Saturday, June 25, 2011

"It only looks like the real thing"

I've been revisiting the brilliance of Dean Martin this past week. One of the supreme heroes from my childhood,  Dino has been an old virtual friend for years. He is one of the great historical dudes who seemed to have it all. An important influence on my life, at some point I've attempted to emulate Dean in my music, my attire, my drinking, and my ladykilling. I have many great memories to thank him for, but unfortunately he passed away before I was able to meet him in person to say 'thanks Pally'. I remember that day he died like skim boarding with a 2 day old sunburn... cutting, tender and reckless. I was living in Las Vegas at the time with my girl, it was announced on Christmas afternoon that Dean was gone. We were devastated. In memory of our Christmas miracle gone wrong, we did what we thought Dean would want us to do and didn't stop aggressively celebrating until the next year. On New Years Eve 1995 we stormed the Las Vegas Strip with our ladies in tow, the girls clutching at our arms for safety from the masses and to assist with our balance. Our little group cut a mean cloth sauntering from the casinos, decked from head to kick in full vintage Rat Pack regalia and flying matching handmade 'RIP Dino' commemorative black armbands. We could've sold a warehouse of those things that night, the streets were rife with Dino revelers like ourselves, soaking up and drinking in every ounce of fleeting classic Las Vegas we could find. All night and morning we were scream-crooning "That's Amore" in broken empty bottled english, belting out extreme decible harmonies with complete strangers until out throats gave out. Those were the days, in one of Las Vegas' darkest hours we were her champions. Just thinking of that great night is putting some emotional coconut milk on the sunburn.

Dino transcended his fame beyond celebrity entertainer stature and effortlessly became a stylistic figurehead of his time. And any time. Dino defines COOL and everyone knows it. Fellas, husbands, beats, cats, rats, dogs, and daddys of every generation have attempted to tap into the man's patented brand of Swankster. Dino possesses a certain swagger that is indefinable and unmistakable. Even just sitting there. What an incredible legacy. 

It brought to mind the superb vintage-inspired Armstrong flooring ad campaign from 2008 which featured uncanny lookalikes of Dean Martin, Lucille Ball, James Dean, Marlon Brando and others. This is my favorite of the series with the uberswank (faux) Dean at home in his element, lounging... golf club always at the ready. What do you suppose he is listening to on the reel-to-reel? 

© 2008 Armstrong - Advertising Agency: BBDO New York, USA

And the real deal. Nice shot of  the legend who referred to cufflinks as 'curb feelers' ...  The King of Cool on his Vespa in swinging Italy with his bird riding shotgun

Here's a nice mid-60's commercial of Dean Martin peddling his Dino brand golf balls while flubbing around the golf course. The balls came 13 to a dozen, another clever swipe at Dean's boozy persona. Despite not being a heavy drinker, Dino marketed his assumed alcoholism to the hilt.

More to come on Dino soon.

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