Being being Dean Martin to Jerry, Bud Abbott to Lou, or Dan Rowan to Dick was a selfless task ..in the world of comedy double acts they were known as feeds…THE STRAIGHT MEN!
Dan is up there as a great ‘feed’…and Dick Martin up there with those other great ‘receivers’. He was unlike Jerry Lewis and Lou Costello who were ‘antic’ comics..Funny as hell guys who pulled faces ..did double takes and sometimes fell over to get the maximum laugh out of a joke.
Dick Martin just stood there in a suit.
Dan gave him the openings he went into his crazy semantic riffs where he used the English language against itself. He was the ultimate “stand still comic.”
Dan Rowan had an opinion about the state of things and he was a contemporary and vocal judge of the social and political upheavals of those “Nixonian” times.
Dan was smart enough to know that in comedy one has to play both sides against the middle or you’ll lose over half your audience. Bob Hope knew this also and I worked with both as a ‘screaming Leftie’. Obviously they knew they needed the angst we progressives deliver. I never had even a minute problem with them.
Dan’s partner Dick however just didn’t go there… at least nobody I knew thought so.
He was the ultimate in comedy cool. This was on and off the stage.
When the “LAUGH IN” special ‘socked it’ to America I was a young writer working at the CBC in Toronto and quite a few of the jokes and sight gags in that special were originally on a show I wrote in Australia a few years before. They were ‘purloined’ by the British host of that show Digby Wolfe and wound up on the special with Digby getting a credit.
We found a way to get to Dan and Dick to let them know this and that got me introduced to the insane and wonderful George Schlatter and I got the gig.
I will always be greatly indebted to them for that. It paid off for all three of us!
Dick at that time was the ultimate bachelor and many of their comedy routines had that element in them.
Guys envied Dick’s freewheeling lifestyle and through it all he seemed to just wander from one great worry free day to another.
Eventually Dick was getting married to Dolly as I was getting divorced. So it seemed a good idea that Dick Martin would sell his unbelievable bachelor pad to a newly single and very busy young producer/writer.
Yes folks I bought Dick Martin’s house on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills off Doheny Drive overlooking the entire city of LA one way and Beverly Hills to the Ocean the other way.
THANK YOU DICK!!
I known you’re resting in peace and where ever you are you’re still cool…
More story on the next episode…until then say goodnight!!