Paper Loon

Continued From: "The Making of '100 Things About Me #107,'" part of a thread beginning with "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

I know there's a massive click-in to this site with everyone rabid to discover the latest scoops on an increasingly obscure movie released 43 years ago.

Thank you. Welcome. I aim to please.

Actually, I need to get this "Patsy" topic out of my system, so just pretend I'm on vacation this week. Eat a hotdog, Freddie.

Hollywood movie advertising campaigns do not necessarily travel the globe intact. Foreign distributors cut-and-paste or rework the content to meet the demands of the marketplace.

"The Patsy's" original 1964 American poster art (above) is rendered much the same in the French concept (below left).

Alas, the huge asterisk was laid off. Maybe there's no synonym for "patsy" in the language.

That, or, the French sniff at effete notes.

Jerry Lewis was immensely popular with international audiences. The comedian's allure extended far beyond France. His name would often be branded into the titles of his films, fueling public awareness and box office receipts. French and Belgium (poster above right) audiences know "The Patsy" as "Jerry Souffre-Douleur," translated via AltaVista as "Jerry Suffer-Pain," a phrase at odds with anything in the movie.

The bold words printed at the bottom of one poster, "Jerry de Zondebok," mean "Jerry the Scapegoat."

Finland ("Jerry Genius Stalemate") and Sweden ("Sprattelgubben"*) also publicized the picture using variations on the American visuals, except for those rebellious Technicolor socks.

Next: "The Patsy" Meets The Beatles

What "Sprattelgubben" means in English, I dunno.

"Sprattelgubben." That's the sound I make when I conk out at pancake diners while chug-a-lugging carafes of butter pecan syrup.

I dassn't repeat the sound I make peeling my back flesh from the sticky linoleum.


The Making of '100 Things About Me #107'

Continued From: "100 Things About Me #107," part of a thread beginning with "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

It's time for everyone's favorite snapshot crasher!

Where's Morty?
Mike Durrett, honorable Kitty Trustee to the Morty S. Tashman, Cat, Estate, explains:

"Three o'clock in the morning. The photo session took forever, thanks to You Know Who. I'm working alone to get the picture. I shoo Morty away. I position the camera and activate the 10-second timer.


"I run around the equipment, across the room, and hop over the sofa to pose all nice-nice.

"Huh? What happened?! Where's Morty?"

Continued: "Paper Loon"

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next


100 Things About Me #107

Artsy 'Patsy'
I am fascinated by movie advertising in all of its forms, especially coming attractions trailers, print campaigns, and posters.

As early as age 8, I spent more than an hour some days analyzing the movie ads in the local newspaper. I'd memorize the titles and showtimes for every theatre within a 20-mile radius of my bedroom.

(Twenty-one miles, if I might be way down in the basement, holed up for the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

Our kitchen was 16 feet closer than my pillow to the Fox Theatre, Atlanta's premiere movie palace. I spent a lot of time leaning against the refrigerator, a jittery eye on the clock, in case someone might be headed to the Fox and could give me a lift to see the show and their posters.

That didn't happen often, but maybe twice per year.

Meanwhile, I passed my kitchen vigils wisely, learning to cook toast. I'm self-taught and I recommend you consider: jellies.

Oh-- Use an utensil.

Mike Durrett and his Jerry Lewis as The Patsy movie poster.My neighborhood theatre changed its programs twice each week when I was in grade school. I'd skip the bus ride home on Wednesdays, so I could walk the miles to bask under the neon and fluorescent cinema marquee, where I would meet and get acquainted with the new movie posters for future exhibitions.

And -- don't tell God -- I would slip out of Sunday services early and jaywalk across the busy street to the theatre. It wasn't only the Sabbath. It was New Show Day!

Out of all of the movie posters I've ever seen, my favorite art is for "The Patsy" (1964). I've collected several of the items in various sizes, like the original release one-sheet, pictured.


I need to interrupt for a moment, if I might. We're taking a little survey.

Just let me know when exactly you realized I did not want to shave for the photograph.

Now, I'm the first to admit I'm congenitally devoted to Jerry Lewis' wild oeuvre, however that's only a small consideration here. As intense as a lightning bolt, my reaction to "The Patsy" advertising was love at first sight.

Of course, I was only 12 and it was hot out.

What did I know about love?

Not much.

I had had my first puppy love.

Turns out, I was far from housebroken.

Bad boy! And I needed to stay off the couch.

So, why am I enamored with "The Patsy" poster?

The layout is visually interesting. It states the picture's premise in a cartoony manner (the puppet masters and their stooge), plus it features a vivid use of colors, the world's largest asterisk, and that bold scrawled font.

I worship that font. It feels funny. The lettering implies unbridled energy, bubbling silliness, and a playful edge, all with confidence and weight. The entire concept is a beautiful thing to behold.

