MARTIN AND LEWIS

THE MARTIN AND LEWIS STORY IS SO COMPLEX THAT IT WOULD BE VERY HARD TO COVER EVERY ASPECT OF THE DUO'S SUCCESS AND BREAKUP

THERE ARE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF HOW DEAN MARTIN AND JERRY LEWIS MET. JERRY TELLS OF THE FIRST TIME HE SAW DEAN COMING THROUGH THE LOBBY DOORS OF THE BELMONT PLAZA HOTEL IN NEW YORK.

 
 HE RECALLS IT BEING IN SEPTEMBER OF 1944, WHEN DEAN WAS HOSTING HIS OWN RADIO SHOW ON WMCA. A FEW DAYS LATER, JERRY AND HIS FRIEND, SONNY KING WERE WALKING DOWN THE STREET WHEN DEAN APPROACHED THEM. SONNY INTRODUCED JERRY TO HIS GOOD FRIEND, DEAN ON THE CORNER OF 49TH STREET AND BROADWAY.
THEY MET AND SPOKE, THEN EACH WENT THEIR SEPARATE WAYS. MANY TIMES FOLLOWING, DEAN AND JERRY WOULD CROSS EACH OTHERS' PATHS AT VARIOUS CLUBS. OFTEN ONE WAS JUST LEAVING, WHILE THE OTHER WAS JUST COMING INTO TOWN TO OPEN. IT WASN'T UNTIL MARCH OF 1946, THE HAVANA-CLUB BOOKED JERRY LEWIS AND DEAN MARTIN AS SEPARATE ACTS DURING THE SAME NIGHTS. THEY SEEMED TO GET ALONG WELL, BOTH VISITING EACH OTHERS' ACTS, AND OFTEN JOKING OUT LOUD DURING THE OTHER'S PERFORMANCE. EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE BOOKED SEPARATELY, THEY MANAGED TO DO AN EXTRA SHOW LATE AT NIGHT, TOGETHER, JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT. AFTER THAT ONE WEEK ENGAGEMENT, BOTH BOYS WENT THEIR SEPARATE WAYS AGAIN.

 IN JULY OF 1946, JERRY'S AGENT BOOKED HIM INTO THE "500 CLUB" IN ATLANTIC CITY. THERE SEEMS TO BE TWO CONFLICTING STORIES OF HOW DEAN LANDED AT THE "500 CLUB" AT THE SAME TIME AS JERRY. BOTH STORIES BASICALLY CONCUR THAT A SINGER WAS NEEDED TO "FILL THE BILL", AND JERRY RECOMMENDED DEAN, WHOM HE HAD WORKED WITH A FEW MONTHS EARLIER.
 ON JULY 25TH, DEAN ARRIVED AT THE "500" TO BEGIN HIS TWO WEEK ENGAGEMENT. HE DIDN'T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT PROMISES JERRY MADE TO THE CLUB'S OWNER. IN FACT, DEAN HAD TOLD WRITER PETE MARTIN THAT HE JUST HAPPENED TO BE ON THE SAME BILL, AND REJECTED THE FACT THAT JERRY HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH BEING BOOKED THERE.

 NEVERTHELESS, DEAN WOULD GO ON FIRST AND SING, THEN JERRY WOULD FOLLOW WITH HIS ACT. THIS WENT ON FOR THE FIRST COUPLE OF NIGHTS. AFTER THE THIRD NIGHT, THE OWNER PULLED JERRY ASIDE AND ASKED HIM WHERE ALL THE FUNNY STUFF WAS THAT HE HAD PROMISED ONCE DEAN GOT THERE. THAT NIGHT, JERRY, AFRAID OF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENING TO HIM, SAT DOWN AND WROTE SOME MATERIAL FOR THEM TO DO TOGETHER. WHEN DEAN AND JERRY WENT OUT ON STAGE THE NEXT NIGHT, THINGS STARTED COMING NATURALLY, LIKE THEY DID IN THOSE EVENINGS BACK AT THE HAVANA-MADRID. WHEN DEAN SANG... JERRY INTERRUPTED. DEAN STARTED TELLING A STORY, JERRY THREW THINGS AROUND ON THE STAGE LIKE A MAD MAN. THE AUDIENCE LOVED IT! THEY WANTED MORE! WORD SPREAD QUICKLY, AND WITHIN A COUPLE OF NIGHTS, IT WAS STANDING ROOM ONLY. THESE TWO WERE HOT!

 EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOW PARTNERS PERFORMING, DEAN AND JERRY WERE STILL BILLED SEPARATELY. THEY WOULD DO THEIR OWN ROUTINES, AND JOIN EACH OTHER AS A TWOSOME IN THE LAST PART OF THEIR SHOWS. IT WASN'T UNTIL JANUARY OF 1947 THAT DEAN AND JERRY WOULD PERFORM LEGALLY AS ONE TEAM. THE DUO WAS NOW IN DEMAND, AND THE MONEY WAS GETTING BETTER!
 DEAN AND JERRY WOULD SOON MAKE THE ROUNDS OF RADIO SHOWS, AND EVENTUALLY HAVE THEIR OWN SHOW (SEE WEB-SITE UNDER "RADIO").
DURING THIS TIME PERIOD, DEAN WOULD ALSO BE RECORDING HIS VERY FIRST RECORDS, WHICH ARE NOW COLLECTOR'S ITEMS (SEE WEB-SITE UNDER "DISCOGRAPHY"). A NEW TELEVISION SHOW WAS ABOUT TO BE INTRODUCED TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. IT WAS CALLED "THE TOAST OF THE TOWN", AND WAS HOSTED BY ED SULLIVAN. ON JUNE 20TH, 1948 THE SHOW PREMIERED WITH GUEST STARS, MARTIN AND LEWIS. THE PHOTO BELOW SHOWS ED AT THE MICROPHONE FLANKED BY DEAN AND JERRY.

 
 THE TEAM WOULD LATER GO ON TO DO TELEVISION AND EVENTUALLY HOST THEIR OWN ROTATING SERIES, "THE COLGATE COMEDY HOUR" WHICH SHOWCASED THEIR TALENTS AND BROUGHT THEM EVEN CLOSER TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. EVENTUALLY THEY WOULD MAKE 16 MOTION PICTURES TOGETHER (SEE WEB-SITE UNDER "MOVIES"), AND BECOME THE HOTTEST STARS IN THE WORLD, WITH FANS BEGGING FOR MORE.
COMIC BOOKS, NOTE PADS, PUPPETS AND GAMES... YOU NAME IT... WERE MADE IN THEIR IMAGES. THE PUBLIC COULDN'T GET ENOUGH... BUT THE WEAR AND TEAR ON THE BOYS CAUSED A LOT OF STRESS AND TENSION OVER THE TEN YEARS THEY WERE PARTNERS. EACH ONE HAD A DIFFERENT VISION AS TO THEIR DIRECTION WHICH EVENTUALLY LED TO THEIR BREAKUP IN 1956... ALMOST TEN YEARS TO THE DATE THAT THEY STARTED.

 AFTER THEIR BREAKUP IN 1956, THE TWO ONLY APPEARED IN PUBLIC THREE TIMES TOGETHER. IN 1958 ON THE EDDIE FISHER SHOW, WHEN DEAN INTERRUPTED JERRY. AGAIN, IN 1976 DURING THE MDA TELETHON, DEAN WALKED ON STAGE DURING IT'S LIVE BROADCAST, AND IN JUNE OF 1989 JERRY ROLLED A BIRTHDAY CAKE ONTO A STAGE IN LAS VEGAS, WHERE DEAN WAS PERFORMING, TO WISH HIM A HAPPY 72ND BIRTHDAY.
 
 IT IS DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN WHY THESE TWO WERE NOT SEEN MORE OFTEN IN PUBLIC VIEW. EACH OF THEM DEVOTED SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY INTO THEIR OWN CAREERS, THAT MAYBE TIME JUST PASSED TOO RAPIDLY FOR THEM.
 
ONLY THE TWO OF THEM WILL REALLY EVER KNOW HOW OFTEN THEY ACTUALLY SPOKE OR VISITED. WE JUST KNOW OURSELVES WHAT A LEGACY THEY LEFT FOR US.

 DEAN MARTIN FAN CENTER - P.O. BOX 660212 - ARCADIA, CALIFORNIA 91066-0212 USA