Zelig (1983) - full transcript

Fictional documentary about the life of human chameleon Leonard Zelig, a man who becomes a celebrity in the 1920s due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. Clever editing places Zelig in real newsreel footage of Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, and others.


He was the phenomenon of the '20s.

When you think, at the time, he was
as well-known as Lindbergh,

it's really quite astonishing.


His story reflected
the nature of our civilization,

the character of our times,

yet it was also one man's story.

And all the themes of our culture
were there.

Heroism, will, things like that.

But when you look back on it,
it was very strange.

Well, it is ironic to see
how quickly he has faded from memory,

considering what
an astounding record he made.

He was, of course, very amusing, but at
the same time touched a nerve in people,

perhaps in a way in which
they would prefer not to be touched.

It certainly is a very bizarre story.


NARRATOR: The year is 1928.

America, enjoying a decade
of unequalled prosperity, has gone wild.

The Jazz Age, it is called.
The rhythms are syncopated,

the morals are looser,
the liquor is cheaper,

when you can get it.

It is a time of diverse heroes
and madcap stunts,

of speakeasies and flamboyant parties.

One typical party occurs
at the Long Island estate

of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Porter Sutton,

socialites, patrons of the arts.

Politicians and poets rub elbows
with the cream of high society.

Present at the party is Scott Fitzgerald,

who is to cast perspective on the '20s
for all future generations.

He writes in his notebook about a curious
little man named Leon Selwyn or Zelman,

who seemed clearly to be an aristocrat,

and extolled the very rich
as he chatted with socialites.

He spoke adoringly of Coolidge
and the Republican party,

all in an upper-class Boston accent.

"An hour later," writes Fitzgerald,

"I was stunned to see the same man
speaking with the kitchen help."

"Now, he claimed to be a Democrat
and his accent seemed to be coarse,

"as if he were one of the crowd."

It is the first small notice
taken of Leonard Zelig.

Florida, one year later.

An odd incident occurs
at the New York Yankees' training camp.

Journalists, anxious as always

to immortalize the exploits
of the great home-run hitters,

notice a strange new player waiting
his turn at bat after Babe Ruth.

He is listed on the roster as Lou Zelig,

but no one on the team has heard of him.

Security guards are called,
and he is escorted from the premises.

It appears as a small item
in the next day's newspaper.


Chicago, Illinois, that same year.

There is a private party
at a speakeasy on the South Side.

People from the most respectable
walks of life dance and drink bathtub gin.

Present that evening
was Calvin Turner, a waiter.

A lotta customers,
a lotta gangsters came in the place.

'Cause they always good tippers
and take good care of us,

and of course we try to take
care of our customers.

But on this particular night, I looked over
and here's a strange guy comin' in.

I'd never seen him before,
so I asked one of the others, I say,

"John, you know this guy?
You ever seen him?"

So he looks.
"No, I ain't never seen him before."

"I don't know who he is,
but I know he's a tough-looking hombre."

So I looked over, and next thing,
the guy had disappeared.

I don't know where he went to, but about
this time, the music usually gets started.

And the band started... (SCATTING)
Playin', and I looked,

and here's a colored guy,
a colored boy playin' trumpet.

Man, he was playin' back.

I looked at the guy
and said "Well, my goodness.

"He looks just like that gangster,
but the gangster was white

"and this guy is black."

So I don't know what's...
What's happening.

New York City. It is several months later.

Police are investigating the disappearance
of a clerk named Leonard Zelig.

Both his landlady and his employer
have reported him missing.

They tell police he was
an odd little man who kept to himself.

Only two clues are found
in Zelig's Greenwich Village flat.

One, a photograph of Zelig
with Eugene O'Neill,

and one of him as Pagliacci.

Acting on a tip, they trace
his whereabouts to Chinatown,

where, in the rear of a Chinese
establishment, a strange-looking Oriental

who fits the description
of Leonard Zelig is discovered.

Suspicious, the detectives
try to pull off his disguise,

but it is not a disguise,
and a fight breaks out.

He is removed by force,
and taken to Manhattan Hospital.

In the ambulance, he rants and curses
in what sounds like authentic Chinese.