I am serious, yes--

Oops, Donna's home. I'd write more, but I gotta go.

Arf! Arf!...

Continued From: "The Patsy of the Rings," part of a thread beginning with "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next


'The Patsy of the Rings'

Continued From: The Making of "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie," part of a thread beginning with "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

I didn't intend to go off on a tangent writing about "The Patsy" with Jerry Lewis in the role of the mythic Stanley Belt, but since we're here, let me take this opportunity to refresh everyone's memory.

"The Patsy," of course, is one of the books in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic literature (and the subsequent film adaptation), "The Lord of the Rings."

Who can forget the adventure when, while overnighting at a Middle-earth bed-and-porridge cottage ("Free Color TB in Every Room"), Bilbo Baggins beseeches a bumbling bellboy to fetch him a shoehorn from the concierge?

Their subsequent, inevitable friendship leads to that nice young man, Stanley, engaging a better job as Events Coordinator for the Council.

Do we have a clip?

We have a clip. Let's take a Gandalf gander.

Nice to see my favorite comedy team together again, McKellen and Lewis.

Continued: 100 Things About Me #107: Artsy 'Patsy'

Can't see the video? Click here.
(Thanks to the weird and brilliant Melanie for the excellent clip.)


The Making of 'I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie'

I Lost My Heart in a Drive-in Movie from The Patsy with Jerry Lewis.Continued From: "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"

It might be hard to believe, but there is commercial sheet music for this immortal melody, perfect for everyone's oratorio needs.

Grab some twang and get it sang.

Whenever I mention the romantic song from "The Patsy" in my confessions with the Monsignor, made ever so poignant because I'm not Catholic, and in my conversations with the Wendy's Frosty ladies nationwide, happy-talk-starved toll booth attendants, solitary wee-hour elevator passengers, or Shut-Ins Without Parts or the Need for a Working Hair Brush, I am bombarded by inquiries concerning the back-up singers.

In this clip, which begins behind the scenes at the recording session for "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie," we get to observe the all-girl trio harmonizing. Them some chicks.

Then, Stanley Belt is seen offstage at "Teenage Dance Time," warming up with his own private footwork, shortly before "mouthing the words" during his new record's television debut.

Continued: "The Patsy of the Rings"


'I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie'

We've returned from our first outing this year at a drive-in theatre, Atlanta's Starlight. Whenever I go, I flash back to that childhood night in the summer of 1964, watching Jerry Lewis in "The Patsy" at the long gone Scott Drive-in, Decatur, GA.

In the film, the world's most inept performer, Stanley Belt, rhapsodically encapsulates the outdoor motion picture experience. He appears on a teen TV show to lip-sync his new hit record, "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-in Movie."

It's one of the loveliest of lullabies, composed by David Raksin (with Jack Brooks), who wrote the classic theme to "Laura," and was Oscar-nominated for his scores in "Forever Amber" and "Separate Tables."

Here's the rather moving tune. Where are my tissues?

Can't see the video? Click here.

Continued: The Making of "I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie"


Doe! Yay, Me!

I was lucky to snap this photograph. I yanked up the blinds at the kitchen window, startled to see a deer alongside the house. She noticed, but continued to breakfast on the greens.

I had the Cheerios.

The deer beneath our sink.

That's a song title.

The doe reappeared Sunday, as evening approached. We've deduced she's the mother of the newborn fawn, seen together in the creek by neighbors.

She's standing near our swing and deck, eating for two, making milk.

I had the leftover pizza, eating like two, opting not to make my own Pepsi.



Once again, Jack Benny and Mel Blanc, from "The Jack Benny Program" in the early 1960s.

More "See?" Si.

Playback problem? Try reloading the page or watch at YouTube.



I was in Wal-Mart this afternoon and I observed two quiet individuals, an adult male and an adult female. On separate occasions, each merely glimpsed the words "Larry the Cable Guy" and yelp-hooted laughter into my ear!

Pavlov's dawgs.

I have nothing against Mr. the Cable Guy. He's a solid entertainer and I've enjoyed his work.

But, that was frightening.


100 Things About Me #106

There Are Things of Which I Never Speak

Mike Durrett: Americas Dance Captain

100 Things: #1 | Previous | To Be Continued


Beery Interesting

As an aside to my observations concerning bears and hammocks, I thought it ironic, recently, to stumble across the Hamm's Beer bear. Hamm's and hammocks commingling with bears strikes me as a curious coincidence.

The animated animal first appeared on TV commercials in 1952 and was a popular celebrity suds endorser for decades, according to Wikipedia, which states:

"The Hamm's Beer bear was featured on endless array of signs, glassware, and tchotchkes such as clocks, ceramic miniatures, and ashtrays. It was so well-known and identified with Minnesota that the 'St. Paul Pioneer Press' named the bear as a runner-up on its list of '150 Influential Minnesotans of the Past 150 Years' in 2000. By that time, however, parent Miller Brewing had discontinued it over concerns it might be interpreted as marketing beer to children...."

