Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin — Short on Messages But Long on Entertainment 🇺🇸

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin — Short on Messages But Long on Entertainment 🇺🇸

November 25, 2021

That’s the Reason that Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Have Come Along Fast in the Entertainment World

Timing is the quiet and simple secret of most of the top successes of show business. Equally as important as the timing sense of the actor himself is the timing of the impressario, producer, promoter, manager, or what have you, who does his best to time the entrance of his people onto the stage when the audience is in the most receptive mood. This is the real secret of show business.

When the little men behind the scenes of show business get the totals for 1950 racked up they will all agree that a pair of completely zany comics by the names of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis have skyrocketed into the higher realms of this coldly commercial end of show business. This is mainly because their meteoric rise to their present stage, screen, and radio eminence was timed as neatly as a knockout punch by Joe Louis. Right now, Martin and Lewis are toppling house records about the nation doing a personal appearance tour, which, incidentally, nets them a cool 50 per cent of the gross.

To date they have wrapped up three films, two of which have already been released. Even though they were not in the star billing slot in either of these two released pictures, the paying customers have given good cause to believe that it was the whacky routine of this pair which gave the films spice and top grosses at the payoff windows.

Now get set for the third film, “At War With The Army” in which the pair create what could almost be labelled a major war when they turn the army training camp right on its ear with their bouncy doings. They are starred, and also own a sizeable chunk of the film, made under the banner of York Productions. Sneaks have been enthusiastic.

Hal Wallis, who first introduced the pair to the moviegoers with his “Irma” series, has two more productions ready to roll this fall, and the boys are set for a five-year picture program.

Their popularity with the audiences was perhaps best summed up by the remark of one exhibitor when he said: “The only message these two have for the audiences is that there is still a lot of fun left in the world!” Both boys are masters of the high art of ad-libbing with the buffoonery.

The highest compliment any comedian could be paid is for other top line comedians to call them the “comedian’s comedians.” This phrase has been tagged on them ever since they hit show business right in the kisser with a lemon meringue pie with their 18-week stand at New York’s Copacabana.

Hollywood beckoned them following this triumph, at Slapsy Maxies. Within one short week they were flooded with screen offers. Veteran producer Hal Wallis got their John Henrys on the dotted line with his promise to let them do outside pictures.

Their screen debut, in “My Friend Irma” series, did not bring any deluge of critical acclaim but what it did bring was the old sheckels at the box-office.

“At War With The Army” details the adventures of the typical Sad Sack, as portrayed by Jerry Lewis, and a hard boiled top sergeant, played by Dean Martin, another piece of adroit timing as far as box-office prospects are concerned.

To those among you who want laughs for your customers hearken to their solemn proclamation, “If it’s laughs you want, we’ll knock ourselves out to give ’em to you.”

And take it from me, this is a promise which these boys have been fulfilling every minute they live and work before the loving public. — P. M.

Corinne Calvet seems apprehensive of Jerry Lewis’ ardor, while looking on with amusement are the other stars of Paramount’s “My Friend Irma Goes West,” Marie Wilson, Don Porter, Dean Martin, John Lund, and Diana Lynn. Martin’s singing and Lewis’ comedy contributed heavily to the picture’s success.

Source: Exhibitor, October 1950