Hey pallies, likes been a very long time since we have published a review of a book dedicated to the life, times, and teachin's of our Dino, probably mostly 'cause there has not been a new Dino-read in a long time...at least one worthy of makin' mention of. But, likes today we are delighted to publish a recent review of our great great man's great great partner in comedy, Jerry Lewis's tome of amore to his partner, "Dean & Me (A Love Story), written with Mr. James Kaplan.
We have been meanin' to return to Mr. Lewis' masterpiece of deep, pure, and true devotion to our Dino, and today's most is makin' yearn the more to give this lovin' memoir a second read. From the book review blog, "The Skeptical Reader - I read and I spectulate" come a remarkably sensitive review scribed by Miss Yamini.
As you read through her review, you know that this Dino-bio profoundly moved Yamini. Twice she tells her readership...."This book. Broke. My. Heart. It yanked it right out of my chest, crushed it, and then stomped all over the piece." Don't want to give the reason away, so youse are goin' to have to read all the details, but suffice it to say, she gets how much Mr. Lewis always has and always will love our most beloved Dino.
We were quite deeply moved by how much Yamini was moved as she took this tremendous tome into her heart, and we thank her for sharin' her evocative emotional response to Mr. Lewis' recountin' of his decade long partnership with the King of Cool. To checks this out in it's original source, please clicks on the tag of this here Dino-gram. Dino-reportin', DMP
Review | Dean & Me (A Love Story) by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan
Edition: Hardback, Doubleday
Length: 352 pgs.
Edition: Hardback, Doubleday
Length: 352 pgs.
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.
This book. Broke. My. Heart. It yanked it right out of my chest, crushed it, and then stomped all over the piece.
I was introduced to Dean Martin’s work through Jerry Lewis. Strange, huh? Most people seem to know more about Dean Martin as a part of the “rat pack” than they know about his days working with Jerry Lewis, or even who Jerry Lewis really is. It seems strange to me too that I loved Jerry Lewis’s goofy self and Dean Martin’s seductive voice but never made the connection that they worked together and were best friends before they both become individuals hits. So when I found out, I knew I had to know more. But the internet when it comes to celebrity gossip? The worst. Source. Ever. So I read this book.
And IT. BROKE. MY. HEART. (Did I mention that already?)
While reading this book, back and forth in my head, I was looking for clues as to who would really cause this dilemma in such a friendship. For a good chunk of it, I thought for sure it would be Dean Martin but as I began to notice that Jerry Lewis was truly the lead for a lot of their acts, I thought perhaps Lewis’ ego will get the better of him. In the end though, I think neither was to blame. While watching TV, sometimes when I see one of those typical dramatic break-ups when couples talk about how they just “outgrew” each other—I think: “This is bullshit. The writers just don’t want us to get bored with such happy, corny scenes.” But in Lewis and Martin’s case, I think this is really what happened. They just…outgrew each other.
Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin met as struggling artists barely able to make enough to make it a hit in Hollywood. They did not have much but when and since they met, they always had each other. Jerry always looked up to his partner and Martin never looked forward without him.
I was expecting certain things to be hidden but this book and it’s author was honest about everything. Well, almost. But close enough for me to trust this book and its story. I expected a few good anecdotal stories and a few tears and that’s exactly what happened. I knew that most of everything in this book is true, things really did happen the way they did, but even while knowing that Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ friendship did not last, I kept hoping they wouldn’t separate. Even though I knew they did okay in the end, it was harder than I expected watching them struggle with the love and hopelessness they felt towards each other.
I understood how much Jerry loved his partner, I connected with him far deeper than I expected. After all, he’s just a celebrity, I wrongfully made the assumption that he isn’t meant to have close relationships with everyone he worked with. But he really loved Dean Martin, from the beginning. He did a lot of things for his partner and though Martin seems to have always looked out for Jerry, sometimes I felt like Lewis did not deserve the attitude Martin gave him. For example, Jerry Lewis made sure to always throw Martin birthday parties and give him plenty of presents but in all their years together, Martin never gave him anything back. That was really unfair. It did not matter that Dean Martin had emotional issues and that his father had always told him not to get too emotionally attached. This is the man who looked up to Dean, worshipped him.
And so when Dean Martin began to resent the fact that Jerry Lewis was the main attraction of their shows, he should have talked about it. He never did. And then there was a point at which Jerry attempts to learn golf, something Dean Martin cherished because that was “his” thing, and gets better at it than Dean so of course, Dean Martin’s ego takes a big punch. And that’s when they broke up.
I was upset that Dean Martin never showed Jerry Lewis that he cared (for better or for worse) but at the same time, I understand him. I get it. It feels strange that I sympathize with Dean Martin as much as I sympathize with Jerry Lewis but I really do not blame anyone for this situation. Martin was what he was. I think in the end, their break-up was really always meant to happen. I am not happy about it but it’s in the past and I still love them both and probably always will.
One last thing I have to mention, which is probably just naivety on my part, was how blunt both the artists were about their extramarital affairs. I know this was not a big deal back then, especially considering how famous Kennedy (the freaking President) was for sleeping around but I don’t know…I was just surprised by how often they slept with other girls and how they really never felt any sense of guilt about it. I was even more surprised by Jerry Lewis’ wife acceptance that if he is on the road, he’ll sleep around and that’s just the way it is. I felt like a prude for being surprised but I guess although I always knew this probably was the case for almost all celebrities back then (and possibly even now) I just didn’t want to acknowledge it until someone actually gave me some proof. Lewis was kind of funny in these parts too because even if he was a grown man sleeping around with other women, he was still so naive about certain things that it was endearing and very, verystrange to see Dean Martin “educate” him about women and sex. He really was like a big brother to Jerry.
Anyways, I found flaws in both Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin as I tried to understand why they broke up, but really I have no grudges against either of them. Lewis is a wonderful comic that always makes me laugh and Martin’s voice made me swoon the first time I heard him. I love them both and always will and I am so pleased to have had the chance to read this story, even if it made me cry (you should know, I really resent crying).
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