Sunday, December 23, 2007

Carl Sagin's Global Warming Christmas Special with our Dino

Hey pallies, here's a way cool clip of Tommy Hanks playin' our Dean Martin in Carl Sagin's Global Warming Christmas Special. If you wanna see the clip in the original blogger's page, just click on the title of this Dinopost. Have a great Dinowintercelebration!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dino sing the Christmas Blues

Hey pallies, here's 'nother great Dinowintersong...."The Christmas Blues." Our Dino really makes us feel the blue side of Dinowintertime and indeed as we comemerate our Dino's leavin' us on December 25, we all just have to feel a bit blue.

our Dino sings White Christmas

Hey pallies, no one, and I mean no one sings winter like our man Dean Martin. Here's Dino doin' "White Christmas" for our Dinoviewin' and Dinolistenin' Dinopleasure. Seems like the radios play much more Dinosongs durin' like could it be Dinowinter all year?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dino and the frankie sing Marshmellow World

Hey pallies, Dinowinterday is comin' soon and no one sings winter like our great man. Here's a great Dinoclip from the 1967 Dinowinterspecial that featured family Martin and famiy Sinatra....our Dino is just the mellowest!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"I've aways thought of Dean Martin as everybody's mischievous drunkie uncle."

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Hey pallies, here's a great Dinotrib from the Toronto Star newspaper. This dude Patrick McKenna is a true Dinoholic for Dinosure. If you wanna read the post in it's original form, just click on the title of the Dinoblog Dinopost!

Take it from us, pally: Dean was `king of cool'

Patrick McKenna
Dean devotee

I've always thought of Dean Martin as everyone's mischievous drunken uncle. You know, the one who makes parties so much fun.

Sure, Uncle Dean is going to say something off-colour, drink and flirt too much, but at some point in the evening he's going to sing and all will be forgiven.

Wouldn't it be great to be as carefree, confident and successful as Uncle Dean seemed to be?

Whether he was singing and dancing and setting up his frenetic partner, Jerry Lewis, or reinventing himself as a solo act in front of a Vegas audience, then moving on to be a leading man in films as a cowboy or secret agent, Dean always took the laid-back, smooth approach. His albums and television show embraced such an ease that he made Perry Como look energetic.

But let's not forget the mischief. Dean's charming mischief, delivered through twinkling eyes and a smiling face, made his humour and music impossible to resist.

Nobody can sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" the way Dean coerces his prey into staying the night, or get away with calling women "pigs," as he did in the film Some Came Running.

And still they find him sexy. If I don't compliment my wife's choice of shoes twice a day, I'm tagged "an inconsiderate slob!" Oh, to be blessed with charming mischief.

But men found Dean charming as well. Not just because he drank, smoked and got to hang out with Marilyn Monroe – all of which are fine reasons, too – but for something as simple as always calling guys "pally."

Sure, it was because he didn't know or remember your name ... but "pally" is inclusive, an endearment. Whereas "pal" can be threatening as in "Look, pal ..." or "Listen here, pal ..." By simply adding the "ly," Dean made everyone feel like one of the guys.

Now, I don't want you to think Dean was all style over substance. Only real talent could knock The Beatles out of their 1964 streak of No. 1 hits the way Dean did with his release of "Everybody Loves Somebody."

Which, incidentally, Frank Sinatra had previously released back in 1948 – and which only reached No. 25 on the charts.

The "cool quotient" argument between Martin and Sinatra fans is a silly one. Especially if you think it was Sinatra ...

But, honestly, both men were incredibly talented and incredibly cool in so many ways. To me, though, Dean's panache came from a natural place – he didn't have to scream or demand it the way Frank seemed to.

Dean's cool came from not caring what other people thought. He was as comfortable in a Sy Devore tuxedo as he was in golf attire. As comfortable being a crooner or a comedian as he was a playboy or cowboy. The man had confidence and the talent to back it up.

Even Elvis noted, "I may be the king of rock 'n' roll, but Dean Martin is the king of cool."

So there! You can argue with me all you want, but are you really going to argue with Elvis Presley about cool?

Didn't think so, pally.


Hey pallies, here's some great tribs to the Rat Pack.....even better if you view it in it's original source at the Toronto just click on the title of this Dinoblog Dinopost and view it in it's original Dinoglory!

Rat Pack still rulers of cool

Original Rat Pack members pose outside the legendary Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1959 during a break from filming Ocean’s 11. From left: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

Dean vs. Frank: Who was cooler? They're making it a groovy Christmas A rat pack glossary

Bag: A particular area of interest, as in "Not my bag, baby" (also "thing")

Big Casino, The: Dead, death (also "cash out," "check out," "dirt nap")

Bird: Specifically, a reference to male genitalia; generally, as an inquiry about the state of a pally's sex life, as in "How's your bird?" (also "hey hey" – more often a reference to the actual act)

Broad: One of several offensively sexist Pack euphemisms for an attractive woman – though somehow less mean-spirited and more socially acceptable at the time (also "chick," "dame," "doll," "mouse," "pussycat," "skirt," "tomato")

Bum: A nobody; a has-been; a heel; a journalist (also "bunter," "creep," "crumb," "fink," "punk")

Cat: Another cool guy

Charlies: Breasts

Clam-bake: A party or get-together (also "shin-dig")

Clyde: Straight, square, uncool (also "Charlie," "Harvey," "Sam")

Coo-coo: Terrific, great – see also "groovy," "The End"

Crazy: See "coo-coo"

Croaker: Doctor (also "saw-bones")

Dig: An enthusiasm for, as in "I dig that jazz."

The End: The very best, often modified with "livin'," as in "The Livin' End" (also "gas," "gasser")

Fracture: To laugh or make laugh (also "kill," "knock 'em dead," "murder," "paralyze")

Gasoline: Jack Daniels

Groovy: See "The End" – most often employed by Sammy

Hacked: Angry

Joint: A nightclub, bar or showroom (also, more regularly, "saloon")

Locked up: A sure thing

Pally: Term of inclusive endearment, as in "Hey pally, how's your bird?" (also "baby," "buddy," "chum")

Ring-a-ding: Expression of enthusiasm, approval – see "groovy," "The End"

Solid: See "groovy"

Swing: To make enjoyable, to celebrate, make merry, as in "This joint swings!," or "That cat can swing!"

"ville": As in Dullsville, Endsville, Nowheresville, Scramsville, Splitsville, Squaresville. Places you never want to go. Unless you're a Clyde.

- Rob Salem

They're making it a groovy Christmas Ring-a-ding-ding, Santa, the Rat Pack's here for the holidays.Only a Clyde wouldn't know Frank, Dean, Sammy et al. remain the quintessence of hip

Dec 15, 2007 04:30 AM
Rob Salem
entertainment columnist

They're all gone now ... Peter Lawford was first, in 1984. Sammy Davis, Jr. died in 1990. Dean Martin cashed in his chips on Christmas Day, 1995, and Frank Sinatra followed in May of 1998. Joey Bishop, the last of the Pack, packed it in just last October.

The Sands Hotel, site of their greatest triumph, was demolished in 1996 to make way for the more elaborate, family-friendly attractions of the faux-Italian theme park, The Venetian.

The Rat Pack is dead. Long live the Rat Pack.

The coo-coo quintet – though really, in essence, its central trio – were the rulers of cool back in Camelot America, when Kennedy, the youngest, hippest president ever, was ascending to the White House, there was a brief, relatively peaceful calm between the Korean War and Vietnam, and youthful rebellion was still pretty much limited to loud rock 'n' roll and even louder apparel.

They were simpler times ... which goes a long way to explaining why the era is suddenly upon us again, in terms of culture and style, if not historical reality.

Rat Pack style is everywhere – even the hip-hop crowd is trading in its butt-baring, oversized track-suit and bling thing for nicely tailored suits with thin lapels, skinny ties, fedoras or pork-pie hats. The up-do in on the upswing, along with cocktail dresses, gloves and clutch-bags for women.

Martinis and high-balls are the libations of choice, and Michael Bublé is climbing the charts as even the iPod generation embraces ring-a-ding swing.

Mad Men, a painstakingly detailed period drama about Madison Avenue in the early '60s – currently in re-runs on AMC – is one of the few break-out hits of the TV season.

And next Thursday, a literal revival hits town, a seasonal edition of the long-running roadshow tribute, Christmas with the Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas, featuring Frank, Dean and Sammy impersonators and a full-on orchestra recreating the show that might have been, but never can be again (but while it is, it runs Dec. 20-31 at the Princess of Wales).

Given their enduring and resurgent impact, not to mention the voluminous background material contained in today's comprehensive "Rat Package," it is somewhat surprising to note that the entire phenomenon was, in duration, the tiniest blip on the cultural curve, petering out almost as soon as it peaked thanks to flower power, bell-bottoms, the Beatles invasion and the Summer of Love.

They weren't even really the "Rat Pack," having inherited that name from the Holmby Hills crowd who hung out at Judy Garland and Sid Luft's in the1950s, among them Bogart and Bacall, Tracy and Hepburn, George Cukor and Swifty Lazar, David Niven ... and a young Frank Sinatra.

When Sinatra formed his own social circle, they initially referred to themselves as "The Summit," then "The Clan" – though that one was quickly vetoed by Sammy. They never did call themselves the Rat Pack.

And again, it was the key three, not the commonly accepted five, who would in fact never all work together again as a unit after filming Ocean's 11.

To be frank (so to speak), Lawford and Bishop were at best peripheral, the former, with his Kennedy and Marilyn connections, representing tragedy, the latter, synchronistically, comedy relief. Sammy, indisputably the most supremely talented of the group, was often as much a pet as a pally, nicknamed "Smokey" and constantly chided and derided on stage, though as much for being Jewish, short and one-eyed as for being black.

And to be fair, the Pack, and Sinatra in particular, made enormous strides in redressing the institutionalized inequities Sammy and other minority performers were still forced to endure.

At the centre of it all though, it was Frank and Dean, respectively, perhaps, the group's ego and id.

We'll let our expert enthusiasts argue which one was the true king of cool.

The point is, almost 50 years have passed, and they haven't gone away.

