Press parties were a blast in the early days of the racetrack

DEL MAR — Opening day of thoroughbred racing has always been a great attraction. Hollywood personalities were a dime a dozen when a dime was worth a dime. However, for the media that covered the races it was the lavish media gatherings a week or so before opening. Unlimited plate-size steaks and beverages of choice were on the menu.
The highlight of the evening was the entertainment starring Hollywood celebs, like Georgie Jessel, Jim Durante, Mickey Rooney and Bing Crosby. They stood in line eager to get on stage.
At one such event a couple unknowns posing as new, on-the-job waiters later were introduced as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. By then they had thoroughly irritated the journalists with their unprofessional antics.
Jerry dropped a salad on the floor, scooped it up, put it on the table and wiped his hands on the tablecloth.
The soup he served was cold and the bread was slightly moldy.
Their performance came to a conclusion when Dean, who was serving pie for dessert smacked Jerry with a lemon meringue — a usual ending for a comedy skit in those days.
They joined the party afterward which always lasted until early the next morning when the last of the media mites wobbled home.


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