Dean Martin's Closet Door - During 200 episodes of
the variety program THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW/NBC/1965-74, singer Dean Martin
routinely opened a closet door at his on-stage bachelor pad to find a surprise
guest of the week.
Dean Martin Croons a Tune in his TV Apartment
The idea originated when the producer of the show needed a way for Dean's
comedian uncle Leonard Barr to make a surprise entrance on the show. The spot
was so well received, the producer's began putting surprise celebrity guest
inside the closet each week.
The fun thing about the closet door skit was that Dean never knew
week-to-week who was behind the door.
Stars "coming out of the closet" included such notables as Jack Benny, Johnny
Carson, Flip Wilson, Jimmy Durante, Red Skelton, and Ronald Reagan.
When Reagan stepped out of the closet, Dean asked the newly elected governor
of California, if he had job in his administration. Reagan sadly announced to
Dean "I'm sorry but we already have a Director of Alcohol and Beverage Control."
And when actor Michael Landon stepped out dressed as Joe Cartwright from the
NBC western series BONANZA, he told Dean, "My brother Hoss wear as ten gallon
hat and he's a pint short." With Hoss' hat in hand, Joe walked over to Dean's
private bar and took a bottle of booze.
Johnny Carson of NBC's THE TONIGHT SHOW occasionally used the "behind the
door" sketch on his own late night talk show.
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