Dean Martin’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award Ceremony

Walking The Red Carpet

Excerpt from the book – BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

What are the chances? The odds certainly were against us but out of thousands of young women, two humble girls from a family of nine children were chosen to be featured singers and dancers on The Dean Martin Comedy Hour. Now, here we are walking the Red Carpet at the 2009 Grammy Awards ceremony with Dean Martin’s family.

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Alberici Sisters

On this day a downpour was expected but it didn’t rain on our parade as waves of anticipation carried us to this moment. Dean was being honored for his “Lifetime Achievement” in entertainment along with R&B legends, The Four Tops, country icon Hank Williams, and pop singer Brenda Lee.

We felt like giggling teenagers again as we reunited with our special friends to walk the red carpet together as a group. Dean affectionately called us “my girls” and we were proud to have performed with him from 1973 through the next two decades as The Dean Martin Golddiggers. While the paparazzi snapped away, without missing a beat all of us struck a pose, just like the old days!

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The Golddiggers – Deborah Pratt, Linda Eichberg, Maria Lauren, Susan Buckner, Marie Halton, Peggy Gohl

One of the reporters pushed forward with his microphone and pulled me and my sister aside to ask us a typical Dean question, “Ladies, ladies, tell me, did Dean Martin really drink?” We chuckled in unison and said in true Dean Martin fashion, “No, Dean didn’t drink; he told us he freezes it and eats it like a Popsicle.”

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Once inside we were guided to our VIP seats. The ceremony warmed our hearts and it was hard to hold back the tears when Dean was given recognition with a video montage of some special moments from television, recordings and movies. We beamed with pride for our hero, who helped shape our careers with his charm, wit and showmanship.

Dean Lifetime Acheivement

When the time came for Dean’s children to accept his Grammy, we couldn’t help but recall being told the devastating news in 1987 that his son Dean Paul had been killed and the toll it took on Dean. In spite of his overwhelming sadness Dean continued to fulfill all his performance commitments with us as his opening act. He told us in a tender moment that entertaining helped him to ease his pain.

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Ricci steps to the podium and then Deana. They share their hearts about what their father meant to them and to the world of entertainment. There will never be anyone like Dean Martin.

As the award ceremony came to a close, it was off to the ‘after party’ where we listened to fantastic music and chatted with Dean’s daughter Gail, who was toasting her dad with a martini. We loved the story she told about her grand- son recently buying a skate- board with Dean’s picture on it, “With two other guys….” that would be the Rat Pack.

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Dean’s Girls: Peggy, Marie, Maria, Linda, Deborah and Susan

As we celebrated that evening it all came flooding back—the stars, the memories… Touring with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on the same bill, hanging out in the dressing rooms and at home with Sammy Davis Jr.; taping the Dean Martin TV show; opening the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with Dean and then appearing at Bally’s for so many years until Dean’s final performances. What an experience!

 

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In Memory Of Ricci

We were shocked and saddened to here about the death of Ricci Martin this past week. Our hearts and condolences go out to his family.

RICCI-MARTIN

 

Dean Jeanne Ricci

The last time we spoke to Ricci was at the Grammy Awards. He was a dear man, a talented singer who carried on the legacy of his father with his love, stories and music.

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Rest in peace dear friend.

 

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100 Years of Frank Sinatra

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Photo credit: Frank Sinatra Enterprises

Memories of the master entertainer, Frank Sinatra, both on-stage and off-stage come to mind, as this year marks what would have been 100 fabulous years for this nine-time Grammy winner. There’s no better time to celebrate Sinatra’s excellence in the industry and reminisce about our summer touring with Frank and his pal, Dean Martin.

For your enjoyment, we share some of our experiences as the opening act for Sinatra and Martin when we were a part of the singing and dancing girl group, The Golddiggers.  It was a double honor to tour with this historical show in 1977, to say the least!

Excerpts from the book BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS:

Linda: Frank’s act was superb. When people have their craft down like he did, you can’t put your finger on one certain thing that makes it great but it was. He had a combination of attributes that were spellbinding in the same way his albums had an inherent quality with magnificent Don Costa arrangements on those immortal Sinatra classics like the swinging ‘Night and Day,’ or his signature tune in the seventies, ‘My Way.’ Before breaking into his traditional closer, Frank usually gave a shout out to Don Costa and Paul Anka, the song’s author. ‘My Way’ could have come across as an arrogant declaration of will but Sinatra transformed it into a soul searching ballad that revealed his vulnerability and wisdom.

