I love this piece with Dean and Phil Harris. This stuff never gets old. My Dad and I used to watch this show every Thursday night at Nine O’Clock. It was our favorite program.
Dean Martin was initially reluctant to do the show, partially because he did not want to turn down movie and nightclub performances. His terms were deliberately outrageous: he demanded a high salary and that he need only show up for the actual taping of the show. To his surprise the network agreed. As daughter Deana Martin recalled after meeting the network and making his demands Martin returned home and announced to his family, “They went for it. So now I have to do it.” (The terms of employment, and not having to appear for rehearsals, allowed Martin to appear in a series of Matt Helm films concurrent with the show’s run, as well as other projects such as a co-starring role in the first Airport film in 1970.)
Dean Martin believed that an important key to his popularity was that he did not put on airs. His act was that of a drunken, work-shy playboy, although the ever-present old-fashioned glass in his hand often only had apple juice in it. The show was heavy on physical comedy rather than just quips (he made his weekly entrance by sliding down a fireman’s pole onto the stage.) Martin read his dialogue directly from cue cards. If he flubbed a line or forgot a lyric, Martin would not do a retake, and the mistake—and his recovery from it—went straight to tape and onto the air.
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