Hey pallies, likes welcomes to Day 6 of our month long Centennial Celebration of The Day That Coolness Came To Earth. Likes on this day, the day before the 100 anniversary of our Dino's birth in Steubenville, Ohio, we are powerfully pumped to share a most Dino-honorin' homage from the web pages of cleveland.com scribed by Miss Laura DeMarco of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Miss DeMarco's post tagged "Dean Martin at 100: Celebrating the icon of cool, who came from Ohio" begins with a gallery of 53 incredible images, three of which are included below. To view all the images simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-gram to goes to the original source of the post and click on the "53" at the center of the collage of three images shown on the page. Also included is a "Dom and Russ" vid from youtube of "Dean Martin tribute: Celebrating the icon of cool."
Likes the main body of DeMarco's exquisite efforts is a swankly scribed description of Steubenville then and now, the story of how the Dean Martin Festival began, all marvelously mixed with bits and pieces of our Dino's life and times. We are most pleased to see our most beloved Dino remarkably remembered by pallies from his early roots in the great state of Ohio.
We solemnly salute Miss Laura DeMarco, the folks at the Cleveland Plain Dealer and cleveland.com for doin' their part to celebrate our one and only Dino. We will be workin' at gettin' the massive massive montage of 53 images with cool commentary put up here at ilovedinomartin as well.
Yours in Dino,
Dino Martin Peters
Dean Martin at 100: Celebrating the icon of cool, who came from Ohio (photos, video)
Posted on June 4, 2017 at 6:03 AM
Gallery: Dean Martin at 100: Celebrating an international, and Ohio, legend
BY LAURA DEMARCO, THE PLAIN DEALER email@example.com
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - The house the little Italian boy was born in is long gone. It's now just a field of weeds and garbage, another empty lot in a city of abandoned homes.
As is the grade school he attended, and middle school, too. The church where he was baptized and joined Scouts with other sons of Italian immigrants has been decommissioned. It sits locked and empty on South 7th Street.
The bakery where he would buy hot rolls and Italian bread, and crash after late nights on the town, is only open part time, a lone survivor on a strip of abandoned buildings. The speakeasies where he dealt cards and gambled on a nascent singing career are boarded up and derelict, too.
The mob club where he tried his luck onstage outside of Cleveland is now just fodder for history books. As is the glamorous Hollenden Hotel on East Sixth Street and Superior Avenue, and its swanky Vogue Room, where his meteoric rise to fame began for $50 a week in 1940.
And yet, 100 years after little Dino Crocetti came into the world on June 7, 1917, in the wood frame house on that street of Abruzzese immigrants drawn to the mills and mines of Steubenville, the Italian boy's legacy lives on - in bright lights and memories.
Dean Martin, as he became known at the Hollenden because his given name was too ethnic, is on the Mount Rushmore of celebrity. He was a chart-topping singer, a box office juggernaut, one-half of the most famous comedy duo of all time, a TV legend and an iconic stage entertainer whose Rat Pack persona still influences ideas of "cool" today.
Dean Martin may have started out a typical son of immigrants in early 20th-century America, but this barber's boy who spoke only Italian until he went to school ended up living the American Dream 1,000-fold.
Dean Martin tribute: Celebrating the icon of cool
"He was one of a kind," says singer Rick Burke, one-half of one of at least three Rat Pack tribute acts currently playing in the Cleveland area.
"Dean Martin was one of the coolest, most laid-back, smooth-voiced guys ever. And he happened to be from Ohio.
"Frank [Sinatra] and Dean and those guys, it was timeless music. It was so hip even its day. And Dean doesn't lose his hip factor. We sing downtown more than anywhere, and young girls and guys love this music. It just lights up a room. His music grabs you in the gut. People in their 20s to 90s love Dean Martin."
No one is a bigger fan than Rose Angelica, founder of the annual Dean Martin Festival in Steubenville, the former mill town of 18,000, two hours from Cleveland, right across from West Virginia on the Ohio River.
Angelica started the festival 20 years ago along with Dean Martin's daughter Deana, following Martin's death from lung cancer on Christmas Day 1995.
"People kept telling Mayor Mucci that Steubenville should do something after my dad passed away," says Deana Martin, calling from her home in Branson, Missouri. "He called Rose because she was a music teacher." She reached out to Deana, one of Martin's seven children and a singer-actress, and a festival was born.
Angelica, a Steubenville native, grew up hearing her parents' and grandparents' tales of Dino/Dean.
