That’s My Boy (1951) starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
In That’s My Boy, Jerry Lewis plays the part of “Junior” Jackson, a non-athlete who lives in the shadow of his father’s college football days — and his father plans to relive his glory days through his son, Junior, whether Junior wants to or not. Dean Martin plays the part of Bill Baker, a natural athlete who would likely be All-American. If he could only afford to attend college.
Junior’s father decides to solve his problem by paying for Bill’s college, with the condition that Bill rooms with Junior, and tutors him on the field. A complication arises when both of them begin to fall in love with the same girl … beautiful co-ed Terry Howard (Marion Marshall), who agrees to help build up Junior’s confidence.
However, when Junior confides to Bill that he intends to marry Terry, a guilt-ridden Bill gets drunk and makes a scene at Terry’s dorm. As a result, he is expelled just before the big game. When Junior realizes that Bill and Terry love each other, he is determined to make things right. He goes on to win the big game, leading to his father shouting from the bleachers, “That’s my boy!”
It’s a film that’s both funny and heart-touching, both for those of us with sons and those of us with fathers — I recommend it.
That’s My Boy is available on DVD on the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Collection Volume 1.
Dr. Benjamin Green: The average normal child often resents his parents. Some children often wish they had different parents. Some children even hate their parents.
Jarring Jack Jackson: What about Junior? He hates me?
Dr. Benjamin Green: Hates you? The only advice I can give is never take your boy hunting.
Coach Wheeler: Must you wear glasses?
‘Junior’ Jackson (Jerry Lewis): No, sir. Only when I want to see.
Songs in That’s My Boy
- Ridgeville Fight Song, Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Sung by Eddie Mayehoff
- I’m in the Mood for Love, Music by Jimmy McHugh, Lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Sung by Dean Martin
- Ballin’ the Jack, Music by Chris Smith, Lyrics by Jim Burris, Sung and danced by Dean Martin, Polly Bergen and ensemble
Trivia for That’s My Boy
- Football great Frank Gifford doubled for Jerry Lewis in the kicking scenes.
- The film’s premise spun off into a TV series of the same name in 1954 with Eddie Mayehoff recreating his role as father and Gil Stratton in the Junior role: That’s My Boy
- In November 1951 Jimmy Durante sued Wallis-Hazen, Inc. for $350,000 in damages. He claimed that the expression “That’s my boy” had bee identified with him since 1943, when he was a regular on Garry Moore’s radio show.
- In November 1965 Jerry Lewis was negotiating with producer Hal B. Wallis to remake the film with his son Gary Lewis as co-star, but the film was never made