Skip to comments.Why Dean Martin's Still so Cool
Posted on 04/14/2012 2:45:06 PM PDT by nickcarraway
A few years ago a group of us were having dinner at a steakhouse, and among the people at the table were the terrific sports columnist Mike Downey and his wife, Gail Martin. The manager of the place came over to say hello; introductions were made.
At one point in the evening I was making my way to the men's room and ran into the manager again. I said to him, "That Gail Martin you met? I think you're probably familiar with her late father."
"Who was her dad?" the man said.
"His first name was Dean," I said.
Within minutes the taped music that had been playing in the restaurant stopped, and a new tape was substituted -- a Dean Martin tape. Any steakhouse worthy of the name has his music on hand.
There it was, coming out of the ceiling: "You're nobody till somebody loves you. ..."
And just the sound of it -- just that instantly recognizable deep tremolo of Martin's voice, so warm and easy and seemingly effortless -- had an effect on the room. It was as if someone had sprayed some kind of invisible muscle relaxant into the air. People visibly loosened up, they smiled a little more, it was like a friend had arrived and had said: Quit worrying about things. Life doesn't have to be so serious.
He's been gone for more than 16 years now -- he died on Christmas Day, 1995 -- yet he seems to get only bigger as the years go by. I've been noticing it in recent days: That voice keeps drifting out of radios, out of television sets, out of hidden speakers in malls and coffee shops and clothing stores ... it's as if his voice, and his face, have by some sort of silent national acclamation been voted the quasi-official antidote for tense times. In a lousy mood? That changes as soon as you hear: "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie. ..."
The coolness of Dean Martin seamlessly crosses generations; young guys heading for a weekend in Las Vegas with their buddies understand his appeal just as viscerally as their grandparents do. He never, in life, actively campaigned for this role -- the eternal model of coolness -- and in death it has just seemed to be bestowed upon him naturally.
His friend Frank Sinatra may have liked the image of being Chairman of the Board, but the core of Martin's enduring allure is that not only did he not want to be chairman, but he also didn't even want to serve on the board: It would mean that he would be cooped up in some boardroom for meetings when he'd rather be out playing golf. The sight of him in a tuxedo -- he wore it as comfortably as most men wear a pair of pajamas -- says to people who weren't even born when he was at the height of his fame: Take a deep breath and let yourself grin. Your problems can wait until tomorrow.
He didn't like to rehearse, his friends said, because he knew he would do just fine without it. As he grew older he didn't feel the need to endlessly seek out applause, because he had been so famous for so long -- his nightclub and motion picture partnership with Jerry Lewis, his own movie career, the Rat Pack years, his success as the host of his television shows, his sold-out concerts -- that he'd heard enough ovations to last a lifetime. His ease onstage made his audiences feel at ease, too; he seemed as at home in front of a packed Vegas concert crowd as he was in the den of his own house (his line at catching his first glimpse of an audience: "How did all these people get in my room?").
It had been a while since I'd talked with Gail Martin, but I called her the other evening, and she told me that, like the rest of us, she is forever encountering her dad's voice unexpectedly in public places: "It's always reassuring, it's always nice. I was in a store one holiday season, and there was a Christmas tape playing. A choir of some sort was singing a Christmas carol, and that ended and then there was my dad: 'Oh, the weather outside is frightful...' I just smiled a quiet smile. He's always there."
She said the reason he appeared so relaxed while working was because it wasn't an act. "Nothing seemed to bother him. And if something ever did, he sure wasn't going to bother anyone else with it." She said that when she was a girl and was in a bad mood at home, her dad, in that voice of voices, would say to her, without a bit of rancor: "Go up to your room if you're going to pout. Come on back down when you're happier."
In Florida the other night I was walking along the street and thought I heard him singing. It was a restaurant with an outdoor terrace; a local duo - -they billed themselves as Frank and Dean --- was performing in front of one of those digital music machines that can replicate the sound of a full orchestra.
The shorter of the two was singing Sinatra songs, the taller was doing Dean Martin. The physical resemblance wasn't really there, but the songs were right. Whenever it became the Dean imitator's turn for a tune, he would jack the vibrato in his vocals into overdrive: "Everybody loves somebody sometime ... "
And the thing is, the people at the cafe were gravitating toward him. They were on their feet, beaming, moving closer to the microphone, some of them dancing, some just blissfully staring, seduced by the sound.
The singer looked as if he was accustomed to getting this reaction. It turns out that it's cool to be Dean Martin even when you're not really Dean Martin. Ain't that a kick in the head?
Once upon a time, men were men.
He’s so cool, he’s actually cold. Dead cold.
Dean was da man. Talented and humble, a rare juxtaposition.
Martin’s “drunk” act was just that, an act. He rarely drank..
-—Once upon a time, men were men.
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear: When men were men and sheep were nervous......
Sorry CC guy I couldn’t help myself!
do be do be do be do ~ Dean Martin
Great voice, great entertainer.