"As a little kid, especially an Italian one, you always heard about Dean Martin growing up here," says Angelica. "He did it all: He was a movie star and singing legend, and his TV show was at the top. He was a legend, and he was from Steubenville."
Jerry Barilla, manager of the Steubenville Visitors Center, agrees. "Everybody in Steubenville knows somebody who knew Dean, or Dino, as he was called. But his popularity is much bigger than Steubenville. We have people coming from all over the country, the world to the festival. They bring their kids, and parents and grandparents."
Dean Martin tourism is one of Steubenville's biggest draws all year, says Barilla, but especially at festival time. A contingent from Montesilvano, Italy - Dean's father Guy Crocetti's hometown - even visited. The Visitors Center has compiled a "Dean Martin: Boyhood Footsteps" walking tour.
Though his family home may be gone, and Dean rarely visited after he left for bright lights of Cleveland in the late 1930s, he still cast a wide shadow in Steubenville.
There's the enormous mural on the Kroger's at Hollywood Shopping Plaza on Sunset Boulevard - yes, really - to the Jefferson County Historical Museum and Library, which has a whole room dedicated to Dino. Items range from a bow tie he wore, to records he sang on, T-shirts from his "Red Eye" softball team, to a stunning wedding dress his seamstress mother Angela made in 1942.
"My grandma was a fantastic seamstress and cook," says Deana Martin. "I'm pretty sure that's why my dad had such a classic sense of style, and his clothes fit him so beautifully."
Though Dean was already famous by the time Deana was born in 1948, and headed for a life in Beverly Hills, she says his Ohio roots shaped the hipster crooner.
"He would talk about how Steubenville was such a hard-working town and how he admired the coal miners. ... That's why he worked so hard, because of where he came from. And that's why he always taught us to treat people the way you would want to be treated."
Steubenville was also where Dean Martin learned to deal cards, in gambling clubs such as the Rex Cigar Shop, and Walkers Cafe, where he started singing on the bar. Both are long gone.
But Steubenville Bakery and DiCarlo's Pizza, started by Martin's childhood pal Primo DiCarlo, are still standing. "That's where my dad used to sleep after a night out, on the flour bales, if he didn't want to wake his parents," says Deana.
Ninety-four year-old Naples Spaghetti House is still around, too, the busiest place in Steubenville most days, and Dean's favorite, says Angelica. "Dean used to always order the same thing: plain spaghetti in marinara, never meat sauce, a meatball and tiramisu," she says.
Indeed, there's a picture of him with his pasta in the foyer. "There used to be more; they were all stolen," Angelica says.
Just around the corner, the Spot Bar where Dino used to play dice in the back room is also still open. Today, though, the barflies are talking about Mumford and Sons. Never mind; Dino - a cardboard version - is holding court over the patio in the back, where a tribute show will pay honor at the fest.
These four days will feature tribute acts and a parade and a Catholic Mass, parties, Italian food and more. The crowds remind Angelica of the old days of Steubenville.
"This used to be like New Orleans," she says. "There were people out on the streets and in clubs every night. They were always singing on the street corners. That's how Dean got his start. They didn't have TV back then. People went out every night. It was a musical town, and Dean was always singing."
Angelica says Dean's popularity in Steubenville can't be underestimated.
"They say in New Jersey, every Italian family had a picture of the pope and Frank Sinatra in their living room. In Steubenville, every family had a picture of the pope, and Dean."
"I just love attending the festival," says Deana Martin, who will perform Saturday, June 17, at the festival. "I get to hear all these great stories about Dad, how he was so much fun and would sing at all the parties and always say something funny in between. I love hearing all these stories about my dad from before 1938."
By the late 1930s, Dino had outgrown Steubenville and was seeking brighter lights. After a brief stop in Columbus, he ended up with a gig at the infamous mob-owned Mounds Club outside Cleveland in Willoughby Township on Chardon Road.
Openly owned by the Cleveland syndicate, including Las Vegas' Desert Inn founder Thomas Jefferson McGinty, it was a glitzy cabaret frequented by mobsters, high rollers, politicos and Cleveland's party set.
It attracted some of the biggest performers of the day, including Lena Horne, comedian Joe E. Lewis and an up-and-coming Dino Crocetti, who was then experimenting with the name Dino Martini, to sound more like popular crooner Nino Martini.
Dino started making a name for himself with his suave shows at the Mounds, but it wasn't until November 1940 that he had his big break - and was reborn as Dean Martin.
Sammy Watkins, the bandleader at the Hollenden's swanky Vogue Room, had heard of the young singer making a name in Lake County and asked him to perform, thinking he might add the fresh blood the Vogue Room needed to compete with the Statler's Terrace Room. So he renamed him and turned on the spotlight. A star was born.
