Disorderly Orderly

A bit of reminiscing!


A couple of days ago the daily prompt was “orderly”. What comes to mind is an old comedy movie (from the sixties?) starring Jerry Lewis – “Disorderly Orderly”. Whilst I hope you’ll all find this post interesting, maybe those around my age will enjoy it a bit more.

Jerry Lewis, amazingly, is still alive, at the age of 90, and as far as I am aware, is still actively involved raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (though he doesn’t do the telethons any more). In the movie “Disorderly Orderly” he plays an overly sensitive hospital orderly who would like to be a doctor but who feels the pain of his patients too much and regularly ‘seizes up’ in the middle of his duties, usually in a slapstick fashion. The comedy was goofy and absurd along with all the facial expressions that Jerry managed to conjure up.

Of course compared to modern comedy it’s all very slow and overstated, but if you check it out you should see a few familiar faces in it.

For example, Kathleen Freeman is one of the nurses, who has been in lots of movies but is perhaps most famous for her role as a nun (Sister Mary Stigmata) in The Blues Brothers. There’s Alice Pearce as a patient who loves to talk about all her ailments and the pain, who’s probably best known for her role at Gladys Cravitz in the original Bewitched series.

My recollection of Disorderly Orderly brings with it pleasant memories of growing up, which is a little surprising because my childhood wasn’t all that happy (oh nothing major, just trying to find my place in the world!). We watched it probably 3 or 4 times as teenagers (a fair bit considering videos and dvd’s weren’t invented then). I recall a number of scenes, and sure enough, when I looked them up on Youtube, the parts I remembered are just about the only clips available now.

Of course, back then, Jerry Lewis was a household name. Not all his movies were good (some were), but he did make plenty of them. He was so famous in fact, that my name, Terry Lewis, was often misheard, and people thought my name was Jerry Lewis. That doesn’t happen so much these days. But I do remember, on two separate occasions, when I introduced myself as Terry Lewis, the person I was speaking to misheard me,  thought I was joking, and responded saying “Well of course, and I’m Dean Martin” (Jerry Lewis and he made many movies together).

Jerry himself is an interesting figure. Made famous through his movies with Dean Martin in the 40’s and 50’s, he emerged as the one with the real talent (Dean Martin played the straight guy) and eventually they broke apart, as many comic duo’s do (remember Abbott and Costello?). Perhaps Jerry’s most famous comedy was The Nutty Professor (another movie I saw at least 4 or 5 times over the years). Eddie Murphy did a version of this but I never saw it, so I can’t comment.

But Jerry himself, like most comedians, has his serious, or dark side. Apparently he is a stickler for precision and exactness, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. In his old age he has become even more prickly, treating people sometimes appallingly. But at his age, and with his reputation, apparently you can get away with it.

As I have already mentioned, I found some of the best bits from Disorderly Orderly on YouTube, and so here are a few. Remember, comedy was slow back then (actually, just about all the movies back then were slow, but that’s another story) so if you’re younger, it may not be all that funny. But if you’re around my age, it’s the reminiscing that makes it enjoyable to watch again.

Author: Terry Lewis

I'm a guy in his 50's who thought it might be fun to write about day to day issues - the stuff that life is made of. It's helped me think and develop some deeper perspectives. I enjoyed it so much I thought I might start posting it in a blog, and here we are! I intend to mix it up as much as I can. I am a thinking kind of guy so the majority of my posts will probably have some kernel of truth or (hopefully) wisdom nestled in there somewhere. But I also hope to have some light hearted posts as well. Too much thinking can make life pretty dull! Anyway, hope you like it.

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