Truly, in the best possible sense, a "livin' end."

The Essential Rat Pack

As noted by our guest columnists Colin Mochrie and Patrick McKenna, "One for My Baby" for Frank and "Everybody Loves Somebody" for Dean. Alternately, respectively, "My Way" and "That's Amore."

Sammy will forever be identified with "Mr. Bojangles" and "Candyman," though he apparently hugely resented the career-reviving international success of the latter.


Hands down, The Rat Pack Live at the Sands Hotel. Frank, Dean and Sammy in their prime, singing and kibitzing – mostly kibitzing – before a sold-out audience of avid celebrity fans. If you want to see what we're talking about, check out the annotated DVD-Audio release of Rat Pack Live at the Villa Venice, a 1962 Chicago show reportedly staged at the request of mob boss Sam Giancana.


The original Ocean's Eleven, made at the height of their collective powers in 1960. The coo-coo cool caper classic has been retroactively trashed thanks to the Clooney-Pitt remake of 2001. But it is quite a remarkable accomplishment, not only for its cultural impact, but the fact it was shot, more often than not, in single takes, in between ritual steam baths, all-night parties, gambling, womanizing and double sets at the Sands.

By far the best retrospective look at the Rat Pack phenomenon is the 1998 HBO biopic, The Rat Pack, directed by Rob Cohen (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) and featuring quite uncanny evocations of Dean and Sammy by Ray Mantegna and Don Cheadle (Ray Liotta's Frank, not so much). It's available on DVD.


Honourable mention, of course, to the various Sinatra specials and short-run series, and Sammy's endless episodic appearances – notably, the infamous Archie Bunker kiss on a 1972 All in the Family and, for my money, his 1969 Mod Squad guest role (one of three) as Father John, the cool priest who could talk to the kids.

However, it was The Dean Martin Show (but not the spin-off "Celebrity Roasts"), which ran from 1965 to 1974, that perfectly encapsulated Rat Pack cool through Dean's laid back, above-it-all, smoothly snockered persona.


Two fingers of Jack Daniels, three or four ice cubes, the rest water in a standard rocks (Old Fashioned) glass. Alternately, vodka – Stolichnaya, by choice – on the rocks or, as an afternoon eye-opener in a Bloody Mary. Martinis were de rigueur, but only before dinner, and never more than two. Served up cold and dry, Stoli or British gin with a tiny drop of vermouth, two olives ... it was a customary gesture to share one with a pally.

Pepe Ruiz, veteran bartender at Chasen's, also made a special martini for the boys, the "Flame of Love," featuring a La Ina sherry rim and incinerated orange peels.

(It should be duly noted here that neither Dean nor Frank drank nearly as much as they let on. On stage, Dean's glass was invariably filled with apple juice, and Frank's standard party trick was to take just a few sips of each drink, leave it, then go get a fresh one. Frank also never inhaled when he smoked. Sammy's drug use – cocaine, specifically – reportedly incurred Sinatra's wrath.)


Sadly, few of the following still exist: In New York, Toots Shor's, Jilly's, Patsy's, 21 and the Stork Club. In Los Angeles, Frank's own Puccini's, Chasen's, Nicky Blair's, Villa Capri, Bistro Gardens, Matteo's and La Dolce. (Dean, regrettably, spent his declining years sitting alone at Tony Roma's rib joint.) In Vegas, of course, Jack Entratter's main room at the Sands, and Frank's Cal Neva Lodge in Tahoe. In Chicago, The Pump Room, Twin Anchors and Gibsons.

In Toronto ... well, they never did hang out here, and if they did today, there would be precious few places to go, with local jazz joints dropping like flies. The one exception is the still-thriving Reservoir Lounge at Church and Wellington, offering nightly standards of swing.


There are probably more Sinatra biographies than there are Sinatra recordings, ranging from Kitty Kelly's famously controversial, unauthorized His Way to daughter Nancy's worshipful Frank Sinatra: An American Legend. The definitive Dean biography is Nich Tosches' exhaustive Dino, Living High in the Business of Dreams, though 2005's Dean Martin: King Of The Road, by Michael Freedland, includes revelations of mob ties based on released FBI documents. Ex-partner Jerry Lewis offers a unique inside perspective in his recently released Dean and Me. Sammy is best read in his own words, his 1965 autobiography, Yes I Can.

But if you want to truly understand Rat Pack style, you can do no better than The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin', by Esquire writer Bill Zehme, the source (along with several of the aforementioned) for much of the above material.

- Rob Salem

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Hey pallies, this is just so Dinocool. Here's a collection of comic strips tagged "The Feast Of The Seven Fishes" by a dude named Robert Tinnell whose characters love our on the title of this Dinoblog post to read all 'bout cool to find our Dino bein' celebrated in more and more cool ways. BTW pallies, this cool collection would make a way cool Dinogift for any Dinolover on your Dinolist!

Monday, November 26, 2007


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Hey pallies, here's your Dino-opportunity to cast your vote for our Dino. Here's a poll that asks who is the great movie star singer. Well all true Dinoholics know the only answer to this question is our great man. Click on the title of this Dinogram to go to the poll. And, pallies you can vote as often as you like...but you have to sign out and then sign back in to vote each time. Let's honor our Dino by lettin' the world know of your Dinoaddiction!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dean Martin and Joey Bishop

Hey pallies, here's a great clip of our Dino and Mr. Joey Bishop in memory of Joey's departure from our planet. RIP Mr. Bishop.

turn to our DINO!!!!!

Hey pallies, dudes all I can say is loves it!!!! This is our Dino at his funny, so clever, oh so cool, so hip, and every randy....for whatever you need...just turn to DINO!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Even More Information on the Lawsuit Over Rights To The Dean Martin Show

Hey pallies, here is even more info on the lawsuit over the Dean Martin Show rights. It appears that Guthy-Renker knew since last September about the problem over rights to the Dinoshow. Again, if you wish to see it in the original form, just click on the title of this Dinopost.

NBC sues Palm Desert

05:22 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Press-Enterprise

Lawyers for media giant NBC Universal has filed a lawsuit claiming Palm Desert-based Guthy-Renker, an infomercial titan, has been making money off a television show that isn't theirs to sell.

Near acne cream and exercise equipment in the list of Guthy-Renker's products is "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts" DVD collection.

According to the suit, Guthy-Renker, which claims annual sales of $1.3 billion, also began selling "The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show" in 2003, which, unlike the celebrity roast footage, contained clips still owned by NBC Universal.

The Aug. 3 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of California accuses Guthy-Renker officials of knowingly selling the variety show DVD collection since September 2006 despite being warned about NBC's copyrights and agreeing to settle with NBC at a July 9, 2006, meeting.

NBC Universal contends that the infomercial company has earned tens of millions of dollars from sales of the DVDs.

Shannon Keller, spokeswoman for Guthy-Renker, said no one at the company was available to comment on the lawsuit Wednesday.

Other defendants in the lawsuit include Greg Garrison Productions Inc., which acted as producer and director of "The Dean Martin Show." NBC Universal claims Garrison attempted to buy all 235 episodes in 1979 but instead bought 26 episodes in 1980. By the beginning of 2003, Garrison had signed an agreement with Guthy-Renker to distribute "The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show," according to the lawsuit.

Three years later, NBC Universal discovered footage it owned was featured in the DVDs.

Ronald L. Blanc, who represents the Greg Garrison Revocable Trust and Black Horse Television Enterprises LLC, and Barrump-Bump Publishing Co. are also named as defendents.

Greg Garrison died in March 2005. A woman who answered the phone at a business identified as Greg Garrison Productions in Thousand Oaks refused to comment. Blanc and officials at Barrump-Bump Publishing Co. could not be reached for comment.

Dean Martin, the comedic crooner and one-fifth of the Rat Pack, hosted his own variety show for nine seasons from 1965 to 1976. He died in 1995.

NBC Universal claims it owns the rights to 235 episodes of "The Dean Martin Show" and portions of at least 86 of those episodes were used in the DVDs later sold by Greg Garrison Productions and Guthy-Renker. The media company hasn't disputed Guthy-Renker's ownership of the celebrity roast footage, said NBC Universal's Nate Kirtman.

Guthy-Renker has held the copyright to the "Best of Dean Martin Variety Show" on videocassette since 2002 and on DVD since 2005, and has held the "Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" title since 2004, according to records on the U.S. Copyright Office's Web site.

The company holds the trademark for "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts," which was approved by The Dean Martin Family Trust, according to records on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The trust still owns the trademark to Dean Martin's name.

Variety Show Squabble

NBC Universal claims footage it owns of "The Dean Martin Show" has been used in unauthorized DVDs sold by Palm Desert-based infomercial giant Guthy-Renker.

235 -episodes of "The Dean Martin Show" owned by NBC Universal

86 - episodes owned by NBC Universal but used in Guthy-Renker's "The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show"

Source: lawsuit filed by NBC Universal

More on the NBC Universal Lawsuit of Rights To The Dean Martin Show

Hey pallies, here's an update on what this NBC Universal Dinosuit is all 'bout. To read it in it's original form, just click on the title to this Dinopost.

NBC Universal sues for Dean Martin Show DVD rights

UPDATE: Studio says producer sold rights it didn't own
By Ned Randolph -- Video Business, 9/10/2007
SEPT. 10 | NBC Universal has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to reassert its legal claim to the bulk of episodes of The Dean Martin Show, a weekly variety program that aired on NBC for nine seasons from 1965 to 1975.

A complaint seeking damages for copyright infringement was filed in the California Central District on Aug. 3 against Guthy-Renker Corp., Greg Garrison Productions, Ronald L. Blanc, Black Horse Television Enterprises and Barrump-Bump Publishing Co.

First reported by the fan-based Web site, the news was confirmed this week by NBC Universal.

The Golddiggers Web site was formed by a group of fans who would like to see all the episodes of The Dean Martin Show re-released on DVD or rebroadcast on TV.

Excerpts of the show, packaged in a 29-volume Best of Dean Martin DVD and VHS, have been marketed and sold since 2002 by Guthy-Renker, which purchased the episodes from the estate of Greg Garrison Productions, the original producer of the show.

