Friday, November 30, 2012

......and this was Martin's big break, writes Nick Tosches.

Hey pallies, likes ilovedinomartin tries hard not to pass up any opportunity to share our deepest of deep appreciato to Mr. Nick Tosches and his absolutely amazin' bio of our most beloved Dino, "DINO: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dream."

So, likes today we shares with you a brief essay from the scribin' blog, "Open Writing," puttin' the accent on Tosches' stellar retellin' of the Dino-story. "Openwriting Web magazine features a feast of words from regular columnists, U3A writers and other authors." Indeed focusin' on Tosches' Dino-tome is so so appropo 'cause it is truly likes a total total "Dino-feast" of the life, times, and teachin's of our great man.

So, likes pallies bathes your Dino-hearts and minds in the wise and wonderful writin's of Mr. Nick Tosches featurin' the facts and figures of our Dino's entrance into the big time croonin' world when he appeared for the first time as Dean Martin singin' with the Sammy Watkins Orchestra at Cleveland's Vogue Room on November 1, 1940.

Hats off to the pallies at "Open Writing" for featurin' this Dino-excerpt and pullin' their readership into the Dino-know. To view this in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of these Dino-thoughts. Dino-only, DMP


Dino Crocetti, who from the time he was a kid in Steubenville, Ohio had dreamed of being a singer, was recruited to Columbus by a bandleader named Ernie McKay -- who promptly changed his name to Dino Martini after the then-Hollywood-heartthrob Nino Martini. There he caught the eye of Cleveland bandleader Sammy Watkins, but these were the years of World War II and the shadow of Benito Mussolini, so another name change was in order -- to the anglicized Dean Martin. Cleveland was the big time -- flush in the wake of its strategic hold on the Erie canal and John D. Rockefeller's early oil success - - and this was Martin's big break, writes Nick Tosches.

The classiest joint in Cleveland was what Variety called the 'ultra-modernistic, intimate' Vogue Room. ... Variety observed, in its finest remedial heptalk, 'Besides being the hangout of political nabobs, track promoters and money-boys,' the Vogue Room 'manages to hold a good class trade.'

On Friday night, the first of November 1940, that good class trade, for a buck-fifty minimum, was privileged to enjoy the fruits of many muses. To open the show, there was Sigrid Dagnie, the 'Beauteous Ballerina.' Glen Pullen, who was there that night for Variety, remarked on her 'Andalusian song-and-dance bits' and the 'neat gown of burgundy and chartreuse that reveals her oomphy chassis.' Next came Floretta and Boyette, 'Mental & Mystic,' with 'a potpourri of mind-reading, magic and broad gags.'

Rex Weber, still billed as the 'introducer' of the 1932 song 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?' performed his 'standard routine of ventriloquistic singing.' The pianist Marion Arden filled the lulls of passage between acts, while Sorelli the Mystic roamed the audience, offering what the Vogue Room advertised as 'Tableside Divinations.' None of these acts was new that night to the Vogue Room; and, of course, neither was the featured attraction, Sammy Watkins and His Orchestra. But the young man whom Sammy introduced as Dean Martin, the young man who stepped forward acknowledging that improbable name -- he was new.

A few days later, Pullen's review in Variety gave him his first national notice. 'Nostalgic semi-swing arrangements of old pop numbers are its longest suit,' Pullen wrote of the orchestra. 'For another asset, Watkins has acquired a new vocalist, Dean Martin, who backs a personable kisser with a warm, low tenor and an agreeable manner.'

Watkins was paid $1,000 a week at the Hollenden. Ten percent of that went to MCA, his agency. The seven bandmembers on the payroll received from fifty to seventy-five each, depending on what Sammy thought they were worth. Dean started out at thirty-five dollars a week, plus a free room and a 50-percent discount on food at the hotel. His salary rose as his local popularity increased. By February 1941, he was a featured part of the billing.

Author: Nick Tosches

Title: Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams

Publisher: Dell Publishing a division of Random House, Inc

Date: Copyright 1992 by Nick Tosches, Inc.

Pages: 83-85

No comments: