Dean Martin wanted to be on TV but also wanted to be free to do movies and records; his contract required that he only show up to do his variety show one day per week (on Sundays). That's why he always seemed slightly out of step with the rest of the cast, who had rehearsed with Lee Hale standing in for Martin the day before. When Martin made a mistake he'd just laugh it off. The audience loved it. See more »
At one time the most suggestive show on television, Dean's show not only commented on other variety shows (a form in decline even in the mid-sixties) but continued in spinoff form with the later 'roast' format, a homage to the Friars' Club affairs of society page legend. Dean was able to use his own singing, joking and acting in a situation that could lampoon the past, push the envelope in risk and still seem like good, semi-clean fun. Spontaneity (in short supply after the invention of videotape) was literally forced on the actors and crew by doing (consciously or not) what Jackie Gleason did or didn't do - he showed up minutes before airtime knowing the sketch but totally unrehearsed with the other players. Whatever happened, happened. When it was on the money, it was a high point in midcentury comedy.
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