Monday, August 31, 2009


Hey pallies, one of my fav Dinopastimes is to search for more cool Dinopixs. I'm kinda on a Matt Helm high rights now 'cause of our pallie Republibot 3.0 doin' such an outstandin' Dinojob of reviewin' the Matt Helm quartet. So just have been doin' some google image searchin' of our Dino and Matt Helm.

Well, I Dinodiscovered this Dinophoto featurin' a story 'bout our Dino in "The Silencers." Loves the look on our Dino's face. Diggs it pallies, really diggs it!!!! Dinodevotedly, DMP

This morning I got up early and cleaned my room blaring Dean Martin.

Hey pallies, just found this lovin' Dinoref at a blogg tagged France,WTF! where the chick who mods this place shares in a post tagged Dollars and Decades 'bout her passion for the old eras includin' a stellar Dinotale. To reads this in it's original format, as usual, just clicks on the tagg of this Dinogram.

How wonderful to keeps on findin' those who are spreadin' the Dinomessage of cool is that this lady's 70 year old neighbour and her friend were dancin' to the sounds of our great man!

Thanks to our pallie Maria for this wonderful Dinopix that I found at here blogg. Dinosharin', DMP

This week was all about the old eras that I was never able to experience in my life, and never will. I filled my eyes and ears of it every second I could get this weekend, and wish that our generation had something that we would be remembered by. Somehow it seems that there won’t be and that technology has taken over for good. It makes me sad that our generation doesn’t seem connected in any way that will be memorable later on down the road.

I’ve been exploring music like Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley, Roy Oberson and haven’t been listening to anything else. This morning I got up early and cleaned my room blaring Dean Martin. When I looked outside my window and saw my 70+ year old neighbour and her friend dancing by. It was the sweetest moment ever and more so because they didn’t notice that I saw them.

Friday, August 28, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Wrecking Crew” (1969) by Republibot 3.0

Hey pallies, our pallie Republibot 3.0 (whosse intriguin' Dinointerview was posted a few ago here) comes back for one more Matt Helm review...."The Wrecking Crew." So, sits back and relax and enjoys the Dinopleasure of R 3.0 Dinocritique. Does love the thorough way that R 3.0 does his Dinoreviewin' BTW, wasn't able to post the Dinoclick, but likes go to youtube and type "The Wrecking Crew" in the search box and watch the whole Dinothin'... To read this in it's original Dinoformat, just clicks on the tagg of this Dinogram. Dinolovin', DMP

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Wrecking Crew” (1969)

August 28, 2009 by Republibot 3.0

…And so, my friends, Matt Helm Month (Previously known as “August”) comes to a close with our review of “The Wrecking Crew,” the final film in the series. I have to confess, I’m spent. The movies have worn me down. I’m not sure why, but they’re difficult and laborious to review, and I frequently have to re-watch portions of them to keep track of sometimes-incoherent plot twists and what have you, even in the later, more competent films in the series. Here at the end, the producers seem kind of worn out, too. Early on in the series, they were cranking these things out like you wouldn’t believe: Silencers in March of ‘66, Murderer’s Row in October of ‘66, Ambushers in January of ‘67.….and then nothing until this film came out in January of ‘69. That’s a long break. I’m not going to say that taking such a long gap just when they’d hit their stride meant they lost their magic - I’m not convinced there was ever any magic there to begin with - but definitely they seem to have lost some of their energy and enthusiasm for the project, and watching this movie it’s not at all surprising that it’s the final one.


First up we’re treated to the worst opening title sequence in the entire franchise.After that, we discover that a billion dollars in gold bars is being shipped by train, to England, through Denmark. (Yeah, I don’t get that either.) It’s attacked and stolen by the minions of the evil Count Cortina (Nigel Green, who’s only solid genre credit is a film called “Strangler from Venus” that I’ve never seen). The director of ICE, Macdonald (previously played by James Gregory, but here played far less effectively by John Larch, who was cheaper. Larch, by the way, started his career with a guest spot on “Space Patrol,” and did an episode of “The Invaders,” but has no other real genre credits) calls in Matt Helm, who’s on a photo shoot in the middle of nowhere.

Homaging the first film, Helm is asleep (outdoors), dreaming of making out with models in ridiculous costumes. (My favorite one is the telephone girl. Her hat is shiny.) Mac shows up, wakes him up, and pulls him away from the girls - there’s ludicrously dressed hot chicks everywhere, and it’s a little unclear why Helm is dreaming about women who are actually there with him, but there it is. I think we’re supposed to believe the reason he’s so tired out is because he just nailed some - or possibly all - of them, but again, that’s not entirely clear. In any event, Dream Helm made out with three chicks.

Mac tells Helm that their one lead is Contini, though we’re never told what the clue is. He tries to get Helm in under cover as a photojournalist to get an interview with the noble, but the Danish Tourism Office hasn’t made any headway, and if the gold shipment doesn’t get to London in 48 hours, the economy of the western world will collapse. Given how under the gun they are, Mac decides that he’s going to deliberately blow Helm’s cover so that Contini will track him down, rather than Helm laboriously doing it the normal way. This is a damn clever idea, and I like it a lot, but it’s wasted in this movie.

Once in Denmark, Helm is met by Freya Carlson (Sharon Tate in her final film role), from the Danish Tourism Office, who immediately falls ass-over-teakettle, setting the tone for a performance that would seem tedious in an episode of “Here’s Lucy!” Freya is a clumsy nerd-girl with big goofy glasses and a taste for hats that do nothing for her.

After checking in, Helm goes to meet Lola Medina (Tina Louise!), who was Contini’s ho when they were planning the gold heist, but he kicked her to the curb in favor of his new girlfriend shortly before the operation became…uhm…operational, I guess. Lola holds a grudge, and wants to take Contini down. She offers to provide any information Helm needs in exchange for (A) the total destruction of her ex, and (B) a million dollars. She also tries on a slinky little outfit that is a bit on the silly site, but totally works for her because she’s freakin’ Tina Louise! Hubba freakin’ hubba! They make out a bit - that‘s four chicks he‘s macked on so far - then she goes to pour Helm a drink and explodes.

Helm beats feet out of there, and almost gets away, but his car gets hit by Freya, who’s following him around. The police come and arrest him, and Freya just makes things worse. Then Contini shows up, vouches for Helm with the cops, and they let him go. Contini invites Helm (And Freya) to his chateau for a talk.

At the house, Helm meets Contini’s new squeeze, Linka Karensky (Elke Sommer, who’s screaming hot if you go for icy blondes with accents, and made a career out of doing these kinds of films - “A Shot in the Dark,” and “Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number” for example). Contini cuts straight to the chase, and says “I’ll give you a million bucks to just go away and not mess up my operation.” (Again, this is damn clever, and I really wish this kind of option came up in a Bond film now and again. It would save so much pointless fencing around). Helm refuses, and Contini decides to kill him, but Helm sets off a smoke bomb and after a poorly-choreographed fight scene, he and Freya escape. Not before Freya pushes Elke in the pool, however, which treats us to some typically “Whaaaaaat?” dialog:

Helm: What made you think she could swim?
Freya: It was the only way to find out.

There’s a chase scene where Yu-Rang (Nancy Kwan) chases Helm around the mountains of Denmark, which look a lot like the mountains of Southern California, where this sequence was filmed, and some slapstick with Frey that isn’t particularly funny. Then Helm escapes, gets rid of his sidekick, and heads back to his hotel. There he meets Yu-Rang in bed, who proposes they take out Contini and split the money 50/50. They make out for a bit - that’s five - while she gradually pulls out a knife, and then Freya blunders in and ruins everything again.

Freya: She’s got a knife in her hand.
Helm: I *know* she’s got a knife in her hand, and you’ve got the worst timing I’ve ever seen.

I may have garbled that line a bit, but Dino’s delivery of it is great. Yu-Rang and her henchmen leave for no adequately explained reason, and Helm heads over to Linka’s place to talk to her. They, too, end up making out - six - and discussing cutting Contini out of the equation. None of this really comes to much of anything, though, it’s just filler. Meanwhile, Freya is doing some spy stuff, which is supposed to be surprising, but frankly we’ve all stopped caring about the movie by this point, so it doesn’t really have much impact.

Back at Helm’s hotel, Freya changes out of her nerd-girl clothes and in to a slinky minidress with no apparent species of undergarments on beneath it. For no particular reason, she smokes a cigarette and dances around in a vaguely slutty manner (or maybe it isn’t, it’s hard to tell since the camera only follows her ass around for most of the sequence*). Then some other stuff happens, none of it relevant, and then Mac shows up and identifies Freya as a British spy.

Wait, wait, wait, hold on - she’s supposed to have been British this whole time? I didn’t even realize she wasn’t supposed to be American. There’s no attempt at an accent, nor any attempt to hide her Americaness though the whole film, so I just figured she was one of us working overseas. Or, failing that, since everyone in Copenhagen sounds just like her and Dino, I just assumed she’s supposed to be Danish and everyone in Denmark is played by American actors. The idea that she’s allegedly English is just nutty. Sure enough, her next line is about how Denmark is her “Cricket pitch” and he’s got no business muscling in. Wow. She makes no attempt at an accent, and frequently delivers her lines with rather random energy levels, which makes me wonder strongly if they’d intended to have a brit dub over all her lines in post production. Oh well.

Mac goes out to do something unclear, and Helm goes to a Chinese restaurant, where he’s put in a tedious revolving booth, and talks to Contini. Freya, meanwhile, is at the bar wearing a black wig (Looks pretty good, really, I like her as a brunette) and allegedly “Under cover.” Helm does the old “Mac will complete the mission thing” and then we’re treated to more tedious spinning booth stuff, and - hey - there’s Mac, captured by Contini’s goons. More spinning, then Contini decides to have them killed. More tedious spinning, and then a tedious fight sequence takes place, and Mac gets shot. (James Gregory would never have gotten shot!) Linka falls in to the spinning booth, and is accidentally shot by Contini and Yu-Rang while the good guys get away. “Most unfortunate,” he says dryly.

Another car chase takes place, concluding with Helm stuck at a creek. Freya kinda’ kicked ass at the dustup, and Helm is surprised. “You didn’t do one thing wrong back there. Is it the wig?” Freya walks across the creek to see if it’s shallow enough to drive over, but of course it isn’t, and she goes down. The wig comes off, and she’s right back to screwup as usual territory, thus making Helm conclude “It *Was* the wig. She manages to destroy Helm’s (ugly) car with his exploding Handkerchief (Really), so they assemble his special snap-together helicopter that he carries around in the trunk, and fly to the Chateau for a more direct approach.

The final mele is a bit of a rambling mess, with Freya in a karate battle with You-Rang, Contini running away by train with the gold, and various portions of the house sealing themselves up and exploding, sometimes by Contini trying to kill Helm, sometimes by Helm blasting holes in the walls with his exploding hankies. (How many does the guy carry with him?). I won’t attempt to describe it because reading it is more tedious than watching it (Plenty tedious enough, trust me!), though I do like the large amounts of ceiling debris that fall whenever a bomb goes off. Finally besting Yu-Rang, Freya puts her on a bed and runs away to join Helm, while Contini makes the bed explode. This probably isn’t supposed to be hilarious, but it is.

They take the copter to Contini’s train, then literally trash the copter, and the goons, and take out Contini himself in a fight that is kind of anticlimactic. The locomotive control cabin turns out to be tricked out with James Bond Love Shack accoutrements, and Mac calls saying “Don’t slow down, and don’t have any screwups in the next 24 hours!” Helm and Freya now make out in bed (That‘s seven! We have a new record!), she pulls the ’emergency stop’ lever, and the last shot in the film is the two of them flying through the air, with a subtitle saying “Don’t worry, world, Matt Helm made it! In Time!” Which is a double entendre, or a sentence fragment.



