Seated at long tables in front of the stage, I was close enough to see the comic’s eyes. He was not focused on the crowd as much as the imaginary friend standing next to him. Every time he spoke for his friend, his facial expression instantly altered, creating a new image to go with the voice. I remembered while sitting and watching this funny man, he reminded me of my favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters. The comic standing up on stage was Robin Williams. The time was towards the end of his television series Mork & Mindy. I had not seen anyone who could quickly ad lib like Jonathan until I saw Robin. From the articles written recently about Jonathan’s death, I read somewhere that Robin used Jonathan as his role model. It now all makes sense to me. Jonathan was truly gifted; I never saw someone take an everyday household item and turn it into so many different objects. Add to it his pliable face and changing voices; there would be a crowd of his made up characters all around him in a matter of minutes. This action comedy does not do Jonathan justice; however, it is still worth watching. Director Stanley Kramer (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, The Defiant Ones) assembled a cast of comedy royalty. To name a few there was Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Terry Thomas; besides Spencer Tracy (Judgement at Nuremberg, Inherit the Wind), Ethel Merman (Call Me Madam, Anything Goes) and Mickey Rooney (National Velvet, Andy Hardy franchise). When a dying driver in a car crash told the rescuers about a buried treasure, it set off a madcap race to see who could get to the loot first. Though the actors were confined to the script, I would love to have been on set to see how many times they had to repeat the scenes due to ad libs and cracking up from laughter. Bear in mind the humor was from a different time when comedians did not use foul language or shock value to get a reaction from the audience. I will say the movie went on too long; however, I did enjoy seeing so many people from a different era. Notice the celebrities who did cameo appearances. Jonathan was a genius as far as I am concerned. I wish there were more comedians who used him as a role model.
3 1/4 stars — DVD