Before Steroids, way before Milli Vanilli, going back before P.T. Barnum, and right to the very roots of civilization, there's always been, and there always will be people going for the cheap con! In 1952, one example was "Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla"!!
In this case, you had a guy, Sammy Petrillo, who sometimes looked and acted more like Jerry Lewis than Jerry himself, and so, the people with the money added a suave partner, a fella named Duke Mitchell (who was a good sport, but a mere shadow of a character like Dean Martin), play it up big, add a 'big name' star like Bela Lugosi, make a cheap movie, and hope you dupe enough people into thinking it's the real thing. It really is quite uncanny!!
Information dissemination was slow back in 1952, so it was easy to get away with cheap stunts like this. Even though Sammy was brought on originally as the character of a baby Jerry Lewis, Jerry couldn't take it, had his manager take on Duke & Sammy's career, and made sure they stayed out of work, so, at least one of Jerry's kids was left behind!! For a great and timeless interview, thanks to WFMU, go here:"Sammy Petrillo Speaks Out!"
Duke Mitchell belts out "Deed I Do" composed by Walter Hirsch and Fred Rose, and later sings "Too Soon" by Nick Therry, to the lovely Charlita, who was playing the native girl Nona. Richard Hazard rounds out the musical score with some sweet island lounge music!!!
Bela Lugosi looks quite poised and relxed throughout this whole film.
I'm thinking he was pretty amused by the whole lookalike situation! Sammy has nothing but nice things to say about Bela in the interview!
Pretty big budget really, I mean, at least they could afford two gorilla suits!!!