Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jerry the screenwriter: a SMORGASBORD of laffs

Even before his comeback film HARDLY WORKING was declared a surprise box-office hit, Jerry Lewis was busy working on a much better but far less successful follow-up feature, SMORGASBORD. After a disastrous test screening in early 1983, Warner Brothers pulled the plug on a national release that summer, changed the title to CRACKING UP and premiered the film on HBO the following April (For the record, in May of '85 it made its big screen New York debut -- under the SMORGASBORD title -- at the Thalia, on a double bill with THE KING OF COMEDY). There's still no DVD available, but Warners issued CRACKING UP on VHS a couple of times and it seems like a natural for their new Archives line.

From the first draft screenplay, credited only to Jerry (long-time writing partner Bill Richmond got onboard later) and dated 10/31/80, here's a sequence that never made it to the finished film.

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