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The internet often feels like an uncontrollable mass of information that is both impossible to navigate and difficult to justify. But amidst that constant junk-stream lie glittering collections that would remain otherwise unavailable. I wanted to point you towards an audio resource that not only encompasses film, radio and entertainment history, but is also incredibly funny: the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis radio shows.

Podcaster Brian Noe is doing a great job of putting together the entire collection for listeners, making the episodes accessible to us and providing continuity and context between the episodes. Not satisfied with producing the all-encompassing The Frank Truth Sinatra podcast, here Noe provides us with regular installments that give us an authentic old-time radio listening experience that takes us back to 1949, the year when the series began.

Some would argue that the many films of Martin & Lewis often struggled to capture the chemistry that made them successful. It would seem as though it was the radio shows that captured that raw, sparkling interplay between the two. The inclusion of a live audience is key: Dean and Jerry would thrive in playing off the audience – and you can hear their response – an element naturally lacking in their features. There is a great vaudevillian spirit to these shows, with loosely-scripted exchanges driven by a ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ mentality. When it sounds under-rehearsed it only makes it more refreshing.

But not only do you get the interplay and the great lines—

Jerry: I have a system I used one time when I was trying to find Errol Flynn.
Dean: Oh yeah, what did you do?
Jerry: Well I just said, ‘Now if I were Errol Flynn, where would I go?’
And I went there.
Dean: Well Jerry, did you find him?
Jerry: No, but I sure had fun.

—you also get guest appearances by great stars and character actors of the day: Lucille Ball, Madeleine Carroll, Peter Lorre, John Garfield, Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Billie Burke, George Raft and Bing Crosby. On top of that each episode features songs performed in Dean Martin’s uniquely exquisite style.

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August 2008

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