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The Museum of Television & Radio Presents A Toast to Dean Martin

Friday, March 14, 2003

New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA—The Museum of Television & Radio presents A Toast to Dean Martin, screening at both the New York and Los Angeles Museums from April 11 to June 15, 2003. The series will highlight some of Dean Martin's best television moments, including a rare showing of selections from one of his early 1960s variety specials, showcasing both his musical and comedic talents. In addition, episodes of the radio program The Martin and Lewis Show, featuring guests Vincent Price, Bing Crosby, and Marilyn Monroe, as well as an early, solo Martin and a 1996 tribute will be available in the Radio Listening Rooms. A Toast to Dean Martin will screen in New York Tuesdays to Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and Thursdays at 6:00 p.m., and in Los Angeles Wednesdays to Sundays at 2:00 p.m. 

As half of one of the most popular comedy teams of all time, Dean Martin became a major star of the early 1950s playing it cool as straight man to the manic Jerry Lewis. When the duo split in 1956, many doubted that Martin would succeed as a solo act, but the skeptics were proven wrong. Martin blossomed as an entertainer, continuing as a popular recording artist, displaying dramatic acting talents in such movies as The Young Lions and Rio Bravo, and revealing a playful, self-mocking sense of humor in his Las Vegas stage act and television variety specials, which had only been hinted at during his Lewis years.

As a member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack," Martin perfected his exaggerated image of the carefree, boozing swinger, making it all seem effortless and relaxed, singing with an off-hand charm, and giving audiences the impression that he never took himself too seriously—a key factor in his longevity. Martin parlayed this image into an enormously successful weekly variety series, one that captured all the fun of the "Dino" persona. 

Screening Schedule: 

Dean and Friends
April 11 to May 15
Dean and Jerry celebrate their eight years together on a 1954 Colgate Comedy Hour episode with skits and songs chronicling their rise to the top. In the January 1960 installment of Dean's series of NBC specials, all of which were entitled The Dean Martin Show, he duets with Nanette Fabray on "But Yours," joins rock 'n' roller Fabian for "I Love to Love," and introduces the title tune from his upcoming film Who Was That Lady? while its composer, André Previn, accompanies him on the piano. Dean guest stars on The Frank Sinatra Show (1957) where the fellow Rat Packers banter playfully and do a medley of their hits. (95 minutes) 

The Best of Dean
May 16 to June 15
In 1965 Dean Martin became the host of a variety show-on his own terms.  He agreed to join NBC for a weekly series, but only if he didn't have to rehearse extensively, opting instead to show up only on the day of taping. Despite this unorthodox approach—or because of it—The Dean Martin Show was a smash hit, running for nine seasons and making Martin the toast of television. This 1979 retrospective on the series captures all the spontaneous fun that made audiences only too happy to tune in each week. Frequent guests Orson Welles, James Stewart, Gene Kelly, and Bob Newhart reminisce about working in Dean's party-like atmosphere, while series regular Dom DeLuise sums up Dino's appeal by describing the entertainer as both "dependable and unpredictable." (1979; 95 minutes; edited from original broadcast length)  

Radio Listening Room Schedule:

Memories Are Made of This
April 11 to May 11

Songs by Dean Martin
Before his movies, before his partnership with Jerry Lewis, Martin had his own fifteen-minute radio program, broadcast from New York City on WMCA.  Every show began with Martin singing a few lines of "My Melancholy Baby," followed by a selection of four or five songs backed by a full orchestra. This program includes "Till Then," "Cow Cow Boogie," "If I Knew Then," and the WWII rallying song "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Town of Berlin." (1944; 15 minutes) 

A Tribute to Dean Martin
This program, made shortly after Dean Martin's death in 1995 and hosted by longtime disc jockey Ted Brown, consists of biographical information, reminiscences from Al Martino and Patti Page, and a selection of Martin's most popular songs, including "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You," "That's Amore," "You Belong to Me," "On an Evening in Roma," "Return to Me," and "Everybody Loves Somebody." (1996; 40 minutes)  

The Martin and Lewis Show
May 13 to June 19
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis first became partners in 1946, soon performing together at New York's Copacabana nightclub, then starring in the successful film My Friend Irma (1949). NBC was enthusiastic about securing them a spot on radio, and the show's weekly budget of $10,000 was considered quite extravagant at the time. The Martin and Lewis Show first aired in 1949 with a standard variety format, including a comedy routine, a guest, a skit, and several musical numbers sung by Martin. The two complemented each other well, Martin as cool and casual as Lewis was silly and spastic. Episodes presented here feature Vincent Price, Bing Crosby, and Marilyn Monroe. (1949-1953; 90 minutes) 

A Toast to Dean Martin programs are included with the Museum's suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen.

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the Museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. In 2001 the Museum initiated a process to acquire Internet programming for the collection. Programs in the Museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Museum of Television & Radio in New York, located at 25 West 52 Street in Manhattan, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The Museum of Television & Radio in California, located at 465 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. Both Museums are closed on New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Suggested contribution: Members free; $10.00 for adults; $8.00 for senior citizens and students; and $5.00 for children under fourteen. Admission is free in Los Angeles. The public areas in both Museums are accessible to wheelchairs, and assisted listening devices are available. Programs are subject to change. You may call the Museum in New York at (212) 621-6800, or in Los Angeles at (310) 786-1000. Visit the Museum's website at