In the summer of 1988, I paid to see Who Framed Roger Rabbit five times in the theater, which is still my personal record. I loved it unconditionally, and I still do. It struck me as a great comedy, a brilliant satire, a social commentary, a solid detective film, a breakthrough technical achievement, and also a potential classic. The character of Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) already seemed worthy of company like Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck; he made the transition to just three animated shorts, but in a simpler time, he could have been the star of dozens more.
I loved Roger. I liked his attitude. I liked his philosophy. I thought he was funny. But I guess I wasn't too surprised when I discovered that there were people out there who despised him. They thought he was too frantic, too squeaky, altogether annoying. Which brings me to our summer double feature. If Who Framed Roger Rabbit is our first feature, then Jerry Lewis' The Ladies Man, which opened June 28, 1961, has to be the second. Like Roger Rabbit, the living cartoon character Jerry Lewis is considered a genius in some quarters, and obnoxious in other quarters. You can bring on the "French" jokes now, but let me just explain that the French love Jerry Lewis not only because he's funny, but because he's a genuine film artist, committed to the art of the director.