Tag Archives: Sammy Davis

The Westerns of Dean Martin

11 Jun

I have been reading about the Rat Pack and the exploits of its members – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Together, they were legendary. However, I have been thinking about their individual careers.

Obviously, Frank Sinatra is one of the most famous performers of all time.

Sammy Davis, Jr. also had a great career.

Peter Lawford is probably best known as a Kennedy in-law.

I’m not sure what else Joey Bishop did.

Dean Martin, though, is my favorite. He sang great songs and made great movies. Some of the best movies were Westerns. For a cool crooner, Martin was pretty handy on a horse and with a gun.

In my mind, his best Western was Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Here’s a trivia question. How many people in Rio Bravo had records that reached Number 1? The movie is about a sheriff who has arrested the brother of a wealthy rancher. He and his deputies have to fight to keep him in jail and to stay alive. Martin plays Dude, a deputy who doubles as the town drunk.Dude

Another great thing, Rio Bravo was filmed at Old Tucson Studios, one of my favorite places to visit.

5 Card Stud is another good one. Martin plays Van Morgan, a gambler who has to solve a series of murders before he becomes the next victim.5 Card Stud

Everyone who is killed was playing in the same card game. It also stars Robert Mitchum and Inger Stevens but suffers from what I call the “law of diminishing suspects”. There are so few suspects that solving the mystery is too easy.

Bandolero! pairs Martin with James Stewart as brothers who have taken different paths but find themselves in trouble together.Bandolero

Along the way, they take Raquel Welch hostage.

My least favorite Dean Martin Western is The Sons of Katie Elder. It stars John Wayne and has the makings of a great story, but the “sons” are mismatched. The youngest “son” is way too young to play the part. I hate to say that a Western starring John Wayne and Dean Martin is bad, so I will say that it’s not very good.

Martin is the gambling brother, Tom Elder, and he follows older brother John in trying to figure out who killed their father. One of the best scenes has Martin playing a “fake eye” trick in a bar.The Sons of Katie Elder

Dean Martin made other Westerns, but these are the ones I have seen. Honestly, I don’t think I could make it through the comedy ones with Frank Sinatra.

Deadaroo

18 Jun

Last weekend, my state hosted Bonnaro, the music festival that has become a destination for those looking for a good time and good music. They have a wide variety of acts, and I have often said that I would like to go if I could fly in on a helicopter for a few hours. Listening to music would be awesome, but I am too well into my years to be hanging out in a field without a hot shower.

After reading a lot of blogs and tweets about Bonaroo, I began to think about what performers I would like to see at a festival. Then, I took it a little further. What performers have I never seen live but would like to see? Then, with an idea string going, I began to think about the performers I would like to see live but never will because they are, well, not live. They are dead.

After coming up with a list of dead performers that I wished I had seen, I came up with my own music festival fantasy -Deadaroo. These are not zombie versions of famous people. This is a collection of people in their primes. This is a music festival of some of my favorites at the top of their game.

The following is a list of acts; the stage where they will perform; and, the thing I would most want to see them do (with links).

Appearing on the “Knockin’ ‘Em Dead” Comedy Stage:

Jerry Clower, the Mouth of the South, telling his greatest stories, including A Coon Huntin’ Story.

Rodney Dangerfield with his self-deprecating routine and trademark line, “I get no respect.”

Jackie Gleason, famous for television and movies, was also great at stand up comedy and was known for the signature line,”How sweet it is.” The video is from The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (begin watching at 5:03).

The Rat Pack, consisting of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and others, brings their Vegas act to the stage.

Scheduled for the “Dead Zone” Music Stage:

Big Joe Turner, early R&B and Rock and Roll pioneer, performing his hits, including “Shake, Rattle and Roll“.

Jim Croce, folk singer extraordinaire, singing “I Got a Name” and the rest of his classics.

Waylon Jennings, one of the original Outlaws of country music, with a passel of hits including “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys“.

Johnny Cash – the Man in Black, the legend, and someone I actually met – singing songs that span decades but ending with one of the early ones, “Folsom Prison Blues“.

Sam Cooke, paragon of R&B and Soul, bringing his best and “Bring It On Home to Me“.

As the finale, THE country legend known to many as Luke the Drifter, Hank Williams singing “Hey Good Lookin’” and many more classic songs.

At “Rock in Pieces”, the main stage, Deadaroo brings you:

Isaac Hayes, Black Moses of 70s Soul, with his Academy Award winning theme, “Shaft“.

James Brown, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, performs all of his hits, including “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag“.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the greatest bluesmen ever, breaks out his guitar and plays “Mary Had a Little Lamb“.

The Reggae man himself, Bob Marley, straight from Jamaica with songs such as “No Woman No Cry“.

Ray Charles, genius and master of all musical genres, performs songs known to all and promises to stoke the crowd with “What’d I Say“.

Who could top those legends? Who is worthy to close the show of such greatness? Jimi Hendrix, the greatest guitar player of them all, as he electrifies Deadaroo with “Purple Haze” and other songs of psychedelic form.

That’s Deadaroo. The End