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Martin and Lewis







 

 

 

Martin and Lewis

Martin and Lewis were an American comedy team, comprising singer Dean Martin (as the "straight man") and comedian Jerry Lewis. The pair first met in 1944; their debut as a duo occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24, 1946.

They worked together in nightclubs, on radio (starting in 1949) and in television and films. In the team's later years, it was no longer billed by the two men's surnames alone, as in their early radio work, but by their full names: "Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis." These separate identities helped them launch successful solo careers after the team's dissolution.

 

 

 







 

 

 

Martin and Lewis

Nightclubs

In 1944, Martin met a young comic named Jerry Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York, where both men were performing. Martin and Lewis' official debut together occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24, 1946, and they were not a hit. The owner, Skinny D'Amato, warned them that if they didn't come up with a better act for their second show later that same night, they would be fired. Huddling together out in the alley behind the club, Lewis and Martin agreed to go for broke, to throw out the pre-scripted gags that hadn't worked and to basically just improvise their way through the act. Dean sang some songs, and Jerry came out dressed as a busboy, dropping plates and more or less making a shambles of both Martin's performance and the club's sense of decorum. They did slapstick, reeled off old vaudeville jokes, and did whatever else popped into their heads at the moment. This time, the audience doubled over in laughter.

Their success at the 500 led to a series of well-paying engagements up and down the Eastern seaboard, culminating with a triumphant run at New York's Copacabana. Club patrons were convulsed by the act, which consisted primarily of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing, and ultimately the two of them chasing each other around the stage and having as much fun as possible. The secret, they have both said, is that they essentially ignored the audience and played to one another.

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

Martin and Lewis

Radio, television and films

A radio series commenced in 1949, the same year that Martin and Lewis were signed by Paramount producer Hal Wallis as comedy relief for the film My Friend Irma.

Martin was thrilled to be out of New York City, a place he had developed a lifelong hatred for.[who?] He liked it that California, because of its earthquakes, had few tall buildings. Suffering as he did from claustrophobia, Martin almost never used elevators, and having to climb multiple flights of stairs in Manhattan's skyscrapers was not his idea of fun.

Their agent, Abby Greshler, negotiated for them one of Hollywood's best deals: although they received only a modest $75,000 between them for their films with Wallis, Martin and Lewis were free to do one outside film a year, which they would co-produce through their own York Productions. They also had complete control of their club, record, radio and television appearances, and it was through these endeavors that Martin and Lewis earned millions of dollars. They made regular appearances on NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour during the 1950s.

Although there had been a number of hugely successful film teams before, Martin and Lewis were a new kind of team. The fun they had together set them apart from everything else being done at the time. Both were talented entertainers, but the fact that they were such good friends on and off stage took their act to a new level.

Martin and Lewis were the hottest act in America during the early '50s, but the pace and the pressure took their toll. Dean usually had the thankless job of the straight man, and his singing had yet to develop into his unique style of his later years. The critics praised Lewis, and while they admitted that Martin was the best partner he could have, most of them claimed that Lewis was the real talent of the team and could succeed with anyone. It is worth noting that Lewis always praised his partner, and while he appreciated the attention he was getting, he has always said with complete conviction that the act would never have worked without Martin. In the book Dean & Me Lewis calls Martin one of the great comic geniuses of all time.

After five years at Paramount Pictures, Dean Martin was becoming tired of scripts limiting him to colorless romantic leads while the stories centered on the antics of Jerry Lewis. Martin also noticed that Lewis was being more ambitious, playing comedy scenes for pathos and staging more of the action himself. The last straw came when Look Magazine gave Martin and Lewis a cover photo -- and cropped Martin out of the picture. Martin dutifully fulfilled the rest of his movie contract, but put less and less enthusiasm into his work, leading to escalating arguments with Lewis. The two finally couldn't possibly work together, especially when Martin told his partner that he was "nothing to me but a fucking dollar sign." Martin left the act at his first opportunity, on July 24, 1956 (10 years to the day after the first official teaming).

 

 

 





 

 

 

After the split

Martin's career arguably reached new heights after the team split up, as a recording artist for the Capitol and Reprise labels, as a movie actor (Rio Bravo, The Young Lions and the Matt Helm series), as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack (Ocean's Eleven, Sergeants 3, Robin and the Seven Hoods), and with his own hugely successful 1960s-'70s television variety series, The Dean Martin Show. Lewis made a succession of commercially successful films on his own (The Nutty Professor, The Bellboy) before his own film career declined in the early-1970s.

The two men reconciled privately in the later years of Martin's life. In 1976, Martin made a surprise appearance on Lewis's annual Labor Day telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, orchestrated by mutual friend Frank Sinatra.