I’m told Chuck Norris makes his film debut in the fight scene at the restaurant, but I didn’t recognize him. Helm’s stunt double gets off a nice backwards kick, though, making me wonder if that was Norris?

I commented last week on how the musical quality of the series was declining. Here at the end of the series, it hits an all-time low with that terrible song by Mack David and Frank DeVoll, and a terrible, terrible, terrible score that consists mostly of the same vocal group from the theme song singing “Bah! Ba-ba-bah-bah-ba! Bah! Bah! Ba-ba-bah-bah-be-bah! Bah!” over and over again. Eventually we get some harpsichord, and then a bit of psychedelic flute noodled around through a delay and reverb. Terrible. Look, I’m the first person to admit that Spy Music is a bit of a cliché, but it’s a *Good* cliché, and if you want to do this kind of flick at this point in history, there’s a way it should sound, which is *not* like an episode of The Partridge Family. Terrible. On the bright side, Dino’s song parodies are back in fine form here.

Dino was 52 when this movie came out, and is looking a bit long in the tooth. I realize he *always* looked a bit long in the tooth, and that was part of the gag, but here it’s less of an act, and more of a guy who’s way over-tanned and going grey, and kind of tired, and not all that in to what he’s doing here. He’s still a handsome guy, and he remains as charming as ever, but it’s obvious that he’s not really in to it anymore, and would just as soon go play golf. The New Mac has absolutely no chemistry with Dino, though I will say that Helm’s increasing irritation with Freya busting in on him at the wrong moment is pretty darn funny. I also like the scenes where Helm is trying to escape from the chateau, to find steel doors sliding down every time he heads towards a door or window. In frustration he just points at one, which then closes, and he smiles like “yeah, knew that was gonna’ happen.” This face acting stuff is very strong, funny, and it’s in these little blow-off scenes that Martin really shines. All to briefly, though, and the film quickly slides back in to a muddle. Most of the time he has the air of a man who realizes he’s driven a gag in to the ground a bit too far. Embarrassed? Not quite, but definitely something close to it.

Tina Louise’s gypsy dance can best be describes as “Unintentionally hilarious,” but man she’s just smoking’ hot, ain’t she? I do wish she had more to do. That see-through number she wore at the end would have pretty much caused Gilligan to explode. Exploding Tina Louise was rather hilarious, as was blowing up Nancy Kwan, but then I’m a sucker for people just randomly blowing up anyway. (“May the Good Lord take a Likin’ to ye, and blow ye’ up reeeeeel gooood!” as they used to say on SCTV) Elke Sommers is beautiful, competent, and about what you’d expect. Sharon Tate is terrible, just terrible. Kind of amazing looking on occasion, but terrible.

The plot almost makes sense: evil guy wants to collapse the world economy, so he steals a shipment of gold to make the stock markets collapse. His reasoning behind this is never made clear, but fine, hey, on this side of the 20th century we’re no strangers to how the rich use financial chaos to get richer, it tracks. Where it all falls apart, however, is that we’re repeatedly told Contini has this amazingly elaborate down-to-the-minute plan, which evolves doing specific things at very specific times, and yet he never actually does it. He takes the gold off the train, hides it in his house by essentially re-bricking the walls with it and painting ‘em white (Clever, actually!), and then he does nothing but sit around grousing about timing and clocks and oooh, that damn mr. Helm, and my plan this and my plan that, and time, time, time, time for an hour and a half. Then he takes *down* the bricks, loads ‘em on another train, and is immediately caught and killed. Really not such a great, intricate plan after all, was it, Sparky? If he’d spent less time talking about the plan, or - here’s a thought - if he’d actually driven the gold to where he wanted it to be, rather than sitting on it and painting it for two days, hey, you might have just made it there, son.

For whatever reason, we don’t get any scenes in Helm’s house this time out. Obviously the bedroom/tub set aren’t still standing, but the living room I suspect of being someone’s actual house. They should have used that, and just had Helm zonked out on the couch or something. In the last film and in this one, having him effectively homeless subtracts something intangible from the story, makes him feel more adrift. It’s like taking bugs bunny’s hole away. Not that the hole matters in and of itself, but Bugs feels a bit incomplete without it.

In addition to re-casting Mac with a cheaper actor, Lovey Kravezit is not in this movie, nor is there a name check for her. Unexpectedly, this affects the film less than the absence of his house. This whole flick has a low-budget feel that the others didn’t, or deliberately played around. It just feels cheap.

Direction is Made-for-TV-Movie quality, though it manages to avoid those long, inexplicable dead spots from the first two installments, but this one is the weakest of the set, and it’s got a quality that the previous three films never had: It’s boring. Most scenes go on too long, and while we’re spared an endless Ann Margret dance number that goes on forever, a steady dose of scenes that are 4 or 5 beats longer than they need to be will wear you down. And, you know, it is nice to just watch a young Ann Margret dance sometimes. There’s none of that in this film.

Box office receipts for this movie were pretty low, clearly audiences, producers, and cast had all lost interest, however the movie ends with a tag telling us Matt Helm will return in “The Ravagers,” and I’ll be discussing that next week.


Assuming they can stay awake through it, probably not.

*- Yeah, yeah, I know you’re wondering: It’s very nice. Very very nice.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hangin' with our Dino

Hey pallies, likes I been visitin' our Dinolovin' pallie Maria over at her blogg and she recently posted some truly wonderful pixs of our Dino (aren't they all!)...well just couldn't resist passin' this one 'long to all my Dinoholic pallies. Looks to me likes this was a posed shot to promote one of the Matt Helm capers, buts likes I can't tell which Dino-one it view this pix in it's original format and all the other great Dinoposes from Maria, just clicks on the tagg of this Dinogram. Dinodiggin', DMP

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

.....or even the breezy path to hot desert/air conditioned unblinking showbiz bliss briefly exemplified by zen master Dino Martin.

Hey pallies, a cool dude tagged Scotty over at his blogg pad "Culture Vulture Time" (clicks on tagg of this Dinogram to goes there) has posted a stellar essay 'bout the 'Vegas that was. Loves what he says 'bout our Dino....".....or even the breezy path to hot desert/air conditioned unblinking showbiz bliss briefly exemplified by zen master Dino Martin."

Never were truer Dinowords spoken 'bout our great man. Reminds me of ow our Dino's stellar biographer Nick Tosches spoke of our Dino as "an American Buddha." So enjoy Scotty's ruminations on how it was in the Rat Pack days of 'Vegas. Dinodeliglhtedly, DMP

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Way out West

dean martin sammy davis jr frank sinatra

I grew up thoroughly intrigued by Las Vegas, a place I only knew through the movies and television, a place that I saw as filtered through the cool daddy shades of The Rat Pack, a locale I viewed as an opposing camp to the rock and roll army I imagined I was attached to, a weird American kind of Oz, bursting with kitsch, camp, and middle-class Americana yet also built upon the shattered bones and long dried blood sprinkled in the desert by dying breed of raffish, brutal, and ruthlessly ambitious criminal warlords.

I never saw that Las Vegas, whether it existed or not. The Vegas I know, the Vegas I’ve landed in quite a few times in recent years because of my job, doesn’t sport the mystery or the allure of the one I imagined during my dreamy adolescence, nor does it pop and crackle with coolness or retro hipness. It’s a working town, peopled with hardworking service people, cocky Euro-kids, sideways glancing businessmen, moneyed Asians, burgeoning young Republican party boys, red-faced Canucks, the-big-one-is-coming seniors, and apple-pied Americans, all hell-bent on sniffing the plasticized aroma of the continual canned spectacles plodding on all around with clockwork predictability while catching an OSHA-prescribed, seat-belted, tickety-tack theme park ride vibe that’s easily safer than milk. Sure, if you work the outskirts hard enough, roam the floors late enough, and poke your nose into the joints with the dimmer lights you’ll spot the hustlers, the hookers, and the hard cases, each of ‘em working the same slow capitulation scheme that their cousins and ex-next door neighbors are doing in whatever passes for a big city in yer own neck of the woods, none of them any brighter, better looking, or more hard core.

Each time I visit this mythological place, propelled by new vigor and backed up by my past archaeological digs, I’m convinced that there’s gotta be a piece of that old black magic desert paradise still in existence, maybe even a few hot spots that transmit the sweet sweat of Sammy Davis, Jr, the cocksure propensity for transcendent drinking once and forever carved out by Frank Sinatra, or even the breezy path to hot desert/air conditioned unblinking showbiz bliss briefly exemplified by zen master Dino Martin. Maybe Fat Elvis screwed the joint up, leaving behind a rust pile of broken spangles and the stench of discarded pill-poisoned scarves, opening up the stage doors to a parade of pot-bellied crooners, light shows with songs, well-coiffed Grade B television spawned vaudevillians, manikin-like divas, and audiences that would rather cheer themselves shuffling off to Buffalo.

Al Jolson’s ghost couldn’t stomach a stopover in today’s Las Vegas, but I am still made of mortal coil, and I am Sam Spade-determined to solve this ongoing Las Vegas caper, my friends. Let me turn off the keyboard and slide into the elevator rolling down into the lookalike play pen they call my hotel. I’m on this case for free, you see, and I have to pursue the elusive great whatzit before it wiggles into my gut and corrupts my soul. Viva la that.
Posted by Scotty D at 7:19 PM

Dinointerviewin' Dinoholic Republibot 3.0

Hey pallies, likes here is the next in a series of Dinointerviews with those who truly loves our Dino. The subject of this Dinoreport is none other then Republibot 3.0 who followers of this Dinoblog will recognize as the current cool reviewer of the Matt Helm quartet of Dinoflicks.

So far Mr. Republibot 3.0 has created stellar Dinoreviews for "The Silencers," "Murders' Row," and "The Ambushers." This Friday, R 3.0 will conclude his amazin' Dinoinsights with postin' his Dinoprose on "The Wrecking Crew."

Gotta tell you pallies, interviewin' Mr. Republibot 3.0 was such a cool challenge 'cause he is one whitty and insightful Dinodude. This Dinoholic likes kept me on my toes all the way through this Dinodiscourse. So sits backs pallies and likes enjoy gettin' to know Dinodiggin' Mr. Republibot 3.0.

BTW pallies, likes if you clicks on the tagg of this Dinogram you will likes be transported to R 3.0's very cool Sci Fi blogg tagged what else..."Republibot."

All the pixs of our Dino were selected by Mr. Republibot 3.0 for this Dinoquiry.

DMP: Hey pallie, let's begin with a couple of introductory questions....

So pallie, likes would you tell us a bit 'bout yourself....?

R 3.0: Sure. Well, I was born in Mayfield, Nebraska, to Edna and Anthony PointOh. In a fit of somewhat misguided Nixonian patriotism, they named me "Republibot," which has been a subject of much teasing and occasional beatings on the playground, as you can probably imagine. My middle name is "Three," but they've never bothered to explain that one to me, and eventually I stopped asking. Anyway, a few months later we moved to St. Grissom, and I've been here ever since, with a little bit of time off here and there for good behavior. College and stuff, you know.

DMP: Always cool to know how someone was first introduced to our Dino.....would you kindly tell us you first memories of our great man?

R 3.0: Dino has always been in my life in some form or another. My folks loved his variety show and always watched the Roasts he was on. I'm pretty sure neither of them bought a new album after about 1965 or so, but we had several Dean Martin LPs that were in fairly constant rotation around the house. I think my earliest specific recolection I have of him was probably "Money From Home." I remember watching that when I was really little and sick, and thinking it was the funniest movie ever made. Definitely it was my favorite film for a while. I loved all the Martin and Lewis movies, though probably my favorite comedy team of the period was Hope and Crosby. I
always though it was a crime that no one thought to stick the two duos together, you know? Can you imagine how great that would have been? A road movie where Der Binger and Bob bump in to Dino and Jerry? Alas, the idea never seems to have come up.

