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Double Acts

Double Acts

  • Radio documentary
  • BBC Radio 2
  • 2018
  • 4 episodes (1 series)

Four-part documentary series looking at comedy double acts.

Episode menu

Series 1, Episode 3 - Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis

Bill Kenwright presents an hour on Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Further details

Bill Kenwright looks back at the comedy partnership of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Between 1946 and 1956 they were a worldwide sensation on film, TV, radio, and as live performers.

But things were very different when Dean and Jerry first met in 1945. In those days both of them were going nowhere fast. Dean was a pleasant but unremarkable singer and Jerry had an act that involved miming to records dressed as Carmen Miranda. But things quickly changed when they got together at Skinny D'Amato's 500 Club in Atlantic City. Their energy and anarchy was an instant hit with audiences, something that Jerry described as "lightning in a bottle". From there they quickly moved on to TV with their hit show The Colgate Comedy Hour, and when Hollywood came calling they signed to Paramount Pictures.

However, all of this this success would come at a great cost to their friendship, and ultimately their partnership. After their split in 1956 Martin and Lewis didn't speak a word to each other for 20 years until their mutual friend Frank Sinatra brought them back together in a surprise reunion in front of millions of TV viewers.

In this programme Bill looks back at their story with frank and revealing archive interviews featuring both Dean and Jerry, and some of their most memorable film and TV sketches. Plus interviews with writer James Kaplan, author of Dean & Me - A Love Story, Dean Martin's daughter Deana Martin, and director and lifelong fan of the duo, Peter Bogdanovich.

Broadcast details

Wednesday 8th August 2018
BBC Radio 2
60 minutes

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