Sad to report that the Grim Reaper socked it to Dick Martin over the weekend who passed away. The comedian was the nutty half of the comedy team Rowan & Martin who played the nigthclub circuit for years beginning in the mid-Fifties before hitting the big time with their zany variety series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In from 1968 to 1973, a personal favorite of mine as a kid though half the jokes probably went over my head. The show launched the careers of Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Joann Worley, Henry Gibson, and Lily Tomlin. It was also chock full of nubile starlets such as Pamela Austin, Teresa Graves, Pamela Rodgers, Ann Elder, and Chlesea Brown dancing away in their mod minis at the “Cocktail Party” or shaking their bikini-clad fannies with different slogans painted on their bodies. Guess that is why I liked it so.
In 1969, Dick Martin and Dan Rowan starred in the disappointing horror spoof The Maltese Bippy. They were smart enough to surround themselves with pros Carol Lynley, Julie Newmar, Mildred Natwick, and Fritz Weaver but except for the opening takeoff on movie credits and the wacky ending, everything in between was just a creaky murder mystery that fell flat. Fans expecting a zany Laugh-In type flick were disappointed.
Dick Martin is survived by, among others, his wife former Playboy Playmate and actress Dolly Read star of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. She is featured in my new book, Glamour Girls of Sixties Hollywood.