Martin and Lewis' official debut together occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 25, 1946, and club patrons throughout the East Coast were soon convulsed by the act, which consisted primarily of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing, and, ultimately, the two of them chasing each other around the stage and having as much fun as possible.
A radio series commenced in 1949, the same year that Martin and Lewis were signed by Paramount producer Hal Wallis as comedy relief for the film My Friend Irma. Martin and Lewis were the hottest act in nightclubs, films, and television during the early '50s, but the pace and the pressure took its toll, and the act broke up in 1956, ten years to the day after the first official teaming.
Lewis had no trouble maintaining his film popularity alone, but Martin, unfairly regarded by much of the public and the motion picture industry as something of a spare tire to his former partner, found the going rough, and his first solo-starring film, Ten Thousand Bedrooms, bombed to a stunning degree. Jackie Gleason was virtually alone at the time in predicting that Martin would eventually be bigger than Lewis, since he had the comic timing, appearance, and singing voice, and could move well onstage.