Cast & Crew
At a New York theater, entertainers Joe Anthony and Harvey Miller, Jr. greet their enthusiastic fans and then start their show. In the wings, magazine writer Lorelei Larson listens as Joe's father describes how Joe and Harvey got into show business: As a young man, Harvey struggles to follow in the footsteps of his father, a professional golfer, but is too shy to play in front of onlookers. Joe, meanwhile, refuses to become a San Francisco fisherman like his father and strikes out on his own, but four years later, still has not found his niche. Harvey ends up working at a department store with Joe's sister Lisa, who is also his fiancee. Harvey talks Lisa into attending a golf match with him during their lunch break, and when they return to work three hours late, their boss confronts them. Distraught, the bumbling Harvey wrecks the store, and both he and Lisa are fired. While the two walk home, Lisa cheers Harvey up by suggesting that he open a golf school. Joe, meanwhile, has hitchhiked his way back to San Francisco and is startled to discover Harvey, who is renting Joe's old room, in his bed. Joe tries to evict the sleeping Harvey, until Lisa introduces him as her future husband. The next day, while Harvey practices teeing off on the Anthonys' rooftop, Joe takes a few swings himself, impressing Harvey with his form. Harvey persuades Joe to enter the Santa Barbara Open golf tournament, with Harvey as his caddy. Joe's parents are dismayed by the news, however, as Papa, thinking that his son has returned home to work with him, has borrowed $500 from Mr. Spezzato to buy a new fishing boat. To help pay off his father's debt, Joe trains hard with Harvey and enters the tournament. At the country club where the tournament is being held, Joe is met with suspicion by the snobbish members and Harvey is snubbed and sent off with the other caddies. While Joe is busy impressing socialite Kathy Taylor, Harvey is teased and tricked by the other caddies and winds up half-naked in the country club lobby. Despite their inauspicious start, Joe has a good first day on the tournament, and Harvey prepares a celebratory dinner in their motel room. When Joe announces that he is spending the evening at a club with Kathy, Harvey is crushed but dutifully orders Joe to be back by eleven. Joe fails to return on time, so Harvey marches to the club and interrupts Joe's crooning to retrieve him. The next day, Joe wins the tournament but is compelled to donate the $500 prize to charity. Joe's disappointment is softened when he receives a free suit, golf balls and suitcase from some Santa Barbara businessmen. Decked out in his new suit, Joe tells Harvey that he is going to the Taylor estate in Monterey. When Kathy then drives up, Joe talks Harvey into giving him most of their money and leaves Harvey to fend for himself. Determined to keep Joe in shape, Harvey hitchhikes to the Taylors' with Joe's golf clubs. After sneaking past the Taylors' guard dogs and spending the night in the stable, Harvey finds a discarded robe and ascot and pretends to be a sophisticate in order to get some breakfast. Joe and Kathy then discover him, and Kathy's mother Grace suggests that Harvey be hired as a servant. During a party that night, Harvey receives a phone call from Lisa, who informs him that Spezzato is threatening to take Papa's boat and Mama's restaurant. To keep Joe from over-indulging, Harvey steals all of his cocktails and soon is drunk. After causing a commotion, Harvey tries to tell Joe about Lisa's call, and Kathy assumes that Harvey's reference to Joe as his future brother-in-law means that Lisa is Joe's fiancee. Kathy upbraids Joe and storms off, but later, Harvey explains the situation to her. When she then discovers that Joe has left, she sends some police officers to pick him up on the highway. Having been told that Joe is a thief, the police drag him back to the Taylors'. There, Kathy and Harvey, who is posing as Kathy's cousin, convince the police to free Joe, but Joe is still angry and leaves. The next day, at the Monterey Invitational, in which Joe is scheduled to appear, Kathy gets a call from Joe, who was arrested again on the road. Kathy straightens matters out with the police, and after Harvey stalls the match, Joe arrives in time to enter. When the Anthonys and their friends drive up on the course, however, a free-for-all erupts. In the midst of the melee, Eddie Lear, a theatrical agent who has witnessed all of Joe and Harvey's antics, suggests that they pursue a career in show business. Joe and Harvey perform their first show at Mama's restaurant and are a hit. Back in the present, Papa concludes his tale, while Joe and Harvey finish their show. Waiting to go on next are entertainers Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, who are mistaken for Joe and Harvey by Kathy and Lisa and given big kisses. Joe and Harvey then appear and confront their baffled look-alikes.