Eventually I stumbled across the Matt Helm movies. I'm not sure how old I was, but I must have been pretty young becuase I didn't realize they were supposed to be funny. I didn't pay any more attention to 'em than I did any other spy flicks, until I was 11 or 12, and then suddenly - zowie - just look at all those fascinating, barely-dressed women! And of course they were on TV, completely uncensored, obviously because whoever screened the movies for our local UHF station didn't bother to check 'em out before they put 'em on the air. "It's a Dean Martin movie from the sixties - how bad could it be?" So you had this weird situation where I'd come home from church at noon, Sunday, and watch these Matt Helm movies on TV three or four times a year, however often they came up in the rotation. For me, in those pre-cable days, it was like accidentally walking in to a nudie bar or something. Not that there was any actual nudity, mind you, but it was all pretty lurid compared to the Green Acres repeats they were showing the rest of the week, you know? Ah, happy memories of Tina Louise in a body stocking...

DMP: So man, is there anythin' else you can tells us 'bout yourself that may be of interest to our readers?

R 3.0:I'm a mutant. I was born without Tonsils. Everything else you'd expect to find came factory standard, however, and I'm all man, baby! And I don't know if it has anything to do with the tonsils or not, but I'm a pretty good singer, in addition to my more bloggerly duties.

DMP: Gotta say that I am always delighted to hear of pallies who were nurtured on our Dino while they were babes in arms. So your mommy and daddy-o obviously dug our Dino...listenin' to his music, watch the Dinoshow and then the Dinoroasts. Was conversation 'bout our Dino common in your household? Were you able to stay up to watch the Dinoshow and the Dinoroasts? Were their other ways your old man and lady helped lead you to Dino?

R 3.0: Nah, none of that, though it would have been cool. They played the records, but I don't think they really listened to 'em anymore, you know? And I think their interest in his shows - which I was too young to watch, really - were more for the entertainment value than the music. Dean was effortlessly charming, funny, suave. You just couldn't avoid liking the guy. Did you ever hear the story about what he did when "Everybody loves somebody sometime" went to number one in 1965?

Thing is, at root and by temperment I'm basically a crooner. I've never really gotten to do much of that in any of the bands I've been in, which is fine because I can do the other stuff too, and it's fun and all, but what I dream about doing is tearing in to a big version of "Everybody Loves Sombody" or "Beyond the Sea" or "Saint James Infirmary," you know? I love that stuff, and I can pretty strongly trace that to Mr. Martin much more so than anyone else from his era, or the later ones. Thing is, I know Sinatra was a better singer, and Elvis was too on occasion, but I'd very seldom sit through their songs as a kid because they bored me. They sang, and that was that, and it just wasn't cued to the attention span of a six-year-old, you know? But I'd sit through Dean's numbers because I knew something funny would happen immediately after it, or else something funny had led in to it. I didn't even get the jokes, of course, but I knew that it was supposed to be funny, and as a little kid that's enough. So Dean's seemingly-effortless, laid back style really affected me as a kid, whereas when I was older I noticed that Sinatra was becoming too coy and affected, too lavish. He wasn't the saloon singer bolting out a tune like he was back in the days with Ellington, you know? And Elvis was clearly too self-involved and stagey and clueless by the end, but my boy Dean Martin - man - he came out, he sang, he nailed it every time, and I never felt "Who's this dinosaur lumbering along on stage" with him like I did with the others.

So the great tragedy of my entirely-unimpressive singing career is that I've never really gotten to torch up one of his numbers. I have gotten to do some Orbison songs on occasion, though, so that's something I guess...

DMP: So you are a mutant blogger that diggs singin' we inquire if you are a solo act....or do others share your pad....just wonderin' if you have any youngens that you might be turnin' on to our Dino?

R 3.0: My band is "Republibot 3.0 and the Republibot 3.0 Orchestra featuring Republibot 3.0" - at present it's a four-piece. Not the best name, I admit, but it's memorable in a "That's the worst name I've ever heard" sense, and no one can accuse me of false advertising. You know, come to think of it, to my shame, I don't think I've exposed my kinder to any of Professor Martin's fine Jive. That's a major hole in their cultural armor. I'll have to remedy that...On the bright side, I have introduced them to The Ramones and some other great punk bands...

DMP: Man, it sounds like your mommy and daddy-o lead you to our Dino without even knowin' it...our Dino has so many ways of drawin' pallies into his world. You allude to a story 'bout when our Dino hit numero uno in '64 with "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime"....might that have somethin' to do with a Dinogram sent to 'nother entertainer?

R 3.0: Yeah, yeah! The Beatles were, of course, everywhere in '64, and they ruled the top ten. Elvis had been trying to knock them out of the top spot all year, to no avail, so when "Everybody" hit the number one spot - which *nobody* saw coming - a number one by him in '64 was about as likely as Duke Ellington landing on the moon - Dino sent a telegram to Elvis saying basically, "Since you couldn't do it, I though I'd take care of those pesky Brits for you." I love that story! But I guess you'd already heard it, huh?

DMP: Sounds like our Dino has been your main man musically likes forever....diggin' his classy style as well as his abilty to croon a tune. Likes when did you discover you wanted to be a crooner like our Dino....and in your growin' up years did you try and do any Dinoemulation?

R 3.0: Not specifically. When a ten year old kid starts singing those old standards, it pretty much sets adults to laughing, which wasn't exactly what I was going for, so pretty much I was stuck singing in the church choir, or stuff off my kiddie records ("Grim Grinning Ghosts" from The Haunted Mansion was always a fave), but I've always had a fairly smooth voice when singing, and if I wanted to I could sing in a solid baritone even before my voice changed. Of course when I spoke, I still had the normal prepubescent boy retrospect, that's kind of weird, isn't it? Hm...

DMP: Dude, likes this may be too personal, but wonderin' what you see as holdin' you back from fulfillin' your Dinodreams?

R 3.0: Nah, not too personal at all. There's an old joke: "What to groupies and singers have in common." The answer? "They both like to hang out with musicians." I'm entirely dependent upon whomever I can con in to being in a band with me. Heavy on the begging and not so much on the choosing, you know? So I've traditionally been limited what I can get these people to do. I spent most of the mid-1990s trying to put together a swing band - this was before the Neo Swing Revival hit, by the way - because I was convinced it was going to be the next big thing, and even if it wasn't, I just dug that kind of music, no one around here was playing it, and I figured it'd be fun. Sing some songs, get some chicks, a free beer or two, the usual, you know? But no dice. When you're dealing with people who's only exposure to music is Lynyrd Skynyr, and you try to sell them on the concept of doing a Bobby Darin number, they look at you as if...well, as if you're Duke Ellington landing on the moon in 1964. They just don't get it. When you're playing in a band with people who honestly believe 90125 is the first album by Yes, you can just kiss off any chances of talking them in to going on stage and playing "Starship Trooper." It's just not going to happen. Alas...I've had to give up on a lot of my halfassed musical schemes. And to be fair, the bigger the band, the more of a nightmare it is to coordinate everyone's schedules so you can practice, right? I mean, I actually had a band in the mid-90s with a four-piece horn section - it was ten people counting me - and I think we were all in the same place at the same time maybe once? No, twice. Then the drummer decided his girlfriend - who I'm convinced was a hooker -should sing, and that was that. I was out.

You want evidence that Dean Martin was a living saint? The fact that he never murdered a drummer should be proof enough that he was.

Well...Keith Moon, I guess...but that was never proved, and anyway I don't think drinking someone under the table counts as 'murder...' Anyway, I *have* been pretty fortunate with original songs, especially when you consider my ambition far outstrips my talent. I may not get the big lush ballads, or the swing band, or the polka band or the bluegrass band of my dreams, but at least I haven't been stuck singing the same damn cover songs by The Clash, like everyone else has. People seem to enjoy my stupid little ditties about aliens and cartoon characters and such.

DMP: Pallie, likes no disrespect meant, but the Ramones before our Dino?....well man, can you tell us how you plan to start Dinoremediation with your closest and dearest?

R 3.0: None taken. I like all kinds of music. I love 30s and 40s music, I love 50s music and 80s music, I like some sixties stuff, but I've really got no use for virtually anything from the 70s. Basically punk and a little bit of prog.

DMP: Since you have had no success with gettin' a band to assist you wil some Dinoemulation....just wonderin' if you have ever thought 'bout usin' some know doin' some practicin' or no...and then goin' down to a local waterin' hole where you can sing your passion?....btw, found out that even youtube has Karaoke possibilities.....just tryin' to help you out man with lettin' you fulfill your Dinodreams and also helpin' to spread some Dinolove 'round......

R 3.0: Nah, I don't really do Karaoke. Just not my thing. Sorry. Did you know that "The Nutty Professor" was originally supposed to be a Martin-and-Lewis movie?

DMP: Man, still wonderin' what sort of plann your creative mind woulda devise to introduce our Dino to your kith and kin....your house band?

R 3.0: Well, as of right now I'm toying with the idea of watching "My Favorite Wife" with them - the Garner/Day remake of "Something's Got to Give" - and then watching those clips from the unfinished Dean Martin movie you posted, just to show them how different actors can do different things with the same part. I love James Garner, I don't think anyone did exasperation better than him, but Dino just has a completely different level of charm, you know?

DMP: Let's return to your early encounters with our Dino in his flicks specifically "Money From Home" Two questions man, what was it 'bout this caper that made you loves this movie so much? And, today pallies are speakin' 'bout how our Dino and the jer were the greatest bromantic duo ever...wonderin' what you take is on the relationship between our great man and the kid...on and off screen?

R 3.0: [Cringing] "Bromance," huh? Ok. Well, I was ten or eleven, we'd just gotten our first VCR - a Betamax, of course - and I was sick. I had Pneumonia, so I couldn't go to school or anything, and that movie happened to come on, and just for the heck of it we taped it, because it was on kind of late and my dad figured I'd fall asleep before it was over. I didn't, but over the next month that I was homebound, I must have watched that damn movie a hundred times. I just loved it. I learned how to fake an English accent by memorizing dialog from the film. So that one's always been kind of fixed in my mind as the quintessential Martin-and-Lewis movie, though I'm the first one to admit that it's one of their weaker films. But as a sick kid, it was just the funniest thing I'd ever seen - Lewis was so funny, and Dean was just so damn cool.

As to their friendship and the way it went south, I think both of them have summed it up pretty well themselves, you know? How long can you keep doing "Have you taken a bath?" "No. Why? Is one missing?" jokes. The schtick was getting a bit long in the tooth, but they weren't in a position where they could change it, and they didn't have the kind of wise-ass relationship with the audience that Bing-and-Bob had, you know, where both they and the audience were sort of conspiring to make fun of the movie they were in. Martin and Lewis didn't have that, and it wouldn't have worked for them anyway, different kind of humor, so I suppose it was inevitable that they'd start to kind of feel trapped by it and kind of take it out on each other. Dino was a hell of a lot funnier by then, and Martin was becoming more serious as well. You probably knew this, but the studio offered a bonus to anyone who could come up with a concept for a Martin/Lewis movie where both of them wouldn't have to be on the screen together, so as to avoid the tension between them. That's how "The Nutty Professor" came around: Lewis would take the potion and turn in to Martin. The duo broke up before it could be filmed, and Lewis decided to make it anyway, so "Mister Jive" is Lewis doing an impersonation of how HE saw Dino, which Dino rightfully took as an insult, but it was still kind of fascinating.