NBC's complaint alleges that many of the episode excerpts belong to the studio—and not Greg Garrison Productions. The studio says it owns the copyrights to 235 episodes. "Material portions of at least 86 episodes of The Dean Martin Show owned by NBCU have been copied and included on the best-of-shows DVDs," the complaint states.

NBC had apparently been considering packaging the Dean Martin properties when representatives learned of the Best of Dean Martin series. The complaint says NBC Universal believes Guthy-Renker has sold "many thousands of copies of the infringing DVDs and has grossed tens of millions of dollars in revenue from their infringements."

The show ended in 1976. Three years later, the producer on the show, Greg Garrison, proposed to NBC that Garrison purchase all 235 episodes but ultimately did not go through with the purchase. Garrison later purchased 26 episodes. In 2002, Garrison Products entered into an agreement with Guthy-Renker for the distribution of The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show, which included "substantial portions of the NBCU copyrighted works."

The name of the Golddiggers fan Web site refers to the women who starred on the show alongside Martin, called Golddiggers and later Dingaling Sisters. The group of regular female singer-dancers would become established fixtures on the program and even branched out on their own, playing at dates around the country and traveling abroad with Bob Hope to entertain American troops on the comedian’s annual Christmas trips and TV specials.

Ten Things Dean Martin Took From Northeast Ohio

Hey pallies, thought you might like to enhance your Dinoeducation with this great Dinoliterature taken from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. If you wanna see it in it's original form, just click on the title of this Dinopost.

Ten Things Dean Martin Took from Northeast Ohio

By Vic Gideon

His Singing Style
Dean took singing lessons in Steubenville from the mayor's wife, Corrine Applegate, despite the fact he hated any type of schooling. But perhaps he found his greatest teacher in a movie theater in his hometown. "When a Bing Crosby movie ever came to Steubenville, I would stay there all day and watch. And that's where I learned to sing, 'cause it's true, I don't read a note. I learned from Crosby, and so did Sinatra, and Perry Como. We all started imitatin' him. He was the teacher for us all."*

His Early Performing Experiences
Dean honed his craft in Steubenville, Youngstown, and Cleveland before heading to New York, California, and Las Vegas. He made his stage debut in the summer of 1934 at Craig Beach near Youngstown and frequently sang in Steubenville. "We be sitting in these joints, we had four or five joints downtown," lifelong friend Mindy Costanzo remembers, "had floor shows every night and you'd go in there and get a beer for a dime and watch a floor show. And then he'd end up going up and singing a few songs." One Sunday, while Dean was singing at the Capitol Theatre, Glenn Miller went up to the ballroom and heard Dean singing with Al Arter's group. Miller's comment about the entertainment? In an answer akin to the Beatles hearing that guitar bands were out, Miller said, "Well, the music is pretty good. But that singer'll never make it."*

A Nickname
"We used to call him Punchy," says Mindy Costanzo. "He used to box," says Rose Angelica, organizer of Steubenville's annual Dean Martin Festival. "And they gave him the name Kid Crochet but the guys in town here called him 'Punchy' because, his first fight, he got knocked out on the first punch."

Lifelong Friends
"It was a ball," says lifelong friend Mindy Costanzo of their early years together. "Every time you looked at him you'd bust out laughing. He was a real, real comedian." Costanzo describes the same Dino from Steubenville that became world-renowned entertainer Dean Martin: "Happy go-lucky. He didn't care about anything. He'd borrow a buck off of you, and he didn't owe you anything. He was just one of those guys. He was just, you see him, just the way he acted, happy-go-lucky."

Trail of Broken Hearts
Dean romanced plenty of women in Steubenville and Cleveland. "Here today, gone tomorrow," Mary Vecchione says of Dean's love life. "That's Dean."* One of his many girlfriends, Irma DeBenedetto, doesn't have such fond memories of Dean's lifestyle. "I don't have nothing to do with him. I don't have nothing to do with him anymore. I'm married. I got a nice husband and, uh, I did go with him and that's it. I quit. He was a dirty bum - that all! Here - before he got up in the big time. Dirty liar - a bum."*

Knowledge of Gambling
"He used to work at the Rex Cigar; it was a gambling casino-type thing," says Rose Angelica of Dean's nights as a blackjack dealer and croupier in Steubenville. "And he'd wear shoes that were two sizes too big for him and he'd stuff silver dollars in 'em when he stole money from Mr. (Cosmo) Quattrone (owner of the Rex)." Dean, of course, later became one of the most successful acts in the gambling capitol of North America, Las Vegas.

Expertise Riding Horses
Dean, who played a cowboy in movies like Rio Bravo with John Wayne, learned how to ride after nights working in the gambling joints, according to his lifelong friend, Mindy. "We used to cruise around at night when he got through working at the gambling joints and then at daylight, I'd drop him off and they went out at Cunningham Stables in Wintersville and went horseback riding," Costanzo remembers. "I'd go home and go to bed; I had to go to work. That's where Dean Martin learned how to ride the horses."

Scars from Boxing
Dean carried with him scars from brow cuts and a split lip from his boxing matches. "I liked it but it didn't last long," Dean says of his boxing days.* He used to say of his 12 fights in 1936, "I won all but 11."*

His New Name
Ernie McKay from Columbus hired Dino Crocetti to sing with his band after seeing him sing in Youngstown. To capitalize on the sex appeal of another Italian singer and actor of the time, Nino Martini, McKay billed Dino Crocetti as Dino Martini. The first time Dino saw his name in print, in the Columbus Evening Dispatch, it read, "The State Restaurant will have its final Saturday afternoon football party this weekend as Ohio State closes its gridiron season with Michigan at Ann Arbor. The McKaymen, with their 'Singing Strings Trio' and vocalist Dino Martini, will entertain football stay-at-homes at the luncheon, dinner, and supper sessions."* Ohio State lost, by the way. In Autumn of 1940, while singing with Sammy Watkins, Watkins Americanized Dino Martini's name to Dean Martin because he didn't believe the band can be successful with a singer who had an Italian-sounding name. Dean protested, saying that Tommy Dorsey just had a hit with his new record, "I'll Never Smile Again," with an Italian singer, Frank Sinatra. "A freak shot," Watkins said.*

His First Wife Betty
"We stayed at the Hollenden Hotel," Betty remembered of her trip to Cleveland with her father on business in 1941 before he was promoted and the family moved to Cleveland.* "The first night, we went downstairs, and there was Dean singing in the dinner club with the Sammy Watkins band. Dean kept looking over at us and talking to the trombone player."*

*From Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams by Nick Tosches

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NBC Universal Sues For Dean Martin Show DVD Rights

Hey pallies, as if we needed more Dinoevidence that our Dino is hotter then ever, get this NBC Universal has filed a law suit against Gunty-Renker Corporation and others for the rights to the Dinoshow. Read all the news below, and if you wanna check it out in it's original form, just click on the title of this Dinopost.

NBC Universal sues for Dean Martin Show DVD right

By Ned Randolph -- Video Business, 9/10/2007
SEPT. 10 | NBC Universal has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to reassert its legal claim to The Dean Martin Show, a weekly variety program that aired on NBC for nine seasons from 1965 to 1974, according to a fan-based Web site.

The lawsuits were filed in the California Central District on Aug. 3 against Guthy-Renker Corp., Greg Garrison Productions, Ronald L. Blanc, Black Horse Television Enterprises and Barrump-Bump Publishing Co.

The Web site,, has posted a picture of the cover sheet of the complaint.

"Evidently, NBC, which at one time held an ownership stake in the series, is now attempting to reassert its claim," the Web site states.

The Golddiggers Web site was formed by a group of fans who would like to see all the episodes of the Dean Martin Show re-released on DVD or rebroadcast on TV.

The term Golddiggers refers to the women who starred on the show alongside Martin, called Golddiggers and later Dingaling Sisters. The group of regular female singer-dancers would become established fixtures on the program and even branched out on their own, playing at dates around the country and traveling abroad with Bob Hope to entertain American troops on the comedian’s annual Christmas trips and TV specials.

Guthy-Renker has for the last eight years marketed the 29-volume Best of Dean Martin DVD and VHS highlights. Greg Garrison Productions, which produced all nine seasons of The Dean Martin Show for NBC Television, was the sole licensor of rights to material from the series, which comprised the Best of Dean Martin sets, the Web site says.

NBC/Universal and the defendants were not immediately available for comment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Does Anyone Care About Dean Martin?

Hey pallies, with the great release of the new Dinovinyl as come the beginnin's of more Dinodissin'. Our Dino is becomin' more popular then ever, and I guess we oughta expect that Dinodissers will be comin' out of the woodwork. Well are true Dinoholics know how absurd this Harold dude is with his provocative Dinoquestion. You will find my Dinoresponse at the end of this blog post. I strongly encourage all my Dinopallies to click on the link connected to the title post and leave a piece of your Dinomind as well! Such Dinodisrespect has to stop!!!!!

Does Anyone Care About Dean Martin?
Posted by Harold Goldberg on September 5, 2007
Dean Martin, the crooner, half of Martin and Lewis, Rat-Packer extraordinaire, had a resurgence some years ago when Nick Tosches wrote Dino, a deep, dark biography of the man who was once the highest paid entertainer in the country.

Yesterday, USA Today's Mike Snider reviewed three Dean Martin DVDs (click the links to see clips!):

The Young Lions - Dean "saved his career in this adaptation of Irwin Shaw's war novel."

Who Was That Lady - Tony Curtis and Dean "pose as FBI agents, which culminates in booze, blondes and humiliation."

Kiss Me, Stupid - This was originally Billy Wilder's "career nadir." But it's now a "well-regarded satire" that casts Martin as his public persona - "Dino."

I know there's a new CD which lauds Martin's singing, featuring everyone from Kevin Spacey (he can sing!) to Big Bad VooDoo Daddy. But do you still care about Dean Martin's movies?

