Dean Martin – That’s amore
Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer.
One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the “King of Cool” for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness.
He and Jerry Lewis were partners in the immensely popular comedy team “Martin and Lewis”. He was a member of the “Rat Pack” and a star in concert stage/nightclubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. He was the host of the television variety program The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974) and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1974–1985).
Martin’s relaxed, warbling crooning voice earned him dozens of hit singles including his signature songs “Memories Are Made of This”, “That’s Amore”, “Everybody Loves Somebody”, “You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You”, “Sway”, “Volare”, and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?”.
Martin attracted the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, but a Hollywood contract was not forthcoming.
He met comic Jerry Lewis at the Glass Hat Club in New York, where both were performing. Martin and Lewis formed a fast friendship which led to their participation in each other’s acts and the formation of a music-comedy team.
Martin and Lewis’s debut together occurred at Atlantic City’s 500 Club on July 24, 1946, and they were not well received. The owner, Skinny D’Amato, warned them that if they did not come up with a better act for their second show that night, they would be fired.
Huddling in the alley behind the club, Lewis and Martin agreed to “go for broke”, to throw out pre-scripted gags and to improvise. Martin sang and Lewis dressed as a busboy, dropping plates and making a shambles of Martin’s performance and the club’s decorum until Lewis was chased from the room as Martin pelted him with breadrolls.
They did slapstick, reeled off old vaudeville jokes, and did whatever else popped into their heads. The audience laughed. This success led to a series of well-paying engagements on the Eastern seaboard, culminating in a run at New York’s Copacabana.
The act consisted of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing, with the two ultimately chasing each other around the stage. The secret, both said, is that they ignored the audience and played to each other.
The team made its TV debut on the first broadcast of CBS-TV network’s Toast of the Town (later called The Ed Sullivan Show) on June 20, 1948 with Ed Sullivan and Rodgers and Hammerstein also appearing. A radio series began in 1949, the year Martin and Lewis signed with Paramount producer Hal B. Wallis as comedy relief for the movie My Friend Irma.
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