On History: Jerry Lewis' Bat Lady

By | Tuesday, April 15, 2014 Leave a Comment
In the 1955 movie Artists and Models, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis portray a couple of guys working in the comic business. Martin is an artist, and Lewis is an accidental writer. Accidental in that he mumbles stories out loud while he's sleeping, and Martin's character uses them as plots for his comic work. Their main character is a superhero called Bat Lady, who quickly gains a Superman-level of success and we see any number of Bat Lady pieces of art throughout the film. Not only what Martin is working on, but the publisher's office sports a giant Bat Lady mural and the publisher himself wears a Bat Lady tie.

Except nowhere in the movie's credits does anyone actually receive a designation for creating the actual art. Arthur Camp and Neil Wheeler are given props credits in IMDB, but there's nothing in the movie itself.

Recently, Bonhams auction house announced that they had three pages of original art used as props from the movie.
They're crediting the work to either Camp or Wheeler, though I suspect that came from the same IMDB search I conducted.

Credits aside, it's fascinating to see how the artwork was laid out. (There's never a clear shot of the pages in the film.) Doubly-interesting to see is how two guys who weren't necessarily familiar with comic art production put togther the pages.

Curious aside: Two years later, Camp found himself creating props for another picture starring Lewis called The Sad Sack... based off the comic book character of the same name created by George Baker.
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