Posted at 12:21 PM in Genre: Comedy, Genre: Crime, Genre: Drama | Permalink
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Hey pallie, no disrespect meant, but what a question to ask. Does anyone still care, do I still care 'bout Dinoflicks? The answer is yes, 'cause there are millions of fans who still proclaim our Dino as their King of Cool and one way of gettin' to groove on our Dino is his wonderful work in films. If you click on my url you will go to a blog dedicated to Dino, his life, his times, his legacy, which still grows today. Never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool. Oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth!

Posted by: dino martin peters | September 05, 2007 at 08:12 PM

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dean Martin: "His Legacy Is That He Never Complained And He Worked Very Hard At What He Did, And He Treated Human Beings With Respect."

Hey pallies, a few ago this interview with our Dino's boypallie Ricci appeared in the Valley News Dispatch before his August 20 gig in Pittsburgh. Sorry I didn't get this blogged before, but Ricci shares some great Dinoinsights that I thought you pallies would enjoy readin' for your Dinoedification. If you prefer to read the Dinoliterature in it's original format, just click on the title of this Dinopost.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

He was an "everyday person" who happened to be a superstar, says his son Ricci Martin.
That's why the music and the aura of Dean Martin live on years after his death, says the younger Martin. (Dean Martin died Christmas morning 1995, at age 78. He would have been 90 on June 7.)

Ricci Martin celebrates the ongoing fascination and attachment to the man and the entertainer in "Dino: His Son Remembers -- An Evening of Dean Martin's Music and More" in a free concert at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

The performance will conclude the fourth annual Festa Italiana di Vandergrift at Kennedy Park.

It will be a day of song, dance, games and other activities beginning with an outdoor Roman Catholic Mass at 10 a.m. "Everyone becomes Italian," even if it's only for a few hours," says Mitch Abraham, one of the entertainment committee members. "We're not sure if we are the largest Italian festival in the region, but we do try to be the best at what we do!"
Martin, on the phone from his home near Park City, Utah, says he plans to draw from the greatest-hits repertoire of his dad, including "Volare," "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You," "Memories Are Made of This" and his signature ballad, "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime."

But it will be much more than just a songfest, he says. "It will be an evening celebrating dad's life," he says.

He will share humor and stories from his book, "That's Amore: A Son Remembers Dean Martin," and offer a video presentation of photos from "The Dean Martin Show," as well as rare family photos and clips from his dad's movies.

The entertainer, who once toured as an opening act for The Beach Boys, also will go into the audience for a question-and-answer session.

"I keep it like the way dad was in his life: having fun, being spontaneous and not taking things too seriously," Ricci Martin explains.

In many ways, the son says, he has fashioned his approach to life around his late father's. "I really respect the man for who he was and the way he treated people. He was a superstar who might have had every excuse to let it go to his head.

"He was a star in motion pictures, records, stage and television. Frank (Sinatra) and Sammy Davis Jr. (Dean's "Rat Pack" buddies) never even crossed over into a successful weekly variety television show. But dad had his feet on the ground all the time.

"The audience is still out there and still adores him and misses him," says Martin, who says he is surprised and pleased at the wide span of generations that embrace his dad's talent.

Martin says he receives fan mail about his dad from teens and preteens saying, "'There's something great about your father's music.'"

Those who are older have comforting memories of Dino, "that relaxed individual," says his son, coming into their homes via TV Thursday nights for most of a decade. Parents watched with their children, and both remain fans.

His father was not afraid to show his vulnerable side, he says, letting people see him make mistakes, including misreading cue cards. He was always amazed at his own success and never one to pat himself on the back, Martin says.

His is a timeless music, he adds. He says his dad fashioned himself after singers like Eddy Arnold and Bing Crosby. "But he put his own thing on it. That's what any good artist does: takes from the great and makes it his own," he says.

Ricci Martin thinks that if his father could see his show, he would be pleased to see the warmth still demonstrated toward him.

"He knew I loved and respected him. He might be amazed at how many people show up, and their feelings for him -- thousands and thousands of people."

Martin says it is a very humbling experience for him when his father's fans share their memories with him.

He feels a responsibility, but does not view it as a burden, to represent his father onstage, he says. It's about maintaining the class and integrity for which his dad was known, he says. "Most people who come to the show have at one time or another seen him in (Las) Vegas, or certainly in a movie or on TV. Thank God people say I'm somewhat like him. Some say I have similar mannerisms. That's very positive."

He does not try to copy his dad's vocal style.

"I just sing them the way I sing them. I would never ever step on dad's toes. There was only one Dean Martin. It would be absolute suicide to do that." Martin is backed by a four-piece band.

In the show, Martin talks about his dad's key relationships, including his break-up with Jerry Lewis; The Rat Pack (he knew Sinatra and Davis as "Uncle Frank" and "Uncle Sammy"); and the rumors of Dean's excessive drinking ("As Frank Sinatra said, 'I've spilled more than Dean drank,'" Ricci says).

His dad worked very hard at his craft, he says.

"He fooled so many people who thought he glided through show business. He made that look so easy, people bought into the idea that it was effortless. Since he was not a complainer, he never made people realize 'I am working my butt off here.'

"His legacy is that he never complained and he worked very hard at what he did, and he treated human beings with respect."

More information on Ricci Martin is available at

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dean Martin Hits Top Forty With Forever Cool

Hey pallies, here's the wonderful news that the new Dinovinyl has hit #39 on Billboard's top 200 list. This is a steller day to declare our devotion to our King of Cool. If you wanna read the news in the original format, please click on the tag of this Dinopost. Never was, never will be anyone as cool as our King of Cool!!!!

Dean Martin Hits the Top 40 With Forever Cool: New Collaborations Album Debuts at #39 on Billboard Top 200

Posted : Wed, 22 Aug 2007 17:40:35 GMT
Author : Capitol/EMI
Category : PressRelease

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Aug. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Around the world, entertainment superstar Dean Martin has the market cornered on charisma, easygoing charm, playful wit, and gracious humility, all of which combine to make him infinitely cool to each new generation of fans. Released worldwide on August 14 by Capitol/EMI, Martin's new all-star collaborations album, Forever Cool, debuts at #39 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, with first week sales totaling 17,242. Available in CD and deluxe CD/DVD packages and digitally, Forever Cool has also enjoyed widespread critical acclaim and strong first-week showings on youth-leaning charts from iTunes, and Borders, among others.

At iTunes, Forever Cool reached #3 on the Vocal chart during its first week. Ranked #5 overall at Borders for the week in a youth-heavy Top 10 Albums chart, Forever Cool was joined by the soundtracks to High School Musical, Hanna Montana and Hairspray and new and recent releases from Amy Winehouse, Dave Matthews Band and Common among the chain's top sellers for the week. At, the CD peaked at #22 and the deluxe CD/DVD peaked at #72 in overall popular music sales during their debut week, fueled by multiple custom programs at the online retailer, including a Flashplayer trailer, a "Music For Entertaining" feature and an August Bonus Book feature.
Dean Martin's inter-generational popularity has never been more evident. Across the online spectrum, Dino's star power has skyrocketed to new heights. At MySpace, he counts more than 16,500 friends, and his recently-revamped, interactive official Website ( has had 154,000 hits in the past week alone. AOL Music, ARTISTdirect and have featured Forever Cool alongside High School Musical and Dave Matthews Band. Last week, Yahoo! Music, which boasts more than one million visitors per day, premiered the new music video for Forever Cool's "Baby-O," a playful romp pairing Martin with 19-year-old American Idol finalist Paris Bennett. TV's "Entertainment Tonight" has joined the Forever Cool party with significant coverage, including two feature profiles during the album's release week, and a third to air on "Weekend ET" this weekend.
"No matter what age you are at, you kind of want to be cool, and there was nobody cooler" said Dean Martin's Forever Cool collaborator Kevin Spacey.
Prior to the release of Forever Cool, the phenomenal sales of Capitol/EMI's 2004 collection Dino: The Essential Dean Martin, which collects 30 of Martin's key recordings for both Capitol and Reprise on one CD, provided the strongest signal yet of Dino's continued prominence in the pop-music firmament. As the week's highest-charting new entry, it was Billboard's "Hotshot Debut", and it has sold more briskly than any previous Martin recording, going gold within months and platinum within a year. Dino also hit the Top 5 on Apple's iTunes Music Store album chart. As writer Bill Zehme observed in a 2004 Playboy feature, "Dean provides smooth, winking succor to generations anew."
More than 40 years after knocking the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" out of the #1 chart position with "Everybody Loves Somebody" in 1964, Dean Martin continues to enthrall music fans around the world. Said famed producer Phil Ramone, "I think Dean's whole re-birth, so to speak, is that young people have realized how cool he is and how funny he is ... and he could sing."
Said Martin's daughter, Gail Martin, "It gives me a warm glow to know that everybody -- all ages, all generations -- just seem to adore him and want more of him. That's exciting, and it doesn't surprise me."
Forever Cool's 14 tracks pair Martin's original vocals with new arrangements and an all-star group of collaborators in a salute to the unparalleled talent and charisma of the man known around the world as Dino. The album's inspired new recordings, woven together with several rare and previously unreleased clips of Martin's witty studio banter, feature Grammy winner Joss Stone, two-time Oscar(R) winner Kevin Spacey, saxophonist Dave Koz, Grammy winner Shelby Lynne, trumpeter Chris Botti, international superstar Robbie Williams, "American Idol" finalist Paris Bennett, country music star Martina McBride, French entertainment icon Charles Aznavour, Italian chart-topper Tiziano Ferro and other music greats. The new album swings, swaggers, rocks, rolls and whispers, gently closing with a previously unreleased a cappella version of "Lullaby" sung by Martin.
"It's like a cocktail party on a record," said Forever Cool executive producer Jane Ventom, "where all sorts of wonderful, unique guests get up and make music with the host."
Forever Cool's production team includes EMI Music Marketing vice president of A&R Jane Ventom and Dean Martin's business manager Laura Lizer as executive producers and Rob Christie as producer, with recording and mixing by co- producer and 15-time Grammy winner Al Schmitt (Norah Jones, Ray Charles, Diana Krall, Quincy Jones, etc.). Select tracks were produced by 12-time Grammy winning producer Phil Ramone (Tony Bennett, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, etc.), Grammy-winning producer, arranger and conductor Patrick Williams (Frank Sinatra, B.B. King, Barbra Streisand), and Bobby Colomby (Chris Botti). The album's tracks were recorded and mixed at Capitol Studios in Hollywood.
"Offstage, I want to be like Dean Martin -- funny, handsome, charming ...," said Robbie Williams. "I have got it nailed (laughs)." Echoed Shelby Lynne, "I'm not gonna lie. I'd love to be Dean Martin."
Martin's effortless vocalizing has become a modern shorthand for cool, as evidenced by the use of his songs in films like Goodfellas, Casino, Swingers, Out of Sight, L.A. Confidential, A Bronx Tale and Payback, as well as top- rated television programs, including "The Sopranos," "Ugly Betty" and "Dancing With The Stars." Martin's music has also been featured in major brand TV advertising for Nissan, Microsoft, Marriott Hotels, Carl's Jr., Heineken, this year's Superbowl-premiered Budweiser commercial with "Ain't That a Kick In the Head," and many others.
"He made music that's going to stand the test of time and be around forever," said Spacey. "People will always be listening to Dean Martin."
Dean Martin's approach to life with an easy smile, a graceful melody and an aura of unflappable cool is a style that was made to last forever.
For more information, please visit Dean Martin's official Website:" mime-type="application/octet-stream"/>
Photo: NewsCom: Archive: Photo Desk,


