Posts tagged ‘Lindsay Bloom’

A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody

Michelle (MB look)
(above) Michelle DellaFave, circa early 1980s

The title of our article references a refrain that over time has become almost cliché; but the man who put those words to music, the great Irving Berlin, once told Life Magazine that he considered his 1919 composition “the best individual song written for a musical” — not his best, mind you, but the best.

Having served as the theme for The Ziegfeld Follies throughout much of that production’s run, “A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody” could also lend tuneful context to the story of Michelle DellaFave, for whom beauty and music have blended in seamless harmony virtually her entire life.

With both her Mother and Aunt having been dancers, and her Father, a drummer, it was perhaps inevitable that Michelle and her younger sister, Tanya, would follow their elders’ paths into show business. Singing and dancing lessons, as well as acting in school plays, helped prep the girls for their future careers.

And for Michelle, growing up in New Jersey, her proximity to the Big Apple would provide the opportunity to audition for the storied Copacabana nightclub, where she joined the ranks of that venue’s famed Copa Girls. An ad in a local trade paper led her to try out for a spot with The Golddiggers; and once she was a part of that ensemble, her powerful pipes and glamorous looks paved the way for her selection as one of four Dingaling Sisters, singing, dancing and clowning with Dean Martin each week on his popular TV series.

Dean & Michelle Soubrette 2
(above) Dean embraces Michelle in a sketch on the 10/28/71 episode of The Dean Martin Show
'71-'72 Dings Portrait (Photoshop C4 Adj.)
(above) The 1971-72 Dingaling Sisters (clockwise from top): Michelle, Lynne Latham, Tara Leigh, Taffy Jones
Helen, Lindsay, Jayne, Michelle
(above) The 1972-73 Dingaling Sisters, 2nd Edition (l. to r.): Helen Funai, Lindsay Bloom, Jayne Kennedy, Michelle

While with The Golddiggers and Dingalings, there were also two USO Tours accompanying Bob Hope to entertain America’s Armed Forces abroad and at home, as well as appearances on such programs as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and a prime-time special hosted by Gene Kelly. Separately, Michelle was paired with Lonette McKee in singing-dancing duo The Soul Sisters on the first season of Jonathan Winters‘ syndicated TV show.

Michelle, Gene Kelly, Diane Davis
(above) Michelle (left) and Diane Davis (right, one of Dean’s Girls from The Dean Martin Show) flank Gene Kelly on his January 1970 NBC special, Gene Kelly’s Wonderful World of Girls with 50 Girls, Count ‘Em, 50
Michelle & Lonette McKee copy
(above) Michelle and Lonette McKee, who sang and danced together as The Soul Sisters on The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (1972-73)

Pulling back a bit from the world of entertainment to raise a family, Michelle never fully lost touch with her roots, continuing to perform from time to time in regional and local theatrical presentations. Then in 2007, she stepped up her game, releasing a brace of albums (one pop, one gospel), and re-teamed with one of her colleagues from The Dean Martin Show, Lindsay Bloom, to tour the country, entertaining veterans, active-duty service men and women, and civilians, and visiting VA hospitals.

(above) Michelle w. longtime friend and sister Dingaling from The Dean Martin Show, Lindsay Bloom. The two reunited in 2007 and toured the country, performing for audiences of Veterans, active military, and civilians.

Now back in New York, the city of her birth, Michelle headlined her first solo show this past April at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Room, and continues to volunteer her time on behalf of Vets and other good causes, in addition to singing at various events — most recently, at a gala last week celebrating the 238th anniversary of the U.S. Army.

(above) Michelle w. Dean’s daughter, Deana Martin, following Deana’s August 2012 show at Feinstein’s in New York. Michelle and Deana worked together on both the 1969 edition of Dean Martin Presents The Golddiggers and on The Dean Martin Show.
Michelle & Ricci Martin
(above) Michelle w. Ricci Martin, following Ricci’s show in Atlantic City in October 2012. The two would often see one another when Ricci would come to the set of his father’s series to snap photos of the cast members and guest stars.
Michelle w. Tommy Tune(adj.) copy
(above) Michelle with Tommy Tune, backstage after his June 1, 2013 show at New York’s famous Town Hall. The two go way back, having worked together on both The Dean Martin Show and the 1969 and 1970 editions of Dean’s summer replacement series, Dean Martin Presents The Golddiggers.

For this eternally pretty girl, the melody lingers on. But what makes the song that much sweeter are the two qualities evoked by another Tin Pan Alley standard that all who’ve been touched by Michelle know she possesses in abundance: Heart and Soul.

