Sunday, October 30, 2016

See an Unforgettable Duet of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on Live TV, Singing Harry M. Woods’ “Side by Side”

[Of related interest, at WEJB/NSU:

“A Celebration of the Music of Harry M. Woods.”]

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

The video below is from Martin & Lewis’ TV show, The Colgate Comedy Hour, in 1955.

Unfortunately, they would split one year later, after making a series of 16 wildly successful movie comedies together between 1949 and 1956. For a few years, they were the world’s biggest movie stars, bigger even than John Wayne, though their popularity was split.

Each had success on his own, but Lewis had more than Martin. That’s a shame, because Dean Martin was an incredible talent.

As a comedian, he was widely considered the greatest straight man in the business (with all due respect to George Burns and Bud Abbott). He was marvelous, baritone crooner who cut a series of hit records, mostly during the 1960s (“That’s Amore,” “Volare,” “Houston,” and his signature song, “Everyboby Loves Somebody (Sometime).” And over the course of 20 years, he hosted three variety and comedy shows that were so popular that an observer quipped (of Martin and Andy Williams) that they were like having a license to print money, since the popularity of the shows guaranteed that the records would be hits.

If you want to know what Martin was capable of as a straight actor, see Howard Hawks’ classic, 1959 Western, Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne. As the heartbroken deputy, Dave the Dude, Dean Martin gave the greatest performance I’ve ever seen of a drunk. He should have won an Oscar, but he was too restrained. Then, as now, Oscar loves a ham.

However, the TV shows deteriorated into celebrity roasts, and Martin devoted too much time and energy in middle age to a series of three popular but mindless, macho pictures, in which he played private detective Matt Helm.

Dean Martin died in 1995, at the age of 78, after living for years as a recluse. Although he often did an over-the-top drunk shtick on his popular TV shows, he was reportedly not a drunk in real life.

Jerry Lewis has long been considered a comic genius by French critics, though many of them have since died off, and by him.

Lewis is still alive at 90, having survived several massive heart attacks, along the way.

Martin & Lewis reportedly had a brief reunion in 1976.

For me, the story of Martin & Lewis is a tale of modern Hollywood. Great talent may translate into great wealth, but not necessarily into great works.

“Side by Side”


Dean Martin in Rio Bravo


David In TN said...

Speaking of Dean Martin's Matt Helm films, they are the worst adaptions of a fictional character of all time. I've read the Matt Helm novels, still reread them occasionally. If only they had been translated to the screen as written.

The Matt Helm character was a secret agent/ assassin working for the U.S. government. One reviewer remarked Helm made James Bond look like a cream puff. I think they came back into print recently. You ought to try the first one, "Death of a Citizen," published in 1960.

BTW, Dean Martin was a good enough actor to have played the role straight from the books, rather than the singing secret agent written for the silly movies.

Anonymous said...

jerry pdx
I'm not old enough to remember Jerry and Dean's partnership but I never cared for Jerry Lewis movies or his comedic acting in general. His movies were silly and his hammy mugging and physical slapstick always left my cold. However, I always got a kick out of his "Jerry's Kids" emcee work. Always irreverent toward his celeb guests and archly arrogant toward the audience it made an otherwise dull affair kind of interesting. I'll never forget a comment he made when he had a firefighter fundraiser group on the show. I can't recall exact how it went down but it was something like this: The conversation somehow turned to female firefighters, I think there might have been one in the group and she was rather attractive. At one point Jerry mischievously shouted: "I'd like to see her (or them) slide up and down that pole"!

Nicholas said...

"Young l-a-a-a-dy!"

Anonymous said...

Go on YouTube and search for Rickles showing up,the year Jerry was a humongous 300 lbs (from drug side effects).
"You look like a Jew whale",Rickles spewed.Lewis laughed about as hard as I ever saw.Rickles was merciless-but hilarious.

dino martin peters said...

Mr. Stix, we are tremendously touched by your awesome affirmation that "Dean Martin was an incredible talent." Never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth. Know that your remarkable reflections have been shared this day at ilovedinomartin.