Whose Got The Action?....a review of Dean Martin Forever Cool by Jeremy Richey

Hey pallies, our pallie Jeremy Richie has written a Dinogrand review of the new Dinovinyl, Dean Martin Forever Cool...hope you will enjoy readin' it. If you wanna read it in it's original form, please click on the title of this blog post and why not leave Jeremy a little Dinopatter of your own?

Thursday, August 23, 2007
Who's Got The Action?

Somewhere right now, someone is discovering the magic of Dean Martin. Since I am a purist a heart, that is thought that I keep telling myself while playing the new Dean Martin FOREVER COOL duets album. However, unlike an embarrassing new Miles Davis remix cd, this re-thinking of some of the most iconic music around is thankfully a very classy and sincere affair.
One thing that separates the new Dean Martin cd from a typical major label cash in is that this album is obviously coming from a place of love and respect. Recorded live in Capital's famous Studio A with the singers adding their vocals to Deans with a live orchestra backing them. FOREVER COOL has a refreshingly organic sound about it. The producers, including Phil Ramone, have done a remarkable job in making this album sound simultaneously vintage and fresh.
Another intelligent thing that this album delivers on is never taking the spotlight away from Dean. He is always the center of attention and none of the new singers attempt to steal the spotlight or out sing Dean. Compare this album to the Miles Davis project, where Davis' pioneering music is buried under bland and boring hip hop beats, and it sounds truly remarkable.
So of the new duet partners, who comes out the best? Well, the album kick starts with a smoking WHO'S GOT THE ACTION featuring modern Swing act Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and it is a tremendous track with with Voodoo Daddy sounding like they were made for Dean's slow burning cool spirit. It is one of the definite highlights to the album and an ideal opening cut.
Kevin Spacey is featured on two tracks and they are okay. Spacey has a lot of Broadway background and that comes through here with his slightly stagy vocals. He obviously loves Dean though and both AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD and KING OF THE ROAD are still perfectly respectable even with Spacey's vocals.
The producer's were also smart enough to not just have vocal duets with Dean but also some new instrumental partners. Chris Botti adds a sublime trumpet solo to the lovely I'VE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO HER FACE which sounds completely natural and adds a newer layer of depth to the track. The infectiously sly WHO WAS THAT LADY features The Capital Studio Orchestra and again the producers manage to keep the newly recorded background and Dean's vocals in perfect step. Unfortunately Dave Koz's sax solo on JUST IN TIME is a bit distracting and takes away from Dean's wonderful vocal track.
BABY O is still a seductive cool treat and Paris Bennett brings a nice touch to the song. Massive fan Robbie Williams addition to PLEASE DON'T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I'M GONE is also very successful, even if it is a case of someone trying to sound cool singing with someone who just naturally is. Still, I like Williams and he does a fine job with the difficult song.
Probably the album's most disappointing moment is I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH ME, matching up Dean with young British soul sensation Joss Stone. I really admire Stone and was looking forward to this track but it is finally just a case of their two voices not matching well together. Stone's buesy full throttle vocal style suits someone like Tom Jones perfectly but hers and Dean's laid back in style simply don't fit, at least on this track anyway.
Country singer Martina McBride's BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE is a little more successful but it is one of the less natural sounding tracks on the album as the producer's chose to have the two trading lines with each other which at times doesn't work.
Thankfully bad ass super talent Shelby Lynne saves the day with her magnificent take on YOU'RE NOBODY TILL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU. One of the few modern singers who possesses a real natural cool about her, Shelby and Dean sound perfect together, and the track is so real sounding that you can almost imagine the two of them kicked back in the studio afterwards talking about Elvis and their favorite old time country classics. Splendid stuff.
Italian singer Tiziano Ferro adds his part to the ARRIVEDERCI ROMA and it is pretty awesome. Dean's Italian themed songs have long been underrated and this track has a real lazy, hot baked feel about it and Ferro does a great job on it.
The duets close with the 'French Sinatra' Charles Aznavour joining Dean on the legendary EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY. The aging but still classy Aznavour brings a real melancholy to the track and the newly recorded laid back orchestration and guitar work is really lovely.
The album closes with a newly discovered A Capella take of Dean's BRAHAM'S LULLABY and it is a chilling, emotional listen. I can't imagine someone hearing this short two minute track and not falling in love with Dean's voice. You can really hear the brilliance of the man Elvis called his favorite singer in these short moments. It is a fine closing to a mostly solid and respectful project.
The special edition of the album comes with 22 minute DVD featuring some joyous home movies of Dean and his family that teared me up a bit and interviews with some of the collaborators. My favorite clip on the dvd, outside of the home movies of course, is a nervous Shelby Lynne live in the studio laying her fine vocal down and clearly enjoying the hell out of it.
FOREVER COOL has just landed in the top forty and it is a splendid companion to some of Martin's best Capital work. While not taking the place of the originals, the producers, Dean's children and the international group of collaborators should be congratulated for making such a thoughtful and joyous tribute to a guy who really deserves all the respect he is finally getting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

aint this a kick Dean Martin montage

hey pallies, here's some great Dinofootage with Dino singin' one of his greatest songs....dedicatin' this to my Dinobro Keith, whose fav Dinosong is "Kick"!

Dean Martin by Steven Shaviro

Hey pallies, here's a Dinoperspective by a dude named Steven Shaviro. Shaviro shares his own perspective on our Dino and his life and times. On some issues Shaviro seems right on the money, on others he is way off base. No Dinoimpersonators...there are now countless pallies emulatin' our King of Cool in acts all 'round the globe. Dino has been forgotten....never.....our Dino is more respected, revered, and remembered then ever in his life.....the new Dinovinyl is one example of how Dino's cool is eternal! Wonder if this Steve dude was writin' today, what he would be sayin' 'bout our Dino. Enjoy this well written piece of Dinoprose, and leave some Dinopatter on your Dinothoughts. BTW, if you wanna check out the original source of this Dinopiece, just click on the title of this Dinopost.

by Steven Shaviro

©1995-1997 Steven Shaviro

How we love to recycle and replay the Fifties--even those of us who weren't around then. Fifties fashions, Fifties hairstyles, Fifties cars and motorcycles, Fifties music, Fifties personalities: these still define what we mean by cool. Think of James Dean, think of Marilyn, think of Elvis. Elvis, especially, eternally returns to haunt us: he's forever at the center of the American psyche. More people have encountered him dead than ever saw him when he was alive. Rumors abound: of assassination plots, faked death certificates, secret cloning programs, reincarnations, preternatural singing from closets and bathrooms, sightings on UFOs. It's all gotten so baroque, multilayered and self-referential. Even the Elvis impersonators have their own impersonators now. After all, wasn't Elvis, in the latter part of his career, when he performed in Vegas wearing that rhinestone-studded white jumpsuit, already a simulacrum of himself? Daniel Clowes, in his comic book Eightball, envisions a time, in the not-too-distant future, when "there will be nostalgia for the nostalgia of previous generations: 'I'm not into The Fifties per se; I'm into the Fifties revival of the Seventies!'- - 'Bah! I'm into more of an Eighties Fifties!'" The Fifties are the fulfillment of the American prophecy: the age, not of Aquarius, but of the Emersonian self-made man, and of Zarathustra' s Eternal Return. Now, as the millennium approaches, our culture is deliriously awash in clones and replicas of the Fifties, citations and allusions, everything always carefully encased "in quotation marks." Maybe we aren't into Elvis per se, so much as we're into the idea of "being into Elvis." Elvis is rather like the mythical phallus of psychoanalysis: there but not there, a simulacral shimmering, present precisely in his absence. Sometimes we want to have Elvis, and sometimes we want to be him: but in either case we fail, since he remains a virtual image, visible but intangible, always ever so slightly beyond our reach. Elvis's talent, beauty, and grace--the sound of his voice, the ease of his smile, the swaying of his hips--are things you and I can only dream of.

Or maybe catch them at the movies. Clarence (Christian Slater), the hero of the recent film True Romance (written by Quentin Tarantino, and directed by Tony Scott), sways between fantasies of being Elvis, and of having him. He learns lessons of daring, courage, and devotion to his true love from conversations with Elvis in the bathroom. He marches in there to piss like a man, and there's the King staring back at him from the mirror, giving him words of encouragement and big-brotherly advice and approval: "Clarence, I've always liked you." If this carries a charge of homoerotic attachment, well then, so much the better. After all, Clarence's standard pick-up line is to tell a woman that he's not a fag or anything, but still he wouldn't mind going to bed with Elvis. That's how cool Elvis is. That tells you just how much Clarence adores the King. Wanting to sleep with Elvis is in fact the American dream: it's precisely what Clarence and the women he meets have in common. And so all the rituals of traditional male bonding and rivalry--locker room pranks, pissing contests, comparisons of penis size--get turned into something goofier and finer. The toilet, rather than Robert Bly's backwoods, is the site of Clarence's initiation into manhood. Under Elvis's benign guidance, he's transformed from a lonely nerd, who works in a comic-book store and obsessively watches martial-arts movies, into the real-life hero of his own true romance. He runs off with his girlfriend Alabama (Patricia Arquette), survives confrontations with Hollywood and the Mob, and finds health, wealth, and happiness in a nuclear family of his own, ending up on a sunny beach not far from the site of Elvis's 1963 movie masterpiece, Fun in Acapulco.