And then the comedy would start again. The most irreverent comments were made at the mobile bar Dean wheeled out after Sinatra finished ‘My Way.’ That’s where they fired off silly toasts and told jokes. I’m not sure if there was real alcohol in their glasses but the more they drank, the nuttier they got.

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After that, Dean and Frank launched into a lighthearted medley of songs including some of their hits— ‘I Can’t Give You Anything but Love,’ ‘Embraceable You,’ ‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ and ‘When you’re Smiling.’ The audience cheered as the two pros harmonized together, Dean taking the lower baritone notes with Frank taking the higher tenor notes. All of it was sheer magic.

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Frank Sinatra with The Alberici Sisters, Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg, two of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers

Maria: From our more intimate perspective off stage I could see that Frank was attempting to portray a hipper image. He had changed some of his standard arrangements to be like the trendy music played in New York’s Studio 54 where the ‘Jet Set’ partied. Frank opened with ‘All or Nothing at All’ set to a driving disco beat. Of course, this arrangement still had the big band sound that had become part of the Sinatra experience. Frank also performed ‘Night and Day’ with a percussive big brass beat. Sinatra was so smart to get on the disco bandwagon, he was always adapting to new musical styles and the top forty in 1977 was crowded with disco remakes of familiar songs. I liked the flavor of the music but Frank seemed a little out of his comfort zone, especially with the rhythm. Frank’s style fit better with his standard swing arrangement of ‘Night and Day’ but I would have jumped at the opportunity to sing to this new hip version.
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Linda: Dean was high as a kite during one Sabre Room performance Maria and I had the opportunity to watch from backstage. It could have been that he was drinking but I don’t know…  Dean was really loose during his monologue that evening, he started out stumbling over his words. Dean nicely reminded one heckler, “I don’t need this at all, don’t need this at all…. I love to work because I’m working with my good buddy, that’s all.” I realized, in that moment, that Dean didn’t have to invite us on this tour either. He just wanted us to be there with him. My heart swelled and I appreciated how much he cared about us as a group.

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THE GOLDDIGGERS: bottom Lf. to Rt. – Patti Gribow, Maria Lauren, Joyce Garro, Pegy Gohl and Robyn Whatley

Linda: Dean’s singing was in rare form when he started, ‘Welcome To My World’ but the spell was quickly broken when Frank Sinatra wisecracked from a backstage mic, “Come on, it’s my world, you’re just livin’ in it.” It was a riot.
Of course Dean got back at him. After Sinatra started to sing, “When I was seventeen…. Dean quipped from backstage, “You were a pain in the ass!”

Maria: Frank continued his off mic comments during Dean’s numbers and at one point succeeded in making him really forget the words. They got a kick out of messing each other up but it was the roar of the audience that kept them frisky.

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Souvenir scarf from Frank and Dean’s 1977 tour

Dean on stage in Chicago, June 10, 1977:

Here’s a song that maybe six or seven of you might remember. And I hope I’m one of ‘em.”

Maria: Their medley together had the usual goof ups but they were obviously having such a good time who could help but get caught up in it? A rousing version of ‘ The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game’ from Guys and Dolls closed the show, and the tour, in Chicago on the fourteenth of June.

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Frank Sinatra is a voice for all generations. We are delighted to give a special tribute to Frank in our live shows, singing the best of his signature songs. Thank you for the music and happy 100th birthday Mr. Sinatra!

Be sure to watch Sinatra 100– An All-Star Grammy Concert, on CBS December 6, when the biggest names in the business will come together to honor Frank Sinatra and his music in a television extravaganza. It will be a rare treat.

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS now available on Amazon.

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. Rights reserved. May not be used without expressed written permission.

Dean Martin’s Stingers and Zingers

A new release by Star Vista Entertainment – “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Stingers & Zingers”

There are plenty of stingers and zingers in this eight disk collection. “Dean and pals skewer the celebrity roastees and deflect barbs from notables which include: Frank Sinatra, Michael Landon, Wilt Chamberlain, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Carroll O’Connor, Hubert Humphrey, Valerie Harper, Joe Namath, Dan Haggerty, Redd Foxx and many others. You’ll also get bonus comedy sketches, and over 10 exclusive interviews with Ed Asner, Carol Burnett, Tony Danza and other roast participants and fans.

