Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection DVD Review

Dean Martin RoastEverybody loves somebody sometime but everybody always loves a Dean Martin Roast. Long before Comedy Central was doing it, Dean and his pals were taking pot shots at the biggest celebs of the 70’s and early 80’s.

They went after TV stars like Michael Landon, Mr. T and a double helping for the Odd Couple – Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. Classic movie stars like Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart landed in the hot seat. They even roasted political figure such as Hubert Humphrey and sports stars like Joe Namath and Wilt Chamberlain. 54 roasts in eleven years and you’ll find every one of them in this new, massive box set from StarVista and Time Life.

If you’ve never seen a Dean Martin Roast, you’re probably thinking they’re pretty tame by today’s standards but the opposite is actually true. The roasts and Dean Martin’s variety show are loaded with politically incorrect jokes that wouldn’t make it past the prime-time censors today.

Many of the jokes revolve around race, religion and sexual orientation. And when Dean’s involved, there’s going to be a lot of talk about drinking, free love and philandering. Now, will you believe me when I say it’s all in good fun?

When you watch the roasts or any of The Dean Martin Variety Show episodes that are included in this set, you have to do it wearing your funky, 70’s colored glasses. It was a volatile time and humor was a way of dealing with topics that were tearing our world apart. I guess the reason it doesn’t feel mean spirited is because everyone takes their knocks regardless of race, creed or color.

I don’t watch a lot of comedies on TV so my family was startled when they heard me laughing out loud during Michael Landon’s first roast (He landed in the hot seat twice.) Phyllis Diller, Norm Crosby and Jan Murray making jokes about Michael’s wholesome image; Lorne Greene humorously reminiscing about their days together on Bonanza. And I loved when Hop Sing (Victor Sen Yung ) told the world that he spoke perfect English before meeting Michael. Now Hop Sing speak like stereotypical Chinaman, thanks to little Joe. Again, through 70’s colored glasses, it’s funny.

Take a minute to sample the show, then come on back and we’ll talk some more.

The Dean Martin Roasts are just a small part of what you get in this amazing box set. There’s over 15 hours of bonus programing including sketches from The Dean Martin Show. The set also includes rare specials including Dean’s Place with Angie Dickinson and Peter Graves and Dean Martin’s Red Hot Scandals of 1926 (which was filmed in 1976). And you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen the ultra hip Sammy Davis Jr. strutting his stuff on stage. Fabulous.

John Wayne, Orson Wells, Don Adams, Andy Griffith, it seems like every Hollywood star of the era stopped by the pal around with Dean at one time or another.

StarVista/Time Life tapped 34 of those stars for special, one-on-one interviews just for this box set. You’ll hear behind the scenes stories from Carol Burnett, Ruth Buzzi, Ed Asner, Shirley Jones, Tim Conway and more.

Got more time on your hands? The set also contains 11 newly-produced featurettes including “Ladies of the Dias,” “The History of the Roast,” and “Beauty & the Beast: Ruth Buzzi vs Muhammad Ali.”

It’s all topped off with a 44-page collector’s book with behind-the-scenes photos and tales from the stars.

If you were a child of the 70’s, you’ll love everything in this box set. The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: The Complete Collection is one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever taken down memory lane.

Want to pick the set up for yourself or as a gift? Just click the banner, place your order and Time Life will cover the shipping.   Be sure to order before December 13 if you want it to arrive in time for Christmas.

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