Not wanting to do a weekly TV series, Dean Martin made deliberately outrageous demands when he was approached by NBC. Aside from his sky-high salary, his contract stipulated that he was never required to rehearse (which irked many of his guest stars) and that the show was to be shot on Sundays. He'd usually be on his way home in his Facel Vega before the taping was completed. 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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