Martin & Lewis on the radio

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Gary Johnson
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Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Gary Johnson » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:33 pm

I've got a local radio station up here in Wine Country that play's a 2 hr block of swing and pop tunes every day, from his own record collection. To fill out the time he throws in a program from the Golden Age of Radio. His mainstay go-to guy is usually the Benny show. Can't go wrong there. But lately he has been playing episodes of the Martin & Lewis show from the late 40's. They are definitely a mixed bag. Radio and Jerry are not a good fit. I've always found Lewis' verbal skills to be his most annoying attribute. He never knows when to shut up. Here, Jerry's manic visual humor is forsaken and he is turned into a low-rent Bob Hope at the mercy of his canned writers. It's similar to Abbott & Costello's show where every week the writers tried to recreate a new version of "Who's On First". The saving grace of both those series for me are the spontaneous ad-libs. Just as on The Colgate Comedy Hour, you can frequently hear Dean and Jerry crack up over something the other said.

In modern hindsight, it is Dean who comes off best on these shows. If you overlook the disparaging slap-in-the-face directed toward Martin at the beginning of each program, where he is introduced as "our emcee for the night..." -- as if he is some second-tiered Durward Kirby and not a member of the team, Dean sounds relaxed and charming behind the mike. Not surprising. And I've heard him sing up to three songs on some programs. Not bad for a half hour show that has to be shared with an ego-maniac.
Over all, the team was best served by television at this time, where Jerry could run amok on the sound stage and Dean could work at cultivating his relaxed, spontaneous manner that would pay off big time in the Sixties.

An ironic addendum to this series is the team's radio sponsor is Anacin. How apropo. The one comic who gave so many people headaches by being constantly on onced hawked the very product that would cure his audience of himself.

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Richard M Roberts » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:48 am

What is interresting about the Martin and Lewis Radio show is the Guest Stars who interact with Dean and Jerry, one of my favorites is a Boris Karloff Hallloween Show I've got on tape aorund here somewhere, I'm sure BK's fees went up for radio appearances in October, though it's interesting how many Christmas Show guest stars he did as well.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Uli Ruedel
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Uli Ruedel » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:28 am

... and they're all on the Internet archive - one download click for the completist here: https://archive.org/details/MartinAndLewis_OldTimeRadio

Much harder, it seems, to find their complete TV shows!

Uli

Michael J Hayde
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Michael J Hayde » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:04 pm

I did a two-part article for my Old-Time Radio club's newsletter about Martin & Lewis on Radio, to which I will shamelessly link here: http://www.mwotrc.com/rr2003_02/mandl.htm

The series you're citing is actually from the 1951-52 season, and was written by their COLGATE writers: Ed Simmons and Norman Lear (yep, that one). A few sketches and a lot of the running gags from COLGATE came over to this version, and it did win RADIO & TV MIRROR's Best Comedy Series award.

Although not on the same level as their television work, the series definitely had its moments; plus it gave Dean and Jerry a chance to interact with stars that weren't doing TV yet.

Michael

Gary Johnson
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Gary Johnson » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:09 am

Uli Ruedel wrote: Much harder, it seems, to find their complete TV shows!


Yeah......why is that?

Michael J Hayde
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Michael J Hayde » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:46 pm

Gary Johnson wrote:
Uli Ruedel wrote: Much harder, it seems, to find their complete TV shows!


Yeah......why is that?


Because music rights issues play havoc with Dean's solos, musical guests, etc. In short, blame the lawyers.

Michael

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Richard M Roberts » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:51 pm

Gary Johnson wrote:
Uli Ruedel wrote: Much harder, it seems, to find their complete TV shows!


Yeah......why is that?



Some of it's cut into bits, but plenty to look at here:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... our&page=1


Years ago, American Movie Classics (back when they were a decent channel) and Genius Entertainment put out a nice cheap set with a half-dozen complete Martin and Lewis Colgate Comedy Hours that was very good.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Gary Johnson
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Re: Martin & Lewis on the radio

Postby Gary Johnson » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:27 am

I have always had various PD VHS, and then later DVD sets of these shows laying around the house. What self-respecting TV-holic wouldn't? These sets always seem to gather the same dozen episodes together -- the one with Burt Lancaster, the one with Jack Benny...etc.

As I've told Richard before, there is a local station up here that airs an episode every Saturday night. I'll bet not too many markets in this country do that any more (as opposed to back in the day when every station worth their salt filled airtime with syndicated broadcasts of classic TV from the '50's). After a year I noticed the rotation was constantly repeating itself, but initially I was seeing quite a few episodes that hadn't appeared in DVD sets. Now I just need to figure out which episodes have eluded me through the years.

The collection on THE INTERNET ARCHIVE is interesting as many on that site include the hosts who were not Abbott & Costello or Martin & Lewis. Did you know that Eddie Cantor hosted that program the most during it's run?


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