In the comics world

Today’s Zippy, on life inside the comics:

  (#1)

Two things here: the movie The Day the Clown Cried and the comic strips of Nick Dallis.

The Jerry Lewis movie. From Wikipedia:

The Day the Clown Cried is an unreleased 1972 film directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It is based on a script of the same name by Joan O’Brien, who had co-written the original script with Charles Denton ten years previously. The film was met with controversy regarding its premise and content, which features a circus clown who is imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. The Day the Clown Cried has become somewhat infamous among film historians and movie buffs as a film that has never officially been released.

A tragic film set in the Holocaust — not a natural choice for Jerry Lewis, famous for his slapstick comedy. A poster suggests just how grotesque the movie must be:

(#2)

It’s not impossible to make a comedy film set in Holocaust times. The Lubitsch film To Be or Not to Be has been made twice, successfully:

To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 American comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch, about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops. It was adapted by Lubitsch (uncredited) and Edwin Justus Mayer from the story by Melchior Lengyel. The film stars Carole Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Stanley Ridges and Sig Ruman. (link)

To Be or Not to Be is a 1983 American comedy-drama film directed by Alan Johnson and produced by Mel Brooks. The screenplay was written by Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan, based on the original story by Melchior Lengyel, Ernst Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer. A remake of the 1942 film of the same name, the film starred Mel Brooks alongside his wife Anne Bancroft; Tim Matheson, Charles Durning, Christopher Lloyd, and Jose Ferrer also had starring roles. (link)

But The Day the Clown Cried is a tragedy. With a clown and doomed Jewish children. Ouch.

Nick Dallis comic strips. On Dallis, from Wikipedia:

Nicholas Peter Dallis (December 15, 1911 – July 6, 1991), known as Nick Dallis, was an American psychiatrist turned comic strip writer, creator of the soap opera-style strips Rex Morgan, M.D., Judge Parker and Apartment 3-G. Separating his comics career from his medical practice, he wrote under pseudonyms, Dal Curtis for Rex Morgan, M.D. and Paul Nichols for Judge Parker.

… He decided to specialize in psychiatry, and after World War II, started a practice in Toledo, Ohio. Allen Saunders was chair at the time of the local mental hygiene center that invited him there, and in his autobiography, he recalled that Dallis approached him, as a well-known comics writer (Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, Mary Worth), about “his desire to write a comic strip, one tracing the history of medicine. I told him that, commendable as his idea was, such a feature would not succeed. Readers want entertainment, not enlightenment. But a story about a handsome young doctor’s involvement with his patients might be a winner.”

(On Mary Worth, see this posting.)

The strips:

Rex Morgan, M.D. is an American soap-opera comic strip, created in 1948 by psychiatrist Dr. Nicholas P. Dallis under the pseudonym Dal Curtis. … The strip’s look and content was influenced by the work of Allen Saunders and Ken Ernst on Mary Worth. In 2008, Rex Morgan, M.D. celebrated its 60th year in print. (link)

Judge Parker [note the title of #1] is a soap opera-style comic strip created by Nicholas P. Dallis that first appeared on November 24, 1952. The strip’s look and content were influenced by the work of Allen Saunders and Ken Ernst on Mary Worth. … Dr. Dallis, a psychiatrist who also created the comic strips Rex Morgan, M.D. and Apartment 3-G, used the pen name “Paul Nichols” when writing the strip. (link)

Apartment 3-G is an American newspaper soap opera comic strip about a trio of career women who share the eponymous Apartment 3-G in Manhattan. Created by Nicholas P. Dallis with art by Alex Kotzky, the strip began May 8, 1961 … The appearances of the three main characters are loosely based on real actors. Tommie is based on Lucille Ball, Margo on Joan Collins and Lu Ann on Tuesday Weld. (link)

A sample Rex Morgan strip, from 6/19/64:

  (#3)

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