"lighthorse" Harry Cooper
Willie Hunter Jr.
Jeanne H. Beeks
"lighthorse" Harry Cooper
Daniel L. Fapp
John P. Fulton
Joseph J. Lilley
Harvey and Joe are both unable to fulfill their father's expectations for their futures. Harvey's father is a professional golfer, but he has a fear of crowds and Joe is the son of a fisherman who suffers from sea sickness. The two meet when Joe comes home to visit his family in San Francisco and finds his sister Lisa (Barbara Bates) engaged to Harvey.
Harvey's performance anxiety keeps him from competing on the professional golf circuit, but he teaches Joe everything he knows about the game. With Harvey playing caddy, the duo have their first tournament at the Santa Barbara Open where they encounter snobbery from Joe's fellow players and Joe meets a beautiful socialite Kathy Taylor (Donna Reed). When Joe is cajoled to sing a musical number at a local nightclub, Harvey joins him onstage and the pair exhibit their comic chemistry. Later, at the high-stakes PGA tour, a theatrical producer convinces the pair that their proper place is not on the golf course, but on the nightclub stage.
Sprinkled amidst the golf plot are plenty of musical numbers including Joe crooning "That's Amore" written by Harry Warren and Jack Brooks, which became a signature song for Martin. Born Salvatore Guaragna, Warren was a comrade of Dean's hired by Lewis to write songs for Dean. But Warren didn't like working for Lewis and once told an interviewer, according to writer Shawn Levy in his book The King of Comedy, "I watch his telethon just to see if he's as crass as he used to be. He was a pain in the ass."
Despite Dean's reputed hatred for the song, "That's Amore" was his breakthrough hit and remained on the Hit Parade for almost five months and received an Academy Award nomination. Dean was reportedly irritated when Lewis, who had always been known as the comic relief in their film roles, also horned in on the musical numbers in The Caddy, performing the spoofy number "The Gay Continental" where Harvey masquerades as a rich swell to finagle a free breakfast.
The Caddy's working title was So Where's the Money?. It was the first entirely independent release of Martin and Lewis' production company York Pictures backed by the shady money of playboy millionaire and mob associate Ray Ryan. To make their first York hit At War with the Army (1950) the duo had to pay Screen Associates to get out of their contract. The duo made three more pictures together under the auspices of York: The Delicate Delinquent (1957), Living It Up (1954), and Pardners (1956).
The location shooting for the golf course scenes in The Caddy took place at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. The idea for the film was inspired by a sketch the duo had done on television's "The Colgate Comedy Hour" in 1951. Lewis had suggested a plot line centered on golf because Martin loved the game.
Lewis was an enormously popular film entertainer whose comic persona has been described by Peter Bogdanovich as representing "the frightened or funny nine-year-old in everybody." After a successful run as a nightclub and then radio team, Lewis and Martin made their first picture together in 1949, My Friend Irma. The pair eventually made 16 pictures together, with their films consistently among the year's top grossers.
"Right from the start, he knew exactly what to do to be funny; and when he saw what could be done with a partner like the conventionally handsome, dry, wry, older, suave and satiric ladies' man that Dean Martin was, together they struck a vein of gold," says Bogdanovich of Lewis's appeal.
Janet Leigh, who worked with the pair on their follow up to The Caddy, Living It Up, remembered their onset repertoire as friendly and jokey, though they rarely seemed to socialize off the set. That separation was said to be a conscious decision of Lewis's. He had been told by vaudeville comedians Chick Johnson and Ole Olsen that it was best to keep wives apart to keep jealousy at bay.