It makes me really, really happy to know that they did, eventually, patch things up, though it took thirty years. I'm glad to know that when the end came for Dino, he had a friend around who knew him as well as Lewis did. I'm glad he didn't go out alone.

DMP: You also have shared how at a pretty young age you met up with our Dino on Sunday afternoon showin's of the Matt Helm flicks. Would you speak 'bout the impact these Dinoclassics had on you at the time and the long-term impact of embracin' 'em as a devotee of our Dino?

R 3.0: Sure. Well, every city in America had a UHF station back in those days - mid-seventies - that were endlessly running old movies and old sitcoms and "Bowling for Dollars" and crap like that, and the UHF station in my town...evidently they didn't bother to screen stuff before they ran it. So the first time I ever saw a naked woman in a movie was actually around 1976 when they ran the original, uncut version of "Tarzan and His Mate," complete with the five-minute long skinny-dipping scene where Tarzan rips off Jane's dress and throws her in the water. There's nothing dirty about it, but still it was pretty shocking to see just when you're starting to hit that phase in your life where you're noticing girls, and you're not sure *why* you're noticing girls. Likewise, when they ran the Helm movies, I was just stunned by the acres of girl-flesh and the unrepentant smarm. Again, there wasn't anything specifically dirty in 'em, and no real nudity, but it was about as close as you could get without showing it at times. So to me that was just mezmerizing, and of course on top of all that, it was a spy film, so how could it get any cooler? And Dino singing parody versions of his own songs was - to me at the time - hillarious. So I always made a point to watch those whenever they came up in the rotation. Some years later, the station evidently realized they'd been overly permissive, and suddenly Tarzan and His Mate *didn't* have the skinny-dipping scene, which was a shame because Maureen O'Sullivan was unexpectedly, undeniably hot, and suddenly the Helm movies were chopped to ribbons to remove the more objectionable scenes. I still watched them in their bowdlerized form, but eventually I drifted away. Then, in the 80s, we got cable and UHF stations started to fade away, and the movies I grew up on - the "Road" movies and the Martin/Lewis flicks and the Bowery Boys films and what have you - they all just disappeared. I can't tell you the last time I saw a Bowery Boys film on TV. It's probably been thirty years. Anyway, by that point Dino was well established in my mind as an effortlessly funny, effortlessly charming, effortlessly cool leading man. Definitely he shaped my impression of how to work a room at a party, you know? How to smooth up on girls and stuff. I'm not saying I could pull it off, mind you, but I think my more convivial traits have their genesis with him. Even little things, like "Always carry a glass, so no one tries to shake your hand, and that gives you a more detached, lordly impression," undoubtedly I learned that from him.

DMP: Pallie, couple of thoughts before we move on. I believe you mean "Move Over, Darling" as the remake of "My Favorite Wife". Thinks it is sheer brillance on your part to invite your crew to view the James/Doris flick with our Dino/Miss Marilyn...btw, thinks you knows that clips of the unfinished "Something's Gotta Give" are on the DVD of "Move." Let's is know how that goes.

R 3.0: Whups, you're right! You're totally right, it's "Move Over, Darling," not "My Favorite Wife." Thanks for correcting me on that.

DMP: Obviously you don't subscribe to the bromance notion between Dino and the kid. Loves hearin' how our Dino helped you with detachment....somethin' I'm workin' on this very Dinomoment....the glass idea is so so cool....gonna tries that. So thanks for all those Dinoimpressions.....

R 3.0: Nah, it's not that I don't subscribe to it, I just have a hard time imagining the two of them gadding about like JD and Turk from Scrubs, you know? Obviously, they were the best of friends for a really long time, and they were living out of each other's pockets for a decade or so, so they were probably closer than brothers, but I personally - and this is just me - I don't like to put too much of a modern spin on things that happened fifty years ago, you know? They had different sensibilities, and I think you loose something by trying to shoehorn them in to a modern world view.

DMP: Let's move man, wonderin' if you have read any of the Dinobios and if so what are your impressions of said Dinotomes?

R 3.0: You know, I've never actually read any, come to think of it. I read "Yes, I Can," which had some Rat Pack stuff in it, but obviously that wasn't ABOUT Dino. Also, I learned about the Martin-and-Lewis plan for The Nutty Professor from reading Leslie Nielsen's "The Naked Truth" (He had a part in their final movie), but I've never actually read a book about him myself.

DMP: Also, wonderin' if you are a collector of much Dinotreasure.....knows you have the Matt Helm quartet of Dinoflicks....but likes what else might ya have to enjoys our Dino?

R 3.0: I'm not much of a collector of anything, really. I had a few old 78s that I lost in a move some years ago, and I glanced wistfully at a number of CD Re-issues back during the Neo-Swing Revival in the late '90s, but honestly, aside from the Helm movie collection, I don't have anything. I can only imagine that says horrible things about me as a person.

DMP: Man, I diggs your thoughts are tryin' to put a modern spin on past events...which leads me to 'nother question for ya.... In my work for our Dino, I am likes findin' more and more of today's youth turnin' on to our great man.....our Dino is more popular then ever....would you be willin' to share why you think that a Dinorevolution is occurin' in this day and this time?

R 3.0: Oh, yeah, it's easy. It's basically the same thing that drove the Neo-Swing revival a decade back: We live in a very informal world. No tie, no coat, lots of stubble, no sophistication, no elegance, no glamor. It's hard to tell the adults from the kids because there's not a significant difference either in dress code or behavior. The lack of any real structure in society makes people feel a little bit adrift, and the lack of any real classy behavior makes some people yearn for the more magical worlds we see in movies. The music on the radio falls in to three or four genres, with not enough experimentation or variation to hold one's interest for very long once you hit about 25 or 30. So some people hit this stage where they look around and realize that life is tedious and mistakes have obviously been made. Movies are always there as an example of what came before, so it's not too surprising that some people would want to take a few steps back to a time that was a bit more formal, but still fun and sexy, and then tenatively move forward again on a different angle, one that avoids some of the mistakes their baby boomer grandparents and generation X parents made in casting off everything of value.

In the case of Dino, I think his appeal now is exactly what it was back in the day: He's classy and polished and refined, but he never appears stiff or formal. He's got the style, but none of the stuffyness, he's fun to hang around with, and when the need arises, he can pull out the talent on a moment's notice, but he never slides in to the open goofyness or outright mugging. He's a very laid back, fun kind of formality, where the formality just serves to give emphasis to the guy underneath, which is very reassuring to classless loosers like me who really don't know their shrimp fork from their salad fork.

DMP: Might I suggest that you consider readin' Nick Tosches' amazin' Dinobio, "DINO: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams." It is the definite word on our main man. I also thinks that you would find mucho congruity between your writin' style and Mr. Tosches. Wonderin' if have ever heard of this Dinotome?

R 3.0: I've never heard of it, but I'll be sure to track down a copy and give it a read.

DMP: Horrible thin's 'bout 'bout you personally, never dude.....just thinks it shows how much room you have to grow in surroundin' yourself with our King of Cool. So, let me ask this....if you were to make a wish list of Dinotreasure....what sorta Dinostuff woulda be at the tops of your list?

R 3.0: I think I'd like his comic book collection. Failing that, one of his cars, I guess. That Stutz Blackhawk of his was super-sweet. Can you imagine how cool it would to go tooling around in that - ideally with stacks of Dino's old comics on the passenger seat? I don't think I'd ever get over that. I'd get gas, and it'd be like "I'm pumping gas...In Dean Martin's Car!" or "I'm listening to Siouxie and the Dean Martin's Car!" or "I'm at the drive in watching a Dean Martin Dean Martin's Car!"

DMP: Dude, likes if you are interested in addin' a Dinoride to your collection, you are in luck....on August 14 one of our Dino's stellar automobiles is goin' on the block....checks out... .....not the stutz, but this Ghia looks really cool......

R 3.0: Beautiful, but too rich for my blood, alas.

DMP: Gotta 'fess up when I was thinkin' of Dinotreasure, I was thinkin' more humbly of thin's like our great man's musical CDs, DVDS of his flicks and the Dinoshow, bios, etc. So wonderin' if there are particular Dinomovies or Dinocds that you woulda loves to have for your very Dino-own?

R 3.0: It's been a long time since I've seen the original Ocean's 11.

DMP: Movin' on, seein' how you are an expert in Sci Fi, and knowin' that our Dino never had the op to enter into this genre.....wonderin' if you were to direct a Sci Fi flick, what sorta role woulda you cast our great man in?

R 3.0: Oooh! Really good question! I've never even thought of that one before. Ok, hm. Well, it depends on what the story is, and what era of Dino we're looking at - is he a younger guy, or middle aged, or old? If he was a younger guy, I'd probably cast him as some sort of Science Fiction detective like Rick Deckard from Blade Runner, though something with a comedic edge would probably work better, so maybe Dirk Gently. If he were an older guy, I'd put him in some sort of Sydney Greenstreet "Mr. Big" kind of role, you know, the older, disarmingly friendly, powerful guy that nobody's quite sure about, but everyone lives in fear of crossing. Or...oh! I got it! You know what would be perfect? "The Stainless Steel Rat." He's a criminal in the future, a really likeable anti-hero who's got no use for authority, but a moral qualm against ever hurting anyone. Occasionally he's a bit of a Robin Hood, occasionaly the government enlists him as a spy, sometimes he commits crimes because he's greedy, but mostly he does it because he's bored and likes the challenge of pulling off 'impossible' crimes. There's ten or so books, some with him as a kid, some with him as a relatively old man, he gets a wife and eventually kids as the series progresses. They're sort of really clever comedy-adventures, and they're no end of fun. I've never figured why no one ever made a movie out of any of them. I would totally cast Dino as the main character, "Slippery Jim DiGrizz, The Stainless Steel Rat." He's be utterly perfect in the part, it would play to all his strengths, and we could have young Dino play young Jim, and older Dino play older Jim. If I had my druthers, that would be perfect. So perfect in fact, that now that you've made me think of this, I can't imagine anyone other than Mr. M. in the role...

DMP: Glad to have struck a note with you pallie, so you sez 'bout our Dino playin' Slippery Jim Digrizz...." it would play to all his strengths." Dude, likes woulda you be willin' to expound on this thought?

R 3.0: Sure. James Bolivar DiGriz is a con man with a heart of gold. Well, silver anyway. He's been known to enjoy a drink now and again, he's handsome, he likes the ladies (Until he married a beautiful psychopath who's all he can handle), he's quick witted, good in a fight, enjoys fine living, and he's pretty funny besides. He steals from the rich and occasionally gives to the poor, but more often he simply gives to himself under the theory that the poor really don't know what to do with money anyway, which is why the're poor. He takes jobs more for his own ammusement - a robbery-proof facility strikes him as a challenge - rather than any particular gain, and he's so good at his job that occasionally the Government uses him for assignments they either can't figure out, or which are just too underhanded for them to have any official dealings with. His missions seldom go as planned, but seeing this smart, somewhat suave guy scrambling to salvage a situation that's quickly falling apart, and somehow managing to turn it to his advantage is always the best part of the stories, and nobody played rapidly-escalating exasperation the way Dino did. Half of some of the stories is him lying his way in to and out of trouble, and desparately trying to keep track of his own stories. It's just fun, lots of good adventure stuff, lots of action, lots of comedy, lots of fun ideas, and though he's an anti-hero who's completely unrepentant about beign a criminal, he's got a very solid code of ethics that he never breaks. He will not, for instance, kill anyone. Ultimately, he's a guy who's a little too smart and a little too lazy for his own good, and he plays by his own code. That sounds like the kind of thing that would fit Dino to a Tee.

