Sunday, July 24, 2011
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
Sixty-five years ago, on July 24, 1946, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made their official debut together at the 500 Club in Atlantic City. According to them they were warned by the owner, Skinny D’Amato, that if they did not come up with a better act for their second show that night, he would fire them.
They decided after huddling together in the alley behind the club that they would drop the pre-scripted jokes they had done earlier in the evening and improvise.
Martin began the second show singing alone. Lewis appeared as a busboy in the audience, eventually disrupting Martin’s performance with a series of inept and clumsy antics – from dropping plates to heckling Martin’s crooning. By the time Lewis was chased from the room being pelted with breadrolls by Martin, the audience was laughing hysterically.
The pair became one of the most successful comedy teams ever, appearing in nightclubs, on radio, television, and film. They split in 1956, 10 years to the day they first officially appeared to together.