The former Dean Martin Golddiggers recall some hilarious moments with these television legends while taping the Dean Martin Comedy Hour and the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts .

Excerpts from the book, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

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Deborah Pratt

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Deborah Pratt, Golddigger 1973-1974:

“Sometimes the Roasts were very funny and sometimes they were just acerbic. Don Rickles—if he was on he could be hysterical. If he was off he was just mean. Dean was always gracious but he just walked through it, I think.”

Don Rickles had several moniker’s – “Mr. Warmth” & “Master of Malice” were two of them.

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Don Rickles

Don Rickles, Dean Martin Roast: “This is one of the great all time thrills I’ve ever had. This is a bigger thrill than watching Pat Boone autograph hockey pucks during the Ice Follies…Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, has been a great star for so many years. This man was married to a great many women in his life. They’re all flat now.”

 

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Linda Eichberg

Linda Alberici Eichberg, (Dean Martin Golddigger 1973 – 1989) “Foster Brooks was another one who always had us in stitches. Sometimes we could hardly breathe we were laughing so hard from his drunk routine.

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Foster Brooks -YouTube.com

After we taped our musical numbers with Dean, part of our job was to sit in the audience while they shot the Dean Martin Roasts, at least the segments that were filmed on Stage 4 at NBC. They also made a deal to film some portions of the Roasts at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We did them back to back, we shot the variety show segments in the afternoon and the Roasts later that night. It was a pretty long day but the Roasts section was hardly work and it gave us time to unwind. Waiting around in between takes I had some pleasant conversations with Howard Cosell. He was pretty cool. I was too shy to talk to most people but I felt safe and at ease with him.

Dean Martin-Celebrity-RoastsGreg Garrison liked to have sports stars on the show every now and again. On one show they roasted Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain. We were shooting the breeze after the show with Audrey Meadows, Ken Berry, and George Kennedy when Wilt strode over toward us. Wow, he cast a large shadow. Even in my highest heels I wasn’t as high as his chest. Wilt had a sensational personality but I had to strain my neck to have an eye to eye conversation with him. A couple of the girls kept in touch with him and a few months later Wilt took some of us to a club in Beverly Hills. He picked us up in his white station wagon. When we got in we couldn’t believe what we saw. There wasn’t a front driver’s seat. Wilt drove from the back seat! The inside of the car was completely gutted and remodeled to fit his gigantic frame.”

Foster Brooks, Dean Martin Comedy Roasts: “The last time I was next to Dean somebody stepped on my tongue”! 

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Maria Lauren

Maria (Alberici) Lauren, (Dean Martin Golddigger 1973 – 1991): “The Dean Martin Roasts were great entertainment, it was a big party loaded with laughs and we were invited! To think, we were getting paid to sit in the audience to enjoy this banquet of talent, a buffet of comedy. The jokes and kidding around was a delight.

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Zsa Zsa Gabor

I ran into into Zsa Zsa Gabor a couple of times, once in the ladies’ room when we were out to dinner in Beverly Hills. She was lovely to talk to but I almost had to pinch myself. Here I was nonchalantly applying my make-up with the queen of glamor, Zsa Zsa Gabor! I was with the most famous “gold digger’’ of them all, a major part of the Beverly Hills elite.”



Dean Martin, Dean Martin Roast of Zsa Zsa Gabor: “Well, tonight we salute Zsa Zsa, the most famous of the Gabor sisters. You all know the Gabor sisters, the original Golddiggers? Doesn’t Zsa Zsa look great? It’s a wonder she’s still alive with all the blood tests she’s taken for marriage licenses.”

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Patti Gribow



Patti (Pivarnik) Gribow, Golddigger 1973-1985:

“We were able to see everyone from Lucy to Michael Landon to President Reagan—you name it, the list goes on and on and on.”

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Michael Landon

“The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Stingers & Zingers” delivers the laughs with help from some of the biggest names in entertainment.

Order your collection today!

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© Copyright, all rights reserved – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ Surprise Reunion

dean-martin-jerry-lewis-reunion-with-frank-sinatraJerry Lewis’ birthday is March 16th and we are reminded of when history was made in 1976. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis finally made peace. Frank Sinatra brought them together on the Jerry Lewis’ 1976 Labor Day MDA Telethon at the Sahara in Vegas; it was almost exactly twenty years to the day since their split in 1956. The event made headlines all over the world but it was not news to us and the rest of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. You see, weeks before we saw the rekindling of their relationship unfold at the MGM. 