I have no memory of the Hamm's bear. From 1958 on, I was passed out in an after-school stupor.


Note: Videos won't play? Try double clicking on the images to access them directly from YouTube.


There's No Need to Fear, Under Bear Is Here!

Ground Beef
Continued From: Motion Sickness

I did not see the black bear on the day I went for the final sway in the hammock. As I've written, there is reason to believe hammocks are attractive to bears, so we designated the contraption as off limits to ourselves.

Whenever we've detected the bear in the area, he disappears for a month or more before he nuzzles his muzzle on our premises again. I was calm with the prospect of carefree, bear-free weeks ahead.

The next night at two minutes before 12, I heard it coming, slow and deliberate, up the overgrown cliff from the creek. Fallen branches snapped and heavy, scuffling feet could be heard mere yards away in the solid, otherwise quiet darkness.

The creature was large and headed straight towards me in the shadows.

The noise inched closer, stopping with a plop at our downstairs porch, opposite the hammock, and eight feet beneath my toes. I felt the house shake.

I remained awake all night, listening. I never heard another sound. I never saw the bear.

When dawn joined the festivities, I decided on a course of action. I essentially heaved-ho myself outside to survey the porch, the hammock, and the perimeter of the cabin, surrounded by forest. There was no sign of voracious teeth and claws.

I raced back into the house to grab the shovel, detouring momentarily to check my email. I may have been afraid, but I'm also addicted to the Internet.

Neighbor Sally had sent a note. The bear visited them, too, shortly before midnight.

"I saw Smokey's eyes shining in the dark as it attacked our bird feeders and then it made lots of noise walking through the woods in your direction.... Scary!"

I'll say!

I stepped through our yard, after eyeballing the area for danger. I plunged the shovel into the lawn. I began to dig as fast as I could manage. The perspiration and muscle pain mounted, yet I was determined to unearth the previous owner's bomb shelter as soon as possible. The bear would never manage to break in on us there. We would be safe.

An hour passed, maybe two, as I dug divots and big holes in a frantic effort to locate the entrance.

Then, without warning, the shovel clinked on something hard, concrete.

I paused, smiled, and bent over to cuddle the septic tank.


Nobody ever tells a city boy anything.


Motion Sickness

Strange Bedfellow Need Not Apply
Continued From: Separated at Berth

Previously, I learned hammocks are bear lures, pleasing enticements to those sleepy varmints.

While resting in my hammock for one final swing before that rope net's security-mandated hiatus, an email sent a few hours earlier had not been delivered to me due to a technical glitch. If only I had known our next door neighbor had written:

"Mike, Mike, there was just a bear in our yard. Bear alert. Bear alert!"

Sally went on to mention the bear had been within 35 feet of her family before he retreated, probably headed to our place, which would fit the pattern.

Frankly, I don't recall too much of her message because, when I finally received and read it, my increasing nervous jumps, jolts, and twitters made the world appear to be undergoing a top level earthquake, or, I'm told, sex with Barney Fife.

I drooled so voluminously, I faced being sued by the Waltzing Waters.

I leased one of their self-contained pools and they left me alone.

I would have been nowhere near my hammock had I been up to speed on the whereabouts of the bear, otherwise not seen nor heard nearby for weeks. He never phones, not even a card.

We have every reason to believe there has been only a solitary bear in the immediate area over the past few years because this one has a pronounced limp. I feel sorry for the guy, but I doubt he would let me help him -- and, sadly, I don't speak the Ursus americanus for "Bactine."

There's No Need to Fear, Under Bear Is Here!


Separated at Berth

I was surprised to discover that bears invade hammocks.

We must presume the black bear roaming around our property could climb into my hammock, too -- with me in it.

Consequently, I've been forced to terminate my cozy afternoons in the hanging bed, although I did indulge in a farewell respite of peace and relaxation.

Continued: Motion Sickness


Beary Interesting

I've made no secret of the fact I'm fidgety over our mountainous neighborhood's black bear in residence. Actually, I think he's a time-share.

His presence is only spotted periodically, but we'll keep the light on for him.

Besides, I need that bulb for surveillance assistance. I spend all hours of the dark on sentry duty, staring into the circling forest for any movement by behemoth blobs o' bleak.

We also keep the light on for Animal Control with a big net, so that helps.

By the way, where are you Animal Control with a big net? Yoo-hoo!

Additionally, mentioning "a big net" lets us segue into the fascinating home movies of another black bear, Famous Amis, as the citizen taping these videos dubbed him.

Note: If videos won't play, try double-clicking on the images to view the bear directly from YouTube.

Her bear doesn't appear to be as large as ours. I think mine takes steroids and pads his pads.

