Friday, September 4, 2009

Don Rickles

This clip is from one of Dean Martin's "celebrity roast" shows. It's Don Rickles heckling Dean, Bob Hope and an alarming number of Hollywood Republicans (Governor Ronald Reagan, Billy Graham and Jimmy Stewart to name a few.)

Judging from the guests on the dais, this is from somewhere between 1972 (Mark Spitz's olympic glory) and 1974 (Jack Benny's death.)

Rickles is hilarious as usual, but just try to imagine some of this material playing on network TV today (specifically the Sugar Ray Robinson joke, which probably would result in immediate cancellation and a swift end to Rickles' career.)

These shows were very popular at the time, and are still remembered fondly. When Martin's weekly series went off in 1974 (after a nine season run) - the Roast specials continued until 1984. Mark Evanier wrote an interesting piece about how the roasts were produced - often with celebrities only pretending to actually be there. Quite interesting.