He is restrained with a straitjacket.

When he emerges from the car
20 minutes later,

incredibly, he is no longer Chinese,
but Caucasian.

Bewildered interns place him
in the emergency room for observation.

At 7:00 a.m., Dr. Eudora Fletcher,
a psychiatrist, makes her usual rounds.

When I first heard about this
emergency case that had been brought in,

I didn't think anything peculiar.

And when I first laid eyes on him,
it was a bit strange,

because I mistook him for a doctor.

He had a very professional
demeanor about him.

NARRATOR: As a young psychiatrist,

Eudora Fletcher is fascinated
by Leonard Zelig.

She convinces the conservative staff
at the hospital to allow her

to pursue a study of the new admission.

- FLETCHER: What do you do?
- ZELIG: Oh, me? I'm a psychiatrist.

- FLETCHER: Oh, yes?
- ZELIG: Yes, yes, I work

mostly with delusional paranoids.

- FLETCHER: Tell me about it.
- ZELIG: Oh, there's not much to tell. I...

I work mostly on the Continent,

and I've written quite
a few psychoanalytic papers.

I've studied a great deal.
I worked with Freud in Vienna.

Yes, we broke over
the concept of penis envy.

Freud felt that it
should be limited to women.

FLETCHER: It's not that
he was making any sense at all.

It was just a conglomeration
of psychological double-talk

that he had apparently heard, or perhaps
was familiar with through reading.

The funny thing was
that his delivery was quite fluid,

and might have been really
quite convincing

to someone who did not know any better.

NARRATOR: Who was this Leonard Zelig

that seemed to create
such diverse impressions everywhere?

All that was known of him was that
he was the son of a Yiddish actor

named Morris Zelig,
whose performance as Puck

in the Orthodox version of A Midsummer
Night's Dream, was coolly received.

The elder Zelig's second marriage is
marked by constant violent quarrelling,

so much so, that although
the family lives over a bowling alley,

it is the bowling alley
that complains of noise.

As a boy, Leonard is
frequently bullied by anti-Semites.

His parents, who never take his part
and blame him for everything,

side with the anti-Semites.

They punish him often
by locking him in a dark closet.

When they are really angry,
they get into the closet with him.

On his deathbed,
Morris Zelig tells his son

that life is a meaningless
nightmare of suffering,

and the only advice
he gives him is to save string.

Though brother Jack
has a nervous breakdown,

and sister Ruth becomes
a shoplifter and alcoholic,

Leonard Zelig appears
to have adjusted to life.

Somehow, he seems to have coped.

And then, suddenly,
increasingly strange behavior.

Fascinated by the Zelig phenomenon,

Dr. Fletcher arranges
a series of experiments

and invites the skeptical staff
to observe.

With the doctors watching,
Zelig becomes a perfect psychiatrist.

When two Frenchmen are brought in,

Zelig assumes their characters
and speaks reasonable French.

In the company of a Chinese person,
he begins to develop oriental features.

By now, word has gotten out to the press,

and a public thirsting for thrills
and novelty is immediately captivated.

The clamor is so great that Dr. Allan
Sindell is forced to issue a statement.

We're just beginning
to realize the dimensions

of what could be the scientific
medical phenomenon of the age,

and possibly of all time.

Fresh stories roll off the press every day

about Zelig and his puzzling condition.

Although the doctors claim
to have the situation in hand,

no two can agree on a diagnosis.

I'm convinced
that it's glandular in nature

and although there's no evidence now
of any misfunction,

I'm sure that further tests
will show a problem in the secretions.

I'm certain it's something
he picked up from eating Mexican food.

This manifestation
is neurological in origin.

Now, this patient
is suffering from a brain tumor,

and I should not be surprised if,
within several weeks, he died.

Now, we have not as yet
been able to locate the tumor,

but we're still looking.

Ironically, within two weeks' time,

it is Dr. Birsky himself
who dies of a brain tumor.

Leonard Zelig is fine.

Throughout the weeks
of testing and speculation,

Eudora Fletcher begins to feel
that the patient might be suffering

not from a physiological disorder,

but from a psychological one.

It is Zelig's unstable make-up,
she suggests,

that accounts for his metamorphoses.

