Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Feet's Dismal Message

I went to see the movie Happy Feet over the Thanksgiving weekend. Some may say that the animated films are just for kids, but I like a lot of them. Some memorable ones I have enjoyed include Toy Story 1 and 2, Monsters Inc. and Lilo and Stitch. After enjoying March of the Penguins 2 summers ago I decided to check out an animated film about the Emperor penguins of Antarctica. What I expected was a harmless, fun, light-hearted movie for kids. The first half of Happy Feet was decent, as decent as you can make a movie revolving around a dancing penguin. But then the writers had to inject their political agenda. If you are planning on seeing this movie and do not want to know any spoilers, quit reading here. The main character, Mumbles, ends up in a zoo and the movie shows how bleak life is for animals who are in captivity. Then it tells how over fishing in Antarctica is making it hard for the penguins to have adequate food supply to survive. This was supposed to be a fun, mindless kid's movie. I halfway expected Al Gore to appear on screen and talk about his gloom and doom global warming scenario. If someone wants to make a political documentary about the evils of zoos and the fishing industry, then do it and label it as such. But don't disguise your political agenda as a kid's flick. The fish supply for penguins may indeed be a big problem, I don't know. But Happy Feet was not the correct forum to discuss it. On the topic of zoos, animals might be happier in the wild, but zoos do a lot to help animals too and certain species would probably be extinct if it was not for the zoos breeding them and keeping them away from predators they would face in the wild. Humans do some things to hurt the environment, but we also help it in certain ways too.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

No More Sitcoms

Have you noticed how few good situation comedies are left on TV? It has always been my favorite type of show, but these days the new sitcoms don't seem to be funny like they used to be. According to Entertainment Weekly magazine, the last 35 years have seen a wide swing from few sitcoms on broadcast TV to many, and back to few of them currently. The 1970-71 season saw 6 sitcoms in the top 30. By 1990-91, there were a plethora of successful sitcoms with 20 in the top 30. The 2005-06 season saw only 2 sitcoms in the top 30, both on CBS. 2 and 1/2 Men and The New Adventure of Old Christine are the only current sitcom success stories. I enjoy NBC's My Name is Earl, The Simpsons on Fox, and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, but other than those, these are hard times for a fan of comedies.

I miss shows like Family Ties, All in the Family, The Jeffersons and The Cosby Show. Some sitcoms like Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and The Wonder Years focused on a nostalgic, simpler time. There was a time when it seemed like every stand up comedian got a shot at a sitcom. Some examples were Roseanne, Seinfeld, The Drew Carey show and Home Improvement. Some actors were lucky enough to be in 2 different hit sitcoms. Ted Danson had success with Cheers and Becker, and Tony Danza had Taxi and Who's the Boss. Kelsey Grammer played Frazier Crane in 2 different shows spanning almost 20 years. Bob Newhart played a Chicago psychologist in the Bob Newhart Show and a Vermont innkeeper in Newhart.

Hopefully sitcoms will make a comeback. I for one am tired of all the reality shows and the CSI shows and their endless amount of clones.

Pee Wee's Playhouse is Back!

We haven't seen much of Paul Reubens a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman since his incident in an adult movie theatre in the early 1990s. 20 years ago in 1986 his innovative children's program Pee Wee's Playhouse premiered on CBS Saturday mornings. The show is now airing on Cartoon Network during their Adult Swim lineup. I always got a kick out of the show and I think Pee Wee is a unique, comical alter ego for Reubens. The show had a 5 year run and won 22 Emmy awards. The wacky theme song was performed by Cyndi Lauper and it was written by Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo. Laurence Fishburne played a character named Cowboy Curtis and Phil Hartman played Captain Carl. Reubens and Hartman had worked together at the L.A. improv group The Groundlings, the equivalent of Chicago's Second City. Pee Wee shared his playhouse with many odd characters, like Jambi the genie, Globey the globe and Conky the robot. Conky would give Pee Wee the day's secret word. Whenever anyone uttered the word, everyone would scream. Reubens made 2 films featuring Pee Wee, including Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Big Top Pee Wee. His 3rd film is now in the works.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Soup is Good Food

