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:



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


  1. That's so awesome (aka brilliant).
    I love Jerry caricatures and once owned the 1978 MS Telethon cup sold at 7-11 during Labor Day weekend with the classic Jerry sketch on it.

  2. Sorry, I meant MD - wrong disease.

  3. Hey Drew,

    Do you think the caricature on the ash tray and napkin were by Sam Norkin too? I've wondered who did that drawing and have seen it published in a 1955 Friar's Club program (interior, exterior was a caricature of Dean and Jerry by Hirschfeld.)

    Great images, thank you for taking the time to share.

  4. Thanks Daniel. Don't know the artists name who drew the caricature of Jerry (and Dean) in the early fifties which became his logo till this day. Jerry says when asked "It was a kid I hired" without ever giving his name. Speculation it was by George Wachsteter, but it's not.


  6. Brown's Hotel did not have a cafeteria. It had a lavish dining room that served hundreds at a sitting