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Backstage at the Dean Martin Show Hardcover – April 1, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Hale describes himself as the "Special Material by " writer, composer, and choreographer, not to mention stand-in for the star himself, for the 1960s and early 1970s television staple, The Dean Martin Show. In a book that captures the American variety-show era, Hale chronicles each year he spent on the show, with anecdotes about guest stars and various dilemmas and successes during tapings. He also gives an extensive history of the famous/infamous Golddiggers. Much is made of Martin's personality and his abilities as an entertainer who never needed to rehearse. Hale gushes at times about the star and many of his guests over the years, shouting sentiments at them from the page. Though Hale and Neely do a fine job of storytelling, this book is recommended only for fans and libraries with popular-culture or broadcasting collections.
-Lisa N. Johnston, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Lee Hale, who worked with Dean for years, has captured in the written word the heart and soul of the man; his music and his humor and the backstage fun that made Dean's show unique. (Bob Hope)

From the exciting newness and discovery of making a show work in the beginning to the slow decline at the end,Backstage at the Dean Martin Show is a warm and touching memoir. (Christine Canfield ForeWord Reviews)

Appeared in Entertainment Weekly.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878331700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878331703
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Where's Dean? That seems to be the main question asked by everyone who ever appeared on the Dean Martin Show. Lee Hale gives us a behind the scenes look, hence the title, at the inner workings of a show that had phenomenal run for a period of 10 years. Mr. Hale shows us how hard everyone around Dean had to work so that Dean looked like he didn't have to work. Although much is said about the fact that Dean never rehearsed prior to taping the show, it was for the very same reason that the show was a success. The main theme of the show; let Dean do what he did best: Be Dean Martin. As the show's producer, Greg Garrison, would say when it was time for Dean's appearance on the show; "Bring in the Italian". And sliding down his fireman's pole would come Dean right into our living rooms and our hearts. Not only does the book take a look at the success that was the Dean Martin Show, but looks at the long gone genre of the "variety show". I can remember watching Dean, the Carol Burnett Show and Red Skelton. That was some great T.V. Overall, the book is a good read and it is full of photos that remind us how much fun it was to have Dean around.
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Format: Hardcover
"Backstage at the Dean Martin Show" is a body of work with three bloodlines...
TV variety shows,talented stars, and Dean Martin. If you are a fan of any three, you will find how they mixed together through the 'heart' of the "Dean Martin Show", with the 'eyes and ears' of Lee Hale, musical director-turned-producer.
Starting his internship with the credit "Special Musical Material By...", Mr. Hale was responsible for every note that was heard on the series. He was also the one responsible for choosing every girl that provided the'skin' (Deanís Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters), and later utilized his 'hands' at editing, which won Mr. Hale an Emmy nomination (one of many).
The 'guts' of the Dean Martin show had a lot of vital parts, and Mr. Hale tells us which ones were kept and which were operated on or replaced. Of course,the heart of the book is in the soul of Dean Martin, the body whom Lee Hale also stood in for six days a week, dancing, singing and joking with EVERY guest star that was admitted through those star crossed doors at NBC.
The whole operation was a phenomenal success and now you can see the itemized bill... from who was admitted, who paid their dues, to the life support and what led to everyone finally being discharged.
This book won't be in anyone's waiting room... it will always be in someone's hands reading it!
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Format: Hardcover
Lee Hale lived, breathed, and helped run the Dean Martin Show for its duration, even when the variety show was no more, replaced by the Dean Martin Roasts. Lee actually played Dino during rehearsals, so got to meet and know all of the stars that guested on his show. If you loved the show, as I did growing up, you will be fascinated by this inside look (Dino's wife Jeannie loved it, as she knew nothing about it either! )into one of the most successful variety shows of all history. A warning, however, is: don't expect to learn a lot about Dino; his manager didn't let Lee (or anyone else) get especially close to him, just small talk from time to time; the only extraordinary insight from Lee regarding Dino was that YES, that WAS scotch in his glass! Actually, Lee, an observant man, made several interesting observations of this legenday performer as he drifted away from his wife and pursued what can only be describecd as a mid-life crisis, "Rat Pack Style", which in the end, he seemed to highly regret. To wrap it up, the book was a lot of fun, its a good read; its chock full of photos of the likes of Duke Wayne, Orson Welles, etc, so you can't lose! Give it a try!
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Format: Hardcover
"Backstage at the Dean Martin Show" took me back 30 years, when I watched Dino with my dad on Thursday nights. As a teen, I knew Dean looked relaxed, fresh and spontaneous...now I know why! The biggest surprise in this book is the stunning collection of color photographs, from hundreds of episodes of the show. All the showbiz heavies from the 60's and 70's are included. Let's face it, every man wanted to BE Dean Martin. Now we get an insider's look at the folks behind the scene who allowed "Dean to be Dean." You gotta give the Italian credit. How many of us do our jobs well with virtually no preparation! And in this era of over-rehearsed, mediocre "let's take out the mistakes" sitcoms, Dean's "show up on tape day and let's see who's on the show this week" mentality makes one wax nostalgic. I hope Lee Hale's fun book will encourage producer Greg Garrison to put Dean's variety shows (not just the roasts) back on the syndication or cable TV market. Thanks to TV Land, one can see Flip, Sonny and Cher, and the Smothers Brothers from time to time, but it sure would be nice to see Dino slide down that pole again!
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Format: Hardcover
Lee Hale, who staged most of the musical portions of Dean Martin's TV variety shows, takes pains to explain that the show's relaxed, effortless charm was really the result of shrewd pre-planning by the production team, so the star seldom had to worry about anything. Hale takes us through these intricate logistics and the miraculous results, telling us which celebrity guests were solid professionals, and which were less so. There are a few surprises here -- one seemingly sweet and humble comedian appears to have been a Class-A jerk offstage. Hale also touches on the Dean Martin summer-replacement shows (not enough information about these, unfortunately, but the author is principally concerned with the "regular-season" show) and the Dean Martin celebrity roasts (which ultimately eclipsed the variety series).

The text is at its best when the author describes "The Dean Martin Show" at its height; Hale's enthusiasm soars and anecdotes flow when the show is going like gangbusters. The later chapters are more distant, reflecting the author's disappointment when Martin went into decline personally and professionally, and the author's memory is hazy at least once (second-banana Lou Jacobi is misidentified as Abe Vigoda).

Readers expecting a no-holds-barred expose will be disappointed that Hale seldom shoots from the hip; his overall tone is affectionate and restrained. Fans who recall "The Dean Martin Show" will like this book most, but there are enough show-biz tidbits and photos to intrigue the casual reader. All in all, a very enjoyable book.
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