One of my favorite TV shows is "The Soup" on E! Entertainment television. It airs at 10 pm eastern time Fridays and replays several times during the week. It is similar to VH1's "Best Week Ever" but "The Soup" has been around longer. The current host is Joel McHale, but over the years it has also been hosted by Greg Kinnear, John Henson and Hal Sparks. Roger Lodge from "Blind Date" has filled in a few times too. Kinnear went on to do NBC's "Later" program, once hosted by Bob Costas, and a successful film career. 2 of his best performances were in "As Good as it Gets" and this summer's excellent indie film "Little Miss Sunshine". John Henson currently hosts programs for the TV Guide channel. Anyway, "The Soup" started as "Talk Soup" since when it originated there was a plethora of talk shows such as Ricki Lake, Sally Jessy Raphael, Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Oprah and more. The show would feature clips from the week's programs punctuated by a smarmy comment by the host. Now the show talks about all types of shows, not just talk shows, so the name has been changed to simply "The Soup". The program shows clips from programs like Rock Star, Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars, Ellen, The Today Show, The View, Flavor of Love and others. Certain segments are featured each week, like chat stew, reality show clip time, clip of the week, chicks man, and let's take some E!, which has a clip from an E! network show. "Talk Soup" is funny since it takes all of the weird, crazy, amusing, or even disturbing clips from the strange world of television and wraps them up into 30 minutes. If a celebrity does or says something stupid during the week, you can be assured that it will show up on this show.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dave, Tom and Bart

59-year-old David Letterman has signed a 4 year contract extension with CBS. He will continue hosting the Late Show from New York's Ed Sullivan Theatre until 2010. Letterman hosted NBC's Late Night with David Letterman from Rockefeller Plaza from 1982-1993. After losing out on hosting The Tonight Show, he moved to CBS in 1993 and has been there ever since. 1993 was also the year that Conan O'Brien took over Letterman's old NBC time slot. In 2009, Conan and Letterman will go head-to-head, when O'Brien takes over for Jay Leno. In the past year, Leno has averaged 5.71 million viewers while Letterman trails with 4.16 million. If Letterman stays in late night until 2012, he will have tied his hero Johnny Carson, with 30 years in the business.

Oprah couch-jumper and parent of the seldom seen Suri, Tom Cruise no longer has a deal with film giant Paramount Pictures. His obsession with scientology and run-ins with Brooke Shields and a "glib" Matt Lauer were most likely the cause of his contract not being renewed. Paramount chief Sumner Redstone said "As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal." It's a public relations crisis, and it just goes to show that what a star does off camera can hurt a career as well as what is done in front of the camera. Are you listening Mel Gibson? Star Jones? Maybe Cruise could start an all scientologists movie studio with films starring himself, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, Leah Remini, etc.

This fall marks the 18th season for The Simpsons! This year will include the 400th episode. Creator Matt Groening has come a long way from drawing an obscure comic called Life in Hell to making one of the most successful, funniest shows in the history of television. The Simpsons started out as animated shorts featured on The Tracey Ullman Show in the early days of the Fox network. This year will have many guest stars as always, ranging from Dr. Phil to Richard Lewis. Anyone interested in the show should check out the biography by Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson). It's called My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy. It tells of her early years working as a voice over artist as well as her big break working on the Simpsons. Her mentor was Daws Butler, who was the voice of Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.

* Some source material is from Entertainment Weekly magazine.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Bible Belt's Country Outlaw

Anyone who has an appreciation for country music owes it to themselves to check out the work of Travis Tritt. He incorporates his many influences from three genres to craft a unique sound. He has admired the work of folk type artists like James Taylor and John Denver, classic country greats like George Jones and Merle Haggard, and southern rock groups like The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Travis always begins his concerts with one of his early hits "Put Some Drive in Your Country." A line in this song says "I made myself a promise, when I was just a kid, I'd mix southern rock and country, and that's just what I did." Another lyric of his says "Man I miss Duane Allman, I wish he was still around". He has replaced this name in the song with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Waylon Jennings over the years, to pay tribute to other heroes of his who are gone. Tritt grew up in Marietta Georgia and started playing guitar at age 8. He wrote his first song at age 14. In 1988 he signed a deal with Warner Brothers records and released his first album, "Country Club" a year later. The release was a huge hit, showcasing Travis' songwriting skills and he was declared top new male artist in 1990 by Billboard magazine. In 1992 he was humbled with the great honor of becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The early 1990s was a time of growth for country music and other artists from Tritt's era included Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Joe Diffie and Vince Gill. All of these performers were also inducted into the Opry. Curiously, some great artists who are not Opry members are George Strait, Brooks and Dunn and Alabama, as well as many others. Opry members must perform 20 times per year at the venue, so maybe those like Strait were offered the chance to join, but turned it down due to time commitments. Travis Tritt was instrumental in reuniting The Eagles, and he recorded his own rendition of "Take it Easy". I have seen Travis in concert 4 times, and would see him again in a heartbeat. He is someone who gives 110% at every performance, and he is a magnetic entertainer who seems to love playing for his audiences. He will even perform cover tunes of some of his favorite songs. The last time I saw him he played songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Waylon Jennings and even "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi.

