Jack Lemmon to me at least and I bet a lot of other people who knew him and are familiar with him would say was that he was a professional comedian who didn’t do standup. At least on a regular basis, but his sense of humor, timing and spontaneity when it came to humor and his improvisation was great and gave him comedic abilities. That are about as good as we’ve ever seen in Hollywood. The man deserves to be in Comedy Hall of Fame if there is such a thing. And you see a lot of that in this interview without a script. Merv Griffin giving him questions that aren’t even intended to have humorous responses. And Jack answering the questions seriously, but using humor to make his points.
I covered China Syndrome last night, but they really did a great movie and made a great movie about a subject that by 1978 and early 1979 I’m not sure a lot of Americans were thinking about and were worried about. Which was nuclear power and what could happen when nuclear power plants aren’t managed well enough and where profits are put ahead of safety. Which is about as progressive or socialist even as you’ll ever hear me talk. But this was movie that had to be done and let people know about this issue. And again Three Mile Island happens just a month after this interview was conducted in early 79.
China Syndrome wasn’t saying that nuclear power was bad or that corporations were bad. What they were talking about was the dangers of nuclear when it is not managed properly and the potential consequences that can come when it is not managed properly. And in an area like Los Angeles with roughly fifteen-million people with four-million of the city and eight-millions in LA County that is a lot of people who could potentially be seriously injured with injuries that they’ll never recover from. If not killed if you have a major nuclear power accident. And that is what this movie was talking about.