An Evening With Jerry Lewis: Live From Las Vegas
Airs Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. on KPBS TV
Taped in the Showroom at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in November 2012, "An Evening With Jerry Lewis: Live From Las Vegas" presents the legendary performer live on stage, telling stories of his eight-decade career through narrative and musical performances, with video montages from his television and film appearances – including rare, never-before-seen clips from his personal and private vaults. It is scheduled as a tribute to his 87th birthday in March 2013.
During the course of the program, Lewis tells jokes and reminisces about his life, from his earliest days working with his father, a vaudeville entertainer who taught him song, dance and pantomime skills, to his first solo gig “Record Act,” in which he exaggeratedly mimed the lyrics to songs on a phonograph.
But everything changed when he met a young crooner named Dean Martin in Atlantic City and together they became the most popular comedy duo in entertainment history.
Between the years of 1950-1955, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin took America by storm. Everything they touched turned golden: hit films, a top-rated Sunday night television show and sold-out live performances in theaters nationwide.
Many of the greatest hits from their nightclub act, TV appearances and movies are highlighted on screen as Jerry tells stories through words and song of those magical days. He discusses famous skits from the television show, some of which produced national catchphrases, including “Melvin?”; “Don’t lick it”; “I like it, I like it”; and “Hey Laady.”
For 10 years Martin and Lewis ruled the world and left behind a lifetime of laughs. But after 16 successful films, over two dozen top-rated television shows and thousands of sold-out performances, on July 25, 1956 — 10 years to the day of their first show together — Martin and Lewis broke up.
Lewis returned to television in 1957 after his first solo film, "The Delicate Delinquent." He produced and starred in 15 one-hour specials that featured the trademark comedy of Jerry’s vaudeville work before Dean.
Highlights include more never-before-seen clips from his movies, including "Ladies Man" and "The Nutty Professor," as well as Jerry’s other solo projects and home movies, followed by a special montage with Jerry providing narration for “bloopers and out-takes” from some of his most famous movies, several with Martin.
The special also includes the now-famous appearance by Dean Martin on Jerry Lewis’ annual Muscular Dystrophy telethon in 1976. Introduced by Frank Sinatra, the reunion was the first time both men had seen each other in 20 years.
During an audience Q&A, a trademark feature of his concerts that has impressed audiences worldwide for decades, Jerry demonstrates his improvisational genius. Surprise guests from the audience include stars Steve Lawrence and Tim Conway.
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