Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jerry Lewis and Me



My Fella . . .
Photo Courtesy of
http://www.gmmy.com/
      Anyone and everyone that knows me knows that I'm infatuated with Dean Martin. He didn't become apart of my life until I was about fifteen-years-old, and he had been dead for over fourteen of those years. I "discovered" him, at first, through his music. It was only until I did a little research on my own that I discovered he had been a huge presence in not only the music industry, but he was just as huge a presence in the night club/stage, television, and film parts of the entertainment industry. I learned that he was The King of Cool. I also learned that with his partner, Jerry Lewis, he was one half of one of the biggest and most successful comedic teams of all time.
Jerry taking a break.
Photo Courtesy of
http://www.javabeanrush.blogspot.com/
     As my infatuation grew, I had to satisfy my need to see him, listen to him, and learn everything about him that I could. Doing this, I kept reading and hearing over and over again how he was treated when he was partners with Jerry: how everybody thought that Jerry was the "funny" one, how he was the "gifted" one, and how Dean was only the "good-looking" guy who could sing and always got the girls in the end. Basically, everyone thought he was a second banana to Jerry. I've always been one to root for the "underdog", and that was just what I did. Dean was being treated as the underdog, and I naturally sided with him. By doing this, I left Jerry out in the cold. I liked him, but only if he was with Dean. I liked the films he did, but never did I watch one of his that he did on his own, only the ones that he did with Dean, though I never have watched the last film they did together, Hollywood or Bust, nor will I ever. When they broke up, or rather, when I had come to that point in Dean's life, I sided with him. I asked no questions. I simply went with Dean.
     It wasn't until today when I watched a documentary on Jerry called Jerry Lewis: The Method to the Madness, that I decided I had to give him a chance. They had been playing a selection of his films since two o'clock, but because none of them were the films that he and Dean had done together, I decided to forgo all of them . . . Damn was I an idiot. In the beginning I had only wanted to watch the documentary because I knew they couldn't talk about Jerry's life without mentioning Dean. It was, and is, impossible to do so. After the documentary, which by then I had began to feel something but what it was, I couldn't quite tell, I decided to watch The Nutty Professor, the last film that they were showing.
I do believe if the "Nutty Professor" was
my chemistry teacher, I'd like chemistry.
Photo Courtesy of
http://www.broadway.com/
     I laughed, laughed, and laughed some more during the whole film. I really felt for the Professor, and even when Buddy Love was around, I felt for him too because I knew that the Professor's feelings of insignificance, trepidation, and sadness were still, even through all of Buddy Love's rude, he-man, macho guy stuff, coming through. And the speech that the Professor gives near the very end of the film, even after more than forty years later, still runs as true today as it did back then, even more so in fact.
     It was clear to me by the end of the film that I knew what I was feeling: Guilt. I was feeling gulity because I hadn't even given Jerry a chance. I found that I did like him. In fact, film wise, I like him better by himself than I do with Dean. In most of their films, I found him annoying, and his "idiot voice" got on my nerves a lot of times (and I don't like how Dean was portrayed for most of their films). I've always loved them during their Colgate Comedy Hour shows best because they were more free, the ad-libs were always bouncing off the walls, and, most importantly, they weren't bound by a script.
     Point is to all of this, I found that I could enjoy Jerry without feeling as though I had betrayed Dean by doing so. I'll never feel for Jerry as how I do for Dean, but now I can respect him as the great talent he truly was, and still is. It's also needless to say that The Nutty Professor will not be my last Jerry Lewis film.
Though Buddy Love is perhaps the embodiment of all the bad qualities
 of Jerry's (and a few others), he's still very much loveable because
you know deep down that's not who he truly is.
Photo Courtesy of http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/

3 comments:

moviechick9620 said...

ohhhh i have to email you about this....

Always On Watch said...

I've read this book twice -- and have also listened to it on audio. As a lifelong Dean Martin fan, I found this book indispensable!

Leah Fagundes said...

I really enjoyed the things you said about Mr. Jerry Lewis..Ya see I feel the same exact way except that im opposite of you! I am infatuated with Jerry Lewis but respect Dean Martin and do enjoy his music and acting..I know that they had a fallen out but every interview that jerry lewis had done where they talked about the end of the partnership, Jerry would praise Dean for being "Born Funny" and say that the critics didn't know what they were talking about! And basically blamed himself for their breakup! That's why I love Jerry Lewis so much! He might have made mistakes in his life but to me he is nuttin but an extremely intelligent man who ACTS foolish/childish in his movies! I love talking about the both of them, and thank you for sharing your kind words about them both =)