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Center: the ‘matchmaker’, Frank Sinatra with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Excerpt from “BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS”

“Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio (Golddigger, 1973 – 1991): Before the telethon reunion, Dean let us in on the private messages and jokes written with our lipstick that he had been leaving for Jerry Lewis via his dressing room mirror. Jerry played the MGM Grand and had left Dean some razzing but good humored remarks on the mirror prior to our engagement. Dean was like a little boy bragging about it to us, ‘Look at what I wrote to Jerry; look what ‘Crazy’ wrote to me. I answered him real good…’ He was so cute!”

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“Linda Alberici Eichberg (Golddigger, 1973 – 1989): When I congratulated Dean on making up with Jerry he blushed and said, ‘Aw, Frank’s idea, he wouldn’t leave me alone about it.’ I asked him, ‘Are you going to stay in touch?’ He only shrugged his shoulders as if to say, ‘Who knows?’ In any case, the world had been waiting for this moment for two decades and the press had a field day. And the Telethon took in boat loads of money because of Dean’s surprise visit…”

Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

Read more! 

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Book Now on Amazon!

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The Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra Rat Pack Tour – 1977

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Excerpts from the book – BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

“Linda: We were booked for what was being nicknamed the Rat Pack Tour in early summer 1977 with Dean and Frank Sinatra. Frank was already on the road with Pat Henry as his warm up so Dean brought us along for his opening act. Dean would have his conductor Ken Lane whereas Frank brought along Bill Miller to lead the orchestra while he sang. We’d worked with so many legendary Italian crooners and now to share the stage with both Dean and Frank Sinatra—it was a thrill of a lifetime.”

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“Maria: The tour kicked off on May 16, 1977 with two weeks at the Westchester Premier Theatre in Tarrytown, New York to be followed by a week at The Latin Casino, where we’d appeared so many times before. That meant home sweet home for us. After that we’d travel with Dean and Frank to Chicago’s famed Sabre Room for four nights. We had worked with Dean many times in Vegas and on television but this was far different. For one thing Dean rarely traveled outside of Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe to perform. It was an honor to be opening for Dean and Frank together, they were bigger than rock stars, they were the top.”

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The Playbill at our first tour stop in New York!

 

“Maria: When the first day of rehearsal at the Westchester Premier Theatre arrived there was an air of respectful anticipation backstage as everyone hurriedly prepared for the headliners as if history was in the making. We began to feel the weight of their celebrity. Was Frank in the building yet? Would Dean arrive first to break the mounting tension? I lingered around with the rest of the backstage workers to get a first peek

They both showed up for rehearsal in tuxes. Frank was a little more casual, he was wearing a black top coat instead of his tux jacket. They faced off onstage like two matadors in search of a bull.

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Two pros at dress rehearsal

Our first rehearsal with the orchestra ended up like a private audition for Frank Sinatra. When we assembled on stage we were told Frank wanted to see our act—so we gave it our best shot. Would he like us? Well, he loved us. I never remember Dean or any other star asking to see our performance before the audience arrived so this revealed a lot about Frank Sinatra.

Opening night, some of us Golddiggers were backstage sitting on the stairs having a little chit-chat. We were waiting for the stage manager to give us the cue to take our places in the wings before the show. All of a sudden we gazed up to the top of the stairs—standing in the archway was Frank Sinatra. He had a powerful aura, he wasn’t a big man but he was bigger than life. Of course, we were speechless. He broke the silence by wishing us a good show and told us to “get that audience all worked up for us.” Wow, it felt like the king had arrived and was addressing his court.”

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The Dean Martin Golddiggers with Frank Sinatra: Clockwise from the bottom are Robyn Whatley-Kahn, Maria Lauren (Alberici Sisters), Joyce Garro, Frank Sinatra, Patti Pivarnik-Gribow, Linda Eichberg (Alberici Sisters) and Peggy Gohl.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

“Elaine Bissell, Reporter Dispatch, White Plains, N.Y., May 18, 1977:

The pre-curtain arrival of celebrities, including Gov. Carey, former New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and even the beautiful Barbara Marx Sinatra, caused a flurry of excitement in the crowded theater as they settled down in the first row center, but the real thunder of applause and shouts from the adoring fans came when first Mr. Martin appeared and swayed precariously through a number of songs and then Mr. Sinatra, who simply walked on stage as though strolling to the corner to mail a letter—and the roof seemed to fall in.