But the pair eventually had a falling out in 1956 after making their last picture together Hollywood or Bust in which director Frank Tashlin says the two partners refused to talk to each other. According to Bogdanovich, Lewis said their friendship began to sour in 1954 and was ruined by "outside factions" jealous of their close relationship, though others blamed Lewis's egomania and need to be the center of attention in their films.
In a televised reconciliation at the 1976 Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon at Las Vegas's Sands Hotel, Frank Sinatra brought Martin on stage with him and Martin and Lewis embraced.
The opening scenes of The Caddy were shot at the Times Square Paramount Theater, and included actual footage of their stage routine.
Though Lewis often acted as writer on his films, The Caddy was credited to other screenwriters. It nevertheless exhibited telltale marks of Lewis's comedy. Lewis had a habit of casting his sports heroes in his films and included golfers Ben Hogan, Julius Boros, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead in the film. For their first independent production together, Lewis also retained the crew that had served them so well in their Paramount productions: cinematographer Daniel Fapp, costume designer Edith Head, art director Hal Pereira, editor Warren Low and optical effects man Farciot Edouart who contributed to The Caddy's self-referential in-joke conclusion. While performing at the Paramount, Harvey and Joe run into the real Lewis and Martin who are also appearing that night.
Of Lewis's ultimately telling hand in The Caddy production, The New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote "Mr. Martin, for his pretty singing and his romancing, rates the usual nod. But Mr. Lewis is slowly taking over. Just give him a couple of more years."
Director: Norman Taurog
Producer: Paul Jones
Screenplay: Edmund Hartmann, Danny Arnold, Ken Englund, Danny Arnold
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Production Design: Hal Pereira, Franz Bachelin
Music: Joseph J. Lilley
Cast: Dean Martin (Joe Anthony), Jerry Lewis (Harvey Miller), Donna Reed (Kathy Taylor), Barbara Bates (Lisa Anthony), Joseph Calleia (Papa Anthony), Fred Clark (Mr. Baxter), Clinton Sundberg (Charles), Howard I. Smith (Golf Official).
by Felicia Feaster
Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 1 on DVD
Though TV may have preserved Martin & Lewis' act in its purest form, their film career was in many ways the most spectacular. With 16 films in seven years their schedule would have overcome many other performers, especially with the constant stream of other appearances. Even more impressive is that they were able to stay reliably solid, something you can witness on the Martin & Lewis Collection: Volume 1 (Paramount) which has eight of their first nine films and a nice Al Hirschfeld caricature on the cover. Missing is 1950's At War with the Army, produced by the duo's own York Productions; possibly the rights weren't available but you can find the film from several companies that specialize in budget public-domain films. In any case the collection is a great opportunity to follow the first half of Martin & Lewis' career and see some nice films as well. It's interesting that their path roughly paralleled Abbott and Costello's: initial tryouts in supporting roles then a trio of service comedies before moving along to genre parodies. But it's only a superficial resemblence since Abbott and Costello made films that are interesting only in bits while Martin and Lewis' films work more consistently and with greater range--perhaps driven by Jerry's infamous perfectionism or maybe it was just a studio willing to spend a bit more money.
