If you lived in San Diego in the 1970s or '80s, you’re probably familiar with Dr. Dean – a hypnotist that enthralled crowds at weekly shows for decades in America’s Finest City. During the height of his popularity, Dr Michael Dean – whose real name was Sanford Berman – was featured in a three-part series by News 8.
From his crowd-pleasing Friday night performances at The Gaslight Room to his legal battle with a famous boxer, News 8’s Michael Tuck took a behind-the-scenes look at the celebrated entertainer with the jet-black pompadour in 1980.
Your eyelids are getting heavier and heavier... You will now enjoy this look back at Dr. Dean’s time mesmerizing San Diego.
In part 1 of the feature, Tuck visited a packed Friday night show where Dean showed off his mesmerizing skills even convincing his subjects that our reporter was naked at one point. Tickets to Dean's show were $2.50 with a two-drink minimum and drinks were $2.25.
In part 2 of the series, Tuck takes a look at a Dr. Dean's work with professional boxers and a controversy surrounding the entertainer. Dean had worked with boxer Ken Norton and took credit for some of the once heavyweight champion's success in the ring. Norton later called his work with Dean a "publicity gimmick." Dr. Dean vehemently denied Norton's claim and even sued the boxer for slander. The clip also features Dean in a heated exchange with boxing legend Muhammad Ali before a match with Norton in 1973.
For part 3, Tuck visited Dr. Dean’s Point Loma office filled with cassette tapes of his educational and motivational seminars. The conclusion of News 8’s series on Dean explored his endeavors and accomplishments off stage – which included his career as an educator, his real estate investments and the boxing gym he started in San Diego. Tuck and Dr. Dean also discussed some of his most extreme hypnotism demonstrations with Dean expressing concern over cults using the power of mind control on their members.
In addition to his successful hypnotism shows and smart investments, Dr. Michael Dean – who got a Ph.D in Semantics from at Northwestern University – was an educator and a philanthropist who gave generous donations to several schools including University of California San Diego and San Diego State University. Following his 30-year stint in San Diego, Dean retired to Las Vegas where he passed away in 2015 at the age of 90.