On-Air Highlights

Jerry Lewis Through the Years

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Feb 23, 2013 11:59 AM

The legendary Jerry Lewis performs live in this special, telling stories of his eight-decade career through words and music, with video montages from his television and film appearances, including rare, never-before-seen clips from his personal and private vaults. Lewis jokes, sings and reminisces about his early days as a young comedian, the golden years of his partnership with Dean Martin and his subsequent solo career in many hit films and television shows.

During the course of the program, Lewis tells jokes and reminisces about his life, from his earliest days working with his father, a vaudeville entertainer who taught him song, dance and pantomime skills, to his first solo gig “Record Act,” in which he exaggeratedly mimed the lyrics to songs on a phonograph. But everything changed when he met a young crooner named Dean Martin in Atlantic City and together they became the most popular comedy duo in entertainment history.

Highlights include more never-before-seen clips from his movies, including Ladies Man and The Nutty Professor, as well as Jerry’s other solo projects and home movies, followed by a special montage with Jerry providing narration for “bloopers and out-takes” from some of his most famous movies, several with Martin.

The special also includes the now-famous appearance by Dean Martin on Jerry Lewis’ annual Muscular Dystrophy telethon in 1976. Introduced by Frank Sinatra, the reunion was the first time both men had seen each other in 20 years.

During an audience Q&A, a trademark feature of his concerts that has impressed audiences worldwide for decades, Jerry demonstrates his improvisational genius. Surprise guests from the audience include stars Steve Lawrence and Tim Conway.

PBS special programming invites viewers to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. Viewer contributions are an important source of funding, making PBS programs possible. PBS and public television stations offer all Americans from every walk of life the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Make your contribution today and invest in quality programs on PBS. 

Watch an Evening with Jerry Lewis on witf TV March 2 at 8:00pm, March 9 at 9:30pm, March 16 7:30pm, and March 19 at 1:00pm

back to top