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The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted DVD Review

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts- Fully Roasted DVD

“The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted” DVD delivers plenty of laughs.

Before the roasts became the punchline that they are now, they were once big events that featured all-star lineups. Granted, some of the jokes contained in these specials may be cringe worthy and not very PC to some in today’s day and age, but from a historical standpoint, it’s fascinating to see what these comedians got away with back then. There is a good chunk of material here that would likely never be aired on network television today for better or for worse. At any rate, there’s an absolute wealth of content in this newly released DVD set dubbed “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted.” Dean Martin (who is putting on his drunken, slurring, chain smoking persona here) is the quick witted roastmaster who presides over each and every roast. In this particular DVD set, they are 17 full roasts of stars such as Betty White, Ronald Reagan (before he was President), Bette Davis, Muhammad Ali, George Burns, Angie Dickinson, Telly Savalas, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Senator Barry Goldwater, Suzanne Somers, George Washington (played by impersonator Jan Leighton), Dennis Weaver, Ralph Nader, Gabe Kaplan, Redd Foxx, Hugh Hefner and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The specials (which are recorded at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas) all vary in times and could be anywhere from 26, 34, 50 or even 70 minutes long.

While the individual roasts are decidedly hit-and-miss, there is much to enjoy about each and every one of them as we get to witness a wide range of comedians and iconic movie stars (many of whom are sadly no longer with us). Among the talent you will see: Orson Welles, Gene Kelly, Phyllis Diller, Dom DeLuise (and his various characters), a young Billy Crystal, Abe Vigoda, Ruth Buzzi, Howard Cosell, and George Kennedy to name a few. Of course, the REAL stars here are Dean Martin (who frequently steals the show) and Mr. Television himself, Milton Berle. When I say Berle is in a league of his own in the roast department, I mean it. He’s the cream of the crop and he almost always has the best jokes.

Roasters aside, some of the celebs being roasted also get a chance to shine here. Telly Savalas (who REALLY gets back at the roasters), Ronald Reagan, and George Burns are particularly amusing here. Consequently, those 3 episodes are also the best of the lot in my humble opinion (with the Muhammad Ali show being a close fourth).


Presentation: Fullscreen. How does it look? The colors are a bit faded, but the episodes are in surprisingly good shape all things considered.

Audio Track: Unspecified audio track. How does it sound? The tracks are acceptable.

* A booklet that acts as an episode/bonus feature guide. Episode notes are also included.
* 5 comedy sketches from season 9 episode 1 of “The Dean Martin Show.”
* 2 bonus comedy sketches from season 9 episode 6 of “The Dean Martin Show.”
* 2 bonus comedy sketches from season 9 episode 19 of “The Dean Martin Show.”
* Interviews with Jimmie Walker, Abe Vigoda, Fred Willard, Phyllis Diller, Ruth Buzzi, Shirley Jones, Tony Danza, Angie Dickinson and Carol Burnett. The group chat about Dean Martin, show guests, favorite moments, the roasts, Las Vegas, Red Buttons, jokes, Betty White, legendary roasters, characters, The Rat Pack, female comedians, etc.
* Bonus comedy sketch from season 9 episode 22 of “The Dean Martin Show.”
* 4 bonus comedy sketches from season 9 episode 9 of “The Dean Martin Show.” The Captain Tidy bit with Vincent Price is amusing here.
* “Beauty and The Beast: Ruth Buzzi vs. Muhammad Ali”- Ruth Buzzi and producer Lee Hale talk about the Muhammad Ali roast.

Overall Thoughts: These roasts are truly a nostalgic blast from the past. Recommended.

April 25, 2014 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , ,

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