Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Tonight Show with guest host Jerry Lewis featuring Hugh Downs, Jack Carter and Henry Gibson (June 1962)

8 comments:

Still a Brooklyn Kid said...

Good grief, I remember watching this show in NYC in 1962 - especially Jerry's embarrassing attempts to play trumpet along with the band, (and the references to the then-new New York Mets). I was never a Jerry Lewis fan, but watching it now, even I am astonished at the unrelieved witlessness of it all. Lewis' forced zaniness and utter ineptitude at ad libbing are painful to watch. And he's such an egomaniac that he turns the conversation (what little conversation there is) to the subject of himself at every opportunity. Jack Carter had some degree of comedic talent, but here he tries to out-zany Lewis, resulting in seemingly endless stretches of tedious, mirthless hijinks. At one point I can detect Carter's resentment at Lewis' utter inability to host the show. Hugh Downs just seems embarrassed. Thanks very much for posting this fascinating show, It reveals why Lewis turned to film directing a year later - as a solo comedian/host, he had no wit, no warmth, and no future. How about posting some vintage Jimmy Durante as an antidote to this? (P.S. I love your blog.)

Kliph Nesteroff said...

Thank you for your fasinating comment, @Still a Brooklyn Kid. You can use my search engine to find some great performances by Durante as host of The Hollywood Palace. His finales were sensational.

Still a Brooklyn Kid said...

Durante and Louis Armstrong do a sensational, heartwarming duet on "Old Man Time" here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhkmB5OzvQ0
Two of my all-time favorite people.

Anonymous said...

It's Astonishing that people who watched this would offer jerry his own show shortly thereafter. And then again. And again.

Kevin K. said...

So this is one of Jerry's episodes that convinced ABC he was capable of hosting a 2-hour talk show? They really must have been desperate.

Old Bob said...

Was this the period between Paar and Carson? Jerry was ill suited to do that kind of program. I felt sorry for Hugh Downs being a target of Jerry's antics.

I was a bit young to have been a regular Tonight Show viewer then. I was a fan of Jerry's 1967-69 variety show on NBC, though. Jerry was a little more under control there, though I'm sure that was his choice.

Gary Field said...

Just got your book today Kliph, can't wait to read it.

lcs said...

To be fair, Hugh Downs was no Dean Martin, and Jerry is doing is his Martin-Lewis act here, which believe me audiences still ate up
in 1962. Note the band is with Jerry at every instant, backing him up. Jack Carter, who was an excellent mimic, did a priceless dance schtick with Jerry upon his intro, and could match him move for move. They were both egomaniacs, which is why they worked so well together, trying to outsmart each other. Jerry is a genius, but the critics resented his nastiness, which could be brutal.