DMP: Wells, great to see that you struck some golden thoughts 'bout our Dino and Sci Fi and this DiGriz dude from "Stainless Steel Rat." Before we moves on, any last thoughts on our Dino and possible Sci Fri adventures?

R 3.0: None that could top that, really. That's my moment of brilliance for the day. I know he liked comics, though. Maybe throwing him in as a Green Lantern in the background or something. Actually, what would be really cool - and it wouldn't have to be an SF movie - is if somebody took all the footage and dialog of Dino from "Somethings Got to Give" and wrote a movie around it, incorperating him as a character in a modern movie. You know, digitally edit him out of the unfinished 60s movie and then digitally insert him as a character in to a new film. That would be super-cool, and it seems a shame to have such a high profile actor with about half of a performance in the can that no one will ever see. Ok, so I get *two* moments of brilliance today. It's a good day. A good day.

DMP: What a cool, how 'bout expandin' on that Dinonotion....what sorta plot line woulda you image, what sorta character would you see our Dino playin'....this is truly a brilliant Dinonotion...takes you time pallie, if you are outta brillance for the day...shares some tomorrow...really eager to hear more on this....<<<

R 3.0: Hm. I'm not sure I can really do that one justice. What have we got? We've got ten or fifteen minutes of early 60s Dino running around, mixing drinks, talking to someone about a cheating wife, wandering by the pool, wandering by a different pool, lying in bed, talking with someone about cohabiting on an island, him chucking a robe out a window, and a few odds and ends, and him on a plane. Oh, and the court scene that takes place in the beginning. (By the way, I have to appreciate the fact that the only part of the film they were able to complete was the famous skinny dipping scene. "You know, Marilyn is getting increasingly hard to work with, so let's shoot all the stuff with her wet and naked first, and after that, who gives a damn?" You have to admire that kind of mind for business.) Ok, so any movie we canibalized Dino's scenes for would have to be a period piece, set in the very early sixties, otherwise his clothes and stuff would seem distracting. And with only 10 or 15 minutes, we can't have him be the main character. At best, he'd be a subplot. The dialog all seems to imply a cheating spouse, if we only listen to his side of it, so any dialog written around it would have to reflect that. So probably I'd have a running sub plot about him being the best friend/lawyer of the protagonist of our hypothetical little movie, and then have it be a running gag that the lawyer is running around with a crazy wife cheating on him, trying to straighten that out, and therefore isn't actually doing what the protagonist is paying him to do. I dunno. That's pretty weak. Anyway, there's definitely enough stuff there to use for SOMETHING.

DMP: Man, you gots the beginnin's of a great Dinoproject.....your thought kinda remind me of a combination of the two Dinoflicks in the Dean Martin Double Feature DVD...."Who Was That Lady / How To Save A Marriage." If likes you gets some more thoughts...feel free to share 'em.

R 3.0: I'm blanking on that right now, I'm sorry.

DMP: Well, mixin' our Dino and Sci Fi gots you on a let's try 'nother interest of yours.....knows besides Sci Fi you diggs the space programme....nows we know that early on in "The Silencers" our Dino while in his round bed tells Mac on the telephone that he is way up in a space capsule shot from Cape Kennedy and there are some space refs in "The Ambushers" as well. Just wonderin' if your amazin'ly creative mind woulda have any planns how our Dino might mix with some space adventures ....likes in real life...or a movie or tv gigg on space travel?

R 3.0: Oh, yeah, definitely. Every spy series from the sixties quickly ran out of stuff that spies would realistically get tangled up in, and every spy series eventually started using more and more Science Fiction elements in their stories to compensate for this. Lasers, Two-Way-Wrist-Radios, Mind Control, Cloning, Ultimate Computers, you name it, sometimes even Aliens - there's that episode of "The Avengers" where sentient martian plants start taking over a town in England. This whole mix-and-match subgenre is called "Spy-Fi," (A variation on "Sci-Fi")and everyone did it eventally, even the heavy-hitters like the Bond franchise ("Moonraker," anyone? "You Only Live Twice," perhaps?) Definitely, absolutely, positively "The Ambushers" fits very solidly in to the Spy-Fi concept, since it revolves around an experimental space ship. Actually, one idea in there is actually very clever, and I've never seen it done anywhere else, though it's actually pretty brilliant: I love the idea that the ship uses some kind of esoteric doubletalk drive system that coincidentally happens to kill any men who are anywhere near it. That's just a neat idea! Of course it kind of sucks if you're a dude who wants to be an astronaut, but the idea that a drive system is completely harmless to one gender, and lethal to another is just the kind of unexpected, crazy-yet-plausible complication that you would expect to turn up, you know? And it lends itself to all kinds of neat stories: What if Warp Drive killed dudes? Starships could only be populated by women, and colonization of other planets simply couldn't happen, except perhaps by invitro fertilization. And if warp drive killed chicks, then colonization would never happen at all.

Of course such a situation would be an anathema to Dean Martin.

Now, if *I* were gonna' do an SF story involving I'd probably have him be basically Dino. He'd be an entertainer, traveling around the solar system, going from outpost to outpost and colony to colony, doing what he did best, being a saloon singer and a cutup entertainer. He'd just go from place to place, providing entertainment for the locals in East Jerkwater, Mars and Ass-End-Of-Nowhere, Ganymede and Utopia Paradise, Venus (Original name, "Ulcerative Collitisville"). En rout, and on location he'd have various adventures which would tell us more about what life in the semi-populated solar system a century hence would be like - what the crimes are, what the crimes no longer are, what people like to eat, who they vote for, what everyone hates, what everyone fears, what everyone loves, stuff like that. That could be fun, and we could even make it mildly educational - instead of Star Treking it, where every planet is Planet SoCal, we could limit ourselves to the Solar System itself, and say no one's gone further yet, and we could do reasonably realistic portrayals of what the planets and moons and asteroids are like. Instead of being a bland, clean, white, shopping mall version of the future, it could be more wild-and-wooley, with wildcat miners and settlers out on the fringes of society, trying hard to make it, and not entirely sure they will. We could obey the laws of physics insofar as that's possible, which is something SF on TV is notoriously bad about (Excepting, mostly, Babylon 5 of course, which got some stuff wrong, but tried really hard to get it right). It would be really rolicking and fun in a 1950s swashbuckling kind of sense.

Say, that actually sounds pretty good. It's pretty derivative of "Golden Globe" and "Rolling Thunder" by John Varley, and "Firefly" by Joss Whedon, and, really, just about every SF novel written in the fifties, but it still doesn't sound bad.

DMP: Woo-hoo, it sounds cool to me dude. Wonder what you thinks 'bout havin' our Dino in Space capers havin' our great man as an entertainer persona....but possibly doin' undercover work as well.....sorta an out-in-space version of Matt Helm.....any thoughts on this Dinonotion?

R 3.0: Well, I don't think I'd have him be a spy or government assasin or anything like that. I think I'd just have him be what he appears to be: An Entertainer. For whatever reason, he likes hanging out on the fringes, and I'd probably steal the old Beowulf Schaefer saw about having him be too lazy to stay out of trouble, but smart enough to eventualy extricate himself when the bad stuff eventually goes down.

DMP: Dude, likes one Dinoquire that I likes to ask pallies is, like if you were able to spend 24 hours with our Dino, how would you most enjoy spendin' the Dinotime?

R 3.0: I'm not sure. My gut instinct is to go clubbing with him in '50s Vegas, maybe ask him what Humphrey Bogart was really like. I find you learn more about people when they're talking about others than when they're talking about themselves. But I think that might be too superficial. The thing that's always interested me about Dean was that I always felt like there was a fair ammount of difference between his public persona and his private self, and I'd like to get a sense of what his private self was like. I heard, for instance, that he wasn't nearly as big a lush as people thought he was, he just discovered that if he had a drink in his hand, people didn't try to shake it or bug him for an autograph, and if he affected a slightly buzzed glow, he could get away with saying things that would offend people otherwise, so he generally faked that. Except, of course, when he really was drunk. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's an interesting idea that a lot of what we think of as Dean Martin was just a character he played in public, and then he'd go home at night and simply be Dino Paul Crocetti when nobody was looking, or when only the people he trusted were looking. So I think if I got to spend a day, I'd spend it trying to figure out who Mr. Crocetti was, you know? Hang out, low key, watch TV, listen to records, read comics, talk about his friends, trade stories about stupid stuff we've done, or crazy things we've seen, talk about movies, talk about music, you know, just really low key. I don't think I'd really want to *do* anything other than just hang out at his house and eat ham sandwiches and drink beer and hear him scream profanity at Jerry Lewis. That'd be more than enough, really. I dunno. Is that a lame answer? Probably. And for all I know, there is no substantial difference between Crocetti and Martin, but it would be interesting to hang out with him for a day and try to find that out.

DMP: As, we winde down this Dinointerview, wonderin' what questions that you woulda liked to have me ask you 'bout your Dinointerest?

R 3.0: To be honest, I don't know. This has been a much deeper - and more fun - interview than I anticipated, and it's gone in a lot of directions I couldn't have planned ahead of time. I do have a question for you, though - were there any projects that Martin really fought for, but didn't get, or something that he had in the works that you would have liked to have seen, but which just never came off? Was there a "From Here to Eternity" or "Manchurian Candidate" kind of project that he didn't get that you think could have really made people take him seriously as a heavy-hitting actor that ended up going to someone else, or just some really interesting thing like that? Just curious.

DMP: Pallie, not a lame answer at all....likes so many of us that love our Dino woulda likes to know the same sorta thin's 'bout our Dino that you are cravin'.....a huge part of what makes our Dino so desired is that in the words of wife #2, mother Jeanne, our Dino was "a total egnima"....likes totally unknowable to everyone 'round him....and a huge part of that was his amazin' detachement from everyone and everythin' 'round him. One of the most facinatin' aspects of the Dinopersona is that once he cut loose from the Jeanne, his outward persona seemed to be so much more congruent with his stage persona. In the seventies our Dino became the consumate swingin' dude.....clubbin' at discotheques likes the Candy Store with youngens' like Gail Renshaw, the 21 year old Miss USA and Cathy "with the candified K" Hawn, who became wife #3 at 24 years of age. It was sometime durin' this era that he grew fond of percodan, and his drinkin' life became much more lush as well. (btw, have you ever read Denis Leary's true Dinotale of how he was invited into the inner Dinosanctum to party hearty with our Dino?)

R 3.0: That would follow, really. He was 'on' both on and off stage. Fits with a lot of what Jerry Lewis said about him in the early days, that he was very closed off from some experiences in his childhood. And then splitting from Jeanne becomes part of a slightly belated mid-life crisis.

DMP: While leads me to 'nother Dinoquire..... wonderin' what are the aspects of our Dino that you woulda likes to most emulate in your own version of the Dinolife?

R 3.0: I really should drink more. And I could do with owning a few more tuxedos.

DMP: Well, man, I woulda say the same thin'...this interviewin' of you is just pure Dinopleasure for me as well....and dude that is likes because of your amazin' depth and funlovin' way as a person. Answer to your question is I dunno know man....but my hunch is pretty much probably not.....yeah, our Dino was thrilled to be able to perform with Marlon Brando and Monty Clift in "The Young Lions"....there is a cool Dinointerview on vid where our Dino sez this. But, mostly Dino did what he wanted to do...and found a way to have fun while doin' it. It there ever was a flick that he wished he woulda done it woulda probably been a you know he hearted westerns.

R 3.0: I was watching "The Unbeatable Bruce Lee" some years ago, and they had interview footage with both Dino and James Garner, and from that time to this, I've been wishing the two of them could have co-starred in a comedy western of some sort. No specific ideas for what it would be like, but that would have been fun.

