From start to finish, this episode is jam-packed with fabulous musical performances, and sadly, only two of them -- The Treniers' 3-song set and the closing number featuring Dean singing "The Party's Over" (the song made famous by Judy Holliday, with whom Dean co-starred in the film version of "Bells Are Ringing") -- were included on any of "The Best Of Dean Martin" volumes that are currently available from Guthy-Renker.
In a show filled with highlights, the ne plus ultra has to be the section near the beginning of the show that starts with The McGuire Sisters' knockout rendition of "Gonna Get A Boy", and is followed by Dean joining Phyllis, Dotty and Christine for a medley that's by turns, funny, charming, romantic, and capped by an exuberant finale of "Guys and Dolls"
But the fun doesn't end there. For those more inclined toward rock 'n roll, Tommy Sands does an exciting take on his hit "The Statue", then settles down with Dean for a little more old-fashioned harmonizing on "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine".
Dean later performs a tender version of the sentimental Irving Berlin classic "Always"; song-and-dance act The Treniers contribute a lively trio of numbers; Shari Lewis brings on her beloved puppet Lamb Chop and proceeds to give a stunning demonstration of her ventriloquism skills, after which Dean and Lamb Chop do a cute duet; the legendary Gisele MacKenzie belts out a couple of rousing standards and is then joined by Dean for an upbeat "Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries"; Dean and comedian Jack Carter run through some novelty songs; and finally, Dean sings a straight version of "The Party's Over", as movers gradually cart away all of the items in his house, including his wife, played here by elegant and beautiful longtime series regular Larri Thomas.
What this episode from the series' first year also reveals is the sure hand of Greg Garrison, who took over the reins of series after the original producer was fired a few weeks into the first season. Greg had been the show's director from the outset, but prior to his adding producing duties, the program was adrift and aimless, and the ratings reflected it.
Once fully in charge, Greg immediately set about to mold the program to fit Dean's personality, and this 1/20/66 episode from the second half of the series' first season is not only enormously entertaining in its own right, but also a fascinating look at a show in the process of finding its footing.moreless