For the next hour the flash of cameras and streaking ladies dashing down the darkened aisles to the stage to throw or hand flowers to the two singers in the spotlights was like half of an army choreographed in a ritual dance, while the other half sat with dazed faces and roaring with approval, with love, with worship, or moaning then shrieking with hysteria when either one walked anywhere near the edge of the stage.” – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

© Copyright, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, all rights reserved.

Happy Birthday Dean!

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Alberici Sisters: Linda Eichberg and Maria Lauren with Dean Martin backstage at Bally’s Las Vegas

 

Excerpts from BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS

“Maria:  Before our last shows, I made a point of visiting Dean for more than the usual few minutes. I asked him if he thought he would do another tour with Frank Sinatra. In his loose Dino way he shook his head, pointed his finger and said, “He’s too pushy….” I finished his sentence with, “And you’re an easy going guy.” I knew Dean’s remark was truth said in jest. I was going to miss this pre-show ritual of give and take. I could feel the buzz and energy of the audience on the other side of the curtain which always got my heart pumping faster. Backstage we had our own buzz. While a few of the musicians tuned up, Ken Lane joked around with them.”

“Linda: Vegas was fun, easy, comfortable—too comfortable. I was getting this ‘now or never’ feeling about branching out in show business. There was so much more I wanted to do. But I was torn between enjoying this moment of success or pushing ahead to what was next, career wise. We were developing friendships, getting chummy with the guys in the orchestra and with Roger, Dean’s personal valet and assistant. Roger said that Dean liked to have a hotel room where he could sneak backstage without using any common areas or elevators…”

Dean -Martin- Backstage

“Maria: Our times in The Golddiggers gave us a lifetime of experiences. All of us girls were very different but very alike in many ways. We had a deep sense of caring for each other and professionalism. Besides our talent, we all contributed a special something to the group…. Linda and I always knew how blessed we were to be a part of the ‘Big Time’ and the magic that surrounded Dean Martin. He worked with our favorite entertainers but he treated us like we were his favorites too. We celebrated special occasions and shared private jokes and messages together. Dean was so dear to us.” – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

We are very grateful for the many years we spent working and playing with Dean. From his television show in the early 1970’s to his retirement in the early 1990’s, each moment was “beyond our wildest dreams”! Happy Birthday Dean!! 

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The Dean Martin Show – Golddiggers Reunion 2013

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Maria Lauren and Linda Eichberg at The Dean Martin Golddiggers reunion,

A highlight of 2013 was the “Gold Event”! It was a reunion for those involved in the Dean Martin television shows and specials. Over the years, we performed with a variety of gals as the Dean Martin Golddiggers, some of them we haven’t seen in years, so this was a wonderful way to celebrate along with celebrities and those who worked so diligently behind-the-scenes.

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The Golddiggers with Lee Hale, Dean Martin Show musical director

Lovely Ladies from all over America attended, representing several groups of “Golddiggers”  from 1968 to 1991.

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Golddiggers Reunite! From left to right: Peggy Gohl, Colleen Kincaid Jackson, Linda Alberici Eichberg, Maria Lauren Alberici-Riccio, Melody Walczuk, Linda Bott, Patti Pivarnik Gribow, Marie Halton Peck & Joyce Garro

At the reunion, we had the opportunity to spend a few moments with the incomparable Florence Henderson and other guests of “The Dean Martin Show.”

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We wish you a blessed Holiday season. As we begin to celebrate the joys of Christmas, it is also sad to remember the passing of Dean Martin on Christmas day. However, this feeling is short lived as we remember our cherished moments with Dean.

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Photo Credit – timelife.com

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The Golddiggers, Christmas album

A GIFT FOR THE HOLIDAYS…

Alberici Sisters - Authors - Entertainers - Motivators

BEYOND OUR WILDEST DREAMS captures behind-the-scene stories at the Dean Martin Show and touring with superstars like Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Gene Kelly, Jerry Vale, Donald O’Connor, Steve & Eydie,  Bob Hope, and so many more. Over 300 pictures! Exciting book selling on Amazon!

Enjoy some laughs! Dean Martin Roasts on YouTube!

All contents of this blog, copyright – Beyond Our Wildest Dreams