DMP: So, let's we rearrange the Dinoquire for you.....what are some roles that you woulda loves to have seen our Dino play?....we already know from you how cool it woulda been if our Dino has played in "The Stainless Steel Rat."

R 3.0: I'm kind of tapped out, though I always thought Mr. M. would have fit right in as a guest-Artie in the final season of The Wild Wild West. You know, the one where Artie wasn't around for most of the season because Ross Martin had a heart attack, so while he was out they hurriedly re-wrote his parts in the script for a variety of guest stars. That would have been cool.

DMP:So pallie, as we brings these Dinoquires to a close, wonderin' what partin' words of wisdom you have 'bout our Dino to leave with fellow Dinoholics?

R 3.0: Oh, are we done? Wow. That was fast. Thank you very much for talking to me. This was actually the first time I've ever been interviewed, so thank you very much for the opportunity.

You want parting words of Dino wisdom, huh? Well, I was gonna' recite the lyrics to "Everybody Loves Somebody" in a Shatner kinda' way. as though the words were pregnant with meaning, but that's a cheap gag, isn't it? I think a fundamental aspect of Dino's cool to me was that one shouln't be too optomistic or too pessimistic. Whether the glass is half full or half empty doesn't matter, because either way, there's still plenty of room for more alcohol in there. Which is a belabored way of saying 'don't get too attached to things the way they are.' Whether things are good or bad, there's always room for improvement, and if you're kind of aloof but not unfriendly, if you're engagingly reserved, you tend to have a better, more detached eye for change when it comes, and where it's coming from. That's rule number one. Rule number two that I get from him is that it's better to have people think things about you than to know things about you, you know? A little mystery never hurt anyone. Rule number three: I don't care who it is or where they are, eventually, at some point in everybody's life, everybody loves a crooner.

DMP: Man, the pleasure has all been mine....nice to chat with someone who truly admires our Dino likes you do. Dude, thanks for those words of Dinowisdom. The cup analogy carries such Dinotruth and if all us Dinoholics coulda live by the three Dinorules you have put into such creative Dinoterms what a different world it woulda be.

Don't means to belabor the conclusion of this interview pallie, but you gots me wonderin' when and how you came to what I consider to be truly brillant insights into the Dinonature....the cup analogy, the three Dinorules (particularly the first two) likes can you speak of the source of such Dinounderstandin'?

R 3.0: The movies, mostly, I guess. Not the Matt Helm movies, but I mean all the Dean Martin and Martin-and-Lewis movies. He just seemed cool, you know? And then you hit this phase in your life when you're a teen or whatever, and you try to disect what it is about cool people that makes it work for 'em, and Dino had that in spades, man.

DMP: Indeed man, our Dino has cool in spades for Dinosure. Well, thanks again dude for sharin' your Dinojourney with us and for helpin' to lift of the name of our Dino and helpin' get the Dinomessage of cool spread Dinofar and Dinowide.

August 25, 1961 On This Day In Dinohistory: ADA

Hey pallies, for the delightful blogg "Hollywood Outbreak" (clicks on tagg of this Dinogram to goes there) comes this cool reminder of the debut of Danny Mann's Dinoflick, "Ada." I woulda so love to see this wonderful Dinomovie comes out on DVD. Loves the poster of our Dino and Miss Susan so much...and likes be sure to view the Dinoclip of the original movie trailer. I loves these scene where our Dino is runnin' for gov and at a campaign rally sings "May the Lord Bless You Real Good." If you goes to youtube and types in Ada and Dean Martin you will find the clip as well. Dinosharin', DMP


On this day in 1961, M-G-M released ADA. Directed by the great DANIEL MANN, this soapy tale of a hayseed’s rise to the Governor’s Mansion and his downfall by association with a woman of the evening is just as juicy today as it was then. The perfect casting included DEAN MARTIN, SUSAN HAYWARD, WILFRED HYDE-WHITE, RALPH MEEKER and MARTIN BALSAM. Delightfully cheesy stuff!

Monday, August 24, 2009

from the delightful Mr. Dino Martin Peters on his I Love Dino Martin blog.

Hey pallies, I'm as pleased as Dinopunch (woulda have to have some J&B in any liquid refreshment served by our Dino) to let you know that the kindest of the kind Miss Gayle Carline has again mentioned this here humble little Dinoblog in 'nother post at her blogg (clicks on tagg of this Dinogram to goes there.) This time Miss Gayle mentions my review of her amazin' murder mystery "Freezer Burn" and taggs me "delightful." Gotta say such compliments just brings one of those big Dinobuddhagrins to my face. Thanks so much Miss Gayle Carline for continuin' to lift up the name of our Dino and this here little ilovedinomartin Dinoblog. Dinogratefully, DMP

Here's the thing: I'm getting really nice reviews from people. Some of them are from "professional" book reviewers who've posted on Amazon and other places. I have a lovely review from my friend and humor-mentor, Gordon Kirkland, and one from the delightful Mr. Dino Martin Peters on his I Love Dino Martin blog. And then I have some great reviews from regular Joes (and Janes), if you will.

Friday, August 21, 2009

coolest info on Dino, Desi and Billy

Hey pallies, likes just discovered 'nother amazin' blog site through the help of our pallies at google. It's tagged Forgotten Hits and is modded by a Mr. Kent Kotal. To visit this site clicks on the tagg of this Dinogram, and likes you will be able to listen to some groovy tunes there as well...

The Dinosubject here is again our Dino's boypallie's musical trio, Dino, Desi and Billy. Mr. Kotal not only shares some great details 'bout the group, but likes the really stellar thin' 'bout this blog post is that he shares Billy Hinsche's own personal reflections on this swingin' sixties teen band. I loves readin' Hinsche's remembrances of his days with DDB.

This is likes the second major blog post on Dino, Desi, Billy this Dinoweek....loves seein' so many pallies liftin' up this group and it's success in the swingin' 60's...just can't put help to point others to our Dino and gettin' others to gets stuck in the Dinogroove!!!! btw, be sure to gets to the end of this Dinoprose to view a couple of stellar pixs of Dino, Desi and Billy...especially loves the one taken on our Dino's court of tennis!!!! Dinodelightedly, DMP

Friday, August 21, 2009
8 - 21 - 1965
Last week we told you how The British Invasion had inspired a bunch of young kids from Beverly Hills, California to start their own rock band ... and THIS week, the results of that inspiration are sitting at #9 on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey.

(click to enlarge chart)

Dino, Desi and Billy (like thousands of OTHER kids across America) picked up guitars and bought drum kits hoping to emulate the sounds of their favorite new artists of the day. Depending on your point of view, THESE kids were either blessed or cursed by the fact that the parents of two of the members were already established American icons. (There were cynics on both sides of the fence on this issue ... some would argue that this group couldn't possibly fail, due to these established family connections ... while others HOPED that they would for that very same reason!!!)

Dino's father was Dean Martin, whose #1 Hit "Everybody Loves Somebody" topped the 1964 WLS Chart we featured last week in Forgotten Hits. Martin, of course, was well known as a singer, an actor, a television star and a top-drawing Vegas show act ... the consumate entertainer. Desi's parents were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, stars of perhaps the most revered show in television history, "I Love Lucy." Billy was Billy Hinsche, a neighborhood friend and school mate, who completed the trio ... and went on to become a touring member of The Beach Boys Band as well as Carl Wilson's brother-in-law. (Today he still performs regularly with any number of acts ... and participates from time to time with our Forgotten Hits mailings!)

Their break-through hit, "I'm A Fool" (which incorporated that popular "Louie Louie" riff a few months before The McCoys would ALSO use it in their #1 Hit "Hang On Sloopy"), became a #17 Billboard Hit ... but here in Chicago, it was HUGE, going all the way to #4 on The WLS Chart. (You'll find that McCoys Hit debuting on the chart featured this week at #35! You'll also learn about ANOTHER all-time classic rock song inspiration for "I'm A Fool" in Billy Hinsche's comments below!) Sadly, "I'm A Fool" is another one of those GREAT records that seems to have slipped through the cracks on most oldies playlists ... so we're hoping that by featuring it here today, we might just inspire a few of the jocks on the list to feature it on THEIR radio programs, too!

Also in The Top Ten this week was the local hit "Little Miss Sad" by The Five Empressions (aka The Five Emprees), a song that we'll be featuring in a couple of weeks in another one of our WLS Survey features. Other songs included in this week's Top 40 Countdown that seem to have fallen off of the Oldies Radar include "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love" by Gene Pitney, in at #21, "Who'll Be The Next In Line" by The Kinks, right behind it at #22 ... (I know, I know ... why play this one when you can play "You Really Got Me" four times a day instead!!!) ... and "I'm A Happy Man" by The Jive Five, which sat one spot lower at #23 this week in '65.

A few more surprises can be found a little futher down the chart: "Moon Over Naples" by Bert Kaempfert was the #26 record, followed by one of MY favorites by Chad and Jeremy, "I Don't Wanna Lose You Baby", a song we featured AGES ago in Forgotten Hits. Below that came "Candy" by The Astors, "Give Me All Your Love" by Gerry and the Pacemakers, "A Little You", a GREAT little long-forgotten tune by Freddie and the Dreamers, "I'm Alive" by The Hollies, "I'll Take You Where The Music Is" by The Drifters, "Drums A Go-Go" by The Persuaders, "A World Thru A Tear" by Neil Sedaka, another one of my favorites, "Mohair Sam" by Charlie Rich (that's the song that Elvis kept playing on his jukebox over and over and over again the day he met The Beatles!), "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" by The Royalettes and another local hit, "Trouble With A Woman" by Kip and Ken.

Clearly, there was some GREAT representation by The British Invasion Artists looking at that list of titles above. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, The Dave Clark Five, The Yardbirds and The Fortunes ALSO scored Top 40 Hits this week with "Help!", "Satisfaction", "What's New Pussycat", "Catch Us If You Can", "Heart Full Of Soul" and "You've Got Your Troubles", respectively.

American acts in The Top Ten included Sonny and Cher (who not only had the #1 Record with "I Got You Babe" but also held down the #33 spot with "Just You"), The Beach Boys with "California Girls" (#3), Billy Joe Royal with "Down In The Boondocks" (#7), "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me", the eternal favorite by Mel Carter (in at #8) and Bob Dylan, who sat at #10 with his big hit "Like A Rolling Stone."

Another over-looked classic held down the #14 spot ... TV Star Patty Duke had a HUGE hit record that week that radio rarely remembers with a song called "Don't Just Stand There", a virtual Lesley Gore / "You Don't Own Me" clone.

Today we're featuring three of my favorites from this week's countdown ...

"I'm A Fool" by Dino, Desi and Billy, "A Little You" by Freddie and the Dreamers" (when's the last time you heard THIS one?!?!?) and "Don't Just Stand There" by Patty Duke.

Aww ... what the heck!!!
Sorry ... but I've just GOTTA feature "Mohair Sam", too ... this one is just WAY too good a song for radio to continue to ignore (although our radio buddy Phlash Phelps has played this one for me a few times on XM60s!!!)

I asked Billy Hinsche to share a few Dino, Desi and Billy memories with our readers ... and we hit the motherlode!!! GREAT stuff here, Billy ... thank you SO much for sharing this with us!!!

At your request, I have written a short piece on Dino, Desi and Billy ... use whatever you like!

Dino Martin and I were longtime best friends and classmates in grammar school (Good Shepherd of Beverly Hills) and started out as a duo - just me and Dino, following the lead of Chad & Jeremy and Peter & Gordon, and both of us just playing 6 string acoustic guitars.