Here is a discography of Tritt's albums from oldest to newest. My favorites are his early recordings, from Country Club through Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof.

Country Club
It's all about to Change
A Travis Tritt Christmas/Loving Time of Year
Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof
Greatest Hits-from the Beginning
The Restless Kind
No More Looking Over my Shoulder
Down the Road I Go
Strong Enough
My Honky Tonk History

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Goodbye Diamond Dave, hello O&A!

After disastrous ratings, CBS radio has dismissed Howard Stern's replacement, former Van Halen frontman, David Lee Roth. When Stern left for Sirius satellite radio earlier this year, Roth went on the air in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas and other cities as his replacement. Other Stern affiliates were turned over to TV and radio veteran Adam Carolla, formerly of The Man Show and Loveline. It seemed odd that CBS radio would hire Roth, a man with no radio experience, to host a show which would air in the biggest markets in the nation. Their move has backfired, and it looks like he will be replaced by XM's Opie and Anthony. O&A were fired by CBS radio 4 years ago and currently air on XM's High Voltage channel 202 along with fellow New York radio hosts Ron and Fez. Greg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia will be on XM 5 hours per day, and 3 hours of that will be on broadcast stations. Upon hearing the news, Howard Stern appeared bitter, stating that this shows that O&A have failed on satellite radio. I think that this move will only help O&A and XM, convincing people to pay for the service to hear the whole program. Only 10% of Stern's audience has followed him to satellite radio. XM shares are around $25 per share, while Sirius is around $5. Some thought that Sirius stock would soar after Stern's arrival in January, but just the opposite has happened. Sirius has put all their eggs in one basket with Stern, which was a mistake. XM concentrates on improving many aspects of their programming, from sports, talk, comedy, and music. XM is a multi faceted service, which will come out the winner in the long run. On a personal note, I like a lot of O&A's material, but some of it crosses the line, and is too mean spirited. Their sidekick Jim Norton, is an aquired taste, whom not all listeners will appreciate. About 70% of the time I like O&A, but the other 30% I just turn off. I prefer Ron and Fez, since they are funny and edgy, but yet they do not feature the cringe humor which is rampant on O&A. I'd like to see more shows added to XM 202, perhaps the Indianapolis team of Bob and Tom.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The ever-changing world of audio and video technology

Remember vinyl records? If you're 25 or under, probably not. I recall listening to my brother's 45 rpm records in my room in the 1970s. They liked artists such as Chicago, the Beatles, the Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder. Some of the first records I bought were "Disco Inferno" by the Tramps and "I Just Want to be your Everything" by Andy Gibb. I endured endless razzing by my older siblings when I purchased a Barry Manilow record. I remember buying the "Out of the Blue" 33 rpm album by ELO which was a double album that unfolded to reveal a cool spaceship photo.

Anyway, the explosion of mp3s and i Pods got me thinking about all the audio formats we have seen over time. Before my time, my parent's generation listened to big band music on 78 rpm records. Then we saw 33 rpm and 45 rpm vinyl. Next were the 8 track tapes from the 1970s. Cassettes ruled in the 80s, and in the 90s we advanced into the digital age with CDs. Some people liked mini discs in the 90s but that format didn't seem to catch on. Just try to find records or cassettes in a retail outlet today. It's not easy. The record labels probably love the different formats since most people don't have albums or cassettes anymore and they have to buy their favorite tunes on CD or mp3. I wonder what format will be the next big thing?