The governing board of doctors
is hostile to her notion.

They conclude that Zelig's malady can be
traced to poor alignment of the vertebrae.

Tests prove them wrong, and cause
a temporary problem for the patient.

Now, the press and public
hang on every bit of news,

thoroughly absorbed
in the real-life drama.

MAN: (ON RADIO) The continuing saga
of the strange creature

at Manhattan Hospital goes on.

This morning, doctors report,
experiments were conducted

and several women of varying types were
placed in close proximity to the subject,

but no change occurred,
leading authorities to conclude

that the phenomenon
does not occur with women.

Later today, doctors will be experimenting
with a midget and a chicken.

MAN: (ON NEWSREEL) Leonard Zelig
continues to astound scientists

at New York's Manhattan Hospital,

where numerous tests have led nowhere

in determining the nature of
this astonishing manifestation.

He is confronted by two overweight men
at the request of the doctors.

As the men discuss their obesity,
an initially reticent Zelig joins in,

swelling himself to
a miraculous 250 pounds.

Next, in the presence of two Negro men,

Zelig rapidly becomes one himself.

What will they think of next?

Meanwhile, Americans all over
have their own reactions.

I wish I could be
Lenny Zelig, the changing man.

I'd be different people, and maybe
someday my wishes will come true.

Leonard Zelig is
one of the finest gentlemen

in the United States of America!

He is the cat's pajamas!

Trying a new approach, Dr. Fletcher

places the subject under hypnosis.

Tell me why you assume the characteristics

of the person you're with.

ZELIG: (SLEEPILY) It's safe.

FLETCHER: What do you mean?
What do you mean, "safe"?

ZELIG: Safe to...

To be like the others.

FLETCHER: Mmm-hmm. You want to be safe?

- ZELIG: I wanna be liked.
- FLETCHER: Mmm-hmm.

NARRATOR: Probing Zelig's unconscious,
Dr. Fletcher gradually puts together

the pieces of Zelig's behavioral puzzle.

Dividing her time between the hospital
and the 42nd Street library,

she writes her report.

A closed meeting of doctors listens

as Dr. Fletcher describes Zelig
as "a human chameleon."

Like the lizard that is endowed by nature
with a marvelous protective device

that enables it to change color and
blend in with its immediate surrounding,

Zelig, too, protects himself
by becoming whoever he is around.

The doctors listen,
and their reaction is skeptical.

"Impossible!" they claim."Preposterous!"

"If he's a lizard," quips one doctor,

"then we should not spend
good hospital money feeding him,

"but simply catch him some flies."

We knew we had a good story
this time 'cause it had everything in it.

It had romance and it had suspense.

And then this fella, Zelig,
you know, he grew up poor.

I remember my city editor came to me.

He said "Ted, we want this story
on page one every day."

And in those days,
you'd do anything to sell papers.

To get a story, you'd jazz it up, exaggerate,
even maybe play with the truth a little bit.

But here was a story. It was a natural.

You just told the truth and it sold papers.
It never happened before.

Overnight, Leonard Zelig has become

the main topic of conversation everywhere,

and is discussed
with amusement and wonder.

No social gathering
is without its Leonard Zelig joke,

and in a decade of popular dance crazes,
a new one sweeps the nation.

There's a brand-new dance come up the river

Just jerk your head and shake your liver

You're doin' the Chameleon

make a face that's like a lizard

And feel that beat down in your gizzard

You're doin' the Chameleon


Stick out your tongue
the way the reptiles do

Tryin' to catch a fly

Inflate your lungs like big crocodiles do

Hey, hey, my oh my

Throw your best gal down
right on the floor

She'll be beggin' you for more

And you're doin' the Chameleon

If you hold your breath till you turn blue

You'll be changing colors like they do

When you're doin' the Chameleon

Fo-do-do-de-oh, wiggle like a salamander

Go this way, that way, all meander

You're doin' the Chameleon


Stick out your tongue
the way the reptiles do

Tryin' to catch a fly

Inflate your lungs like big crocodiles do

Hey, hey, my oh my

Shake your shoulders,
move your seat around

Get right down and kick your feet around

Doin' the Chameleon, fo-de-oh-do

What's brown and white
and yellow and has four eyes?

