Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vital Viewing

The Dean Martin Show, circa 1966:

The first song in the medley had been a hit for, of all people, Jerry Lewis.

I once read in a biography of Dean Martin that Bing Crosby was his primary musical influence. Now, it so happens that Crosby frequently collaborated with Louis Armstrong on such songs as "Gone Fishin'' and "Now You Has Jazz". Bing was one of the first white performers to sing jazz-based music, and helped popularized it in the late '20s and early '30s. In fact, Armstrong was said to have been Bing's primary musical influence, just as Crosby was Dean's. Yet, by the late '50s, after years of crooning the more sedate June/moon/spoon standards, Bing seemed, at least to me, a bit restrained swinging along side to the more ebullient Armstrong.   Perhaps he thought he was, or the public thought he was, or he thought the public thought he was, a bit too dignified for that kind of thing by then.

But, man, watch "Deanie" let it all hang out! No restraint there. If Martin's influenced by anyone in that clip, it's not Crosby but the man performing alongside him. And the always energetic Armstrong seems even more energized alongside Martin. A musical chain reaction is what we're looking at here. But you're not supposed to look at music, are you?  So close your eyes and listen. Dino and Satchmo could be brothers.


  1. Legends performing together. this a wonderful clip emphasizing the best of both these great entertainers. They are certainly missed.

  2. Tin Pan Alley rock stars.

    I like how Dean keeps crouching down to Armstrongs eye level.

  3. I remember watching The Dean Martin Show a few times, I must say I so enjoyed his show because he looked like he was having a great time. In fact every one looked like they where having a great time.
    He had a easy charm and if I had ever got a chance to met any of The Rat Pack it would have been him.
    Love the opening where something always happened and you knew it was always a surprise to him too.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. That's what I like so much about this clip, parsnip, that Dean and Louie seem to be having so much fun. See 'em give each other the high-five at the end?


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