Tuesday, August 07, 2012
He Did Not Shove Mr. Carson
McNeil just read to me over the phone this old New York Times correction to Charlie Callas's obituary: "An obituary on Jan. 29 about the comedian Charlie Callas described incorrectly his appearance on 'The Tonight Show' on Sept. 21, 1982. While Mr. Callas was never on the show again, he did not in fact have an on-air falling out with the host, Johnny Carson. He did not shove Mr. Carson, nor did Mr. Carson say that Mr. Callas would not be invited back." So how did that manage to come up in conversation? I'm so glad you asked! McNeil mentioned the death of Marvin Hamlisch and his work on Jerry Lewis's brand new NUTTY PROFESSOR musical. Together we imagined an entire chorus tap-dancing with glasses stuck in their mouths Jerry Lewis style. That choreography, I pointed out, would be more suited to HARDLY WORKING: THE MUSICAL. McNeil preferred to speculate about a musical based on THE BIG MOUTH. "That's the best one," he said, though he did not bother to expound upon nor support this surprising yet firmly stated opinion. He did go on to muse as to whether BIG MOUTH costar Charlie Callas had passed on. I said I felt sure that he had, and that I had probably mentioned it on the "blog." McNeil, ever skeptical, looked it up for himself in the paper of record. I am skipping some parts of the conversation. "Click" here for the heaviest analysis you will get of THE BIG MOUTH outside of Chris Fujiwara. Includes more stills from THE BIG MOUTH than you can even imagine, with several sequential ones of Charlie Callas making crazy faces, such as the one illustrating this "post." Of THE BIG MOUTH, the authors state, "Jerry Lewis... dumps out a Freudian aquarium-load of colorful, exotic and disturbing oddities in a fruitless quest for rationality... In director Lewis' world, delicate human minds are set adrift in a psychotic societal sea." Okay! They also specifically link the "the unstable and at times terrifying world Lewis has created" with the work of David Lynch, as I have done in the past. Hey, is it time to go to bed yet?