Monday, June 24, 2013
FROM THE BOARDWALK TO AN EMPIRE- THE MARTIN & LEWIS SHOW - NBC-TV - CIRCA 5/2/54
In the early 1950's, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis did something of which Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin only Dreamed:
They conquered the world.
Not a shot was fired and there were no casualties in a comic revolution
that captured most of the planet.
The unlikely paring offered audiences a voluble and volatile mix
of slapstick antics and street-smart banter that was too big for
any 12 inch , TV screen to contain.
If you met them, before they were a team, you might wonder how they
could compliment each other in front of a camera or behind a microphone.
Martin, an alluring crooner with impeccable comic timing and Lewis,
a kinetic comedian , whose adolescent demeanor, on stage, belied
the burgeoning auteur within.
They liked each other personally and shared the same comic sensibility.
When the legendary Atlantic City nightclub impresario, Skinny D-Amato,
booked them in his renowned 500 CLUB as two single acts ... Martin singing and Lewis performing
a record pantomime... it was clear that they needed each other.
After bombing, back to back, D'Amato, who was an entertainment visionary, told them that they could work the stage together or each could leave the club alone.
That was 1946 and in the turbulent decade that followed, they became the biggest stars on Film, in Nightclubs and on Television.
In 1956, they went their separate ways after making millions of people laugh and making show business history.
The story of their decision to "divorce " is a show business tragedy come true.
The act and their relationship succumbed to a lethal mix of ego and pride, jealousy and infighting.
Both went on to incredibly successful individual careers.
But together, they were invincible and incomparable.
They also made a lot of money for America's best nightclubs, the nation's largest theaters, Paramount Pictures, NBC Radio, NBC Television and their TV sponsor, The Colgate Palmolive Company.
While the wild physicality of their act didn't translate well to radio, their monthly, video adventures as part of the rotating constellation of stars on NBC-TV's expansive and expensive, COLGATE COMEDY HOUR, made for some of the most spontaneous moments in the mediums early years.
Here, from the DONAZIFY YOU TUBE site is the 5/2/54 episode of their Sunday night show, which celebrates the eighth anniversary of MARTIN AND LEWIS performing together.