April 02, 2016

WILL THE REAL JERRY LEWIS PLEASE SIT DOWN

WILL THE REAL JERRY LEWIS PLEASE SIT DOWN
(ABC, September 12, 1970-January 9, 1971)


Filmation Associates


MAIN CAST:
David Lander – Jerry Lewis
Howard Morris – Mr. Blunderbuss, Ralph Rotten Lewis, Professor Lewis, Won Ton Son, Hong Kong Flewis, Uncle Seadog, various
Jane Webb – Geraldine Lewis, Rhonda


            Living cartoon character Jerry Lewis was a prominent slapstick comedian for much of the 1950s and 1960s. Lewis’ rise to fame began when he partnered with singer Dean Martin, performing a routine that relied on their interactions instead of the planned skits that other comedy teams utilized. Their popularity grew throughout the club circuit, leading to their 1948 appearance on Toast of the Town (later known as The Ed Sullivan Show). The following year, they joined Paramount Pictures and made their first film: My Friend Irma.

A nutty professor.

            By 1950, Martin and Lewis were the stars of their own films and made 14 together at Paramount. Lewis’ antics began to outshine Martin, diminishing his importance in projects and the media. The pair eventually split in 1956 and both went on to have noteworthy solo careers. Lewis attempted to branch out into musical performing and television, hosting two different variety shows called The Jerry Lewis Show. However, as Lewis aged his antics no longer had the same flare they once did. His popularity began to wane and Paramount’s new executives saw no reason to renew his lucrative contract with them. All the while, Lewis served as chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and hosted their annual fundraising telethon until his removal in 2011 (the telethon itself was ended in 2015).

The many faces of Jerry Lewis.

            Lewis decided to make a return to television at the end of the 60s, but this time on Saturday mornings. He approached Filmation with the idea for an animated series. It would center around the various characters and personas he created in his films; notably 1965’s The Family Jewels where he played 6 different characters (seven, if you count the identity one of them adopted). The series would focus around Jerry Lewis (David Lander, recommended for the role by Lewis), the hapless employee of the Odd Job Employment Agency under his obnoxious boss Mr. Blunderbuss (Howard Morris). Lewis would be assigned a job and find a way to accidentally turn it into complete shambles. The series also featured Lewis’ father, Professor Lewis (Morris, who also played Lewis’ father in The Nutty Professor), who was always creating wacky inventions like appliances that look like other furniture or an anti-gravity machine, his sister, Geraldine, his girlfriend, Rhonda (both Jane Webb), and Geraldine’s pet frog, Spot. Morris would also play all of the other Lewis personas that popped up in the episodes.

Animation cell showing Jerry in another fine mess.

            Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down debuted on ABC (the home of his failed first variety show) on September 12, 1970, with music composed by father/son team Ray and Mark Ellis (as Yvette Blais and Jeff Michael). The show’s title was a play on the catchphrase from the popular gameshow To Tell The Truth. The game was centered around a panel of celebrities who had to identify which of three people was the actual person they were all claiming to be via a series of questions. Once they voted in their selection, the host would ask “Would the real [name] please stand up?” to reveal the correct answer. Lewis, along with developing the show, made uncredited contributions to the scripts written by Jack Mendelsohn, Jim Mulligan, Jim Ryan, Bill Danch, Bob Ogle, Chuck Menville and Len Janson. However, he declined to voice any of the characters, feeling imitators did his younger voice better than he could (publicly; behind the scenes producer Lou Scheimer stated in his book, Creating the Filmation Generation, that Lewis really didn’t want much to do with the show). 



Like other Filmation comedies, it contained a laugh track and was one of the first to feature Filmation’s rotating Lou Scheimer/Norm Prescott credit (designed to give both men equal billing, although Scheimer jokingly noted Prescott’s name always ended up on top). It was also the first to feature director Hal Sutherland’s credit written in cursive. Like most other Filmation shows, the series only ran a single season of 18 episodes; however, ABC kept it on its schedule through 1972, moving it to Sunday mornings.

EPISODE GUIDE:

“Computer Suitor” (9/12/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Crash Course” (9/19/70) – Mr. Blunderbuss and Rhonda follow Jerry out on his latest job at a college to see if he’s actually any good at his job.

“2 ½ Rind Circus” (9/26/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Good Luck Charm” (10/3/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Out to Launch” (10/10/70) – After knocking out the mission’s chief astronaut, Jerry is sent into space to fix a problem with the space station.

“Watch of the Rhino” (10/17/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“To Beep or Not to Beep” (10/24/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“How Green Was my Valet” (10/31/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Movie Madness” (11/7/70) – Professor Lewis invents a camera that can control the movements of whoever it focuses on.

“Rainmaker” (11/14/70) – Jerry gets a job where he ends up replacing a Native American doctor who’s tired of being beaten by the mean tribal chief.

“Jerry Goes Ape” (11/21/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Haunted House Guest” (11/28/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Penthouse” (12/5/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Shipboard Romance” (12/12/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Hokus Pokus” (12/19/70) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Double Trouble” (12/26/70) – Professor Lewis invents a duplication machine and when he duplicates Jerry, it creates an evil copy that refuses to be dematerialized.

“Jerry” (1/2/71) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE

“Double Oh-Oh” (1/9/71) - NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE



Originally posted in 2016. Updated in 2020.

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