And, likes dudes the coolest thin' 'bout the shows is that they are goin' to be likes totally totally Dino-centric! The shows are bein' tagged, "Dean & Me," based on Lewis's 2005 bio of absolute amore to our most beloved Dino. (Likes this is the tome that immediately changed my views on Mr. Lewis and his remarkable relationship with our Dino)
Below are the outstandin' details 'bout these very very special ops to here first hand 'bout Mr. Lewis' decade long poweful partnership with our King of Cool. Oh, likes how I so so longs to be in a seat at one of these shows of Mr. Lewis to hear him proclaim first hand his delight in workin' and playin' with our great great man.
Hats off to the pallies at "NorthJersey.com" and likes 'specially Miss Virginia Rohan for puttin' all us Dino-holics on to this major major Dino-devotional-event! To checks this out at it's original site, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-report. Dino-yearnin', DMP
Jerry Lewis takes bergenPAC stage for 'Dean & Me'
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2013
True, Dean Martin has been dead since 1995, and the two had not performed together as a team for almost 40 years before that.
Nonetheless, Lewis — who was born Joseph Levitch, to parents who were both vaudevillians, on March 16, 1926, in Newark — has plenty of vivid, fond and funny memories of the decade he spent working with Martin. This was clear in his 2005 book "Dean & Me (A Love Story)."
In that book, the Jersey boy mentioned a number of Garden State sites that played pivotal roles in his life. Here are five of them — two of which are in Bergen County.
* Paul "Skinny" D'Amato's 500 Club, Atlantic City: This is where Martin and Lewis first performed together as a team, on July 24, 1946 — and were an instant hit. Lewis described it as "nightclub paradise," elaborating, "Inside were 60 tables, zebra-skin bar stools, an ever-present blue cloud of cigarette smoke, and an off-the-books gambling casino in the back room." Lewis was hired to play as a comic there for $150 a week. When a singer who'd been hired for the lineup didn't work out, Lewis suggested a crooner named Dean Martin, whom he'd known from the circuit. At first the two worked separately, but it quickly became clear that D'Amato expected them to perform together (for $250 a week). So, they ad-libbed, improvising insults and jokes, squirting seltzer water, hurling bunches of celery and more. In less than 18 weeks, their salaries soared to $5,000 a week.
Then the biggest nightclub in Atlantic City, the 500 Club later burned to the ground.
* Princess Hotel and Spa, Atlantic City: This is the dive where the two stayed during their early 500 Club gig, sharing a room (with a bathroom down the hall) for $12 a night. "The Princess was near the beach, where everything was damp," Lewis wrote. "After one night of hanging in a closet at this (un-air-conditioned) place, your clothes looked like someone had sat in them during a Greyhound bus ride from Fresno to Hartford. … Dean [asked] 'Is this the best we can do?' … 'No,' I said. 'We can do better at the Ritz-Carlton, but their suites run a little more than the $12 a night we'll be paying here."
* The Turf Club, Atlantic City: It was, Lewis wrote, a members-only "spiffy private establishment just off the main drag." It was also a gambling club with dark connections. He and Martin won $23,000 there, bought themselves a brand-new 1946 Chrysler Town and Country sedan, then went back to the Turf Club and proceeded to lose all of their winnings — and more. They had no choice but to pay off their marker by doing some shows at the Turf Club, which technically violated their exclusivity contract with D'Amato. He nonetheless let them off the hook, saying, "I know these people, and I wouldn't want them angry at either one of you – or me."
* Ben Marden's Riviera, Fort Lee: Lewis calls it "Ben Marden's fabulous, glass-roofed Riviera, overlooking Manhattan." In September 1951, he and Martin were doing five shows a day at Manhattan's Roxy Theater and two shows a night at the Riviera. "We were taking vitamin C and B12 shots to try to enlist some energy from our exhausted bodies …" Lewis writes. "We called those two gigs our Bataan Death March."
He describes how they'd cross the George Washington Bridge several times a night. But the financial incentive was good. The Roxy paid them $100,000 a week, plus a percentage of the receipts, and the Riviera paid them a flat fee of $125,000 per week.
Later bought by Bill Miller, the Riviera closed in 1953 when the Rockefellers had the property condemned for the construction of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. According to a 2011 article in the Fort Lee Suburbanite, all that remains of the Riviera today are portions of the concrete foundation and some steps leading to a wooded area.
* Joe's Elbow Room, Cliffside Park: This was where Martin and Lewis were supposed to have lunch on Oct. 4, 1951.
Back story: In June 1948, Martin and Lewis went to the Essex House in Newark to do a few bits at the wedding of the daughter of Genovese family underboss Willie Moretti, whom they'd gotten to know at the Riviera.
Three years after the wedding, Moretti came backstage after one of their Copa shows and invited them to join him for lunch in a few days — at Joe's Elbow Room, his favorite restaurant.
They said yes, but then Lewis came down with the mumps. Martin came over to watch TV with Lewis, and the 5 o'clock news had a shocking Special Report. "There was a flash shot of a man lying in a pool of blood on a white-tile floor, while a deep voice intoned, 'This is mob boss Willie Moretti, killed today in a gangland-style hit while he ate lunch in a restaurant inCliffside Park, New Jersey," Lewis recalled.
Today, Villa Amalfi Ristorante is on that site.