Sunday, December 2, 2012

Revisiting a Small Planet

Look, I saw Visit to a Small Planet when I was a little boy - possibly at a church kids' theater in a barn in New Hampshire with my grandmother. Of course I have fond memories of it. Also, it was from a play written by Gore Vidal.

The plot: immature but powerful space alien Jerry Lewis lands in suburban Richmond and mixes stuff up. As an adult, I can see the seams where the sophisticated light comedy butts up against the mugging of Jerry Lewis. For example, he controls people's minds by twitching his nose, crossing his eyes, tugging his ear, etc. - literally mugging, making faces.

Then the American teenagers he befriends take him to a beatnik coffeehouse, where he feels he fits in because everybody is so far out. But the beatniks think he is too far out and flee. I guess this passes for sophisticated comedy in 1960.

Anyway, although I can't say I still love it on rewatching, but I did remember my favorite part, which I had entirely forgotten: Rags the dog. Lewis can talk with the dog, who hates and fears him (naturally). But he does get a chance to run off his enemy, Clementine the cat. Who is played, by the way, by Rhubarb, last seen in Comedy of Terrors and voiced by June Foray (Rocket J. Squirrel).

Also, Buddy Rich is the drummer in the beatnik dive. Cool, daddy!

So, not as much fun to watch this time as last. But I got to see my old friend Rags again.


mr. schprock said...

This reminds me of when I finally saw "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" as an adult. Loved it as a kid; hated it as an adult. Same goes for the Beanie and Cecil cartoons.

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

I rather liked Mr. Limpet. But thanks for the warning about Beanie and Cecil. I don't want to risk besmirching those memories.

"I'm coming, Beanie-boy!"