Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Sypnosis from Goodreads:
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 and 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.
This was a re read for me, once I heard of Jerry Lewis’s passing I knew I had to get this book out and re experience the emotions; Martin and Lewis are it for me as far as stand up comedy goes, their routine of the monkey and the swooner are priceless and never fail to make me laugh, so it’s no surprise that I would often re watch their movies and comedy hours. Their chemistry is perfection and honestly it made me tear up reading Lewis’s words about their final film, Pardners, and how fractured their relationship was then. To me, they were always the big brother and little kid act, Dean being all smooth and effortless, Jerry goofing around and making a mess out of things.
And like Magic, it was amazing to watch, and it still is. This book, for me, honestly contained so many emotions, it was honest writing and it had zero sugar coating to it, there was honestly, love, enthusiasm, passion and so much more; you could honestly tell how deeply Jerry admired Dean and how much he relied on him; see, Jerry found himself lonely quite a bit, and really relied on Dean for many things; and I think it worked both ways; even though Dean might not have expressed it so easily.
In this book, Jerry rebuffs the rumours and cliches that were always associated with his comedy partner; for Dean wasn’t the drunk he was portrayed as. He was simply a family man who loved golf and western movies.
What was conveyed the most here in this book, and what felt the most natural and earnest was how much this book conveyed Jerry’s absolute love and immense devotion to Dino. There was so much enthusiasm and emotion about his partner, from his first impression of him to when they were starting to split up, you could honestly feel Jerry’s pain, and his immense devastation when he heard his partner passed away.
However, I do think Martin and Lewis are immortal as far as comedy goes, and who doesn’t love Dean Martin as a singer? Utterly amazing and a perfect memoir, it felt like I was having tea with Lewis, just an honest to good heart to heart with a friend.
And that concludes my review, honestly I could keep ranting but I definitely recommend this book. I must also say how much Jerry talks about Sinatra, who was crucial in getting these two old friends to reunite. Jerry also speaks highly of him, they were longtime friends too.
Okay, review concluded, happy reading 🙂
– Brooklyn the Bookworm