The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts Complete DVD Collection from Time Life. Take a trip back to the 1970s and experience the most famous celebrities of the day at their wittiest and funniest.
By 1974, Dean had tired of the hard work of hosting the weekly Dean Martin Variety Show, and ratings had been falling for some time. NBC and Dean agreed to a new format, patterned after the New York Friar’s Club Roasts. The roast format was easier to produce, didn’t require as much involvement from Dean, and was a perfect forum for funny people to deliver their best lines.
Complete for the first time, on 25 DVDs.
If you binge-watch all 54 roasts plus all the hours of bonus material, you’ll see almost every A and B level TV personality of the era, plus politicians, movie stars, athletes and even Truman Capote.
Time Life has put together the first complete DVD box set of this series, with all 54 Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts. Plus over 15 hours of extras.
Dean Martin and his pals deliver insults, zingers, put-downs galore.
These shows are not just a nostalgia fest. They’re truly entertaining, sometimes knee-slapping, and the participants obviously had fun making them. Much of the really funny stuff is ad-libbed, but the show’s writers could reliably whip up chuckle-worthy one-liners to feed the non-comedians along with their pre-taping martinis, shrimp cocktail and filet mignon.
Funny, not dirty.
Unlike recent Comedy Central roasts where the jokes are filthy and expletive-laden, you couldn’t work blue on TV back in the seventies. A mild double-entendre and a sly wink had to do. Still, I’ll bet there were some truly raunchy bits we never got to see. But when you have performers this good, even the parsimonious NBC censors couldn’t cut out all the funny.
We don’t have space here to list all the roasters and roastees, but visit TimeLife.com if you want to see the lineup for each of the 54 roasts. Here’s a sampling.
Dean Martin, Betty White, Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Charo, Hugh Hefner, Suzanne Somers, Jimmy Walker, Ernest Borgnine, Redd Foxx, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Burns, Nipsey Russell, Angie Dickinson, Barry Goldwater, Orson Welles, Don Rickles, Ralph Nader, Sammy Davis, Jr., Johnny Carson, Hubert Humphrey, Frank Sinatra, Phyllis Diller, Jackie Gleason, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Paul Lynde, Joe Namath.
You’ll be Googling non-stop to settle all the “living or dead” arguments you’ll have with family or friends when you gather to watch these episodes. For maximum enjoyment, make sure you’re drinking, because all the participants were!
Swank packaging (because it’s Time Life).
You know the Time Life folks produce the best looking box sets in the business. I don’t blame you if you buy this for yourself, but it does make an impressive gift for anyone with a TV and a DVD player.
Inside the gorgeous collector’s box festooned with celebrity head shots, you’ll find a 44 page Quote Book with photos, stories and reminiscences, plus all 25 DVDs containing the 54 roasts and 15 hours of bonus material. Includes episodes of the Dean Martin Variety Show, four class Dean Martin TV Specials, interviews, Dean’s home movies, and more.
This is a collector’s edition in every sense of the word.