Another source[who?] claims that contrary to belief, the 1976 MDA telethon was not the first reconciliation of the legendary comedy team. In 1960, four years after they split, Martin & Lewis briefly reunited. Both were performing their own separate acts at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, a club they frequently played while they were together. Lewis caught Martin's closing act and Martin introduced his former partner to the audience, bringing him on stage. For about 15 minutes, they joked a bit and sang a duet of "Come Back to Me". Unfortunately, the reunion was only a one-time thing. Later in 1960, when Lewis was rushing to finish The Bellboy and too exhausted to perform his stage act, Martin generously replaced him.

In 1987, when Dean's son Dino Martin Jr. was killed in a plane crash, Jerry attended the funeral unannounced. He did not walk up to Dean, for he did not want any reporters to catch them together. Later when Dean found out about it, he called Jerry and talked to him for about an hour. Finally in 1989, the two reunited for the last time together at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where Dean was doing a week of shows (what would be his last concert appearances). The occasion was Dean's 72nd birthday. Lewis presented him with a birthday cake, thanked him for all the years he gave joy to the world, and finally joked "Why we broke up, I'll never know".

The animosity between Martin and Lewis after the split was legendary, but Lewis published an affectionate memoir of his partnership with Martin called Dean and Me - A Love Story in 2006.

 

 

 



Click here to see a great Martin and Lewis video clip.



 

 

 

Filmography

Year Movie Jerry Lewis Role Dean Martin Role Notes

1949 My Friend Irma Seymour Steve Laird Film Debut

1950 My Friend Irma Goes West Seymour Steve Laird

1950 At War with the Army PFC Alvin Korwin Sgt Victor Puccinelli

1951 That's My Boy 'Junior' Jackson Bill Baker

1952 Sailor Beware Melvin Jones Al Crowthers

1952 Jumping Jacks Hap Smith Chick Allen

1952 Road to Bali 'Woman' in Lala's Dream Man in Lala's Dream Cameo; first appearance in Technicolor

1953 The Stooge Theodore Rogers Bill Miller

1953 Scared Stiff Myron Mertz Larry Todd

1953 The Caddy Harvey Miller, Jr. Joe Anthony

1953 Money from Home Virgil Yokum Herman "Honey Talk" Nelson Filmed in 3-D.

1954 Living It Up Homer Flagg Dr. Steve Harris

1954 3 Ring Circus Jerome F. Hotchkiss Pete Nelson Re-released in 1978 as 'Jerrico The Wonder Clown'

1955 You're Never Too Young Wilbur Hoolick Bob Miles

1955 Artists and Models Eugene Fullstack Rick Todd

1956 Pardners Wade Kingsley Sr/Wade Kingsley Jr Slim Mosley Sr/Slim Mosley Jr

1956 Hollywood or Bust Malcolm Smith Steve Wiley Last film together

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Car Repair

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Make an appointment and don't worry about what kind of service you'll get because it's the best. I've been going there for at least 3 years. (Zane Ladhani---of Zane's Comedy Warehouse www.zanes-comedy-warehouse.com)

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one.

 

 

Chinese Food

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese Restaurant www.kimkim.ca

 

Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at

Kim Kim Hakka Chinese Restaurant 1188 Kennedy Road Scarborough, ON M1P 2L1 416-757-8300 (Near Kennedy and Lawrence)

I ususally have the Curry Chicken on Rice but you'll be happy with whatever you order.

If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order.

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one.

 

Real Estate Services

 

The best real estate agents in Toronto are the Wright Sisters. They

are the right choice whether you're buying or selling property.

 

Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage 2237 Queen Street East Toronto ON M4E 1G2

Office: (416) 699-9292 Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

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Car Repair 

For the best car repair service 
go to Don's Auto Clinic at 

1950 Ellesmere Rd #21 
Scarborough ON, M1H 2V8 

Phone: 416-438-9575 

Make an appointment 
and don't worry about                     what kind of service
you'll get because it's the best.
I've been going there for at least 5 years.

(Zane Ladhani---owner of Zane's Mall of Comedy
www.zanesmall.com

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 


Chinese Food 

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese

 Restaurant 

www.kimkim.ca



Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants
but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food
restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at 

Kim Kim Hakka Chinese Restaurant 1188 Kennedy Road
Scarborough, ON M1P 2L1 416-757-8300
(Near Kennedy and Lawrence) 

I ususally have the Curry Chicken on Rice
but you'll be happy with whatever you order. 

If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order. 

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 

Real Estate Services 


One of Toronto's Best Real Estate teams is
the Wright Sisters.

They are the right choice 
whether you're buying or selling property. 


Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives 

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., 
Brokerage 2237 Queen Street East Toronto ON M4E 1G2 

Office: (416) 699-9292 
Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

Tell them Zane sent you.