VIDEO: Pepito’s Filmography: “Scared Stiff” Starring Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis (1953)

Monday, April 27, 1953

Dean Martin … Larry Todd
Jerry Lewis … Myron Mertz
Lizabeth Scott … Mary Carroll
Carmen Miranda … Carmelita Castinha
Pepito Perez … Rowboat Operator

Your assignment: find Pepito’s scene as the rowboat operator for Lizabeth Scott.

Larry Todd (Dean Martin), and Myron Mertz (Jerry Lewis), cross paths with a gangster named “Shorty” when Larry hits on Shorty’s girl. After fleeing from Shorty, they meet an heiress (Lizabeth Scott) who is sailing for Cuba. One unexplained murder and threatening note later, Larry and Myron sail with her to the island. Once there they cross paths with a zombie and other mysterious happenings. Eventually they discover the person behind the mystery and rid the island of him. The movie ends with a cameo appearance by Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

The team’s ninth picture, Scared Stiff is a remake of Paramount’s previous effort, The Ghost Breakers, a 1940 “scare comedy” starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard, also directed by George Marshall[1]Martin and Lewis had appeared as a cameo in Hope and Bing Crosby’s Road to Bali the previous year as part of a ‘comedy trade’ between the two teams. In turn, Hope and Crosby appear for a cameo in Scared Stiff. Both shared a common producer, Cy Howard, who produced Martin and Lewis’ first two My Friend Irma pictures and That’s My Boy.

According to Lewis, both he and Martin were against making the picture, as they found the original to be satisfactory. However, because the film was a Paramount property that producer Hal B. Wallisfelt was one that could be successful in the comedy team’s hands, he held the two to their contract for the film.[1]

Scared Stiff was filmed from June 2 through July 17, 1952. It was the first film of the team’s available in 3-track, stereophonic sound. Some reviews at the time commented on the soundtrack’s use of stereo enhancing gag sequences[2]. The stereo tracks for this film are now considered lost. As with most films of team’s work, it garnered a re-release in 1958 on a double bill with another Martin and Lewis picture, Jumping Jacks.

Scared Stiff turned out to be the last film for Carmen Miranda who died two years later, shortly after completing an episode of The Jimmy Durante Show on TV.

“Scared Stiff” also contained two all-time classic Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin scenes … Jerry Lewis as Carmen Miranda singing “Mama Yo Quiero”, and Jerry and Dean Martin in “Bongo Bingo.”

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