Variety magazine raved, "Watkins has acquired a new vocalist, Dean Martin, who backs a personable kisser with a warm, low tenor and agreeable manner."
A 1968 Plain Dealer article about Dean's start in Cleveland said, "Dean took a cut of $75 a week - down to $50 - to take the job and leave his gambling house employment."
"With Watkins he developed experience enough to go out on his own," said a 1959 Plain Dealer article looking back at Martin's meteoric success.
His launch in Cleveland was brief. By 1943, Dean was on his way to New York, where he ended up following Frank Sinatra at the legendary Riobamba Club. A chance meeting with comedian Jerry Lewis followed, and the rest, as they say, is history: tours, movies, Hollywood, Sinatra, Vegas, the Rat Pack.
But Cleveland retained a special spot in her father's heart, says Deana, especially the Hollenden.
"He met my mother at the Hollenden Hotel. Her father was a liquor salesman, and he would go to the different stores and nightclubs to sell liquor to them. One night, he took my mother to the Vogue Room when my dad was rehearsing, and Mother saw him. She came back to his show later that night and wore a red sombrero so he wouldn't miss her.
"Cleveland was very near and dear to his heart, because that's where he met my mom."
Dean and his first wife, Betty McDonald, married at St. Ann's Church in Cleveland Heights in October of 1941.
There aren't many Clevelanders around who still remember Martin from his time in Cleveland. But Nancy Phillips, owner of 99-year-old Guarino's restaurant in Little Italy, says it was a regular haunt of his when he lived up the hill in a furnished apartment on Mayfield Road.
He was also said to have been fond of the New York Spaghetti House, the Theatrical Bar and Grill on Short Vincent and the va-va-voom shows at the Roxy Burlesque.
"I was just a kid at the time, but I remember him coming here and drinking," says Phillips, who grew up next to the restaurant her family now owns.
"I remember the stories Mama Guarino and others would share. He would come in with his friends and take the two round tables at the front of the restaurant. Mama Guarino would fix whatever he wanted. And back then Sam [Guarino] made homemade wine, and he and Sam would tap it and sit out front. He knew the 'neighborhood gentleman,' too, if you know what I mean.
"People still come in here today and ask, 'Where did Dean Martin sit? What did he eat?' Later, he brought Sammy and Frank and others back when they were in town."
Across the street from Guarino's, the spirit of Dean Martin lives on in the back room of Angelo's Nido Italia Ristorante on a recent night. Dom and Russ, who perform as "Vegas After Dark: The Modern Day Rat Pack," are romping through "Everybody Loves Somebody" to a packed room of dancing millenials and octogenarians sipping wine.
Russ Mascia, whose father grew up in Little Italy, has heard all the stories about Dino in C-Town and sings most of the Martin parts.
"No wonder people still love him; he not only sang, but he was a real, true entertainer. He was cool, he was suave, he had the looks and the talent.
"In other cities, Frank Sinatra might be more popular, but in Cleveland, we love Dean."
"To visit and to see all the people who adored Dean Martin and the stories about what he meant in their lives means so much to me," says Deana Martin. "How he still touches so many people is amazing."
As Dean himself once sang:
The sweet sweet memories you gave-a me
You can't beat the memories you gave-a me
Memories are made of this
Dean Martin's centennial: Where to celebrate
Dean Martin Festival: 100th Birthday Celebration, June 15-18, Steubenville. Tribute shows, singing contests, a Mass, a parade, food, impersonators, tours and much more. For a full schedule: http://www.deanmartinsteubenville.com/ or 740-283-4935.
Luca Italian Cuisine, 2100 Superior Viaduct, Cleveland: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8. Celebrate Dino's birthday with Rick and Sharona, Al Bucco and Bobby Leach. A tribute to the "King of Cool" with specialty drinks, a view of the city, music and more. For more Rick and Sharona shows: http://www.rickandsharona.com/.
Angelo's Nido Italia Ristorante, 12020 Mayfield Road: 7 p.m. June 23. Dom and Russ, the Modern Day Rat Pack, perform Dean Martin hits and more. For more Dom and Russ shows: http://www.domandruss.com/EVENTS.htm.
Steubenville Visitors Center offers self-guided Dean Martin walking tours, 120 South 3rd Street, 1- 866-301-1787http://www.visitsteubenville.com/
Jefferson County Historical Museum and Library, 426 Franklin Ave., Steubenville, 740- 283-1133