A special collector's edition, personally signed by Jerry Lewis and James KaplanJerry Lewis memoirs one of the most famous teams in Hollywood. A wonderful leather-bound collectible book for your library that also makes the perfect gift. COA from Easton Press guarantees the signature authenticity.
Easton Press. Norwalk, CT, Copyright 2005. Signed First Edition, limited to only 1,500 signed and numbered copies. Full genuine leather of this special limited First Edition/ First Print preceding the trade edition. As New, sealed in the original shrink-wrap from the publisher. Signed by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan on a special limitation page.
From Publishers Weekly
Over the course of their 10-year partnership, Lewis and Dean Martin made 16 wildly popular movies (they were the world's number one box office earners from 1950 to 1956), but their real strength was their performances in nightclubs, theaters and on television. Audiences found their mixture of music and ad-libbed, irreverent comedic pandemonium intoxicating. The duo's fascinating kinship—Lewis idolized his partner, while Martin was aloof - has been chronicled in Shawn Levy's King of Comedy and Nick Tosches's Dino, but Lewis wants to give his late partner the credit he feels critics missed by always praising the "the monkey" rather than the straight man.
Untangling the complicated union, Lewis doesn't spare himself, admitting that when the team's relationship unraveled (they weren't speaking between scenes on their last film), he became a bully on set and made others the brunt of the anger he couldn't vent at Martin. Lewis is a wonderful raconteur, and his tales capture the excitement of their budding career and the slow, sad erosion of the fun. Whether it's his age (Lewis is 79) or his coauthor (Kaplan co-wrote John McEnroe's You Cannot Be Serious), fans will be surprised and entertained by Lewis's honesty and diminished ego and bitterness.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis soared to popularity in post-World War II America, as their unlikely chemistry proved successful. The two met in New York City in 1945, where Lewis, a struggling comedian, and Martin, a handsome crooner, were looking to hit the big time. This candid memoir examines the tumultuous yet productive relationship that developed between the two as they spent 10 years performing live shows and making movies.
As Lewis tells it, in the early years of the duo's success, they began hanging out with movie stars and other celebrities, and life was one continuous party, with loads of money and all the booze, babes, and good times that either could ask for. But despite attempts to manage their egos and to handle the other pressures that come from living a fast life, eventually the magic began to fade and the two finally called it quits in 1956. After parting ways, both achieved great solo success: Martin becoming a member of the famous Rat Pack and Lewis a successful writer, producer, and director.
Although they never really worked together again, Lewis maintains that he never stopped loving Dean Martin, and indeed this book is an adoring tribute to the man. (It may leave some readers wondering what Dean's side of the story would be.)
They were the unlikeliest of pairs—a handsome crooner and a skinny monkey, an Italian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a Jew from Newark, N.J.. Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together, something clicked—something miraculous—and audiences saw it at once.
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, ten years from the day when the two men joined forces, it all ended.
After that traumatic day, the two wouldn't speak again for twenty 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 fifty-year friendship, from the springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and Fifty-fourth Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.
In Dean & Me, Jerry Lewis makes a convincing case for Dean Martin as one of the great—and most underrated—comic talents of our era. But what comes across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love Lewis felt, and still feels, for his partner, and which his partner felt for him: truly a love to last for all time.
Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin sandwiched sixteen money-making films in between nightclub engagements, recording sessions, radio shows, and television bookings during their ten-year partnership. Over the following years Lewis remained in the spotlight as the groundbreaking creator and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies, and scored triumphs in stage appearances in Europe, where he has been hailed as one of the greatest director-comedians of the twentieth century.
He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and has received numerous other honors for his tireless efforts in the fight against the fourty neuromuscular diseases.
Martin and Lewis
Lewis gained initial fame with singer Dean Martin, who served as a straight man to Lewis's manic, zany antics as the Martin and Lewis comedy team. They distinguished themselves from the majority of comedy acts of the 1940s by relying on the interaction of the two comics instead of pre-planned skits. In the late 1940s, they quickly rose to national prominence, first with their popular nightclub act and then as film stars. Critics often found it difficult to describe their chaotic act beyond the laconic "Martin sings and Lewis clowns". But audiences loved the electricity and excitement of the team, which flourished on live television (primarily on NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour) and in a long string of movies for Paramount Pictures.
