All Dressed Up and Ready For The Show

Taffy Jones Bday 2013
(above) Birthday gal Taffy Jones helps host Dean Martin dress for the part on a “Records ’Round and ’Round” segment originally telecast during the 1971-72 season of The Dean Martin Show

Almost everyone is familiar with the old saw that “clothes make the man.” And for a gent as sharp-looking as Dean Martin, the opposite might be said, as well. Although rarely seen on his show in anything but his trademark tux, every once in a while, the script would call for him to effect a quick change of clothes, and usually there to help him avoid a wardrobe malfunction were attractive ladies at the ready with the needed garments. During the 7th season of The Dean Martin Show, such assistance was provided by The Dingaling Sisters — as when that quartet’s TAFFY JONES, pictured here, brought Dean a hat and raincoat to aid his imitation of fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra.

But of course, as any regular viewer of the series knows, lending a hand with costumes and props was a very minor part of The Dings’ role on the program. For Taffy and her gal pals, most of their on-screen time was spent singing, dancing, and appearing in comedy sketches with Dean and his guests, in addition to performing their own featured number every week. For Taffy, it was the continuation of a musical journey that was preceded by a stint vocalizing with The Doodletown Pipers, and that would continue following her turn on The Dean Martin Show, when she sang in a band with the man who would become her future husband. Later, she imparted that same artistic sense of taste and élan to her own highly successful retail business dealing in women’s apparel.

Besides being a devoted wife and proud Mom, she’s a also a great lover of animals, and as anyone who knows her can attest, she is warm, witty, and always eager to help a friend if she can — attributes that never go out of style. And so, in our own special fashion, we want to wish Taffy a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

Mix-’n-mingle with Taffy and other alumnae of The Dean Martin Show by Liking our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:

December 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm 2 comments

Photogenic on Both Sides of The Lens

Dean Martin:Tara Leigh 2013
Birthday girl Tara Leigh (r.) shares a tender moment with Dean Martin (l.) on the Nov. 23, 1972 episode of The Dean Martin Show

As the media have been relentlessly reminding us, today marks the anniversary of a tragic and traumatic event in our nation’s history. But apart from all of the darkness that surrounds November 22nd, there is at least one distinctly bright spot about this date; for it also commemorates the entry into this world of Renee Anderson — better known to fans of The Dean Martin Show, The Dingaling Sisters and The Golddiggers as Tara Lee, whose beautiful face and operatic soprano forever endeared her to millions of fans on Dean’s series, and who later gained a whole new following as Alexandria Quartermaine on TV sudser General Hospital.

What her admirers, and even some of her friends, may not know about Renee is that she’s not only highly talented in front of the camera, but behind it, as well. For proof, one need look no further than her gallery of photographs, on display at Fineart America, where it’s possible to browse her latest collection, and even pick up a Tara/Renee original to own. Before heading over there, though, we hope all of her fans and friends will join us here at Dean, Golds and Dings in wishing the most original Tara/Renee a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

To view her gallery, just click this link:

To stay in touch with Tara and many other members of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters, be sure to Like our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:

November 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

Mystery Solved, Birthday Greeting Sent!

Janice Whitby in TV Guide
(above) Janice Whitby of the 1970-72 Golddiggers, as seen (along with other members of the group) in a 1972 TV Guide fashion pictorial spotlighting women’s hats

We want to thank everyone brave enough to have ventured a guess in our Mystery Girl Photo Contest, and we congratulate Marilyn O’Leary-Baker of the 1970-71 Golddiggers, who was first to submit the correct answer, with DGD regular Barry Deslauriers following suit…One of the clues we gave was that if you could see that black-and-white picture of our mystery gal in color, you could quickly narrow down the possibilities. Well, now, with our just-posted photo of the lady in question all grown up and posing for a Golddiggers hat fashion spread in TV Guide, we think you can see why.

To followers of the Golddiggers, she’s the beautiful redhead who could kick up a storm or perform a delicate ballet on The Dean Martin Show and Golddiggers’ syndicated series. To sci-fi fans, she will forever be Katy, the cybernetic fembot from The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. To those familiar with her current line of clever and creative work, she is a first-rate graphic artist. But to all of her friends and family, she is the sweet and lovely JANICE WHITBY.

And since today is her birthday (what a coincidence, huh?!), we want to wish you, Jan, a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

Keep up with Janice Whitby on her very own Facebook fan page:
…and on our own Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page:

November 1, 2013 at 1:08 am 2 comments

Music In Her Past AND In Her Future

Golden Mystery Girl

Here’s a little challenge that we thought would be fun for all:

The vintage wire service photo that you see above originally ran in daily newspapers across the U.S. The kicker is that one of the young ladies taking part in the bottle and jug band in the picture — the one second from the right — would eventually grow up to be one of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. Can you guess which one AND who she is?

Our mystery gal has given us permission to conduct this little quiz, and both Dean Golds and Dings fans and alumnae are welcome to participate. So, c’mon…Take a guess! You can respond here, or better yet, on our Facebook page…and we’ll reveal the correct answer tomorrow.

October 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm 1 comment

A Birthday Salute to A Pioneering ‘Sister’

Dean Martin, Jayne Kennedy
(above) Dean Martin and Jayne Kennedy on the 8th season finale of The Dean Martin Show

Think of one of Dean Martin‘s all-girl ensembles like The Golddiggers or The Dingaling Sisters and probably the last type of song you would imagine them singing is one with a message of female empowerment. After all, back in the early ’70s, a handful of feminists were so outraged by what they considered to be the sexist image of The Golds and The Dings that they occasionally took to picketing NBC’s Burbank studios — much to the delight of Producer Greg Garrison, who, as Lee Hale notes in his book Backstage At The Dean Martin Show, loved all the publicity and attention that the protests drew to the program.

Ironically, if those offended by the portrayal of the ladies on Dean’s show had tuned in to the episode airing the night of December 14, 1972, they would have witnessed The Dingalings perform a very dignified cover version of a popular hit that had not only risen to the top of the charts in the previous 6 months, but also become the de facto anthem of the burgeoning women’s liberation movement: Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman”.

Handling lead vocal on The Dings’ rendition was someone who was a trailblazer in her own right before, during, and after her tenure on Dean’s show — JAYNE KENNEDY. She had been the first African-American to win the title of Miss Ohio before being chosen one of the semi-finalists in the Miss USA pageant, and was the first African-American woman signed as a regular singer-dancer on Dean’s series. In time, she would become the first woman of color to co-host a network sports series — The NFL Today on CBS — and the first to release her own line of exercise videos. Along the way, she also appeared in numerous movie and TV roles, served as a commercial spokeswoman, worked on behalf of many charitable causes, and has long been a devoted wife and mother.

As the song goes: She can do anything…She is Woman.

With today being her birthday, what we’d like to do for Jayne Kennedy is wish her a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

October 27, 2013 at 9:44 am 2 comments

Happy Birthday, Marilyn O’Leary

Marilyn O'Leary 2

When the decision was made during the 6th year of The Dean Martin Show to select 4 members of The GolddiggersMichelle DellaFave, Tara Leigh, Susie Lund and Wanda Bailey — to form a new quartet called The Dingaling Sisters, the move created openings in the Golddiggers lineup that needed to be filled.

This was the season that The Golds had replaced Dean’s Girls as the resident singer-dancers on Dean’s series, so whichever candidates would be chosen to join the group had to be not only talented and telegenic, but also ready for regular-season prime-time audiences. Luckily, three newcomers were found that more than met those requirements: Francie Mendenhall, Janice Whitby, and our birthday honoree today, MARILYN O’LEARY.