It's the same story with video formats. Do you own mostly DVDs or VHS tapes? Most video stores have just a few VHS tapes, if any. In the 1980s I had heard that Beta format tapes would be the next big thing. My parents asked me if we should buy a VHS or a Beta machine. I said Beta--oops! If you know anything about broadcast television, the Sony Betacam SP and SX are commonly used tape formats, but for home use the public embraced the VHS machines. I remember VHS machines in the 80s would set you back $500 at least. No you can get one for $50. After VHS tapes, some may recall the video disc format, which featured large platter like digital discs the size of 33 rpm records. The smaller DVD format proved to be much more successful. These days it seems like more and more are using the digital hard drive recorders such as Tivo. These require no tapes and they can store more recorded footage than VHS tapes. Also you don't need to worry about dirty tape heads, tracking problems, or the tapes getting creased or worn out.

We're in the age of high definition TV. The FCC has said that by 2009 all stations must be broadcasting in HDTV and people will need high definition sets, or puchase a digital converter. The date of conversion has been pushed back many times and I wouldn't doubt it if it was pushed back further. It seems unfair that all will be forced to switch to the new format. It should be voluntary like the switch from black and white to color TV. I have compared high definition to standard definition and often times the difference is not noticeable.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Entertainment Extra Access Insider! Who cares!?!?

Shows like ET, Extra, Access Hollywood and the Insider seem to thrive on making the most meaningless stories sound like important breaking news. ET and the Insider, which are basically carbon copies of one another, are the most annoying. These 2 are shot in neighboring studios on the Paramount lot. Both shows share the always annoying fashion guru Steven "Cojo" Cojucaro. Pat O'Brien worked as a sports commentator for many years before working as an anchor for Access Hollywood. In fall of 2004, he launched The Insider with co-host Lara Spencer, who had hosted the PBS show Antiques Roadshow. Often the same exact footage will air on ET and The Insider. One will say they have an exclusive story, and then the other will do the same story claiming it's exclusive. The Insider will air a story, and then a few weeks later the same exact packaged story will air! The other entertainment shows don't do this. The Insider seems to have trouble filling their half hour with celebrity footage. They will do stories on botched plastic surgery or home video of wedding bloopers. They will often do stories that have nothing to do with Hollywood, like the glorification of sisters who look like walking skeletons at death's door, calling them the anorexic twins. The thing that's ironic is that these type of shows probably do more damage than any other source when it comes to contributing to the prevalence of eating disorders in America. The never ending images of size zero actresses who still think they are fat is an epidemic. The bone thin entertainers showed on these shows achieve their look through personal trainers, chefs, liposuction, plastic surgery, and eating disorders. They set up unrealistic expectations and give people the impression that looks are all that matter in life.

Leeza Gibbons, John Tesh, Bob Goen, Julie Moran and Maria Menounos have left ET. Were they fired, did they quit, or did they get tired of covering all the meaningless stories day after day? One has to wonder. The stories on these entertainment shows always leave me asking the same question--who cares? Does it really matter where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were last sighted? Is it really earth shaking news to hear about Lindsay Lohan's latest car accident? I like learning about celebrities, I write this blog about them after all, but these shows are obsessive about the stars. They talk about how intrusive the paparazzi are and how they need to give celebrities their space. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! ET, Insider and the rest are part of the problem as much as magazine photographers.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Entertainment Odds and Ends for February

Not surprisingly, the #1 show ratings-wise for the first week of February was the Super Bowl. This annual advertising cash cow was on ABC and was watched by a whopping 90.7 million viewers! This was the highest rating in 10 years. The postgame coverage was #2 for the week garnering 59.8 million viewers. Following the postgame, the ratings dropped to 37.9 million viewers for the 3rd rated show for the week, ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Inexplicably, the alphabet network's Dancing with the Stars has been a big hit, finishing in 10th and 12th place. Fox's American Idol continues to be a rating juggernaut, attracting 30 million viewers on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. CBS's dramas continue to do well, including CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, Without a Trace, Numbers, Close to Home and Criminal Minds. The new Jenna Elfman comedy, Courting Alex has done well, finishing in 17th place. Successful sitcoms seem to be so rare these days.

CBS must be desperate for programming. On Valentine's Day they aired The Price is Right in primetime followed by a Dr. Phil special that was basically a one hour infomercial for his new book. How does someone like him have time to be so prolific with his books? One has to wonder if he has a ghost writer to help him out.

Perhaps due to the advent of Tivo, and people skipping over commercials, there seems to be more product placement these days. The worst offender I have seen has to be Yes Dear, Wednesday nights on CBS. During a recent episode, I tallied five verbal and/or visual incidents of brand name mentions. It's like the story is written around the products, and the show has gone downhill quickly. I prefer the show which is on before it, Still Standing, which stars Jamie Gertz. When I see her, I still think of her role in the great 1980s film Less Than Zero, which was based on a Bret Easton Ellis novel. It also starred Robert Downey Jr. as a spoiled kid who gets caught up in the world of drug addiction. Talk about life imitating art! Ellis also did American Psycho, which was made into a brilliant but disturbing movie with Christian Bale. Maybe Yes Dear will get cancelled to make room for a new sitcom being promoted on CBS. It's called The New Adventures of Old Christine. It starts in March and it stars Julia Louis Dreyfuss, an SNL alum best known for playing Elaine on Seinfeld. Since Seinfeld, she tried a sitcom on NBC called Watching Ellie, which was a disappointment. She has appeared a few times on Curb Your Enthusiasm, the HBO comedy created by and starring Seifeld creator Larry David. Some say there is a Seinfeld curse since the characters from that show have not been able to duplicate their sitcom success. Michael Richards (Kramer), tried a sitcom which was ultimately cancelled. Jason Alexander (George) had tried shows on ABC (Bob Patterson) and CBS (Listen Up) that were taken off the air. Jerry Seinfeld has returned to his roots of stand up comedy since leaving television. He documented his return to stand up in the movie Comedian. I'm sure that none of the Seinfeld alumni are hurting for money, due to residuals from reruns, but nevertheless, I'm sure they would like to have hit shows once again.

Many celebrities write autobiographies, especially in their later years, and some can be quite lucrative. Jerry Lewis put out a book called "Dean and Me, a Love Story" which I reviewed in an earlier blog entry. That tome has sold 90,000 copies. Another one I enjoyed was "Between You and Me", by 60 Minutes icon Mike Wallace. That book has sold 64,000 copies. Alan Alda has written a book called "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed" which has sold 116,000 copies. Even more successful has been "700 Sundays", written by Billy Crystal. This has sold 174,000 copies, and the story about Billy and his father has been made into a Broadway show starring the comedian and perennial Oscar host.

*Source information for some material:Entertainment Weekly magazine

Friday, February 10, 2006

Musical Timekeeper for a Generation

If you're a fan of great drumming and/or big band-style jazz, check out the "Buddy Rich Collector's Edition" DVD. It's a 2 DVD set that includes two programs recorded in April of 1985 on King Street in San Francisco. The first is called the "Channel 1 Suite" and the second is "The Lost West Side Story Tapes." Taped 2 years before the drumming icon's death, they were his last recorded performances. Buddy was 67 at the time, and had undergone quadruple bypass heart surgery two years previous. His doctors told him not to perform anymore, but he ignored their pleas. In 1990, a fire swept through the studio where the programs were recorded and it was thought that the master video tapes were destroyed. Ten years later the tapes were discovered and were able to be restored. The latest video and audio technology of the day was incorporated into the high quality project. The lighting director won an Emmy award and the set design had an art deco look that resembled a classy jazz club. Four channel surround sound was recorded by a 12 foot by 4 foot array of microphones attached to a 200 pound plexiglass field. Two half circle domes made of plexiglass were placed above Buddy's drum kit. Each contained a pressure zone microphone (pzm). The director was a musician himself and the music was marked to correspond with the camera shots. There was a camera mounted below Buddy's snare drum looking up to show a unique perspective of the percussion virtuoso at work. It was a first class production with Buddy involved in all aspects.