Martin and Lewis' initial films tested the waters. Their debut was 1949's My Friend Irma, based on a popular radio show that followed the misadventures of Irma (Marie Wilson), a ditzy blonde given to malapropisms and general kookiness. Of course that's a little hard to maintain next to Jerry Lewis even when he's a bit subdued. Wilson and a few supporting players were brought over from the radio show for a story about trying to make a fortune off Dino's singing ability. The result is a pretty standard comedy for that time so it's really only Martin & Lewis' appearance that this is even remembered today. They couldn't have spent much time working on it since sections are clearly pulled directly from their nightclub act. Also of note is John Lund playing Irma's scheming lowlife boyfriend Al to the hilt. My Friend Irma Goes West (not an actual Western, fans would have to wait a few years until Pardners) appeared just eight months after the first film but oddly ignores the plot of the entire last half hour of the previous film. This time Martin & Lewis have larger roles and it doesn't hurt that Corinne Calvet was tossed in as a sexpot film star but the result is all too obviously rushed. All the outdoor Southwestern scenes are done in front of projection screens and again chunks come from Martin & Lewis' act, including a great bit where Lewis tries to conduct Martin's backing orchestra. Boyfriend Lund is toned down and Lewis does a dubious Indian impersonation but at least the film shows Martin & Lewis weren't just a one-time hit.
At War with the Army followed (missing from the set as described above) and then in 1951 That's My Boy, one of the low points of either performer's career. They're no longer supporting players but now up front and center though unfortunately trapped in a story about Lewis trying to please his football hero father with the help of quarterback Martin. A kind of Harold Lloyd retread, That's My Boy is painfully heavyhanded while rarely working as comedy and never as drama. It's the kind of film where a psychiatrist appears just long enough to explain the blatantly obvious father-son friction then promptly disappears. Some viewers might get a kick out of seeing Martin (age 34) and Lewis (25) play teenagers and others can't help but wonder whether in 1951 quarterbacks also returned punts and kicked the extra point or the studio just wanted to give Martin more screen time. The film has the look of a cheap television production with everything lit in full glare, clumsy camera movements and sets that feel like they'll tumble apart if an actor turns too suddenly. Inexplicably it was nominated for a Writer's Guild Award as best-written comedy and inspired a one-season TV show.
But put all that behind you. Martin & Lewis hit the proverbial pay dirt with Sailor Beware (1952) where the fellows somewhat unintentionally end up in the Navy and then try to win a silly bet. It was based on a play previously filmed three times but now adapted by Three Stooges scripter Elwood Ullman with additional dialogue by Abbott & Costello's regular gag writer John Grant. There's nothing tired about the resulting film because it shows Martin & Lewis to full effect in a nice mix of both verbal and physical humor. There are some nightclub bits again but also routines built out of the circumstances, one of the most memorable being Lewis' attempts to swab the deck of a submarine while unaware it's submerging. The plot itself is pretty much irrelevant but allows a wide variety of situations: a physical exam, a kissing contest, cramped ship's quarters, a Hawaiian luau. Martin sings at his most Bing Crosby-like and even makes an explicit reference to it. Add a cameo by Betty Hutton (who starred in a previous version of the film, 1942's The Fleet's In) and an early appearance by James Dean who has one line of dialogue and it's easy to see how Martin & Lewis earned so many fans.
The duo followed this success with a couple of slightly more routine but still entertaining films. Jumping Jacks (1952) places them in the paratroopers and features more military hijinks. Imagine Jerry Lewis dealing with a rough drill sergeant or trying to pack a parachute and you've got the general idea. Note that Dino's character is named Chick just as Bud Abbott was in a couple of films. The Stooge (1952) had been filmed two years earlier but withheld from release, perhaps because producer Hal Wallis reportedly didn't much like it. The film isn't in the usual Martin & Lewis mold since it's mostly a drama with comic bits and curiously the story reflects the duo themselves though it's not clear how much of that was deliberate. Martin plays a singer/performer during the 1930s who decides he should be a solo star instead. When his act bombs, Lewis helps out as an enlisted stooge and they're immediately popular but Martin still considers this a solo act and pushes Lewis' character into the background. The film captures show business self-obsession and drive clearly without becoming cliched. Both main characters are believable: Martin arrogant and star-addled, Lewis charmingly loyal and unconcerned about money. Most of the comedy is performed within the storyline, usually in wonderful routines the two do on Broadway stages, and for a touch of period authenticity all the songs but one are actually from the period. (Originally issued as Martin's first 10" album but interested fans can find them on a CD called Dean Martin Sings.) The Stooge isn't All About Eve or A Star is Born but it's certainly been unfairly dismissed over the years.
