Trailer Reel: Behind the Scenes With Alfred Hitchcock and Jerry Lewis

Writing about Jerry Lewis' "The Bellboy" ("The Sell, Boy," and "The Swell 'Boy'"), I was reminded of the other box office monster and shiny new classic film of the summer of 1960, Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho." Both projects were the centerpieces of nervous Paramount Pictures' schedule, released back-to-back during June and July.

In the preceding months, studio executives had refused to become financially involved in either "quickie" movie. The star-producer-directors were forced to arrange funding elsewhere. Paramount believed Jerry was helming an ill-conceived silent comedy and Hitch's venture was too taboo to risk investment. The failure to support these filmmakers led to decisions the company should regret to this day. Both "Psycho" and "The Bellboy" were mammoth hits and cash cows for their investors, primarily Mr. Hitchcock and Mr. Lewis.

Another odd coincidence between these shows can be seen in their unusual coming attractions trailers. Historically, the overwhelming majority of theatre-screened advertisements have been comprised exclusively of actual footage selected from the features, although not so with "Psycho" or "The Bellboy." The two men shot and appeared in special entertainment material relying heavily on their personalities, including spoof elements and strolls around the productions.

I've shared "the fabulous" Alfred's six-minute movie sets tour previously, but here it is again, alongside Jerry's sound stage introductions to his fellow creative conspirators. It's a trailer reel you may have seen in the dark, a half century ago.

"Psycho" Trailer with Alfred Hitchcock via YouTube

"The Bellboy" Trailer with Jerry Lewis via YouTube

One more thing. What if Jerry Lewis had been the bellboy at the Bates Motel?

While I envision a deliciously surreal film with him in the role of Norman, I guess that would not have been possible due to the violence necessary for the character.

However, Jerry could certainly go to work at the motel, schlepping around into various misadventures. It might have been another weird, comic reimagining of terror icons on the model of "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

"Ohh, Missus Bay-ates! Time to change your shee-eats!"

1 comment:

Mike Durrett said...

As a matter of trivia, I do believe the announcer on "The Bellboy" trailer is Alan Reed, who, only several months away, would become known as the iconic voice of Fred Flintstone.

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