Elvis, now and forever, is totally cool--as the protagonists of True Romance never tire of reminding us. It's not so much what Elvis means that is important, as the sheer fact of his ubiquity. What has he done to multiply himself--even and especially after his death? Just how many of him are there? These are questions, not for hermeneutics or semiotics, but rather for population genetics. Like rabbits released in virgin territory, Elvis replicas and Elvis impersonators have wreaked havoc on our cultural ecology, overrunning and overturning the entire postmodern landscape. As soon as Elvis appeared, all the earlier crooners were driven quickly to near-extinction. Good-bye Perry Como, good-bye Bing, good-bye Frank. And no one subsequently has really been able to compete: not Mick, not Michael Jackson, not even Axl Rose or Eddie Vedder. I mean, would you trust one of them to be your bathroom confidant? As any evolutionary theorist will tell you, adaptive fitness is defined, not in terms of quality of life or innate value or even personal longevity, but solely in terms of ultimate reproductive success. Horrifying, but true. The body of the man, Elvis Aron Presley, was only a vehicle for that berserk replicator, the Elvis meme. And it's of no concern to the meme that the later recordings are boring, or that Elvis himself put on too much weight in those final years, and led such a lonely, empty, unfulfilled life. Andy Warhol once said that "Picasso was the artist I admired most in all of history, because he was so prolific." The greatest artist, in Warhol's view, is the one who has left the largest sheer quantity of images and copies behind. Picasso, of course, was a master in this respect: he went so far as to doodle on the backs of checks, hoping that this would induce the recipients to never cash them. But even Picasso couldn't impose his replicas upon our culture to anywhere near the extent that Elvis did. Warhol understood this perfectly: that's why he never bothered with painting mock Picassos, as so many lesser artists have inadvertently done, but went right ahead and silkscreened multiples of the King.

Of all the crooners of that era, none has vanished so utterly and so precipitously as Dean Martin. Throughout the Fifties, and all the way into the late Sixties, his singles and albums reached the Billboard Top Forty, his TV specials were close to the top in the Nielsens, his nightclub act was the biggest draw in Vegas, and his movies were huge blockbuster hits. And then, all of a sudden, nothing. Dino seemed to have dropped out of show business altogether-- aside from hosting an occasional Celebrity Roast. It was as if some Big Brother had retroactively erased him, not just from the airwaves, but from the memories and dreams of the American psyche. We know all there is to know about Elvis and Liberace, not to mention such living fossils as Sinatra and Bob Hope and Don Rickles and Wayne Newton--but Dean Martin? Not a trace. Fifties nostalgia skips right over him, and Andy Warhol never silkscreened his portrait. Scarcely anyone under the age of thirty even knows who he is. It's as if he had disappeared as suddenly and as totally as the dinosaurs; or worse, as if he hadn't ever existed in the first place. We recycle nearly everything else, but there aren't any Dino impersonators around. Dean Martin's story is not the traditional one of a star's rise and fall, not the familiar case of inferior adaptive fitness and lost evolutionary battles. Think rather of him as a singularity, a limit point, a supernova collapsed into a black hole: a fractal discontinuity in the warp and woof of American culture. Think of his disappearance into a haze of alcohol and Alzheimer's as a silent and almost invisible catastrophe: like the disaster of which Blanchot writes, that "takes care of everything," that arrives without ever arriving, and whose violence consists precisely in effacing those very traces that any actual cataclysm would have left behind.

So what happened? Merely to ask such a question, say Deleuze and Guattari, "plays upon a fundamental forgetting.. . it places us in relation with something unknowable and imperceptible. " Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams, Nick Tosches' brilliant biography, doesn't restore Dean Martin to collective memory, or place him anew in American cultural life: rather it affirms the inaccessibility of his character, and recapitulates the irreversible erosion of his image. For nothing can bring Dino back: his relaxed, sleazy charm is out of sync with the moment, and insensible to nostalgia. The man who cynically crooned "Memories are Made of This," Tosches writes, "hated memory itself." Dino instinctively sought out that primordial oblivion that exceeds and ruins all remembering. "Underneath the feeling in his voice, underneath the weaving of those colors, there was always lontananza," the immemorial distance of a past that never has been present, and never can be made present. Elvis may well be the phallus; Dino just "pissed ice water," a less exalted symbolic use of the masculine organ. No matter what he was doing, Tosches says, Dino "never had much interest in this world"; he was "a menefreghista--one who simply did not give a fuck." Even in his glory days, the Fifties and early Sixties, Dino seems barely there, a gorgeous, unworldly apparition: the Zen master of the Rat Pack, as Lee Graham calls him. "No one knew him," Tosches writes. "The smart ones took that for granted. To [golfing buddy] Nicky Hilton, Dean was like a beautiful poem that he loved but could never understand."

What Andy Warhol was to the hip New York art and fashion world, Dean Martin was to rootless, suburban Middle America. Martin and Lewis started out playing to sophisticated nightclub audiences in New York and Chicago, but Dino the solo performer flourished in the pleasure palaces of Southern California and Las Vegas. There he unerringly sought out, and slyly, lazily pandered to, whatever was the most "anti-serious, anti-art... Dean would become the personification of tastelessness itself, projecting the image of one in whose scale of aesthetics a single good tit joke would outweigh all of Sophocles and Shakespeare" (Tosches). The story is indeed much like Warhol's: Martin, too, is a self-made man, born of immigrant parents, who anglicizes his name, and who achieves fame and fortune through an art that embraces and celebrates American culture at its most commercial and derivative. And Dino, just like Andy, refuses either to redeem this culture or to critique it. Martin and Warhol both rather embody the vulgarity and anonymity of mass culture--in the precise sense that a mirror indifferently embodies whatever has been placed before it. They take all the images offered them and reiterate them to infinity, uncritically, but at a curious second remove. Dean Martin the singer had nothing to express. He was perfectly willing and ready to record any song whatsoever, depending on what the market would bear. Just like Warhol, he let others choose his material for him. He never spent time rehearsing, and never troubled himself to listen to the finished product. Usually, in his stage act, he couldn't even be bothered to finish singing a song that he had started. But no matter what the material, no matter how ludicrous, corny, fake, or inconsequential, his smooth, easygoing voice always "wove it into a lie of gold" (Tosches). The effortless detachment of Dino's singing and acting could well be regarded as a sleazy American version of the spiritual discipline depicted in Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery. According to Zen, an art is performed to perfection only when it is unclouded by restless desire, freed of anxiety and of forethought. But this can only be achieved, Herrigel says, "by withdrawing from all attachments whatsoever, by becoming utterly egoless... by a readiness to yield without resistance." The pupil of Zen "must learn to disregard himself as resolutely as he disregards his opponent," until "the last trace of self-regard vanishes in sheer purposelessness. " Well, the only difference between West and East is that Dino didn't need long hours of practice to attain such a state. He had no worldly entanglements to overcome. It just happened naturally. Sinatra, it seems, was an egomaniac and a control freak. But Dino "was not like Frank. He got no thrill from this shit, being onstage, hearing himself on the radio, seeing himself ten feet tall on a screen" (Tosches). Since he really didn't give a fuck, everything just came out right, all by itself.

Dino's songs, therefore, aren't about desire: at least not about the desire that in our culture is commonly figured as 'lack.' They are too relaxed, too casual, too blithely aware of their own insignificance. They have none of the urgency and tension that are the marks of sexual desperation. And they enact none of the melodramatics that typify ungratified yearning. The careless lilt with which Dino suggests "let's fly way up to the clouds" ("Volare") is a rebuke to Romantic myths of the ironic infinitude of desire. And similarly, the deadpan blandness with which Dean in the role of Matt Helm tosses off dumb one-liners in the face of imminent death nullifies all the old claims for tragic dignity, or for high seriousness in art. Forget the castration complex, forget the Hegelian struggle for recognition between master and slave. There is no hint of transcendence, or even of longing for it, anywhere in Dino's act. His songs are suspended rather in the idle hedonism of a blank, dimensionless present: a blurry, contextless realm devoid of antecedent or consequence. They express a sensibility that's perpetually jaded, perhaps, but without any trace of bitterness or disappointment. That's what makes these songs so sensuous and caressing, but also so oddly impersonal and indifferent. Booze and Percodan may have helped, but from the very beginning such was Dino's way. All Dean wanted out of life, Tosches writes, was "a bottle of Scotch, a blowjob, and a million bucks." Nothing else was worth striving for. In Dino's own terms, "that's amore": all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

This sublime disinterest is Dean Martin's glory--just as it is Warhol's--and the source of his powers of seduction. It accounts for our sense that, although Dino (just like Elvis) is a pure product of American culture, he's somehow (in contrast to Elvis) not altogether in it. We desire Elvis because his taut young all-American body seems to contain the living force of all desire. But if we desire Dino--or if our parents once did--it's precisely because he doesn't desire us in return, because he seems to be beyond desire and beyond responsiveness, because clearly he doesn't need us to validate his existence. He has none of Elvis's ambition, none of Elvis's craving for admiration and approval. Dino is the quintessential early-Sixties swinger, carelessly consuming booze and broads, because the spectacles of excess through which he stumbles leave him utterly detached and unaffected-- even bored. Say that his leering 'drunk act' is a glitzy, postmodern, Las Vegas update of Baudelairean dandyism. Or better, say that Dino is the original slacker--so perfectly so, indeed, that today's slacker generation has totally forgotten him. Elvis is retrospectively cool because he was once so hot; his restless soul is always being called back. But Dino's cool is at so low a temperature as to be immune to revivification. Tosches describes it as "a preternatural cool, as divorced from the passing modes of the day as he himself was from the world that in turn embraced and discarded them... Dean was an effulgence of the warp between the square and the fashionably cool; and as such, somehow always would elude the fate of the cool, which invariably was to become the square." Dino belongs, then, neither to dialectical History with its ever-evolving fashions, nor to the Eternity that idealist aestheticians imagine to transcend mere fashion. Rather, he moves in another dimension entirely, that of the Nietzschean untimely: a "now" too evanescent to be contained by any form of presence, an "unhistorical" stylization that affirms itself at once within and against the ideologies and fashions of the current moment. "This deliberate, difficult attitude consists in recapturing something eternal that is not beyond the present instant, nor behind it, but within it" (Foucault). Dino wondrously combines a suave, refined aesthetic detachment with a calculated wallowing in whatever is most crass. Such an oxymoronic hybridization of sensibilities is his way of expressing the "apotheosis of that which is perishable" (Bataille), or the play of "becoming, the innocence of becoming, forgetting as opposed to memory" (which is how Deleuze and Guattari define the "untimely").

