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Talk about your odd couples. In 1964, David Susskind was firmly established as TV s egghead talk show host and purveyor of serious and highbrow television drama. Jerry Lewis was at the apex of his box office popularity among juveniles (and their ticket buying parents) after hitting with a string of self-directed comedy hits that included The Errand Boy and The Nutty Professor. The two men had a history. As a young agent for Music Corporation of America in the late 1940s, Susskind handled Lewis and partner Dean Martin when they ruled TV on The Colgate Comedy Hour. Lewis would derisively refer to Susskind as 'my Harvard agent'. Later, as an outspoken producer, Susskind freely expressed his disdain for most actors and said he was appalled that some such as Lewis - were becoming filmmakers. Any hostility that might have existed was set aside when they talked for two illuminating hours on Susskind s Open End in October 1964. The sit down occurred during a humbling period for the two outsized egos. Lewis had just come off his first major failure as his mammoth variety show on ABC was yanked from the prime time schedule after 13 weeks. Susskind s once prosperous company Talent Associates was struggling to adapt as network television moved away from the kind of anthology programs and specials that made it a top outfit in the 1950s. But no matter what was happening in Susskind s career, Open End was a comfort zone where he could indulge his own curiosity and interests. Guests loved it too, as they could roam at length into subjects they simply could not go into on other programs. With Susskind as his only audience in the studio, Lewis does not clown for a moment. He s relaxed and thoughtful as he expounds on growing up in vaudeville, marriage, his Jewish faith, money, the directors he aspired to be, and why European critics loved him. It s a fascinating slice of show business history.
Although this DVD it said made in Color But it is made in Black and White.! s, I was a bit disappointed.Published 19 months ago by Shantal N.
I am working on a documentary about famous comic directors and got this video as research about Mr. Lewis. I found it very well produced and very revealing. Read morePublished on March 21, 2012 by Michael King