The Dean Martin Variety Show was a great example of the long popular variety show format that has sadly been missing from network TV for too many years now. I personally feel that the variety show was an integral part of the TV schedule, as it brought together top entertainers from TV, movies, and the music business. The benefit was that it kept all popular entertainers of that era very much in the public eye, creating a shared culture for all viewers to enjoy together. We really don't have that today, what with the severe fragmentation of the television audience due to the "500 Channel Universe", where no single show gets much of a market share. Frankly, I was a lot happier back when there were no more than about two dozen TV channels and just the three big U.S. networks creating shows that were genuinely entertaining. Not so anymore, in my opinion.
While most of the variety shows were rehearsed laboriously every week until the day they were taped in front of a live audience, on Dean's show only the guests rehearsed all week. Dean's contract stipulated that he didn't have to show up until taping day if he didn't want to, as Dean liked to keep his image real loose, even stumbling over his reading of the cue cards to add to the comic effect and his on-screen image of being a bit tipsy with the booze. It was an individual approach that worked so well for Dean, as he knew that his natural charm would suffer if he had to adhere to a tightly scripted format.
It also helped when he had just the right chemistry with his guests, as I think is evident here in this clip alongside cute and adorable Goldie Hawn, who was then one of the stars on the very popular comedy review, Laugh-In: