From odd to zany, and even more weird.
It all played out as a near death experience. Death by laughter.
I was on the main floor of the Paramount theater, back row on the left under the balcony, seated next to my brother.
On the screen a Jerry Lewis comedy was unspooling. We were sitting there laughing along with the rest of the audience, when it happened.
The scene was set in a hospital. Jerry garbed as a doctor or surgeon had a patient he was attempting to flouroscope. Then in a reverse he became the subject of the flouroscope. It was his skeleton posed for comic effect behind the scope, his skull looking in surprise back at us. I lost it. I laughed out loud.
And I couldn’t stop. A lull would come, but I was convulsing on the inside, and I broke out again in helpless laughter. It became a vicious cycle. The image, though past, was recurring and triggering more jags of laughter. And I was not able to catch my breath. I hurt all over. It had to stop or I was going to die. Somehow at long last I did. Stop that is.
It was not this incident but another that is tied to my odd experience on Leach Street. The common threads were Jerry Lewis and the Paramount.
It was either the day before or the day after the Leach Street incident that Jerry Lewis appeared in person at the Paramount. And I was there among a sea of kids to see him. This time he didn’t “slay” me or “kill” the rest of the audience, but wowed us with his fun personality. Most memorable was his routine with a pair of six-guns – twirling, quick drawing and juggling them. Then before we knew it, his entourage whisked him away to another appearance.
So, freaky Leach Street, Jerry at the Paramount, on screen and live, and (next time) baseball at Palmer Cove Park, three and a half interconnected beads on the necklace of my memory.