This untimeliness is the key to the mystery of Dean Martin's sudden disappearance. If Elvis, with all his clones, is the triumphant product of processes of natural selection, then Dino is the anomalous, ephemeral, and sterile expression of an illicit counter-movement: of what Brian Massumi calls the forces of "unnatural selection." Memes, like genes, are potentially immortal replicators. But immortality ain't all it's cracked up to be, as Elvis has undoubtedly discovered by now. Timeliness and fame are their own punishments. Your very ubiquity guarantees that you will never again enjoy the thrill of new discoveries and fresh conquests. The hordes of screaming fans no longer bolster your ego; they are just another irritation from which you find it impossible to escape. You can beef up your security, and lock shut the gates to Graceland, but that just makes you feel like a very expensive prisoner. In any case, you've grown bloated and ugly, and every surface you look at turns into a mirror. There's nothing left to do, except sing the same songs to the same crowds in the same casinos, night after night, suspended in an eternal present. Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens. But what's the alternative? Surely nobody believes in the old Romantic myths of damnation any longer. Maybe Elvis OD'd because he thought it would offer him a way out, or at least refurbish his image. But there's nothing more banal than a drug suicide--even that of Sid Vicious has lost whatever transgressive allure it may once have had. If damnation and salvation are binary opposites, this only means that they are virtually indistinguishable. According to Nicole Hollander (Sylvia), damnation is indeed a fate worse than death, since Hell is a place "where a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes is repeated for all eternity." But the distance separating that ultimate horror from a steady diet of Late Elvis is, alas, far less than one would hope or imagine.

Evolution is a dead end, even and especially for the survivors. The greater your domination, the more exquisitely fine-tuned your adaptation, the more surely you will stagnate. Lamarckian theories (which assert the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and thus the possibility of continual self-improvement) are wrong: for even the most advantageous mutations only come about in spite of a species' genetic and cultural 'striving,' rather than because of it. In nature as in Hollywood, the big money is always being invested in sequels and remakes. Remember the words of the sage in the Borges story: "mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number of men." The problem is not that we live in a world of simulacra, as Baudrillard so naively thinks. No: the problem is that nothing is ever simulacral and inauthentic enough. The copies, the impersonators, remain all too loyal to their models. What would it take to imagine a simulacrum that, as Deleuze wishes, "denies at once both the original and the copy, the model and the reproduction" ? Not a faithful rendition of Elvis, nor a critical parody of Elvis, but a performance that is more "Elvis" than Elvis himself ever was: only this can release the singer from the torment of his own endlessly repeated identity. But what could it mean to will--to select, in a Darwinian sense--your own divergence, your own alteration, even your own extinction? "Man is something that must be overcome," Zarathustra cries; "what have you done to overcome him?" And according to Severo Sarduy, the "hidden goal" of camouflage, in fashion as in combat, in humans as much as in insects, is less adaptation and survival than "a kind of disappearance, invisibility, effacement and erasure." Zarathustra thus praises those who "want to perish of the present," whose very "life is a going-under. " But doesn't Dean Martin embody such a counter-teleology, both in his life and in his art? Isn't his sterile hedonism a rebuke to the horrors of infinity and eternity and all-too-faithful reflections? Martini in hand, let us then embark on Dino's way, and embrace his strategies of disappearance. After all, as Tosches suggests, that's what we Americans do the best: "Dean was the American spirit at its truest: fuck Vietnam, fuck politics, fuck morality, fuck culture, and fuck the counter-culture, fuck it all. We were here for but a breath; twice around the fountain and into the grave: fuck it."

What more is there to say? Elvis may well be the Savior; but Dino offers us no redemption, not even one "in quotation marks." Now, in his retirement, he is more untimely than ever, exiled as he is from the New Hollywood of cellular phones and twelve-step programs. Why, in 1988, the last time they reviewed him in Variety, they even complained about his lack of "social consciousness over the unfunny aspects of intoxication" ! Can you believe it? Don't look to Dino for lessons in temperance, or foresight, or heroism, or any of the other virtues. You won't find him singing on a UFO, or giving advice in the toilet. But isn't that precisely his greatness? As his ex-wife Jeanne sums it up for Tosches: "Dean can do nothing better than anyone in the world. He can literally do nothing... He was always content in a void." Dino's very untimeliness makes him more postmodern than any of us. That great decentering, that crumbling of the foundations, so often approached with anguish and loathing--well, Dino has lived it for years, no problem, without a trace of anxiety. Tosches gives us a final picture of Dean Martin in old age, watching Westerns on TV, and sipping glass after glass of wine: "every swallow brought breath that bore neither memory nor meaning nor even deliverance from them--he no longer needed that deliverance- -but rather the strange sweetness of something that may or may not have ever been." Memory has become indistinguishable from fiction; and redemption, or the lack thereof, just isn't an issue any more. Yes, the world has receded into its own flickering image, and nothing is true or false any longer, and it's very late, and the TV has been on for hours. But what's the matter with that? Images proliferate endlessly in the void, regardless of whether anyone is there looking at them or not. You don't watch programs on TV; you simply watch TV. Turn down the volume and go to bed, there'll be something else in the morning.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Duets with Dino....'nother review of Dean Martin Forever Cool

Hey pallies, found 'nother great review of Dean Martin Forever Cool from our pallies from the north. Some great Dinoinsights here from our Dino's girlpallie Gail. If you would like to read the review in it's original format, just click on the title of this blog post.

Duets with Dino
Martin banters with Spacey, Williams, Stone on latest CD
By CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI The Canadian Press | 6:19 AM

TORONTO — There’s no denying that legendary crooner Dean Martin was the king of cool.

But for his children, the smooth performer with the Vegas persona was just a laid-back golfer who cherished family life, his daughter says as a modern twist on Dean Martin standards hits stores this week.

"Sometimes Uncle Frank (Sinatra) would walk in the door, but mostly dad was just a golfer," Gail Martin, 62, says by phone from Chicago, where her husband is a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

"Dad was really ordinary. For the movie-star type, he was not a movie-star type."

Gail Martin, whose childhood buddies at Beverly Hills High School included Liza Minnelli and Mia Farrow, says her father’s reputation as a boozer was unfounded.

The Rat Pack days of Martin’s

lengthy career tend to dominate many people’s image of him even though it represented a relatively small period of time, says the younger Martin, one of the singer’s eight children.

She says her father would often beg off a night of carousing with Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. in order to make an early tee time.

"He would drink apple juice onstage when they would do that whole (drunk) bit," she says of his reputation for drinking during performances.

"He didn’t stay up late and carouse. When dad was there with Frank and Sammy and they did the whole Rat Pack (thing) . . . he’d hang out with them a little bit but other than that, normally it was no way. He just didn’t want to."

A typical Dean Martin day involved an early round of golf, an afternoon of gin — the card game — and then dinner with the family, she says. Afterwards, they’d just sit around and watch television.

Gail Martin says her father didn’t have to do much to be cool, adding that it was his effortless charm that keeps him popular today.

Joss Stone, Robbie Williams, Martina McBride and actor Kevin Spacey are among the contemporary artists who cite Martin as an influence and an idol on Martin’s latest collection, Forever Cool.

The duets disc features Martin’s classic delivery mixed in with the voices of newer acts, a technological feat previously seen with posthumous releases involving Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

Williams takes on Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone, McBride is on Baby It’s Cold Outside while Stone sings I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me.

Spacey delivers a straight-ahead take on Ain’t That a Kick in the Head and King of the Road, while staging a little faux banter with clips of Martin’s old studio chatter.

"Shut your mouth," Martin is heard saying after Spacey interjects with a comment during their duet on Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.

Other guests include saxophonist Dave Koz, singer Shelby Lynne, trumpeter Chris Botti, and Charles Aznavour, often described as "the Frank

Sinatra of France."

The disc also includes an unreleased a cappella version of Brahms’ Lullaby.

Gail Martin, who was the third of four children Martin had with his first wife, Betty McDonald, says she’s thrilled with how the songs turned out, insisting the project treats the material with reverence.

But Martin, a singer in her own right who appeared on the Dean Martin Show several times in the late ’60s and ’70s and was her father’s opening act in Vegas for a time, admits that one of her favourite renditions of a Martin classic is not on the latest disc.

She says she has a penchant for Canadian crooner Michael Buble’s take on Sway.

Dean Martin, who died Christmas Day 1995, has become such a cultural icon that it’s hard to not be reminded of him constantly, says his daughter.

"He’s never not around," she says.

"I walk down into two or three restaurants and there’s dad’s picture on the wall. Anywhere. I took my daughter to visit colleges and we were in Boston and she said, ‘Look! There’s (a picture of) grandpa.’ I said, ‘Honey, he’s everywhere.’ "

Forever Cool was released on Tuesday.

On the Net:

’Dad was really ordinary. For the movie-star type, he was not a movie-star type.’