The above URL in #9 leads to one of the most fun clips of Dean Martin and his good friend Phil Harris, it is simply perfection. Enjoy!
The Rat Pack could even make standing look cool.
When he sings.. ♪When the moon hits you're eye like a big pizza pie♫ Thats Amore...♪
He's dead serious, that's who he is
I liked him in Airport.
I was born in ‘46. By the time I was 11 or 12, I was a Rock-a-Billy Punk! And I just loved everything about Dean Martin! Too cool fer school! Liking him was so out of character for me! But I sure did like him! I read that he was a big fan of Bing, and the Mills Brothers.
I love the Time Life infomericals on videos and music. The one with Dino and his Roasts is classic. What a line up of superstars, and they didn’t have to be XXX rated to have a good time. Watch it if you ever get the chance, you’ll die laughing and longing for the good ol days.
He hit Bisset made her preggers
So who remembers the Golddiggers?
"In 1963-1964, the music scene had changed tremendously. The Beach Boys and "Motown" had been the rage... but now a group was challenging everyone. They were called "The Beatles". Everywhere you turned it was the same... The Beatles... The Beatles... The Beatles!!! They were taking the country by storm. At times three or four of their songs were in the top thirty all at once.
The story goes that in August of 1964, Dean's son, Dino, was infatuated with the Beatles. Dean recalled, "All I heard from him was 'The Beatles...the Beatles'. I told him that while they were a good group, I could put out a record that could make a number one hit." Dean proved to his son that he was right. On August 15, 1964... the Beatles lost control of the charts. The number one song in the nation..."Everybody Loves Somebody".
I would hit it too. See 20.
How man generations loved his music.
His son, Dean Paul, of Dino, Desi and Billy fame, was a Phantom jet pilot in the Air National Guard and died in a plane crash in 1987. He held the rank of captain.
...when everyone had a cigarette in one hand and a mixed drink in the other while they told dirty jokes?
Dean was the epitome of cool.. and damned funny, too. Went to a yard sale last week and found a” Dean Martin Roast” DVD featuring Johnny Carson and aed McMahon. The humor was so much more real and without all the BS sensitivites we se nowadays. That `60s and early `70s era was great!!
Come to think of it id hit Dean too he is a mans man
One of the best popular singers ever. A funny guy too.
You're right, and that brings up a thought about the picture. They are not really my generation, but I don't think I have ever heard them either collectively or individually be described as "thin" from contemporary sources. In that regard, they were pretty normal sized for the times. I don't know their ages in the photo, but even teen agers today have more fat on them than these adults.
Somebody should put out The Rat Pack Diet. Char-broiled steaks, unfiltered cigarettes, and ice cold Martinis.
I wonder if the rise in adult obesity correlates to the decline in smoking.
It does for me personally. When I smoked, I was thin. Since I quit smoking, I have had a weight problem.
Now, all we got instituionalized weenie-ism and these guys were never that, they were themselves, Italian heritage, but American to the core. They got America, and those of us from that background got it, and they were the beacon that we could make it too. (Thank you Mario Andretti as well in that regard)
I was blessed with a relative that could have been one of the rat pack a musician, but he didn't want to owe the guys with da crooked noses for his fame, so he passed on their offer. He knew many of these guys, especially Perry Como. And like the Dean's and Francis Albert, he was a natural entertainer and at ease, just oozed cool in his own way. I miss him dearly, and I am blessed to have known him, his amazing voice, and to have the honor to even sing with him on occasion.
From a more civilized age:
it probably correlates more to child obesity, and so whutvyagot?
“Once upon a time, men were men.”
Yep.....and the didn’t even have to
try, they just were.
I don’t think anyone recovers from a childs death...the sadness lasts until your last breath..
“going to the couch”
Robin and the 7 Hoods.
even Dean wore a “it’s Frank’s world, we just live in it” button.
One of the results of the experiment she reported is how much weight she lost and how much more healthy she felt. She says this was due to the fact that a 1950s lifestyle had more physical exercise, disguised as just daily life. They also ate healthier, as people then cooked meals from scratch rather than prepackaged foods today with lots of fattening fillers.
“I read that he was a big fan of Bing”
Most pop singers in the 40’s and 50’s were influenced by Sinatra. But Dean’s singing style was a lot more like Bing Crosby’s.
Now I’m just going to have to grab my Dean Martin CD and listen to it tonight. Thanks!
I have expressed this before but it is appropriate here. I believe that Dean Martin is perhaps the “coolest” man ever. It came naturally and that is why it was great. And his music! Open a bottle of wine, put Deano on the music machine and I will cook all day. My family loves it!
1) Dean Martin “roasts” can be seen on youtube
2) He was in Cannonball Run. How cool is that?
“Dean” is a regular on the juke at the Irish Pub down the street. “Sammy” is also a regular — A black Jew who was an expert at spinning the six shooter on his stinky finger.