Before long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them, creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies, stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an American institution. The millions (and the women) flowed in, seemingly without end, and then, on July 24, 1956, 10 years from the day when the two men joined forces, it all ended.
After that traumatic day, the two wouldn't speak again for 20 years. And while both went on to forge triumphant individual careers, Martin as a movie and television star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director, and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies, their parting left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man's heart.
In a memoir by turns moving, tragic, and hilarious, Jerry Lewis recounts with crystal clarity every step of a 50-year friendship, from the springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and 54th Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.
©2005 Jerry Lewis; (P)2005 Books on Tape
"Fans will be surprised and entertained by Lewis' honesty and diminished ego and bitterness." (Publishers Weekly)
I never knew the depth and compassion of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis's relationship until now. A beautiful book that, quite honestly made me cry at the end. A must read!
I really enjoyed listening to the book, it brought back fond memories of times gone by. Martin & Lewis were a great act, too bad we could only hear the point of view from Jerry. Only thing would have liked to heard more details when they finally were talking to each other again in the later years.
Still I give it a good thumbs up!!!
Jerry Lewis has had a great career financially. But he was the biggest thing in showbix with Dino, and known as a B-movie stooge afterwards. Those days ended 49 yeas ago, but Jerry longs for them.
At times it seems that his cronological narrative has little to talk about. Then he can dig into retelling Dino inspecting his (Jerry's) itchy crotch to find crabs (seriously).
90% of the book is about their years together 1946-56 so there is not a lot about the stuff that most big fans of Dean's are fans of his because of. As a huge fan of Dean's, I like the backstory. If you are old enough, you will hear great stories of the Martin and Lewis years. But if you want to go the the video store and see them now, ....sorry. It is clear that their magic was in nightclub performance, which made them so famous that they got to make a bunch of mediocre movies. Those movies are what you will rent, not the real magic.
Apparently I'm in the minority here. I didn't much care for Jerry Lewis' self-serving memoir. It's true that I don't think either Martin or he were particularly talented, but I have enjoyed books about and by other "stars" whom I don't consider first class. What I did find interesting, however, is how Jerry Lewis, after all these years, is still begging for Martin's approval. Sort of sad, if not especially entertaining.
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