The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast

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The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast
Genre Variety/Comedy
Written by David Axelroad, Bill Daley
Directed by Greg Garrison
Presented by Dean Martin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 10
No. of episodes 54: 29 Specials, 25 as Dean Martin Show segment
Production
Producer(s) Greg Garrison
Running time Varies
Release
Original network NBC
Original release October 31, 1974 (1974-10-31) – December 7, 1984 (1984-12-07)
Chronology
Preceded by The Dean Martin Show

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast was an NBC television special show hosted by entertainer Dean Martin in 1974–1984. For a series of 54 specials and shows, Martin and his friends would "roast" a celebrity. The roasts were patterned after the roasts held at the New York Friars' Club.

History[edit]

In 1973, The Dean Martin Show was declining in popularity. In its final season, to pick up the ratings and to require less of Martin's involvement, it was retooled into a series of celebrity roasts by adding a feature called "Man of the Week Celebrity Roast" . The roasts seemed to be popular among television audiences and are often marketed in post-issues as part of the official Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts and not The Dean Martin Show. After The Dean Martin Show was cancelled in 1974, NBC drew up a contract with Martin to do several specials and do more roast specials. Starting with Bob Hope in 1974, the roast was taped in California and turned out to be a hit, leading to many other roasts to follow.[1]

In the fall of 1974, the roasts moved permanently to the MGM Grand Hotel's Ziegfeld Room in Las Vegas and mainly aired Thursdays on NBC. The televised roasts were popular in the ratings; however Martin and NBC declined to extend the 10-year contract. Some segments were taped prior to or after the roast, due to considerations with the performer or technical aspects.[2] No roasts were broadcast between 1980 and 1983 (partly due to the MGM Grand fire of 1980), with the specials returning for a few final installments in 1984. The show's official title as a television special would change based on the celebrity, in James Stewart's case for instance, it would be the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Jimmy Stewart.

The roastmaster (Martin), the roastee, and the roasters would be seated on a dais. The roastees were also referred to as "Man of the Hour", "Woman of the Hour", or "Man of the Week" in earlier episodes.

Trivia[edit]

In two instances, a pair of celebrities were roasted at the same time: Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. Only one person was honored posthumously, George Washington, who was honored for the upcoming United States bicentennial (veteran historical impersonator Jan Leighton portrayed Washington for the episode while Audrey Meadows portrayed his wife, Martha). Michael Landon, Redd Foxx, Joe Namath, and Jack Klugman were the only celebrities roasted twice; Landon's second time in 1984, being the final roast. Don Rickles hosted the roast of Dean Martin and assumed the role of Roastmaster.[3] Comedian Nipsey Russell and impressionist Rich Little appeared the most often on the roast with each appearing 24 times. While most of the participants were comedians known for their work in such events, occasionally unexpected participants would be featured, such as British pop singer Petula Clark who was recruited to help roast TV actor William Conrad in 1973.

DVD release[edit]

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts were released on DVD through Guthy-Renker with some of The Dean Martin Show roasts selected as part of the package. The show is one of the most sold video sets of all-time.[4] NBC Universal brought suit against producer Greg Garrison and Guthy-Renker for selling The Dean Martin Show DVDs; the suit did not affect the Celebrity Roasts. All 54 of the Celebrity Roasts are now being sold via television infomercial by Time–Life.[5]

Episodes[edit]

As a segment on The Dean Martin Show[edit]

As The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter's Eyes. Deana Martin, Wendy Holden Random House Digital, Inc., 2005 ISBN 1-4000-9833-5
  2. ^ The Rat Pack: Neon Nights with the Kings of Cool. Lawrence J. Quirk, William Schoell. HarperCollins, 1999. ISBN 0-380-73222-X
  3. ^ Historical Dictionary of African-American Television. Volume 7 of Historical dictionaries of literature and the arts. Kathleen Fearn-Banks, Scarecrow Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8108-5335-3
  4. ^ Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter's Eyes. Deana Martin, Wendy Holden Random House Digital, Inc., 2005 ISBN 1-4000-9833-5
  5. ^ The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete DVD Collection Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.