One night, I got off stage and a man approached me. He introduced himself as Danny Simon (I found out later that he was Neil Simon’s brother) He asked me if I would like to do The Dean Martin Comedy Hour? I said yes and my TV career began.
My Dean Martin Comedy Hour segment was to tape at the Playboy resort in Great Gorge, Pennsylvania. I got on a plane and flew to Philadelphia. I’ve never liked flying and the changes in time zones that required me to change my body clock. These changes to my body clock would, someday, come back to haunt me.
I landed in Philadelphia. I got into a taxi, I told the driver that I wanted to be taken to The Playboy Resort at Great Gorge, where The Dean Martin Comedy Hour was being taped. The elderly gentleman, behind the wheel, nodded, and off we were off.
In minutes we were out of Philadelphia proper and into the countryside. That’s when I began to become uneasy. My driver seemed disoriented. He was all over the road and more than once, barely missed semi-tractors and trailer rigs going in the opposite direction. I would say: “look out, watch it”, and “were going to crash!”
My driver admitted to me that he had never been outside of the city of Philadelphia and was having trouble seeing. (Everything is closer in the city) We continued on, using my eyes to guide us. When we finally arrived at The Great Gorge Playboy Resort I was terribly agitated. I paid him and tipped him and checked into the hotel.
I had been through one of the scariest experiences in my life, so far! I went straight to the outdoor location to do my spot. There was no audience so I pretended that there was, stopping a bit after each joke so that the editors could put a laugh track in its proper spot.
Also appearing with me was Andy Kaufman. (Later to be characterized by Jim Carry, in the film “Man on the Moon”) I did a G rated set, as usual, and Andy Kaufman did his Elvis Presley impression, as usual. I tried to always do fresh material on all of my TV appearances, but Andy would do that same routine at least fifteen times on fifteen TV appearances. This guy got a lot of mileage out of the same routine! Boring!
After doing my set, I felt good enough about it to be able to go back to my room and sleep. The next morning, I flew out to God knows where, but at least the man who drove me to the airport could see!
I did the dean martin shows many times. I use the plural “Shows” because Mr. Martin had many shows all with different names, but they all had one thing in common. Dean Martin!
Dean Martin had done many things, in his life! He had been a bartender, croupier, boxer, singer and of course the partner of Jerry Lewis! They were called Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Notice the order of billing. Dean Martin’s name came first! This is no diminishment of Jerry Lewis who I consider a genius!
However, Dean Martin was under estimated by everyone! In truth, he was also a genius at what he did.
Dean Martin was a great entertainer, in his own wright. And he knew all the trick of the trade. One of those tricks was that he could do a pratfall. Jerry Lewis could not! A pratfall is one difficult maneuver. One must swing one leg out to the side and when the leg is swung back, with great power, the inertia of it would bring your body up about five feet in the air and in a perfectly horizontal position. Then, one would fall straight down and hit the stage. This is a very funny thing to watch, but not an easy thing to do. It just looks easy! One small slip or slight mistake, in judgment can do tremendous damage to ones body.
This is what happened to Dean Martin. One night he one od thousands of pratfalls and missed it by only a small bit and when he hit the floor, of the stage he did not hit it with his entire body at the same time! dean Martin suffered an injury to his back that would stay with him for the rest of his painfull life.
He was prescribed Percocet, a pain killer that made his speech slurred and his movements rather slow and glide like! He had to come up with a reason for his behavior that people would accept. So he decided to promote the misinformation that he drank a lot. Dean Martin seldom drank and when you saw him dringing whiskey, on stage, the bottle was actually filled with tea.
So, you see, what we all believed and made jokes about was a myth! Imd that is the truth and the fact!
I met Mr. Martin several times and he seemed to like me. One day he called me, at my home and asked me if I would like to write material for him. Respectfully, I begged off saying that I was so busy writing my own material that I wouldn’t be able to do him justice! He seemed to understand completely and said, ” I understand, ‘Pally” you are a talented young man and I enjoy your worl. Good luck Kip. I love ya!”
I am Kip Addotta
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