In addition to singing and dancing with the other Golds on Dean’s program, Marilyn became part of the troupe just in time to join them on Bob Hope‘s 1970 USO Christmas Tour, entertaining America’s armed forces around the globe. In the years since, Marilyn has continued to sing, often performing solo at concert engagements, giving voice instruction to others, and even entering and winning the Ms. Senior Nevada America Pageant in 2010 — offering yet one more bit of proof that the beauty and talent of The Golddiggers and Dingalings is truly golden.

And so, Marilyn, from everyone at Dean, Golds and Dings, here’s wishing you a Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

Go online with alumnae of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters by LIKING our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page. Just click the link below to find it:

September 26, 2013 at 5:08 am 2 comments

Happy Birthday, Lindsay…And Velda!

Lindsay & Stacy (1984)
PRIVATE EYE IN THE PUBLIC EYE: Stacy Keach (l.) headlined the title role in the weekly CBS-TV series Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, alongside onetime Dean Martin Show Dingaling Sister, and today’s birthday girl, Lindsay Bloom (right) as his foxy and trusted assistant, Velda.

Lindsay Bloom may have been the last lass chosen for the final lineup of Dingaling Sisters on The Dean Martin Show, but she was also one of the first of Dean’s gals to join Golds and Dings, the Yahoo Group that begat The Golddiggers Super Site and later, our Dean, Golds and Dings website and Facebook page. As we’ve evolved, she’s remained in our fold, and we appreciate her continued support for our efforts to keep Dean and company front and center in the public consciousness.

When the Dings went their separate ways at the end of Dean’s 8th season, Lindsay pursued acting, landing guest shots on TV series and parts in feature films, including a number of starring roles, the most notable of which was playing screen legend Jean Harlow in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell.

In the 1980s, Lindsay acquired a whole new set of fans, as well as darker tresses, when cast as vampy Velda, opposite Stacy Keach‘s private eye, Mike Hammer, in the hit CBS-TV series of the same name. Despite evident interest from those who remember it fondly and yearn to see it again, the program has yet to be released on DVD, although a couple of made-for-tv movies based on the characters are available. With today being Lindsay’s birthday, we thought we’d honor her by previewing an excerpt from one of those films, illustrating why Lindsay’s Velda — as well as Lindsay herself — remain so memorable to so many.

After watching the clip, we hope you’ll join us in wishing Lindsay a Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

Stay in the loop with Lindsay and other alumnae of The Golddiggers and Dingaling Sisters by LIKING our Dean, Golds and Dings Facebook page. Find it here:

August 27, 2013 at 10:28 pm 3 comments

Deana Martin: To Know Her Is To Love Her

Deana Christmas Close-up
(above) The Birthday Girl: Deana Martin

When you’re the offspring of a legend — especially one as beloved as Dean Martin — it can be quite a challenge to make your own mark in the world. That DEANA MARTIN combines all the best qualities of her Dad — immense talent, good looks, charm, and personality — with an innate sense of style, sophistication and a down-to-earth touch all her own, explains why she not only upholds the mantle she inherited, but has also built a huge and faithful following for her own artistry and career that stretches around the world.

No wonder so many Dean, Golds and Dings fans LIKE Deana’s fan page and love her with a passion…and why we all join together in wishing Deana a Very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

Deana Martin & John Griffeth portrait
(above) Deana and her husband, John Griffeth.
Deana's 1st DMS
(above) Father and daughter during Deana’s first appearance on The Dean Martin Show, December 8, 1966.

Stay up-to-date with Deana by LIKING her Official Facebook fan page:
Stay up-to-date on all the news relating to Dean Martin, The Golddiggers and The Dingaling Sisters by LIKING our own Official Facebook fan page:

August 19, 2013 at 10:28 am 1 comment

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

Happy Birthday, Barbara Sanders!

Barbara Sanders bday
We at Dean, Golds and Dings want to wish BARBARA SANDERS of the 1969 Golddiggers a very Happy, Healthy Birthday, and Many, Many More.

May 23, 2013 at 4:36 pm 1 comment

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