Here’s wishing you a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, Dear Michelle, and Many, Many More.

Keep the party going! Join Michelle and other alumnae of The Golddiggers, The Dingaling Sisters and The Dean Martin Show by LIKING both her Facebook page and ours:

June 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm 3 comments

Who’s Who

To help kick off our new site, we wanted to put names to the faces of as many of the ladies as we could identify in the images displayed on our Home page. While that objective posed no problem with respect to the members of The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters depicted, the challenge loomed larger when it came to the women known as Dean’s Girls. But if any of our readers can assist in filling in some of the blanks, we would more than welcome their contributions.

Dean’s Girls

Even before The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters became household names, The Dean Martin Show, from its very beginnings, had a sizable and salient on-screen distaff contingent — known among the show’s personnel as Dean’s Girls — to keep their debonair host company each week.

The only gal we can place in this scene from the episode of The Dean Martin Show that originally aired on April 21, 1966 is Larri Thomas, a staple of the series’ first three seasons, who’s just barely visible in the upper right-hand corner of the screen capture above. Because we hate to see such a pretty face obscured, we’ve posted another still from the same sequence below, portraying Larri from a more advantageous angle.


There are at least a few more readily recognizable faces in this group shot circa 1968, with Kate Kahn seen third from the left of the gals seated on the bench, and two longtime members of Jack Halloran’s choir, Melissa Stafford and Diana Lee, standing in the back row, second and third from the left, respectively.

As Dean savors a two-sided buss on the cheeks during this closing segment of his show from the 1969-70 season, we’re not certain who’s doing the smooching on the left, but on the right, that’s definitely Diane Davis.

Though mistakenly identified elsewhere on the Internet as members of The Golddiggers, the phalanx of mini-skirted females behind Dean in the picture above actually comprised a set of freelance performers hired to play faux orchestra members in two numbers with Dean — “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” and “There’s A Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” — shown on different episodes of the ninth and final season of the series (1973-74), when it was retitled The Dean Martin Comedy Hour.

The Golddiggers

Moving now into much more familiar territory, we can provide definitive I.D.s for the remainder of our Home page homegirls, starting with the gals whose collective moniker became synonymous with youthful beauty and glamour from 1968 onward.

From the 1969-1970 Golddiggers, left to right: (front row) Nancy Bonetti, Patricia Mickey, Susan Lund, Debi McFarland; (second row) Suzy Cadham, Rosetta Cox, Peggy Hansen, Sheila Mann; (top row) Barbara Sanders, Sheryl Ullman, Paula Cinko, Michelle DellaFave, Jackie Chidsey.

The 1970 Golddiggers, who headlined the summer smash hit Dean Martin Presents The Golddiggers In London, and later returned to the States to become the regular singer-dancers on the 6th season (1970-71) of Dean’s series: left to right: (bottom row) Pat Mickey, Susie Lund, Wanda Bailey; (second row) Tara Leigh, Rosie Cox, Micki McGlone, Pauline Antony; (top row) Jackie Chidsey, Paula Cinko, Michelle DellaFave.

The 1971-72 Golddiggers, who had their own weekly half-hour showcase on the syndicated series Chevrolet Presents The Golddiggers: left to right: (front row) Liz Kelley, Susie Lund, Janice Whitby, Nancy Reichert; (back row) Jimmi Cannon, Jackie Chidsey, Lee Crawford, Francie Mendenhall, Tanya DellaFave.

The Dingaling Sisters

The first iteration of this quartet was spun off from the larger group of Golddiggers and debuted during the 1970-71 season of Dean’s series, appearing only on an occasional basis and performing more rock- and soul-driven songs than the bigger ensemble from which they were drawn. When The Golddiggers embarked on their own syndicated series in the fall of 1971, a revamped lineup of Dingalings succeeded them as Dean’s weekly song-and-dance partners for the next two years of his program.

The first set of Dinagling Sisters, from 1970-71: left to right: (bottom row) Susan Lund, Wanda Bailey; (top row) Michelle DellaFave, Tara Leigh.

The Dings who fronted the famous “Don’t Touch Your Dial” opening of The Dean Martin Show’s 7th year on the air, and appeared with the star week in and week out during that 1971-72 season: (clockwise from bottom) Tara Leigh, Taffy Jones, Michelle DellaFave, Lynne Latham.

The final four Dingaling Sisters, who made up the second set featured during the 1972-73 season of Dean’s series: (left to right) Lindsay Bloom, Jayne Kennedy, Michelle DellaFave, Helen Funai.

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April 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm

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