The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Jesters of the Republic #37

Jerry Lewis


Maureen said...

Not a fan, but this is an amazing image. Ahem, and those nails?

MichaelRyerson said...

Great image. Lot going on here. Mesmerising.

Max Allan Collins said...

I love Lewis. He will have a place beside Chaplin, Keaton, the Marx Brothers and Fields. The hatred toward him, and the dismissal of him, comes largely from people unfamiliar with his best work (although a friend of mine once said that the only thing funnier than Lewis at his best was Lewis at his worst).

He and Dean were the Beatles of comedy. That's been somewhat forgotten, but it's key. So is the auteur nature of Lewis's, yes, best work (THE LADIES MAN, NUTTY PROFESSOR, THE BELL BOY, THE ERRAND BOY, among others) not insignificantly including his invention of video assist. His book on screenwriting singles out a student of his that he thinks may amount to something -- Steve Spielberg.

swac said...

Funny you mention the Beatles (apt comparison, given the hysteria that often greeted Dean & Jerry's personal appearances), Lennon has said that he was a big fan of Lewis's films, both with Dean and solo: "I loved Jerry Lewis like mad when I was younger and going to the pictures in Liverpool. I used to see every film and howl about the floor, pissing and crying with laughter." ~ from Jerry Levitan's I Met the Walrus

I just wonder if this image comes from when he was making The Family Jewels or The Day the Clown Cried?

Tom Sutpen said...

It was actually taken on the set of 'Hardly Working'. I'll go out on a limb and say that's the weakest of the three . . . despite the fact that very few people have seen 'The Day the Clown Cried'; and a lot of them (Jim Neibaur for example) aren't talking.

My favorite Lewis testimonial was Jean-Luc Godard's when he appeared on Dick Cavett's show back in 1979. During the course of the interview, Godard said something mildly dismissive of Woody Allen's Manhattan. Cavett then said something like "Are you ever embarrassed that the French think Jerry Lewis is funny?" Godard, smiling warmly, said "Oh, I love Jerry Lewis. Especially when he's not funny."

Testimonials don't don't come better than that.

Tommy O'C said...

Way to go, Godard.

Fred said...

Agreed about Lewis. A remarkable talent, even if my folks hated him (they used to make snide remarks when we'd pass by the Jerry Lewis billboard for Brown's on the drive up to the Catskills). I "discovered" him later in life and was hooked. Even his annual schtick for the Labor Day March of Dimes telethon is worth a look. (Hey, thanks for reminding me that it's on this weekend. I'll have to sneak in a look while I'm busy moving the family into a new house.)

Vanwall said...

He's actually a nice guy in real life, self-effacing and quiet. He came into the will-call where I worked, and I paged, "Rupert Pupkin to will-call, please." He looked up at the speaker, I heard from the counter guys. Wasn't he some kind of fast-draw expert at one time? That's freaky.