Martin's roles in the films became less important as the scripts concentrated more on Lewis. Martin's diminished participation became an embarrassment in 1954, when Look Magazine used a publicity photo of the team for the magazine cover, but cropped Martin out of the photo. This understandably strained the team, and the partnership finally ended in 1956.
Both Martin and Lewis went on to successful solo careers, but for years neither would comment on the split, or consider a reunion. The next time they were seen together in public was a surprise appearance by Martin on Lewis's telethon in 1976, arranged by Frank Sinatra. Lewis wrote of his kinship with Martin in the 2005 book Dean and Me (A Love Story). When Sinatra tried to bring Lewis back to Martin, Lewis was quoted as saying, "I'll never work with that drunk ever again". Although the pair eventually reconciled in the late-1980s after Martin's son died, there was never any reunion.
Jerry Lewis, comedy star
After the split, Lewis remained at Paramount and became a major comedy star with his debut film The Delicate Delinquent in 1957. Teaming with director Frank Tashlin, whose background as a Looney Tunes director suited Lewis's brand of humor, he starred in five more films, and even appeared uncredited as Itchy McRabbitt in Li'l Abner (1959).
In 1960 Paramount needed a quickie feature film to fill its release schedule, and asked Lewis to produce it. Lewis came up with The Bellboy. Using the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami as his setting, on a small budget, a very tight shooting schedule, and no script, Lewis shot the film by day and performed at the hotel in the evenings. It was a true achievement: the film's star also produced, directed, and collaborated with Bill Richmond on the many sight gags. During production, Lewis developed the technique of using video cameras and multiple closed circuit monitors, allowing him to view scenes while he was filming them. This allowed him to review his performance instantly. Later, he incorporated videotape, and as more portable and affordable equipment became available, this technique would become an industry standard known as video assist.
Lewis directed several more films which he co-wrote with Richmond including The Ladies Man, The Errand Boy, and the iconic film, The Nutty Professor.
By 1966 Lewis, now 40, was no longer an angular juvenile and his routines seemed slower and more labored. His box office appeal waned, to the point where Paramount Pictures' new executive suite felt no further need for the Lewis comedies.
Undaunted, Lewis simply packed up and went to Columbia Pictures, where he made several more comedies.
Later, Lewis pursued several personal movie projects. He starred in and directed the unreleased The Day The Clown Cried in 1972. The film was a drama set in a Nazi concentration camp. Lewis has explained why the film has not been released by suggesting litigation over post-production financial difficulties. More importantly, however, he recently admitted during his book tour for Dean and Me that a major factor for the film's burial is that he is not proud of the effort.
Lewis returned to the screen in 1981 with Hardly Working, a film he both directed and starred in. Despite being panned by the critics, the film did eventually earn $50 million. He followed this up with a critically acclaimed performance in Martin Scorsese's 1983 film The King of Comedy in which Lewis plays a late night TV host plagued by obsessive fans (played by Robert de Niro and Sandra Bernhard). Ironically, the role had been offered to, and turned down by, Dean Martin. Lewis continued doing interesting work in small films in the 1990s, most notably his supporting role in Arizona Dream (1994), and also Jerry's last picture Funny Bones (1995).
Lewis and his popular movie characters were animated in the cartoon series Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down which premiered on ABC in 1970 and then ended in 1972. The show was produced at Filmation Studios in partnership with Lewis, and starred David Lander (later of Laverne and Shirley fame) as the voice of the animated Jerry Lewis character.
Lewis remained popular in Europe: he was consistently praised by some highbrow French critics in the influential Cahiers du Cinema for his absurd comedy, in part because he had gained respect as an auteur who had total control over all aspects of his films, comparable to Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock. In March 2006 the French Minister of Culture awarded Lewis the 'Legion of Honor' calling him the 'French people's favorite clown.' Liking Lewis has long been a common stereotype about the French in the minds of many Americans, and is often the object of jokes in U.S. pop culture.