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This Day in History : First Performance by Martin and Lewis

On July 25, 1946 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis played their first act together at Atlantic City's 500 Club. The pair had met the previous year. Martin performed as a singer, while Lewis had a comedy act. When a singer failed to show up, Martin suggested that Lewis take his place.

The now famous duo's first performance together bombed. Afterwards, they decided to revamp the whole act. They found success performing a mixture of slapstick and vaudeville, improvising their way through most of the second performance. They played in east coast night clubs for several years before landing a radio show with NBC in 1949 that ran until 1953. During the late 1940's and early 1950's the pair performed together on TV and in movies, before Martin decided to leave the act in 1956.

After their split, Martin's acting and singing careers took off, and he became a member of the famous "Rat Pack", which included legends like Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. Lewis continued to find success in making comedy films.

To learn more about Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, visit your Milwaukee Public Library!


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