Monday, May 27, 2013

The Jerry Lewis Mural at Brown's Hotel/Resort


Sam Norkin's Jerry Lewis Mural
In 1959, the popular theatrical caricaturist Sam Norkin was hired by Brown's Hotel & Country Club in Loch Sheldrake, New York, (the Catskill Mountains, aka the Borscht Belt), to create a large mural depicting the beloved  comedian and movie star Jerry Lewis in his various personas. The mural would hang in the lobby of Brown's "Jerry Lewis Theater Club" until the hotel was eventually sold in 1988 in a foreclosure auction. It was converted into a condominium complex in the mid-1990's, and the mural was painted over. The condominiums burned down in 2012.
 Jerry Lewis had a long association with the hotel's owners, Charles and Lillian Brown, beginning in his formative years in the early forties when he worked there as a waiter/tummler, perfecting his comedy craft.

Jerry Lewis remained friends with the Brown family for decades and continued to perform for them yearly at their hotel/resort. His longtime bandleader Lou Brown was also a member of the Hotel's Brown family. Sam Norkin died in 2011.

Thanks to John Wendler

Jerry & Patti Lewis sing a duet at Browns in 1955

on the road to Browns
a postcard featuring a crowd of sophisticated
 "Borscht Belters" gathering outside the Jerry Lewis Theater Club at Brown's

another postcard featuring the inside of the Jerry Lewis Theater Club

the Jerry Lewis Theatre Club stage featured two giant happy/sad Jerry
heads on each side of the stage:

Happy

Sad


Vacationing couples and friends posing in front of the mural in 1963, before the painting would be enhanced with more color. Norkin's signature and date can be seen.
(Thanks to John Wendler for these photos)




The Jerry Lewis mural in 1986 with added and changed colors, two years before
the hotel closed. Photo by Russel Harvey

a Brown's Hotel ashtray

a Browns napkin

 Brown's hotel soap

Jerry & Wilber the penguin in Brown's Hotel lobby, 1955


Jerry dressed as a waiter serving soup in Brown's cafateria, circa 1956


Monday, May 20, 2013

Joey Adams Wrote a Whole Lot of Books.

The late Borscht Belt comedian Joey Adams, (Joseph Abramowitz, 1911-1999), was a sometimes vaudeville, nightclub and TV comic,  a stage actor, a comedy/joke/gag writer, a comedy/showbiz historian, a film actor, a newspaper columnist, a radio host, a dial a comic, Friars club Roastmaster, a husband to society/gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a friend of celebrities and politicians... and most prolifically, an author of many, many books.

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/03/arts/joey-adams-88-veteran-borscht-belt-comic.html

Here's the proof,  some with various covers, most if not all now long out of print...






































My portrait of Joey & Cindy Adams from "Even MORE Old Jewish Comedians"

Thanks to Tommy Moore