Jerry Lewis Celebrates Career on DVD15 Oct, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf
For the first time in more than 40 years, legendary comedian Jerry Lewis sat in a theater and watched his “labor of love,” The Nutty Professor, with a live audience, at a screening on the Paramount lot to celebrate the film's DVD debut.
The Nutty Professor streeted from Paramount Home Entertainment this week alongside nine other Lewis comedy classics: The Ladies Man, The Patsy, The Bellboy, Cinderfella, The Delicate Delinquent, The Family Jewels, The Errand Boy, The Disorderly Orderly and The Stooge.
The films have been digitally restored and remastered, and boast a slew of extras from Lewis' personal archives, including bloopers, deleted scenes, vintage promotional clips, as well as commentary tracks from Lewis.
“It was an incredible feeling to watch that master on screen — master meaning the digital transfer we saw tonight, of course,” Lewis joked. “To see what you shot 41 years later and see that every element was exactly as you originally imagined it, it's amazing.”
Lewis also thanked the crowd for cheering and laughing and getting the movie. “To think that you can create something that 41 years later still holds up is an incredible feeling,” he said.
In the crowd were avid Lewis fans and winners of a call-in radio contest held by Los Angeles' oldies station K-EARTH 101; Lewis' son Chris, who worked with Paramount for seven years to bring the films to DVD; and a smattering of fellow stars like Steve Martin, Martin Short, Tom Hanks, Sean Hayes and Larry David, to name a few.
The stars in the crowd heckled Lewis a bit during the question-and-answer session after the screening. Deana Martin, daughter of Lewis' beloved partner Dean Martin, jokingly asked the comedian if there was any particular person he patterned his “lounge lizard-type character” of Buddy Love after.
At one point, a fan asked Lewis who his all-time favorite comedian is. Without hesitation, Lewis answered Charlie Chaplin. Immediately following that, Steve Martin's voice piped up “Goodnight, folks!” and he and Martin Short huffed out of the theater. Tom Hanks watched them go and yelled out, “Who's your favorite dramatic actor, Jerry?” At Lewis' deadpan answer of Denzel Washington, Hanks and Hayes exited to plenty of laughter.
Rob Friedman, vice chairman of the motion picture group and president of Paramount Pictures, was on hand to announce Lewis as the first inductee into the Paramount Hall of Fame.
“You are one of the main reasons that we are still here and still in business,” Friedman said.