Untitled Document
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The Joker
is Wild

with Music by Jimmy Van Heusen and Lyrics by Sammy Cahn


Signed & numbered prints are available for $120 each + tax& shipping. Total edition is 200

The Joker is Wild
acrylic on canvas - 48" x 24"
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The Joker is Wild” is based on a book about Joe E. Lewis, a successful night-club singer who worked for the mob in the prohibition era. His decision to work “elsewhere” resulted in his face being slashed and his throat cut which ended his singing career, but not his ability to entertain through his acerbic humor.

After reading Art Cohn’s book about Lewis in the mid-1950s, Frank Sinatra purchased the rights to the story and worked with Lewis, Cohn and director Charles Vidor to create an independent feature film about the comedian’s life.

Filming was mostly on Sinatra’s schedule, later in the day, and insisted on musical scenes be done “live” not prerecorded, as was the preference of the day.In his biography, “All the Way,” Sinatra remarked, "I like the scraping of chairs. You get the feeling that it's really happening. I've always thought Lewis was one of only about four or five great artists in this century - one of them was Jolson - and I remember him screaming like the devil when he made a soundtrack."

Sinatra’s long- time collaborator Jimmy Van Heusen and his lyricist Sammy Cahn were enlisted to write the music for the movie, which included the song “All the Way.” The song won the 1957 Academy Award for Best Original Song and reached No. 2 on the Bill board charts.

Cahn and Van Heusen rode a string of hits with Sinatra two more Oscars: “High Hopes in 1959; and “Call Me Responsible,” in 1963. Van Heusen was also He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1965 for Best Musical Score for the Sinatra film"Robin and the Seven Hoods."