Jerry Lewis is an amazing guy. Anyone who has seen the original version of the Nutty Professor can attest to that. I won’t make any French jokes here, I’ve always been treated well in France. Check out this phone conversation taped by Mr. Lewis himself (here). Some asshole politician is trying to get Lewis to recognize one of his campaign
contributors from the stage that night, he thinks he has Lewis’ assistant on the phone but it’s obviously Jerry himself. A more hateful and hysterical six minutes would be hard to find.
There’s also the x-rated reading of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s radio spot for the Caddy, I can’t pinpoint it on any old aircheck but it’s somewhere on either of these pages (these are radio shows I did w/Nitro Nick Tosches as special guest, I think the first one is more likely to have the Caddy on it, unfortunately it’s bleeped for airplay, try here or here). I love the way he pronounces grease ball.
My favorite story about Jerry Lewis concerns a film that was never finished called The Day The Clown That Cried. Lewis (who also wrote and was set to direct) was to play a clown who led the little children in a Nazi concentration camp happily to their deaths in the gas chambers. After several days of filming the financing fell through and the set was shut down. Lewis tried for years to finish the film and had the negative of the existing footage in a steamer trunk that he never let out of his sight. I once saw him at a book signing to promote Jerry Lewis In Person and a flunky was struggling with the trunk following Lewis and his entourage. I’d like to have a go at making that film today with Michael Jackson in the clown role. Somebody get Scott Rudin on the phone.
ADDENDUM: A good bio of the historical John Joel Glanton, scalp hunter and prairie rouge, can be found here. William Goetzman has an entire website devoted to
Samuel Chamberlain’s My Confession including audio and some of Chamberlain’s artwork (this all relates to the post concerning Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian posted in September).