Jerry Lewis as The Jazz Singer Comes to DVD

On Tuesday, October 13th, 1959 at 9:30PM the second installment of Lincoln-Mercury Startime was broadcast on NBC, starring Jerry Lewis in an updated version of “The Jazz Singer”–his first dramatic role on television. Broadcast in color, the hour-long program was never repeated.

Yesterday, Inception Media Group released the program on DVD, cobbled together from a variety of sources, on DVD. According to The New York Post, a 2-inch videotape containing the “The Jazz Singer” was discovered in the 1980s in an NBC warehouse. Although the video was complete (and in color) chunks of audio were missing. Thankfully, a complete black and white kinescope and an audio tape of the second half were later uncovered in the personal archives of Jerry Lewis by his son, Chris. The kinescope is included on the DVD as a bonus, as is a featurette chronicling the restoration process.

Reviews can be found at DVD Verdict, Cinema Sentries and DVD Talk (with a good number of screen captures).


  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Portions of the black and white kinescope are currently posted on YouTube, if you want to see what the show looks like….

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Ironically, a lot of negative reviews for the special (which was NOT a popular or critical success) were published after “The Jazz Singer”‘s telecast- most of them directed at Jerry’s ego and overacting. And he took them VERY personally. He practically sneered to a NEW YORK POST reporter a few weeks after the broadcast, “TV is for idiots”.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Actually, Jerry was quoted as saying, “TV is a joke”.

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