharin' your love for our most beloved Dino and helpin' many many we believe will grow in knowin', lovin' and honorin' our Dino! We are only sorry that we did not happen upon this golden gem of Dino-glory before! To checks this out in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-gram. Dino-awed, DMP
Mano Kardaras in Other Sh!t | May 12, 2014
Style Icon: Dean Martin
Here at Five Men Making Sh!t, we tend to post about food and cocktails. But our interests also extend beyond those two elements, to other sh!t which we’re just as passionate about.
In keeping with our “manly” motif, I hope to establish a series on specific male celebrities who exemplify class, style and sophistication. I think we can learn a lot of important things from these men besides their favourite cocktail (although that’s highly important).
In the first of the series, we’ll be looking at the late crooner, actor, and all-around boss, Dean Martin. He’s an excellent choice to start with because he had it all – the looks, the charm, the sophistication – many traits that seem to be falling out of favour with the modern man. A man that always made people smile, Dean Martin set a standard for how a man should carry himself.
Born Dino Paul Crocetti, Dean Martin is remembered as the quintessential man’s man – the “King of Cool”. He was one of the most successful entertainers of the 20th century and had an inimitable style.
Martin’s big break came when he teamed up with legendary comedian Jerry Lewis to create Martin & Lewis. The duo starred in several hit films together before breaking up in 1956. He then went on to a solo career (TV, film, music) and recorded such hits as Everybody Loves Somebody, That’s Amore and the cult favourite, Mambo Italiano. He also starred in several films, including the original Ocean’s 11 which took place in a vastly different Las Vegas than we know today.
Although he enjoyed much success and had a variety of roles, Martin was not a workaholic. In fact, during his popular variety program The Dean Martin Show, he only worked 2 hours a week – when the show was being aired. He rarely rehearsed…he preferred the spontaneity. If there was a mistake, they wouldn’t re-shoot, it was kept in.
The bigger reason for this low-key workload was because Martin wanted spare time for his true love in life – golf. He would wake up early in the mornings just to get a round in. He was never happier than when he was out on the fairways and greens of California. He was a solid player and always sported a tan due to his love of the game. Not a bad gig.
Arguably, his coolest moments came out his association with four of his “pallies” – the infamous Rat Pack. Led by Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack also included Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Together they would play to packed houses, star in films, and own the Vegas nightlife. With Sinatra at the helm, the gang exuded coolness wherever they went. Women adored them. Men yearned to be like them. They were the alpha males of the 60’s because they had the talent and played by their own rules.
The “Rat Pack”
Although Sinatra was the unofficial “leader” of the group, it was Martin who really captivated the most on stage. He was tall and had a strong build – so he had the physical presence. But on top of that, he knew how to play to the audience and was often the funniest guy on stage – and this is including Sammy Davis Jr. who could belt out some spot-on celebrity impressions.
Watch the following video carefully. You’ll notice Martin’s subtle gags. He has everyone in stitches, including his fellow performers. Sinatra has the raw vocal talent, Sammy Davis Jr. is extremely energetic, Johnny Carson (not an official member of the Rat Pack; simply the host for the event) is a bit stiff, but Martin is simply smiling and letting his personality shine through. He’s genuinely having a good time and even the smallest gags get a huge reaction.
Martin was also one of the most fashionable men in Hollywood. Back when everyone dressed up for every occasion, he still managed to be unique, yet classic – his classic red handkerchief with his tuxedo, for example.
A few things stand out in the image below. He’s cleanly shaven and his hair is at a good length and well kept. The light grey pinstripe suit complements his tan and fits snug at the shoulders. A light blue shirt contrasts the light grey perfectly and the full-Windsor tie is centered with his collar. The icing on the cake is the cigarette in his left hand. Considered taboo nowadays, smoking was something that everyone did back then. You weren’t cool if you didn’t smoke. Like other successful singers in his time, Martin smoked like a chimney and it never affected his voice.
Smoking while recording an album – boss
Martin’s affection for always having a drink in his hand gave him the perception of that of a lush. Every time he was on stage, he’d be drinking and seemed to mumble and stumble around. This was an act. Sure he’d enjoy a couple of drinks here and there, but he was never a drunk. It was recently revealed that during most of his performances, his glass would be filled with apple juice. His long-time producer, Greg Garrison explains:
“There was apple juice in that glass. It was always apple juice in that glass. Dean was the greatest contradiction of all time; between the persona we were projecting on the television screen and what really went on with his drinking.”
What did Martin prefer when he did drink? A simple mix of rye and ginger. Not extravagant. Just a strong, delicious drink. He preferred highballs – a tall drink for a tall man.
“I feel sorry for you people that don’t drink. Because when you get up in the morning, that’s as good you’re gonna feel all day.” – Dean Martin, 1964
Although he had a few setbacks in his first marriage, Martin was living the life. He was cool, funny, talented, handsome, and wealthy. In the eyes of the public, he could do no wrong. Nevertheless, I would argue that it was the side that people didn’t see – his generosity and loyalty – that truly made him special.
A few years ago, a woman posted a piece on a blog recounting how she came to meet Dean Martin. She was having dinner with her mother in in LA during the late 80s, which just happened to be at Martin’s favourite restaurant. They saw him walk in and were instantly star struck as he made his way to his usual table. They debated going over to say hello, but couldn’t muster up the courage to do it. Just as they were about to pay their bill, they realized they didn’t have enough money. They were mortified and began to panic.
As as the waiter came by and the women were about to explain their plight, he interrupts them and informs them that the Bill had been taken care of by Mr. Martin. The women, in shock, asked why. He explained that Martin overheard their panicked conversation and insisted that he cover the bill. The women, still in complete disbelief, then notice Martin making his way to their table. Martin tells them that he hoped they enjoyed their meals and their time in LA and then insists on paying for dessert. And off he went.
An example of his loyalty was demonstrated five years into his wildly popular variety program TheDean Martin Show. The show was sold to NBC and part of that arrangement ended with Martin owning a lot of stock in RCA. A lot of stock – the largest shareholder of RCA stock in the world, in fact. Yet he did not forget who helped put him on top – his long-time friend and producer, Greg Garrison. Martin informed Garrison that they were 50/50 partners and they shook on it. No contract was signed. No lawyers were involved. Martin kept his word and they were partners for 30 years. An old fashioned handshake was all that it took for Garrison to become a millionaire in his own right – the lost art of honouring one’s word with a manly handshake.
With the Rat Pack, Martin and company refused to play at any venues that would discriminate against African-Americans. Sammy Davis Jr. was a good friend and Martin and Sinatra played an underrated role in advancing the civil rights of African-Americans in the 1960s.
Martin was a style icon in more respects than just the traditional sense. It stemmed from his personality – the way he exuded confidence and charisma, the way he could make everybody laugh with a sly smile. More importantly, it was in the way he treated others. Besides his talent, Martin was relatable to people because he was having fun doing what he was doing and never took himself too seriously. It’s something we all wish we could do – and make lots of money doing it.
It was that air of confidence, the way in which he handled himself and treated others, that truly gives him the moniker “The King of Cool.”
Dean Martin was a man from a different era. A time when men were funny without being dirty; a time when men could make mistakes and not have it be the end of the world. A time when class, sophistication and genuine kindness were not taboo and frowned upon. In our social media-obsessed world, it’s important to slow down sometimes, take a step back, and ask ourselves if we’re being the type of men we want to be.
Take a page out of Dean’s book. Carry yourself like a man, make people laugh, and raise a highball. And don’t forget to get a few holes in before the sun sets. To paraphrase one of his most famous songs – memories are truly made of this.