9 January 2010 | lzf0
"The Jerry Lewis Show" was a variety show which ran on NBC for two seasons between 1967 and 1969. It is not the well known ABC disaster of the early 1960s. This was a color show featuring Jerry and top notch guest stars in musical specialties and comedy sketches. The writers of the sketches were some of the most successful TV comedy writers. In December of 2009, Infinity Video released a package of 12 shows. However, "disappointing" is understating the situation. We were promised 13 hour long variety shows. What was released was a syndicated comedy sketch package, probably prepared in the 1980s, similar to "Carol Burnett and Friends" from the "Carol Burnett Show" and "Carson's Comedy Classics" from the "Tonight Show".
Jerry's theme music, "Smile", has been replaced by some synth 80s theme music and the hour long variety shows have been cut down to 24 minutes. All that remains are edited comedy sketches. Most of these sketches are flat and unfunny. Some are re-workings of sketches Jerry performed with Dean Martin on the "Colgate Comedy Hour". The sketches usually feature Jerry either as "Sidney Portnoy" or the "Nutty Professor". The best sketches are those which feature Nanette Fabray as Jerry's co-star.
Almost all of the musical numbers have been removed. (For some reason, a short dance number for Joey Heatherton and the song "Step to the Rear" from the "classic" musical "How Now Dow Jones" and sung by Laurence Harvey !!! are left alone.) I guess Infinity either did not want to pay musical royalties or felt that the musical numbers were "gay" (corny, non-rock musical presentations that could only be of interest to the fruitiest, theater-loving homosexuals).
On their own, the comedy sketches are extremely weak. Maybe within the context of the variety show, they were acceptable. Jerry tries hard, and the guest stars are first rate, but nothing seems to work. One of the sketches, "Sidney Rents an Apartment" is available on Youtube in its entirety. Of course, Infinity, or the original syndicators, removed the musical number which makes this sketch charming.
Even for the staunchest Jerry fans, this show and this collection are a big let down.