It wasn't long before we realized that having a drummer would be a good idea and we should "go electric" and proceed as a trio. We knew that Desi Arnaz, Jr. (in a younger class) could play drums and so we asked him if he wanted to start a group with us - we asked him during a lunch break out by the basketball court. He was happy to accept the role as our drummer (his older sister, Lucie Arnaz, was our classmate).

We played at local neighborhood parties and made $20 a show. I remember thinking - how do we split this equally?
Our rehearsals began at Lucille Ball's outside playroom and eventually moved to
Dean Martin's large den, that had a small riser for a stage.

Over time, we got better and better as musicians and singers. Jeanne Martin (Dean's wife) picked up the phone one day, called Frank Sinatra and told him that he had to hear us play - she thought we were really good.

We auditioned for Mr. Sinatra as he and Dean listened to us perform a few songs in the bar area of the Martin home - perfect, right ? There they sat - old blue eyes and old red eyes!

After the audition, Mr. Sinatra walked over and asked if we would like a contract on his label, Reprise. Of course, we gladly accepted his kind and generous offer.
We were shocked to learn that we wouldn't be playing on our first recording session but would have professional studio musicians record the tracks instead of us. This hurt our feelings, as we thought we were good enough to record for ourselves but didn't realize how things worked in the LA recording scene even though, apparently, it was commonplace, as we know today. I remember that Jerry Cole played guitar on our first two sides but I don't recall who the other musicians were. On subsequent recordings it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Wrecking Crew played on our sessions though, over time, Dino, Desi and I recorded and were incorporated more and more onto our tracks.

I don't think most people know that the first song we released was a dud, sold nothing and went nowhere ("Since You Broke My Heart" / "We Know"). I wanted us to record "Since You Broke My Heart" after I heard it on a Searchers' LP. I didn't realize at the time that it was written by the Everly Brothers - no wonder I liked it so much. The B side, "We Know," was pitched to us as having been "turned down by the Beatles," so we eagerly agreed to record it, since anything that even came close to being a Beatles' song was good enough for us. Even though we performed "Since You Broke My Heart" on the Hollywood Palace TV Show on November 28, 1964 (Tony Martin hosted and the broadcast was in black & white), it got little airplay.

In 1965 (I was 14 years old), our Producer and A&R man, Jimmy Bowen, brought in a young country gentleman named Lee Hazlewood to try his hand at producing us and it yielded our first and biggest hit, "I'm a Fool" / "So Many Ways". If I'm not mistaken, it went Top 20. Earl Palmer played drums and James Burton played guitar on "I'm a Fool". If I had to guess, I believe that Ray Pohlman played bass, though it *might* have been Carol Kaye -- sorry for the lapse in memory. But give me a break - after all, it's been 45 years !@#$%

It opened the doors for us to tour with the Beach Boys, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, and many tours of our own in both the US and Canada. Over the next 4 years we recorded four albums for Reprise and had six songs that charted on the Billboard / Cash Box Hot 100.

As a result of the success of "I'm a Fool" (written by Red West - yes, THAT Red West & Shindig regular Joey Cooper), we appeared in countless articles and pictorials in Gloria Stavers' 16 Magazine, Tiger Beat, etc., and did all the relevant television shows of the day including Shindig, Shivaree, Hullabaloo, Sam Riddle's 9th Street West, the Lloyd Thaxton show, Where the Action Is, the Joey Bishop show, the Mike Douglas show, the Dean Martin show and Sammy Davis Jr.'s Thanksgiving Day Special for kids. We even made appearances on the Hollywood Squares and the Dating Game.

But the TV appearance that was the most important and memorable was the Ed Sullivan show. It was the first color broadcast of the Ed Sullivan show and we did it at the CBS studios on Beverly Blvd. / Fairfax in LA - not in the studio in NY, so it was historical on several levels.

We were also in the Matt Helm (Dean Martin) spy spoof flick "Murderer's Row" wherein we performed Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart's composition of "If You're Thinkin' What I'm Thinkin'" - one of our charted hits.

You can still see our RC Cola TV commercial on YouTube and filmed at the Hollywood Bowl:
But getting back to the main topic - I found out many years later that Red West had based 'I'm a Fool" on Elvis Presley's "Dont' Be Cruel". The titles even rhyme! When you compare the two songs you can see the similarities, especially lyrically in the first verse of each song:

"Don't Be Cruel" (Otis Blackwell / Elvis Presley)
You know I can be found
Sitting home all alone
If you can't come around
At least please telephone
Don't be cruel
To a heart that's true

"I'm a Fool" (Red West / Joey Cooper)
You know where I can be found
(Dontcha' know) I'll be waiting by the telephone, girl
While you're out running around, yea
I'm sitting home all alone
I'm a fool, just a silly fool
To be in love with you

I think it is very cool that Dino, Desi & Billy had this connection, albeit minimal, to Elvis.

Thanks for including "I'm a Fool" as a topic in your newsletter.
Billy Hinsche
Dino, Desi & Billy

Dino, Desi & Billy publicity photo taken on Dean Martin's tennis court
Photo credit: © Guy Webster circa 1968
Visit: and

Thanks again, Billy ... this is GREAT Stuff ... and I know that our readers will love it. (I never knew about the "I'm A Fool" / "Don't Be Cruel" connection ... amazing how even 40-something years later we're STILL learning new stuff about this great music that we love!) kk

Posted by Kent Kotal at 6:32 AM

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Ambushers” (1967) by Republibot 3.0

Hey pallies, likes here is our weekly dose of Matt Helm reviews from our Dinodevoted pallie Republibot 3.0. In this third review, I am learnin' so much 'bout this Dinoflick that I never focused on before.

This Republibot 3.0 guy certainly has an eye for details that I have missed even though I have viewed this flicks so so many Dinotimes. Can't wait to be able to watch it again from Republibot's Dinoperspective. Perhaps it will no longer be my least fav of the Dinoquartet.

Thanks to Republibot for his time, energy, and total Dinodevotion to share his Dinoinsights in such cool Dinoways. To read this in it's original format, just clicks on the tagg of this Dinogram. Dinogratefully, DMP btw, was not able to post the Dinoclip, but if you goes to Republibot's pad you will be able to catch the Dinolink....

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Ambushers” (1967)

August 21, 2009 by Republibot 3.0

The Smarm Is Back! Cheeze, too. It’s quite odd - two weeks ago I said the first film was like a home movie shot in Hugh Heffner’s basement. The second one was a vast improvement, and far less embarrassing all around, and you’d think the producers would want to continue on from where the standard the second film made, but no. Perhaps they were put off by the thought of a nearly-monogamous Matt Helm? Who can tell. The bottom line is that less than four months after the release of “Murderer’s Row” and only about nine months after “The Silencers,” the third Matt Helm movie was released. Man, they were really cranking ‘em out, weren’t they? In many ways, this film is the best one of the series, and in some other ways it’s the final film in the series, even though there’s one more released after it, but we’ll get to that in a bit. In the meantime:


Remember how the first movie started off with two-and-a-half strippers and a more-or-less stupid theme song sung by an unexpectedly hot Cyd Charisse? And then the second movie began with a really cool instrumental theme and some interesting, if not particularly eye-popping sixties graphics? Well, in this movie we ditch both of those concepts and instead start out with a more-or-less random Boyce and Hart song that includes the title, but has nothing to do with the movie

(And if that link doesn’t work, try here )

In any event, we start off with the launch of a USAF Flying Saucer testing out a revolutionary new electromagnetic drive system. “If this work,” Says Mac, “The planets are right next door and the stars are just around the block. In orbit, things go wonky with the saucer, however, and it makes a forced landing - without the pilot’s cooperation - in the jungles of Mexico. The astronaut takes off their helmet, revealing it’s a woman, and opens the hatch. An off-putting blonde dude sticks his head in and smiles at her.

Cut to: a secret Ice training facility somewhere in the desert (Presumably near Vegas), where a bunch of stacked female types are training to become ICE agents. One of the instructors demonstrates a metal-disintegrating ray, which causes men’s pants to fall off. (“I prefer my way better” one of the cheezeheaded new spies says) Meanwhile, Helm is upstairs making out with yet another female agent, who then shoots him with her brassiere gun. She just wanted him to keep him abreast of the times. She assures him it’s safe, but he beats a hasty retreat because “Those things always come in pairs.” Yeah, the dialog is really like that.

Walking across the campus, Helm meets Sheila Sommers, who’s got a long blonde fright wig and grey makeup. A couple nurses chase after her, and catch her. They explain that she went on a mission, no one knows what happened, and when she came back she was a basket case. Helm is mildly put off by this, since they’d done an undercover op years before pretending to be husband and wife. Mac calls for Helm, informing him there’s a new case coming up involving Sheila, and he’s sending Lovie Kravesit along with more information. Lovey arrives, and she and Helm do it in the steam bath. Helm then does some ‘orient express’ style training on a train cabin set where he undresses another of the trainees in less than a second, and then a foreign agent shows up and tries to kill Helm. Helm, thinking it’s part of the exercise, isn’t taking it seriously, but Mac shows up and saves his life. The two of them quickly realize that the only way the foreigner could have gotten in is if one of their own people is bent, and quickly run to save Sheila from an evil male nurse who’s trying to kill her.

Snapping out of her somewhat wonky mental state, and having had a makeover from a stereotypically gay hairdresser in the interim, she identifies Helm as her husband, and thinks they two of them are actually married.

Mac breifs Helm about the saucer - their only lead is a Mexican beer jingle that Mac recognizes as a dance remix of the anthem for a European terrorist organization. The Beer company is a guy named Quintana (Kurt Kasznar, who played Fitzhugh on “Land of the giants” - remember that one?) and he explains that only Sheila can fly the saucer because an unforeseen problem with the engine is that it kills men, but has no effect on women. (Holy crap, is that a great plot device, or what? Honestly! I mean, I know this is a crap movie and all, but I’ve never seen that before in a lifetime of reading/watching SF. That’s freakin’ brilliant! I’m totally stealing it!) Reluctantly, Helm agrees to take the delusional “Mrs. Helm” along with him undercover. The story is that he’s doing a photoshoot/interview for a magazine.

Once all that Russ Meyer crap is out of the way, the movie actually gets going, and from this point on it’s actually pretty good: Helm and Shiela fly to Alcapulco, being shadowed by a muslim guy in a fez who’s straight out of an Austin Powers film. They don’t notice him. They check in at a hotel, then head over to the brewery to meet Quintana. The man is friendly enough, giving them a personal tour of the facility, giving the ragingly alcoholic Helm plenty of samples, and even proudly showing off some snazzy exoskeletal forklifts (similar to the ‘cargo loaders’ from Aliens) that they’ve developed. With a Chekhovian “Gun is on the fireplace” scene like this, you know it’s gonna’ pay off later, right? Just the same, Quintana is clearly uneasy around Shiela. He knows who she is.

There’s a big party/fashion show that night to promote the beer, and Helm and Sheila are there. All the models are secretly ICE agents to back Helm up if he needs it. I don’t really like the name “ICE agents” for them, and they’re listed as “Slaymates” in the credits, which doesn’t quite fit here either, so let’s call them “Helm’s Angels,” shall we? Anyway, a super-hot woman named Francesca (Senta Berger, who did a Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode, and has about a zillion European credits, but really this is the only movie any of us Americans will ever have seen her in) takes an interest in Helm. A copter lands, and out gets the vaguely creepy blonde dude from the beginning of the film. Helm follows him, and snaps a picture, but is intercepted by a security goon. He hands over the film, and the security guy is actually quite polite (Refreshing for a movie of this kind) but Helm has a transmitter in his camera, and already sent the shot back to ICE HQ. ICE quickly identifies the guy as the leader of the European Terrorist Army, whom they’d thought was dead. He’s working under the assumed name of “Jose Ortega” despite being hilariously non-Mexican. (For that matter, Kurt Kasznar is Austrian. Evidently there’s no actual Mexicans in Mexico, if this movie can be taken as an example)

Shiela steals a loaded gun and shoots “Ortega,” then leaves. He then gets up, and tells Quintana to kill helm and the girl, and the maraca player with the band is going to blow them away while they’re on the dance floor (Gun hidden in his rattles), but Francesca shows up and dances conspicuously in front of “The Helms” the whole time, spoiling the shot. Sensing something’s wrong, Helm’s Angels crowd the dance floor and “accidentally” take out a few goons with their dance moves, allowing Helm and Sheila to get away.

