UPDATE (posted July 31, 2011): Now that The Golddiggers Super Site has confirmed that Time-Life is going forward with a SECOND edition of DVDs culled from The Dean Martin Show, we thought that this would be an auspicious time for a detailed and objective examination of the first collection, assembled with the aim of improving future installments.
Toward that end, we’ve reviewed the T-L sets’ pluses and minuses, taken into consideration many of the criticisms expressed here on Amazon, and offered some informative background on both Dean’s series and the complexities of clearing music for vintage television programs.
Beyond just surveying what’s come before, we’ve additionally cast an eye toward what’s next, by advancing a series of practical, viable solutions for avoiding some of the pitfalls of this initial release in future reissues.
And to make it easier for connoisseurs of this material to know exactly what they’re getting (and what they’re not), we’ve provided a painstakingly-researched appendix that takes the 20 episodes in Time-Life’s 6-DVD set and compares the original musical content of those shows when they were first broadcast on NBC with not only the musical selections contained in Time-Life’s reissue of those episodes, but also, with the musical portions of those episodes that can be found on the earlier 29-volume Guthy-Renker collection.
For the most sweeping and unbiased look at this subject available anywhere, simply type into any search engine the phrase: Updates/The Golddiggers Super Site
And we cordially invite anyone who has written a review of the Time-Life sets on these pages to add it to our site and/or comment on our article, where such postings are guaranteed to be read by those who will shape future releases of material from The Dean Martin Show.
ORIGINAL PREVIEW (posted April 4, 2011, prior to release):
This 6-DVD Collector’s Edition is the largest of three forthcoming releases representing the first new group of DVDs culled from episodes of The Dean Martin Show in 8 years, with the selections being produced this time around by Time-Life Video from footage supplied directly from NBC, the network that broadcast all 9 seasons of Dean’s wildly popular variety series.
These new products – unlike the older ones from Guthy-Renker composed of segments drawn from different episodes and seasons of the program all mixed together – are arranged by individual episodes, with the 6-DVD set containing 20 episodes in all, featuring more than 50 guest stars and a total of 80 musical performances — many of the latter making their official debut on DVD. An advance, in-depth rundown of the guest star lineups and original air dates of the shows included in The Best of The Dean Martin Variety Show 6-disc set can be found by using a search engine to locate: Updates/The Golddiggers Super Site (a site named after the female singer-dancers who became famous for their appearances on both Dean’s TV series and their own).
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Most of these reviews here are in anticipation of something the reviewer has never seen. I purchased this at Costco this weekend in California where they’re already on the shelves (for half the price, $29.99). I’m glad, because this is a lousy set.
It’s branded the BEST of the Dean Martin Variety Show. That’s fair, except when you crack open the case and browse through the booklet, they lead you to believe that you’re watching hand selected COMPLETE episodes. These are not. They are heavily edited :20 minute versions of the original shows which were 50 minutes or so in length.
Most of these episodes (spanning 1965-73) are available in their entirety on YouTube, which makes this collection even more frustrating. Gone are most of Dean’s musical numbers, most of his musical parodies with Ken Lane, his bottom of the hour “couch” songs. Instead, we’re “treated” to full length performances by acts like Juliet Prowse and Joel Grey??? The picture quality is marginal as well (comparable to the first generation DVD Sinatra specials from the 1960′s)
Producers! If you’re going to give us only 20 episodes, fine. But give us the COMPLETE episodes. Give us all the monologues, all the songs and throw in the DMS bumpers and the NBC peacock at the beginning. This is a SAD effort. Now granted, the DMS was like most variety shows of its era. 60% was filled with crap (bad comedians, singers that never made the charts, animal acts, acrobats), but let me the viewer decide when to hit the fast forward button please.
I would save your money & wait for NBC to release this show in season sets. COMPLETE season sets that is!
Like the other reviewers have said, these are not the complete episodes, nor would I call them the best, a big disapointment since I got this for my father. My father, who watched these shows while growing up, remembered some of the episodes and pointed out the heavy editting this edition has. There are funny moments yes, but there is definitely something missing when the scenes jump around or cut out just before it gets really good. Added to this is that there does not seem to be any specific order these ‘episodes’ are placed in, a single DVD would jump from a show in the early sixties, go to the seventies, then back to the sixties. There is some entertainment to be had, but poor editing, selections, and ordering counter the good skits and songs. Also mentioned in other reviews, many of the scenes in these DVDs, even the entire episode these scenes are from, can often be found on youtube. Its a good try, but someone’s definition of the ‘Best’ of Dean Martin definitely has me scratching my head.