Hello, everybody, Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys here to announce that the answer, naturally, is both.
After splitting with Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin continued a successful career in films with notable performances in Some Came Running with Frank Sinatra, Rio Bravo and The Sons of Katie Elder with John Wayne. Martin appeared in comedies, dramas, musicals and westerns.
A few weeks ago Frank induced Joe to reminisce about his time with Universal Pictures, working in Texas for the opening of Texas Across the River, the western/comedy Dean made in 1965.
We ran a photo of Joe in a convertible on tour with one of the other stars of the picture, Peter Graves. (See our Sept. 16 blog, Are Movie Premieres A Thing Of The Past?)
Today’s photo shows Dean with Graves, but can you recognize the ‘Indian’ hiding in the background? BIG CLUE: He was part of the Sinatra rat pack.
Also pictured, to Graves’ right, is actor Andrew Prine. Joe recalls that at the party after the movie opening in Dallas, Prine had a contest with character actor Chill Wills as to how many women each could bed that evening. (It was a close contest.)
Dean Martin came to the opening in Dallas to provide the “big star” quality needed for a movie Premiere. Joe remembers him as gracious and easy going. One aspect of the stars from that era is that they all knew the value of publicity and had respect for their fans.
A few lines about Texas Across The River. Its is totally forgettable comedy western in which Martin’s eclectic costars include French actor Alain Delon and the gent who played the ‘Indian’ (see above). Graves, the younger brother of “Gunsmoke’s” James Arness, plays one Captain Rodney Stimson, and given to delivering such lines as “Take it easy, Yancy. You got a wedding to go to.”
After this film, Graves went on the TV stardom in Mission Impossible. Dean Martin’s movie career continued with the Matt Helm series but with the exception of the all star Airport, his film career was winding down. He too turned to TV and as everyone knows had one of the most successful musical variety shows on the medium.