Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Like A Walrus Needs A Clam? (Classic Odd Repost)

2 Nov

November 2, 2013

Do I need a reason for reposting this one? Nah, it just makes me laugh.

from June 28, 2012

You need me
Like a walrus
needs a clam
Like a fat kid
needs a ham
You need me

ANNOUNCER: Yes, I’m sure that everyone within the sound of my voice on the WBTR airwaves remembers those words. Hi, I’m Bruce E. Freedkin and the writer of that beautiful verse from the #1 hit single of 1958, “Eat Me, Porcupine,“ is here with me in the studio. He turns 97 today! Welcome to the show, Max Duffy! Hi Max, how are you today?

MAX: Eat me, porcupine.

ANNOUNCER: That was such a great song, how did you ever come up with it?

MAX: Well, back then we used to work in the Brill Building, all of us song writers. It was wonderful. All of us like-minded people, song writers, just writing music, playing music, sitting around piano, banging out tunes, high on pot, naked as jay birds-

ANNOUNCER: I’m sorry, did you just say-

MAX: There was always plenty of blow around back then too. And the broads! I remember one time Carol King did this thing with her-

ANNOUNCER: Excuse, me, are you saying that back then, when you were writing hit songs for the likes of Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra you were all just, just, –

MAX: Stoned out of our minds. But it wasn’t just the drugs or the booze, it was the power. We were kings! I remember one day not long after Summer Wind was a hit for Frankie we brought in a sack of kittens and some baseball bats and we-

ANNOUNCER: What? I’m sorry but we have to go to-

MAX: -just for the hell of it. Who was going to stop us? We were hot hit song writers, dammit! We did what we wanted! We got The Supremes mixed up with a coven of witches. Except that damn Diana Ross, she was a [BLEEP], quit the group over it. And the orgies!

ANNOUNCER: OK! WOW! That’s it! Thanks Max Duffy! (faintly off mic) Cut his mic! Cut his mic!

MAX: I [BLEEP]ed Marilyn Monroe on a pile of fifties!  

ANNOUNCER: SHUT IT OFF! SHUT IT OFF NOW!

Cut to commercial

The Brill Building. Home of money, madness, and murder.

Advertisements

Dean Martin And Jerry Lewis: Old-School And OTR

6 Jun

June 6, 2013

Now: Dean Martin, booze-hound member of The Rat Pack, world-famous crooner, deceased.
Then: Up and coming singer performing in small clubs, still developing his style.

Now: Jerry Lewis, icon to the French, former longtime host of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, movie star.
Then: Up and coming comic performing in small clubs, still developing his style.

mandl

In the era of radio, with movies and Las Vegas far in their futures, Martin and Lewis had gone about as far as their careers were going to go. Martin back then was good but not great. Lewis’ act seemed to have reached a peak. Working separately, and in fact not even knowing each other, they were finding it harder and harder to find bookings. So one day, a nightclub owner decided to put together his two weak acts and see what they could come up with. That night, after just having met, they totally improvised an act that set the crowds to laughter and so a team was born.

In my mind, a weak team. I realize that they were an amazing popular radio act, lasting from 1949 to 1953. On the surface they were an Abbott and Costello style act: smooth straight man and childlike jokester. The problem was, Abbott and Costello had refined their act until they were a well oiled machine, doing classic and time tested vaudeville acts while Martin and Lewis were tossed together out of the blue. I always found their shows an uncomfortable fit.

martin_and_lewis_comic_book

Even the cover of this comic knows they are a strange fit.

Often, shows would simply be Martin as an emcee, introducing guests and singing, while being interrupted by Lewis doing some kind of manic-moron act. Other times they would be thrust into some sitcom-like skit that served neither well as Martin was always apologizing for his sidekick, whom he invariably called a moron. So why were they together?

Their styles never meshed. Martin didn’t fit into Lewis’ style of wackiness and Lewis’ attempts to fit into Martin’s suave milieu were generally uncomfortable failures. In many shows,  it seemed as if Jerry Lewis was simply there to (badly) croon parodies of Dean Martin songs. (Ironically, it would be Lewis’ impersonation of Martin that propelled The Nutty Professor to huge box office numbers years later.)

But despite what I see as an awkward and ill-fitting pairing, the team did well, moving from TV to movies and always finding success. Eventually, as with Abbott and Costello, the Beatles, and the Soviet Union, they broke up. And is it an accident that after the break-up each went on to greater heights? Dean Martin found fame and fortune alongside Frank Sinatra on the Las Vegas stage, while Jerry Lewis continued to make movies and become a comedy icon. (For my money, The King of Comedy is his greatest role.)

So if there is a moral here I leave it for you to find. All I see is that you can never predict success. And a lot of people like Martin and Lewis more than I do. (One person who hates them both is Sammy Petrillo, but that is a blog for another time.)

That's Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, wannbe King of Comedy.

That’s Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, wannabe King of Comedy.

 

Want to hear some episodes of The Martin and Lewis Show? Click on this link (http://www.relicradio.com/otr/series/martin-and-lewis-show/) and listen to a few episodes at Relic Radio and while you are there, poke around a little. there is a ton of great stuff there.

%d bloggers like this: