Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis (DVD)

Below is a quite cool little three-minute made-for-Youtube doc about the origins of the feud between Bing Crosby and Jerry Lewis, said feud being one that I never knew existed. Using three different clips (two interviews and the source material) each separated by about fifteen-to-twenty years in time, the documentarian spins a cautionary tale of show-biz vanity, fragile egos and touchiness about respect between performers of different generations. The event that set off the "phewd" (Winchellism for 'smelly feud') occurred on a 1952 Cerebral Palsy telethon hosted by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, on which Jerry and Dean made a special "surprise" appearance. Jerry was in his mid-twenties at this point--he and Dean had become shockingly, spectacularly famous only a few years earlier--and was clearly ready to take over whatever stage he found himself on with complete impudent authority. His shtick was simply unlike anything anyone had previously seen--tasteless, irreverent and beyond inappropriate in every possible way. Like most "shock" comics, he wasn't entirely accepted by his elders and, while Hope had the good sense to play ball with him, Crosby clearly wasn't having any of it. The results left the show in a shambles, with Crosby looking like a petulant parent and Hope squirming to keep things afloat.  I'll let the little drama unfold on its own.

 Subscribe in a reader