The discs contain vignettes with interviews with the producer, audio engineer, and Buddy's daughter and wife. Audio commentaries are by drummers Steve Smith and Dave Weckl. One segment reveals that Buddy's grandson Nick is a drummer in a rock band. An interesting profile is included that features Joey DeNoia, Buddy's longtime assistant which shows the softer side of Buddy. Tracks on the DVD include Machine, Best Coast, One O' Clock Jump, Norwegian Wood, and others. There is lots of behind-the-scenes footage and a booklet with photos of Buddy.

Buddy Rich and Johnny Carson were good friends and they each admired one another. Buddy gave Johnny a drum set that was a replica of his own. Rich would appear on the Tonight Show four times per year and the DVD set includes a visit from 1976. Buddy was on the show that night with Don Rickles and Buddy's daughter Cathy, who is a singer, made an appearance too. In 1973 Buddy had spinal surgery and Johnny and Ed McMahon paid him a visit in the hospital. The pair performed an X-rated Carnac bit that left Buddy in stitches. Buddy also was friends with Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis. Buddy and Jerry appeared together in the film "Visit to a Small Planet" where Jerry portrayed an alien. Ironically, Buddy was a UFO buff and took his belief in extra terrestrials seriously.

Buddy lived from 1917 to 1987 and amazingly he never read music. He could listen to a piece once and play along with it flawlessly the second time hearing it. He was a musical pioneer and this DVD set is a must have for people who love great music. Fans of Rich should check out the CD entitled "Burning for Buddy." It has today's greatest drummers performing in a tribute to the man known as "Mr. Drums." It was produced by Neil Peart, the great drummer for the Canadian power rock trio Rush.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Playboy and the Putz

"Dean and Me (a Love Story)" is a book that came out last year which chronicles the 10 year working relationship between Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I recently listened to the book on CD and found it to be fascinating. Most people of my age group, (I'm 36), have little interest in the world of entertainment before the 1970s. I have always admired the pioneers like Martin and Lewis who paved the way for today's entertainers. My only problem with the book is that the CD version is not read by the author, Jerry Lewis. It is narrated by Broadway actor Gregory Jbara, who actually does good impersonations of Jerry and Dean. Martin and Lewis were partners from 1946 to 1956. When they began it was before the days of television, so their primary work was doing live stage performances. Their big break happened in a club in Atlantic City. Lewis was the wacky guy with all the quips and Martin was the suave straight man, and a renowned crooner. A regular venue for the pair was the Copacabana club in New York. Lewis said that in their day the nightclubs were primarily owned by the mafia, so a performer could not help but rub elbows with the wise guys. Frank Sinatra was accused of being too friendly with gangsters, but Lewis said it was unavoidable. Just 2 years into their partnership in 1948, the duo was making $7,500 per week! They were a show business phenomenon, doing 7 or 8 live shows per day in the venues of the big apple. The pair had great cameraderie and impeccable timing, similar to Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. Another great book on CD I listened to is "Here's Johnny" by Ed McMahon. As Martin and Lewis performed more and more, Dean felt like Jerry was in the spotlight too much. Jerry had faith that Dean could have success as a singer on his own and he secretly commissioned a composer and a lyricist to write "That's Amore" for Dean. Martin idolized Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra and he wanted to make it on his own as a singer. He was tired of Jerry receiving all the accolades. Martin and Lewis made 16 films together, but Dean grew tired of the hackneyed scripts and longed for more. After their feud and breakup in 1956, Martin had great success as a singer, actor and TV host. His Dean Martin Celebrity Roast and Variety Show attracted the biggest stars of the era. After the split from Dean, Jerry had success as an actor as well as working behind-the-scenes on films. Both Dean and Jerry performed regularly in Las Vegas nightclubs. Dean became part of "The Rat Pack", which also included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. In the late 1960s Jerry Lewis suffered an injury on stage and became addicted to the pain killer Percodan. In 1973 he hit rock bottom while dealing with depression and his his addiction, and he considered suicide. After not speaking for 20 years, Jerry and Dean were reunited by Frank Sinatra. It happened on the annual MDA telethon which Jerry has hosted for decades. They made up and were friends until Dean's death. A great movie with Jerry Lewis that I would recommend is "The King of Comedy" in which Lewis plays a Johnny Carson-like late night host. In the Martin Scorsese-directed movie Jerry is persued by a crazed fan named Rupert Pupkin, who is played brilliantly by Robert DeNiro.