The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Collector’ Edition DVD Set

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

They don’t make talent like this any more. Imagine gathering some of the funniest people on the planet together to “roast” each other. The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts were legendary. Originally part of the final season (1973) of The Dean Martin Show, these roasts turned into NBC specials, which ran for 10 years. The new six-disc The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition is filled with the best comedic talents of the 20th century. While they and the jokes are dated, funny is funny no matter which decade it comes from. True, there are ethnic jokes and other references that today’s viewers might balk at and things that might not make it on network TV in the 21st century, they were part of the comedy culture of the time. This has to be taken into consideration when viewers watch these discs.


Probably the first thing today’s viewers will notice is the smoking on the dais. Cigarettes and cigars smoke up the stage, but these people were merely being themselves, and in those days smoking in Hollywood was the norm. These roasts are windows into the 1970s and 1980s.


During the final season of The Dean Martin Show, those being roasted were called The Man or The Woman of the Week. Once the roasts were turned into NBC Specials, the honorees were referred to as The Man or The Woman of the Hour. This is noticeable when viewers see the various shows, so now you know why there is a different sign behind the dais for the different roasts. Another noticeable difference between the shows is that the 1973 shows were filmed in Hollywood and the specials were filmed in Las Vegas. There were 54 roasts in all and they ran until 1984, and they were all hosted by Dean Martin. Well, all except one. When it was Martin’s turn to be roasted, his buddy, funnyman Don Rickles hosted the event.


All the non-politically correctness aside, there are some great jokes and some hearty laugh-out-loud moments in this DVD set – especially for those viewers who remember Hollywood in the 1970s and 1980s.


Rich Little is the consummate impressionist and when he takes his turn at the mic, it’s amazing to see his talent in play. He is a better Johnny Carson than the real Johnny Carson. His Jimmy Stewart, Jack Benny, and George Burns are uncanny. But don’t think that Rich Little takes their place. Stewart, Benny, Carson, and Burns are part of many roasts, along with Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Bob Newhart, Milton Berle, Ruth Buzzi, Rowan and Martin, and other great comedians as well as popular actors of their day.


The roasts are not limited to entertainers. Olympic swimming star Mark Spitz and boxer Muhammad Ali take part in roasts, as well as Arizona Senator – and presidential candidate – Barry Goldwater. And these guys can be just as funny and entertaining as the true entertainers.

Florence Henderson, John Wayne, Dom DeLuise, Bette Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Landon, Kirk Douglas, Lucille Ball, and so many other great talents of the last half of the 20th century are part of this collection. Whether they are “reading” their jokes, doing crazy antics on the dais, or even using facial expressions, the laughter and fun from these shows is priceless.

Besides the roasts, the collection includes some great bonus features, including interviews with Betty White, Rich Little, Don Rickles and others. Viewers and fans of Dean Martin will enjoy his home movies. Also included among the bonus features are three featurettes: “The Art of the Roast”, “The King of Cool”, and “Legends of the Roasts”. And also included are to Dean Martin TV Specials.

Dean Martin’s shows were among the longest running variety shows on TV. “The King of Cool”, as he was known as, is a legend in his own right. Forget about his friendship with Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack, Dean Martin was a talented man on his own. And his fans will never forget him.

Dean Martin was born Dino Crocetti on June 7, 1917 in Steubenville, Ohio.


The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition is filled with great moments and a lot of laughs. If you remember those times, you’ll enjoy these discs. If you are not old enough to remember them or if you weren’t born yet, this collection is a look at the great talents of the day.


About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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