Jerry Lewis brought an imaginative, surreal sense of humor to the table when he began directing. This is what the Cahiers du Cinema gang loved about his signature, and the reason his early to mid ’60s films — The Bellboy, The Ladies Man, The Errand Boy, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy — are currently respected. This bongo drums bit in Visit to a Small Planet, directed by Norman Taurog just before Lewis directed The Bellboy, was a typical Lewis creation. Different and innovative, certainly for its time.
Notice Stanley Kubrick favorite Joe Turkel (Paths of Glory, The Shining) as a generic Beatnik type. Turkel isn’t listed in the credits, but it’s him.
Visit to a Small Planet Wikipage: “Gore Vidal wrote Visit as a TV play. It aired on 5.8.55 on Goodyear Television Playhouse. Vidal intended a satire on the post-World War II fear of communism in the United States, McCarthyism, Cold War military paranoia and the rising importance of television in American life.
“Vidal later reworked Visit for the Broadway stage, where it debuted on February 7, 1957 and ran for 388 performances. Star Cyril Ritchard, who also directed, received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Kreton.
“The play tells the story of Kreton, an alien from an unnamed planet who lands on earth intending to view the American Civil War. He miscalculates and lands instead 100 years later. Having missed the opportunity to see conflict first hand, but delighted with all the new playthings the 20th century has invented for war-making, he decides to create a war for himself.”