Entertainment :: Television

Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: The Complete DVD Collection

by Michael  Cox
Contributor
Wednesday Oct 30, 2013
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"I wish we had a hundred like Dean (Martin) in Washington," said Sen. Barry Goldwater on the dais at Martin’s "Man of the Hour" celebrity roast. "Unfortunately we have ten thousand."

Dean Martin had a variety show for about ten years in the 1960’s and early ’70’s, and when they were deciding what to do for the final season’s finales someone on the staff yelled out, "We should toast a bunch of big stars." Thrilled by the possibilities of what this could mean, they decided to make "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts" look as much like the infamous Friars Club Roasts in New York without the bawdy language.

But the rude and crude humor in these roasts may astound you. In fact there’s a warning on the DVD case that "jokes and ethnic references heard in these roasts would most likely not be heard on TV today". The shows are shot in front of an audience and the drinks and cigarettes are real, so is the drunken brawling atmosphere. Dino is slurring his words and Truman Capote is reading the wrong cue cards.

Still these all-star roasters are somehow able to skirt the censors with subtle and suggestive, high-class filth: a buxom blond stands at the podium and says, "Dean Martin is such a nice man. When I asked him if he thought I could make it big, he looked at me and said, ’Baby, you already have.’"

"Here I am from the Democratic Party," said Sen. Hubert Humphrey while he was on the dais, "(with) Barry Goldwater from the Republican Party and we’re both here to honor Dean Martin who is in favor of a third party... or a fourth party, or a fifth party, or any party as long as long as the ice holds up."

"Governor Reagan started out as an underweight, inexperienced, untalented dishwasher in Tampico, Illinois," said Phyllis Diller at Ronald Reagan’s roast. "Unfortunately, he never lived up to this early promise."

Of the 54 celebrity roasts on 23 DVDs there is talk of pot and orgies - no politician would dare to show themselves today the way they did in these roasts, unless of course it’s on Twitter. Even Ronald Reagan plays a significant part in these roasts.

"Governor Reagan started out as an underweight, inexperienced, untalented dishwasher in Tampico, Illinois," said Phyllis Diller at Ronald Reagan’s roast. "Unfortunately, he never lived up to this early promise."

This truly astounding collection covers nearly 20 years of Dean Martin on television starting with highlights from "The Dean Martin Variety Show" and focusing on over 40 hours of celebrity roasting that spans some of the greatest names in television and also includes politician, sports figures and other cultural superstars. Some of the famous roasted names include Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Lucille Ball, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, George Burns, Don Rickles, Wilt Chamberlin, Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali and Ronald Reagan.

There are also 11 newly produced featurettes, fifteen hours of bonus programing and a 44-page collectors book -- not to mention that the liner notes are incredibly detailed.

This collection is now exclusively available online at DEANROASTS.COM.
Price: $249.95

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