There's great news for Dean Martin fans and lovers of classic comedy. Star Vista Entertainment/Time Life have released the entire broadcast collection of Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. These shows were "must-sees" in their original telecasts in the 1970s, as an astonishing array of Hollywood and political legends came together on stage to roast the man or woman being "honored". Taking on the format of a Friar's Roast (without the obscenities), the shows became extraordinarily popular as off-shoots of Dean Martin's long-running variety hour on NBC. Each roast was held before a large live audience in Las Vegas and no "honoree" emerged unscathed. The packaging warns that in today's politically correct society, much of the racially-charged humor might seem shocking but keep in mind, this was the norm in the day with comedians, both black and white, taking good-natured pot-shots at each other. Additionally, people who were arch political rivals would engage in very funny by-play. Try imaging that in today's crazy, polarized political environment. Each roast is seen complete and uncut, a refreshing change from those vidoe releases which frustratingly only offer "highlights" or "Best of..." selections. The beautifully mastered DVDs come in two versions: a selection of 18 roasts plus new bonus featurettes and two vintage Dean Martin Variety Hour programs featuring the likes of Bob Hope, John Wayne and Rodney Dangerfield. You also get a great 44 page commemorative souvenir program. The deluxe version comes in a handsome gift box and features all 54 roasts, the aforementioned bonus materials, four vintage Dean Martin TV specials and an exclusive commemorative figurine of Dino. Looking over the collection, it seems hard to believe that there once was a time where you could see people like Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Henry Fonda, Orson Welles, Ronald Reagan, Don Rickles, Jackie Gleason and so many others sharing the same podium. This massive collection might take you a very long time to get through, but there's simply no better way to brighten your day than to take this delightful trip down Memory Lane.
THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: COMPLETE COLLECTION($249.95)follows StarVista Entertainment/Time Life's best-selling releases of "The Dean Martin Variety Show" and marks the first time that most of these classics from the Golden Age of TV will be released on DVD in a single collection. Featuring all 54 roasts from both "The Dean Martin Show" and "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts," the program's notable roastees included many of the 20th century's most accomplished performers and athletes, politicians and personalities including: Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, George Burns, Don Rickles, Kirk Douglas, Danny Thomas, Gabe Kaplan, Hank Aaron, Wilt Chamberlin, Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali, Ronald Reagan and Dean Martin himself.
Featuring over 40 hours of top-shelf comedy from hundreds of celebrities including Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters, Dick Martin, Joey Bishop, Henry Fonda, Gene Kelly, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Redd Foxx, Ruth Buzzi, Flip Wilson, John Wayne, Angie Dickinson, Billy Crystal and many more, the collectible set also contains over fifteen hours of bonus programming including comedy sketches from "The Dean Martin Show," rare Dean Martin TV specials that have not been seen since the original broadcast and exclusive interviews with roasters and roastees. The set also contains 11 specially-produced featurettes, rare home movies with Dean, family and friends, a 44-page collector's book loaded with behind-the-scenes photos, classic quotes and production materials and a limited-edition 7.5" hand-painted Dean Martin "at the dais". Adding hours of classic comedy to this superlative collection, also included are two bonus DVDs featuring seven episodes from "The Dean Martin Variety Show".