Helm puts Sheila in a car and tells her to get out of there, meanwhile Ortega flies away and more security types trade gunshots with Helm in the parking lot. Suddenly the movie remembers it’s a comedy and helm uses his metal disintegrator to cause the mens’ pants to fall down while the European Terrorist Army Anthem plays, so they can’t do anything but snap to attention. He steals a motorcycle and rides right through the middle of ‘em. It’s silly. Meanwhile, a man reveals himself in the back of Sheila’s car, and pulls a gun on her. He tells her that he’s going to kill her, but if she lets him rape her first, she’ll live longer. She appears to give in, but then she kills him with her bra gun. This is played for laughs somewhat, but it’s surprisingly dark for a movie of this kind.

Helm goes to Francesca’s place, where she drugs him to get info about the saucer, but Sheila shows up and rescues him. Francesca explains that she’s from a country that’s having a lot of troubles because of Ortega - if he dies, the troubles end. The Americans ally themselves with her, and then head out in to the woods to do it in an inflatable tent. The next day they stake out the brewery. The next day, Francesca’s sidekick/muscle sneaks in to the brewery, and suspecting a doublecross, Helm and Sheila go in. A fight ensues, with the heavy attempting to drown Dino in beer. In the vat, he meets Quintana, who told the guy where Ortega is to save his life, and then tells Helm too. Helm helps him out of the vat, and Quintana is shot by the goon. Sheila, meanwhile, hurls beer vats at the guy using the Cargo Loaders, forcing him up to the roof. A big round of applause for the Cargo Loaders, ladies and gentlemen, aren’t they great? I know you were expecting more from them with all that buildup, but no, this ten-second scene is all you get. Anyway, the fight continues on the roof, and Helm kills the guy.

Now that they know where Ortega is, they head out there and meet up with Francesca, who, again, reluctantly teams up with Sheila and Helm. The plan is to just go ahead and send her in while Helm sneaks in and Sheila hides in the woods, waiting for helm to shut off the tractor beam dealie Ortega used to capture the saucer in the first place. To pass the time, Helm and Sheila do it again. (“It’s broad daylight.” “What’s wrong with a broad in daylight?”). He sneaks in, and is instantly captured and brought before Ortega. Sheila gets captured, too, by the Muslim dude from the Austin Powers movies who’s been tracking them the whole movie.

Francesca has betrayed them. Turns out she’s actually working for Big-O, and they want to buy the saucer. The Arab dude is a competitor who also wants to buy the saucer. Ortega says thanks, but in fact the Chinese have already paid for it, and the first man on the moon will be eating Chow Mein. (Yes, he actually says this.) Quintana turns up trying to warn Ortega about Helm, but sees the situation is already resolved, and Ortega buts the buffoon in charge of the firing squad to kill the American. Meanwhile, he’s going to take Sheila back to his room and do whatever it is he did to her the last time she was here. (Which is never overtly stated, but clearly he repeatedly raped and tortured her in the past. This is uncommonly dark and unquestionably uncomfortable territory for a hokey-jokey Dean Martin flick to be playing in, and the movie never quite recovers from it.) Francesca takes pity on Sheila, though, and fixes the girls’ makeup using her own knock-out-drugged lipstick, then drops some antidote in Sheila’s drink.

Francesca then tries to steal the saucer, and the Muslim agent, meanwhile, kills her and tries to steal the saucer for himself. The engine kills him, but not before putting him in a lot of pain and color-separating him to death.

Helm escapes the firing squad and once again makes Quntana look like an idiot (This is actually an oddly funny scene, I dunno why, but Kasznar giving the squad instructions in Spanish, then politely translating them to English for Helm’s benefit just cracks me up. Likewise, Sheila escapes the drugged-up Ortega. Higgaldy piggaldy ensues, with Helm taking out the tractor beam while Ortega once again tries to rape Sheila. She turns the engine on, killing the hell out of him. The saucer can’t fly for no reason that’s ever adequately explained, but it’s been loaded on a train flat car for shipping, and this rolls free, careening out of control while Helm chases it down on a motorcycle and uses a portable tractor beam gun to rescue Sheila just as the saucer careens off a cliff.

Back in the States, and back in Russ Meyersland, Mac gives Helm some info on how everything played out now that the bad guys are all dead, and tells him there’s a new female agent they’re bringing on board that they want him to train. Helm goes in the next room and sees Francesca, now with a new hairdo. “Didn’t you used to be brunette?” “Yes, but Blondes have more fun.”

Finally we get to the obligatory Rat Pack joke: They start to make out, and he plays a Dean Martin record, but Francesca is totally out of the mood once she hears it. Helm then puts on a Sinatra record, and suddenly she’s all over him. “You really like Perry Como that much?” Helm/Dino asks.



Man, these Matt Helm reviews tend to run long, don’t they? I don’t know why. I feel kinda’ spent after I do ‘em, too. Not sure why, but they kind of wear me out writing them.

Anyway, if we can put aside the terrible “ICE School” stuff, this is unquestionably the best of the series so far. The plot makes perfect sense, there’s no unsightly dead scenes that just go on forever, the pacing is pretty constant through the whole story, it’s a tight, consistent little story. That is, if we can overlook ICE training camp, which goes on forever and accomplishes little. It’s almost as if the producers looked at the script, said “My God! This is actually a very solid James Bond film!” and then immediately set out to trash it in some way by tacking on leftover gags from the first film. Of course they weren’t *Really* from the first film, but they felt like it. Leaving that aside, or simply fast forwarding through the first 20 minutes, and you’ve got an unexpectedly entertaining little flick here.

Dean’s acting is much more solid here than elsewhere, and he does more kinda-sorta-acting in this one than he does of his usual sleepwalking variety show host self-parody. It’s easy to forget what a good actor the man could be when he had some material, and while this still isn’t an A-level effort, it’s lots of fun to see him sleuthing around, trying to figure out the caper, and in a little danger now and again. It’s also the first time in the series that we see him not entirely on top of things - Francesca makes him and takes him down easy early on, and were it not for several forces working at crossed purposes this time out, he wouldn’t have won. In fact, Helm only survives this one because it wasn’t an organized effort against him.

It’s also nice that this isn’t your typical “Distroy/Conquer the world” kind of plot like the last two kinda’ sorta’ were. That’s too easy, and done entirely too often. The theft of the Flying Saucer isn’t the kind of thing the fate of nations hangs on. Yeah, it would suck if Communist China beat us to the moon, but really, we’re not even using the moon, so it’s not like that means the dirty reds would cut off our only supply of Moonium or something like that. Hell, we haven’t even bothered to go to the moon in 36 years! So, yeah, it’d suck if the Chinese got there first, but ultimately I think we’d be able to deal with it.

The music is by Hugo Montenegro, who gave us the famous “I Dream of Jeanie” theme (The famous one, not the earlier, not-famous one that they ditched early on), and in general I like his work, but I’m mostly unimpressed here. Once again, the film suffers from a lack of an identifiable “Matt Helm” signature piece of music, some kind of theme that would tie all the movies together. The Boyce & Hart song that starts off the film is completely out of place, of course, but interestingly they ditched the “Dino singing parodies of his own songs” in this movie. I can see why they did that - they’re *mostly* taking it more seriously, and those songs did tend to make scenes drag a bit, but hey, they were funny and now they’re gone, and that’s one less reliable gag this film has. It would help if any two of these people had their music done by the same guy. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that as they were cranking these things out (Three movies in nine months!) they had less and less money for composers, so you’ve got the amazingly great soundtrack in the first film done by the amazingly expensive Elmer Bernstein, you had the catchy and perfectly adequate Murderer’s Row soundtrack done by the more affordable Lalo Schifrin, and here you’ve got the more-or-less entirely forgetable Ambushers soundtrack done by Hugo, who did sitcom music. (Really good sitcom music, I’m not dissing the guy)

A couple elements of the film don’t make sense - we’re told a major clue was the way Sheila reacted when she heard the Mexican Beer Jingle early on in the movie, but there’s no scene of her actually *hearing* said jingle. There’s one or two more like that, but none that really jump out at you like they did in the previous film where the hero’s car just magically changes from scene to scene.

The roof of the brewery is…uhm…unconventional, shall we say? The big endlessly-pouring giant beer bottle uses *real* beer?

This is the first film that Helm curses in - he says “Damn” at one point.

It’s an interesting tactic making the main bad guy lurk in the background for most of the film, more or less unseen. This actually adds to Ortega’s menace, I think, despite the fact that there’s nothing special about his portrayal, and he actually looks rather goofy. Thinking on it, the better Bond movies are often the ones where the villain isn’t front and center through the whole thing, or are somewhat obscured. So I think we can all learn a lesson from that, screenwriting-wise.

Interestingly, they do seem to kind of forget it’s a comedy from time to time. Some of the gags seem tacked on, (the gator in the sidecar, the motorcycle under water, etc) and the whole spy school for girls at the beginning just don’t fit the overall tone, and the running undercurrent of rape is completely out of place. It makes me wonder if this script was originally written for another project entirely, and then got turned in to a Helm film later on. One can only wonder how Herbert Baker reacted to having his baby turn in to a “Springtime For Hitler” style mess like that. If anyone knows, I’d love to find out, please tell me! Was this *Always* a Helm film, or did it just turn in to one?

And now a few words about Sheila Sommers, as played ably played by Janice Rule (By the way, is it just me or is “Janice Rule” a much better name than the one the character had?) Far and away, no question about it, she is hands down the best actress in this series so far. She doesn’t fumble for her lines, she doesn’t seem hepped up on goofballs, she doesn’t have that ‘hey, look at me, ma! I’m actin’!’ quality that has popped up in this series from time to time, and I actually like her occasionally-husky voice, though occasionally it goes a bit too far and makes me think of Brett Sommers, which is something you really don’t want happening to you if you’re a guy. At 37, she’s also far and away the oldest leading lady of the series, and a lot of the reasons this movie works is because Dino actually has an actress to play off of, as opposed to a sex kitten or model-turned-sex-kitten. There’s more feedback, more give and take, and much of the success of this particular movie can be laid at her feet. And yet, well, even though she’s funny and sexy and smart and playful, she’s lacking that va-va-voom quality that her predecessors had, you know? I don’t mean to give the impression that she’s unattractive or anything, because she certainly isn’t. She’s leggy and packages it well in this flick, and she looks flat-out yummy in those really short skirts and big boots and but she lacks the sexual fantasy appeal that they’ve been going fore heretofore. I wonder if they were considering Barbara Feldon for the part? They’ve got a similar look and style, but Barbara was probably either unavailable, uninterested, or too expensive.

Even though they announced a fourth film in the series at the end of this one, this movie really feels like the conceptual end for the series, and indeed two of the recurring cast are conspicuously absent in the next film, which turns up after a conspicuously long break.

And that’s pretty much it for this film. Totals: Helm kisses three women, and has sex with two of them.

And you can watch the movie online at the link I gave you at the beginning for the opening title sequence.

Next Friday I’ll review “The Wrecking Crew.”