In certain illumination, his fur seems to be matted into horizontal stripes. That makes him look bigger. It's not working for him. He needs to stay with basic black for the slimming effect. Maybe a wide belt.

Famous Amis is shown in the video swinging in a full-size netted hammock. Who knew? Who knew bears would climb into a hammock?

The second clip catches the same bear on a return visit. He brings friends!

What? Are hammocks bear magnets?

I have a nice hammock just like that one, which stretches across the ground floor porch, up against our bedroom window. I love the long, leisurely naps, swaying in the ham--





Too Sexy for My Site

As you may know, I write About.com: Humor. Here's a screenshot of the home page, taken yesterday.

Notice the square block on the right (shown full-scale below). That's the "What's Hot" widget. The information contained inside reveals the top five most sought after articles (out of thousands) on the About Humor site during the past few days. I have no input over the items listed on the box. Computers tally the data automagically.

Observe that my Random Quotes Generator is Number One!

Yep, I don't understand that either.

The Quotes Generator soars supreme above The Nipple Server, Naked News, Mammary Memory, and Vintage Robot Porn.

Besides making me so, so very proud, what does this knowledge tell us?

For one thing: school is out. The kids are on computers without adult supervision, ogling 'bots and ... okay, dots.

Bust most impor--


Let me interrupt here. That was an actual Freudian slip: "Bust."

I wrote it unintentionally. My condolences. It ain't easy typing with my hand up a giant foam "I'm #1!" finger.

Please allow me to try again....

But most importantly, the list tells us: I'm hot!


100 Things About Me #105

My Latest Car
I drive a 1993 Saturn SL2 sedan. I rolled it off the showroom floor -- without training wheels -- on Christmas Eve, 1992.

It was a newborn, child.

Holiday irony.

That night, I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, in hopes that Santa would soon have that New Sleigh Smell. I was delirious.

211,264 miles later, I am into year 15 of driving the most amazing vehicle I have ever known -- except for those discombobulating tea cups at Disney World.

Oh, and, yeah, there was the time I swiped the Popemobile for a joyride guilt ride to a drive-in theatre to see "Rosemary's Baby" and "Smokey and the Heretic."

(That was a bad night. All the cars behind me were honking during the show, with a stream of viewer shouts, "Hat down in front! Hat down in front!")

I have not made a car payment since 1996. I am paid in full.

My rule of thumb has always been: if I can get five years out of a car, I'm happy. I've gotten three cars out of this car and I expect to get four cars out of this car. I'm not only happy, I'm cheap.

Actually, that's not true. I would have been pleased to acquire a new car as far back as 1997, but why get rid of a perfectly good vehicle that causes few problems and is more than economical (although not ecumenical) to drive?

Mike's car passes the magic 200000 miles.My wife has her own '93 Saturn SL2. She bought it a few months after mine and is currently clocking an excess of 325,000 miles of service and indignation with roadhogs.

My brother inherited my mother's '93 Saturn. I don't know how many miles Bill's accumulated, but between us, we've driven these cars nearly 44 years.

Even more remarkable, five years ago, perhaps longer, a tree fell on my Saturn. The sedan was toast. And it had assumed toast shape, too.

The roof was flattened and the front and rear windshields were ruined. The insurance adjuster declared the car as a total loss and was prepared to give me his parting check of $4,000, the market value.

"But there is nothing wrong with this car!" I whined. "The engine is perfect. There is a lot of mileage left here."

He plucked another leaf off the branch crumpling the wipers and looked at me with a hint of astonishment. "It's only worth four grand," he said.

"Not to me. It's worth the 30K that I don't need to spend on a replacement car. What if I find a way to fix things for less than $4,000?"

He was skeptical, but agreed to the rescue effort.

The car was repaired for $2,200 and looked and worked like original issue, complete with the aroma of New Band-Aid Smell.

Nowadays, my Saturn would command a few hundred dollars at trade-in, however I might have high expectations. It could be worth nothing or less.

Why is this man smiling?

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next


100 Things About Me #104

My First Car
Mike Durrett in his first car!

I worked under the name Evel Kdurrett in those days.

I was renowned for my one nipple-power engine.

100 Things: #1 | Previous | Next


I'm Considering a Run for Office

We made three automobile trips through Alabama this spring. I went. I saw. I pondered.

The bottom line: I may become a carpetbagger. There's a strong chance I will relocate my residence to the Anniston area.

Today, my fellow Alabamians, I hereby announce my intention to form an exploratory committee to determine whether I should seek the honor of becoming your next Sergeant at Arms of The Ice Cream Club.

Public service is what I am all about. And Chipwiches.

I pledge I shall not rest until I give every Blue Bunny a good hole.

If you freeze me out, I'll, at least, drive over for the mixers -- and to straw poll the Miss Milkshake contestants.

Oh, and I dip when I dance.
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