Fairfax, Va. (Top40 Charts/ Webster & Associates)
Long before Comedy Central began generating ratings and headlines with their over-the-top roasts, one entertainment icon was pioneering the format with "The Dean Martin
Show." In 1973, the 10-year-old NBC variety show retooled in its final season and introduced a new feature: the "Man of the Week Celebrity Roast." Patterned after the roasts held at the New York City's famous Friars Club, Dean Martin's Roasts quickly became a favorite with television audiences and eventually evolved to become a network series, "The Dean Martin
Celebrity Roasts." And beginning with a skewering of comedy legend Bob Hope on October 31, 1974, the program would go on to become a fixture on NBC for the next 11 years.
THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: COMPLETE COLLECTION 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 (complete list below), 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. Among the hilarious highlights you'll see is Rich Little
recounting how he "taught" Jimmy Stewart how to do an imitation of Jimmy Stewart, Ruth Buzzi telling the story of her great battle with Muhammad Ali, and Tim Conway on whether or not Don Rickles was ever hit or jailed due to his material.
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: "Dean's Place" (1975 & 1976), featuring Angie Dickinson, Peter
Graves, and Gov. Ronald Reagan; and "Dean Martin's Red Hot Scandals of 1926" (1976 & 1977) featuring Dom DeLuise, Abe Vigoda, and Winters, exclusive interviews with roasters and roastees including Betty White and Jackie Mason, as well as Winters and Diller in heartfelt interviews taped before their recent passing. The set also contains specially-produced featurettes, rare home movies with Dean, family and friends and a 44-page collector's book loaded with behind-the-scenes photos, classic quotes and production materials. Adding hours of classic comedy to this superlative collection, also included are two bonus DVDs featuring seven episodes from "The Dean Martin
Variety Show" featuring guests such as Bob Hope, John Wayne, Peggy Lee, Jimmy Stewart, Orson
Welles, Michael Landon, Don Rickles, Don Adams, Dom DeLuise, Jack Benny, Rodney Dangerfield, Nipsey Russell, George
Burns, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Griffith and Paul Lynde.
In producing The DEAN MARTIN Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection, StarVista / Time Life taped interviews with 34 former Roast participants, production personnel, critics and fans including: Don Rickles, Carol Burnett, Ruth Buzzi, Tony Danza, Abe Vigoda, Angie Dickinson, Dan Haggerty, Ed Asner, Fred Willard, Jimmie Walker, Rich Little, Rip Taylor, Shirley Jones, Tim Conway, Florence Henderson and many more. The 25-disc DVD set also contains 11 newly-produced featurettes:
of the Roasts
The Art of the Roast
Ladies of the Dais
Roast in Hell: Politicians Under Fire
Sports Stars: Hit 'Em Where It Hurts
The History of the Roast
The King of Cool: Always in Fashion
Primetime Ribbing: Roasting Small-Screen Stars
Beauty & The Beast: Ruth Buzzi vs. Muhammad Ali
Offered by StarVista Entertainment / Time Life exclusively online this summer, the set is available for pre-order at DeanRoasts.com , rolling out nationally to retail in the fall.
CELEBRITY ROAST FUN FACTS:
Zsa Zsa tried to keep all the dresses she wore on the roasts, but wardrobe wouldn't let her.
roasted two sets of celebrities together, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall , and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin
Ronald Reagan tried out impressions on Rich Little.
Michael Landon , Redd Foxx , Joe Namath , and Jack Klugman were the only celebrities roasted twice; Landon's second time in 1984, being the final roast
For Dean Martin's roast, Don Rickles was host, and assumed the role of Roastmaster
Comedian Nipsey Russell , impressionist Rich Little
and talented character actor and comedian Ruth Buzzi appeared the most often on the Celebrity Roasts; Russell appeared 26 times, Little
24 times, and Buzzi 20 times