GaIL MARTINDean Martin’s daughter

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dean Martin Forever Cool Recordin' Review

Hey pallies, like here is a great review of the new Dean Martin Forever Cool Dinotrib album. This lovely lady Lana really knows and loves her Dino and has given us a well written and very informative review of this new Dinovinyl. To read the review in the original format....includin' some great Dinopixs, just click on the title of this Dinopost!

Dean Martin
Forever Cool
US release date: 14 August 2007
UK release date: 14 August 2007
by Lana Cooper
Email Print Write to the editor
While Frank Sinatra was the undisputed leader of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin was arguably the all-around coolest member of the hell-raising Hollywood quintet.

Each member had a role to play within the well-connected entertainment collective. Joey Bishop was the likeable comedian while the droll Peter Lawford was the suave actor with political ties. Sammy Davis, Jr. had the market cornered on talent with a tap-shoed foot in the worlds of dance, music, acting, and comedy. And of course, Ol’ Blue Eyes was at the forefront, one of the most widely recognized voices of all time with several notable acting contributions to his list of credentials.

While each man represented the concept of cool in his own way, Dean Martin was perhaps the coolest member of the Rat Pack due to his easy-going and accessible manner. Whereas Sinatra seemed to be untouchable unless you were in his inner circle, Martin seemed to be the kind of guy you could sit next to on a bar stool, laugh while throwing back some drinks, and somehow feel you’ve made a friend for life.

Undoubtedly, the man known to his fans and friends as “Dino” was incredibly talented in a wide array of entertainment genres, and Martin may have been the best pure vocalist of the Rat Pack. Sammy Davis, Jr. had a pleasant singing voice but was more of a song-stylist than a vocalist. Sinatra, famed for his rich, emotive clarity, would occasionally talk his way through a song. Martin combined the best of Sammy and Frank’s interpretive qualities and combined it with a strong, melodic range, singing and feeling every note and adding a touch of congeniality that shone through on each piece.

Martin’s appeal to this very day has garnered him a posthumous following well beyond the peak of his recording career and even that of his popular movies, variety shows, and celebrity roasts.

Utilizing a concept first made popular when Natalie Cole performed a duet with her departed dad, the late, great Nat “King” Cole, Forever Cool pairs up classic Dean Martin tracks with Dino still swingin’ and singin’ center stage with current artists in a wide representation of musical genres.

Starting out with the familiar intro, “direct from the bar, Dean Martin”, the disc kicks off with a nod to Martin as the world’s most beloved boozer, the guy who put the “fun” in “functioning alcoholic” before launching into “Who’s Got the Action” with SoCal swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The neo-swing outfit blends seamlessly into the mix with no trace of decade-spanning evidence left to the listener’s ears.

Kevin Spacey guests on two of Martin’s most famous songs, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and “King of the Road”. Between his self-sung renditions of Bobby Darin’s music in the film and accompanying soundtrack for Beyond the Sea and his current work on this Forever Cool, Spacey seems to be carving out a niche for himself as a willing accessory to reinterpreting classics with respect to the originals in the vein of ‘40s and ‘50s crooners. Spacey does it well, not so much with his tongue planted firmly in cheek, but echoing Martin’s approach himself with a mildly campy reverence for the material. This approach is particularly evident on “King of the Road”; while Spacey took more of a background approach to Martin’s uber-classic “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”, this time he’s an equal traveling partner, lending some snappy banter on the ride.

From the hills of Hollywood to the heartland, country also finds its place on Forever Cool. Shelby Lynne brings a light twang to “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You”, really playing up her interaction with Martin with a dash of Southern charm. The production values on this country-infused classic are top-notch.

Conversely, on “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, country chanteuse Martina McBride channels more Rosemary Clooney than Kitty Wells, while the track’s engineering mechanics make the piece sound spliced, less of a face-to-face answer-and-exchange between Martin and McBride. However, the vocal mannerisms employed by both singers make for a grand showcase of lyrical acting with Martin cast in the role of the sweet scoundrel trying to tempt McBride’s coy ingénue.

Continuing the parade of female voices alongside Martin’s on Forever Cool, “Baby-O” becomes a duet with Paris Bennett. Bennett—the 18-year-old granddaughter of Sounds of Blackness vocalist Ann Nesby and a finalist on the fifth season of American Idol—is possessed of a voice that, in spite of her youth, is polished and fits perfectly in this timepiece of a track. Bennett’s pipes are rather retro and well-suited to this style of music, sounding like a more giggly and contemporary version of the great Billie Holiday. Bennett’s track makes for a plausible and playful exchange between herself and the (if only in corporeal form!) decades-deceased Martin, resulting in a fun and flirty track.

“I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me” gets one of the most noticeable makeovers, courtesy of a feature performance by Joss Stone. While Stone treads the edge of the water with vocal showboating, her duet with Martin has perhaps the most modern feel of all of the collaborations on Forever Cool. The song successfully bridges the gap between Martin’s classic cool and Stone’s soulful, modern-throwback vibe and cements Martin’s timeless appeal and ability to touch and translate to a new generation of fans.

Not the only noteworthy Brit to appear on Forever Cool, pop chameleon Robbie Williams performs on a tepid rendition of “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”. On this low-key song, Williams sounds more like Harry Connick, Jr. than he does himself. While still a solid, atmospheric track, it’s somewhat disappointing when you realize all that Williams could potentially bring to the table.

Instrumentalists also get their crack at teaming with Martin. Chris Botti plays a fine, yet surprisingly mellow trumpet on “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” and saxophonist Dave Koz puts a signature sound stamp on “Just in Time”.

Current pop artists aren’t the only ones to make an impact on the compilation. Charles Aznavour equally owns “Everybody Loves Somebody” alongside Martin. Having been branded as “the French Sinatra,” Aznavour is a contemporary of Martin’s whose voice has stood the test of time, still sounding as rich, clear, and youthful as it did decades before.

Closing out the album is a rare a capella gem with Martin taking his spotlight solo on “Brahms’ Lullaby”, his baritone losing all pretense of bombast or mischievous giddiness. In its place quavers a soothing, comforting nightcap that offers up proof that Martin may have indeed been the best pure vocalist of his Rat Pack crew and one of the all-time greatest interpretive masters of song.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a response to Jaime J. Weinman's views of Dean Martin

Hey pallies, one of the great lovers of our Dino, Finn Tellefsen, who has had Dinoliterature printed in the Dean Martin Fan Center Dinomag, has given me permission to post his response to Weinman's Dinodissin'. I would like to thank Finn for his thoughtful and very insightful words concernin' our King of Cool. I wish I had Finn's gift for sharin' the Dinomessage. If you click on the title of this post you will find Finn's myspace music page. And now Finn's wonderful Dinoresponse:

Re: JAIME J. WEINMAN’s Why we love the slacker Rat Packer

Hey there pallie, just thought I’d throw out a quick response to this article…

I am glad to see that after all these years, and countless interviews with Dean and Greg Garrison revealing the true nature of Dean’s drunk act (Yes, it WAS an act…) the quality of Dean’s artistry still holds up to this day, and has managed to fool Mr Weinman as well. Like Dean himself once said, when interviewed by the BBC; “Do you think they would give tens of millions of dollars worth of movie and TV contracts to a drunk?”

Weinman is right that “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” pretty much tanked after its initial release in 1960, but that had more to do with society as a whole, than it had to do with song. It is living proof that Dean was way ahead of his time when he recorded it. (Just as he was when agreed to make the movie “Kiss Me, Stupid”, but that’s another story…)

The irony here, when Weinman describes Jerry Lewis a workaholic, in order to degrade Dean’s carefully crafted casual and relaxed public persona, is not lost on those of us who have a genuine interest in Dean Martin. He even uses a quote from The Simpsons to emphasize his point, but conveniently “forgets” Dean’s reply from the same episode: “Squandered my gift? I made 68 albums!”

Dean Martin wasn’t just a singer like his pal Sinatra, he was also a comedian, and that is how he first came in to prominence. Had he retired after the break-up of the Martin & Lewis team, he would easily have gone down in history as one of the most successful comics of all time. But because he was such a talented singer, that part is often overlooked.

His stage act was purposely crafted more like a comedy routine than a concert, because he loved to make people laugh, and that was the artistic choice he made. Which is not to say that he never sang a song “straight”, he did. But in order to discover that (and other truths) one has to be willing to consider the facts, not just re-hash hype.

Weinman pulls out the big $5 word “Reticence”… sounds really impressive, but has he ever done a song by song comparable study of Dean vs. Frank? I would suggest starting with any song from Sinatra’s masterpiece LP “Only The Lonely” and compare it to Dean’s rendition of “Be An Angel”, and then try to tell me that they were not equals?

And Dean could go toe-to-toe with Frank on any big band number when he chose to, for proof, start by comparing their versions of: Just In Time, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me, and Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.

If Dean didn’t care about his audiences, how was he able to sustain a career as a performer for over 50 years? And why did he go on, year after year, decades after he had earned more money than he could spend in his lifetime?

The bulk of Dean’s stigma of being lazy stems from the days of his weekly TV show, when it was made known that he did not attend rehearsals. Hello? This was part of the marketing campaign to make people tune in every week to see how Dean would deal with the funny bits put in front of him!!

The truth of the matter (as stated by Dean in several interviews) was that he probably rehearsed more than any of the cast, because Lee Hale made tapes of the week’s musical numbers in advance, which Dean then rehearsed at home, in the car and on the golf course! That’s how he was able to move so flawlessly through those intricate medleys and solos.

As far as the skits were concerned, he knew – from decades of experience – that rehearsing that kind of a material would take away the spontaneity and joy of delivering it to the audience for the first time. Instead he relied on his talent, gut instinct and flawless comedic timing when the cue cards were put in front of him, just like any other TV comedian from Johnny Carson to Dave Letterman. The enormity of his success of the show proved him right…

While performing in nightclubs and concert halls from the early 1940’s to 1992, Dean Martin somehow also managed to host the Colgate Comedy hour 28 times, make 116 Martin & Lewis radio shows, whilst making 37 guest appearances on other radio shows, make 51 movies(!!), record over 40 original albums, tape 250 episodes of his TV show plus 29 roasts, appear in 25 specials, and literally countless guest appearances on other shows.