The more humorous Scared Stiff (1953) is the collection's other standout. A remake of Bob Hope's 1940 The Ghost Breaker (itself based on a play filmed twice in the silent era), this is easily the set's best-looking film due to director George Marshall and cinematographer Ernest Laszlo (Inherit the Wind among seven Oscar nominations and one win). They seem to have decided to work as if this was a straight-forward mystery with a touch of noir (most of the ghost story parody is wisely kept towards the end) so there's a visual richness to the rainy streets, foggy ship decks and moist tropical jungle that recalls classic Hollywood. Just as important Martin & Lewis are given a strong supporting cast with Lizabeth Scott as the woman in distress, Dorothy Malone as a loose showgirl, George Dolenz as an unreliable lawyer and Carmen Miranda as ship-board entertainment (her last film appearance). The songs are some of the best in the series, even novelty numbers like "Enchiladas" and "Bongo Bingo," and Dean gets one top-notch romantic ballad. Martin even opens the film with a performance of his earlier hit "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" which was recorded the following year by a young Mississippi guy named Elvis Presley. The song was originally intended for Cinderella but never made the cut and while Martin and Patti Page both had hits with it in 1950, Elvis based his version on what he saw in Scared Stiff.
The Caddy (1953) also boasts strong songs, this time from the great Harry Warren and lyricist Jack Brooks. Martin's signature "That's Amore" was introduced in this film but "What Wouldcha Do Without Me?" and "The Gay Continental" (the latter performed by Lewis alone) are just as memorable. There's the usual comedy setup; this time Lewis as a superb golfer with such stage fright that he can't play in tournaments so he pairs with the untutored talent of Martin so they can win enough money to save the fishing business of Martin's family. Oh, don't worry whether that makes much sense because again the story isn't quite the point. There are echoes of The Stooge in the way that Martin's character heads for the high life to romance Donna Reed and pushes Lewis away as merely his caddy but it never overpowers the film. After all there's an extended sequence of pure slapstick at the opening where Lewis accidentally demolishes much of a department store and he's given other comic routines to avoid growling watchdogs, deal with the low ceiling of his bedroom or simply follow his fiance home. Martin & Lewis may have been coasting through The Caddy (and their personal relations were really starting to fray at this time) but not many people could coast this productively.
The Martin & Lewis Collection features the films in the solid transfers we've come to expect. The one exception being That's My Boy which is a bit soft though since the original film wasn't very nice looking it might not much matter. There are no extras except for an occasional trailer and while nobody expects full audio commentaries and behind-the-scenes documentaries a set like this definitely deserves at least a written overview of the team's history. Let's hope that Volume 2 follows soon since it should include Martin & Lewis' masterpiece Artists and Models as well as such strong contenders as Hollywood or Bust and Living It Up.
For more information about Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 1, visit Paramount Home Entertainment. To order Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 1, go to TCM Shopping.
by Lang Thompson
Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume 1 on DVD
The working title of this film was So Where's the Money? The onscreen credit for the various golfers who play themselves in the picture reads: "We gratefully acknowledge the appearance of the following professional golf champions." The Caddy was the first release of York Pictures, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis' production company, since their early 1951 hit At War with the Army (see entry above). According to modern sources, prior to making The Caddy, Lewis and Martin paid $850,000 to extract themselves from their contract with Screen Associates, the company that had underwritten York's participation in At War with the Army.
Hollywood Reporter production charts list Don Porter in the cast, but he did not appear in the final film. A January 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Lewis was to wear specially designed knee braces during the filming of some scenes. According to Paramount publicity, contained in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, three weeks of location shooting took place at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Harry Warren and Jack Brooks's song "That's Amore" became a long-standing signature song for Dean Martin and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Released in United States Summer August 1953
Released in United States Summer August 1953