Sunday, August 31, 2008


Later today, Jerry Lewis will kick off his latest telethon to battle Muscular Dystrophy. If I'm doing the math correctly in my head, it should be his 42nd since he first began hosting it in 1966.

I took a look at Jerry's credits to see if he had an established televersion in Toobworld, besides his many appearances on talks shows and variety programs. And I was surprised to find that there were only three series episodes in which he appeared as the fictional version of himself over the decades. He's been in other TV shows as other characters, - like 'Wiseguy', 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit', and 'The Simpsons' - but they have their own lives separate from Jerry Lewis in Toobworld.

Here are his three appearances as his own televersion:

"Good Grief" .... Himself
- The Bear (1991)
When the town is terrorized by a bear, Ernie and his family must spend a Saturday night at home with no TV.

"Brothers" .... Himself
- Las Vegas Serenade: Part 2 (1987)
The urn with Aunt Billie's ashes has been presented to Jerry Lewis as a decoration, and Donald and Lou must retrieve it. Meanwhile, Sam tries stand-up comedy, and Penny and Jim contemplate a Vegas wedding.

"Batman" .... Himself
- The Bookworm Turns (1966)
The Bookworm stages a phoney assassination on the Commissioner and leaves a clue for them to solve. With the help of Lydia, the Bookworm captures Robin who is tied to the Wayne Memorial Tower.

Jerry was the first cameo star to pop out of a window during one of the Batclimbs. Batman and Robin were climbing the building in order to foil the misdeeds of the Bookworm (played by the late Roddy McDowall). As the decription for "Las Vegas Serenade: Part 2" notes, he figured into the storyline for a 'Brothers' storyline. But I have no clue how he got involved with the characters from 'Good Grief', unless he was disguised in a bear suit? Anybody out there have any idea?

The nature of the business has changed and the showrunners do aim for a younger demographic; so if they are going to have an episode in which celebrities appear as themselves, it would probably be somebody currently in vogue, like a singer or an athlete. Even if they were still alive, guys like Jack Benny and Milton Berle wouldn't find much call for their services as a quick cameo on most sitcoms today. And the same probably holds true for Jerry Lewis as one of the last of that era. But that still doesn't splain why he made so few appearances as himself in shows of the past.

Could it have been that they wanted to spoof the telethon and he wanted to protect its image? Who knows. But 'Las Vegas' would have been a natural!

Here are a few suggestions I had for shows in which Jerry Lewis could still show up as himself in an episode. Some of them have the perfect setting for him to make an appearance; others would be a stretch, but that's never stopped writers from working in a cameo before!

'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
'Two And A Half Men'
'30 Rock'
'Samantha Who' - His cry of "Nice Lady!" could be used ironically here....
'Dirty Sexy Money'
'Pushing Daisies'
'Knight Rider'
'How I Met Your Mother'
'Brothers & Sisters'
'Desperate Housewives'
'Burn Notice' - Maybe some scheme going down at that hotel where he filmed "The Bellboy"? (If it even exists anymore....)
'Lost' - Hey, Billy Dee Williams showed up in a flashback!

Good luck on breaking last year's tally total!

Toby O'B


Mercurie said...

I seem to recall that there was an animated cartoon on NBC back during the '70-'71 season called "Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down." Lewis wrote some of the episodes, David Lander (later Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley) provide the voice of cartoon Jerry. Of course, he was also featured in comic books published by DC Comics. He made his first appearance in comic books in The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in 1952. When the team broke up the title became The Adventures of Jerry Lewis with issue #47 (apparently Dean didn't warrant his own comic book) in 1957. It lasted until 1971, ending with the May-June issue, #124.

Toby said...

Hiya Merc!

Mark Evanier first clued me in to this cartoon series in his "news from ME" blog. (link to the left)


I had to split the URL because my first attempt didn't post the full item....