Leonard Zelig at the League of Nations.

NARRATOR: Not everyone, however,
was entranced by the human chameleon,

and amongst the fanatics,
he was a handy symbol of iniquity.

This creature personifies capitalist man!

A creature who takes many forms
to achieve ends,

the exploitation
of the workers by deception.

To the Ku Klux Klan, Zelig, a Jew

who was able to transform himself
into a Negro or Indian,

was a triple threat.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fletcher,
certain that her findings are correct,

begs for time with her patient
to put her theories into operation.

FLETCHER: Do you recall the first time

you began behaving like the
people you were around?

ZELIG: In school, some very bright people

asked me if I read Moby Dick.


I was ashamed to say I never read it.

- FLETCHER: And you pretended?
- ZELIG: Yes.

FLETCHER: When did the changes
begin happening automatically?

ZELIG: Years ago. St. Patrick's Day.

Wandered into a bar. Wasn't wearing green.

They made remarks. I turned Irish.

FLETCHER: You told them you were Irish?

My hair turned red, my nose turned up.

Spoke about the great potato famine
and the little people.

We do not agree with Dr. Fletcher's ideas.

We believe those ideas are pipe dreams.

We believe that any change
in Zelig's condition

is going to be brought about
through certain experimental drugs,

which, although risky,
have been known to work wonders.

NARRATOR: Zelig is treated with
the experimental drug Somadril hydrate.

He undergoes severe mood changes,

and for several days
will not come off the wall.

Then, suddenly, as Dr. Fletcher
is beginning to make some progress,

the question of Zelig's fate
takes a new twist

as his half-sister, Ruth, shocks everyone
by removing him from the hospital.

He can be better cared for at home,
she tells the doctors.

He will be looked after, she explains,
by her and her dubious-looking lover,

Martin Geist, a businessman
and ex-carnival promoter.

There is very little resistance
amongst the doctors,

who are relieved
to be rid of the frustrating case.

Only Dr. Fletcher cares
about Zelig as a human being.

She insists he desperately needs
special care, but it is to no avail.

No, no one was questioning
her legal right to Zelig,

I mean, she was his half-sister
and his guardian,

but she had a strange
boyfriend called Geist

that... He'd been in jail
for real-estate fraud.

He was selling the same piece of property
to a lot of the same people, and...

Matter of fact, a congressman
from Delaware bought it twice.

NARRATOR: The crowds that lined
the roads to glimpse the human chameleon

tie up traffic for days.

He is a sight to behold
for tourists and children.

People from all over the country fight for
space to peek at this new wonderment.

Selling mementos while her brother
is allowed to be on exhibition

is only the beginning
for Ruth Zelig and Martin Geist.

Admission is charged
to twice-daily demonstrations

of Leonard's stunning prowess.

He does not disappoint, changing
appearance over and over upon demand.

Overnight, he has become
an attraction, a novelty, a freak.

In this 1935 film based on the life
of Zelig, called The Changing Man,

the atmosphere is best summed up.

We can't give up custody of Leonard.

I know if I'm given the chance,
I can cure him.

It's no use.
Even our attorney says it's hopeless.

Really, Dr. Fletcher.

Uh... May I call you Eudora?

I tell you, somewhere behind
that vacuous face, that zombie-like stare,

is a real human being,
and I can bring it out.

- How?
- I'll think up some new way.

Some technique. Whatever it is,
it'll have to be personal.

There's not much I can do legally.
I'll try, but...

They don't care about him.
They'll exploit him.

All they see in him is a chance
to make more money. Look at this.

Already they're selling
this Leonard Zelig doll.

NARRATOR: The film did not exaggerate.
There were not only Leonard Zelig pens

and lucky charms, but clocks and toys.

There were Leonard Zelig watches and
books, and a famous Leonard Zelig doll.

There were aprons,
chameleon-shaped earmuffs

and a popular Leonard Zelig game.

WOMAN: (SINGING) Everybody go chameleon

Everybody show chameleon

Take it fast or slow chameleon,
chameleon, chameleon days

Everybody think chameleon

Every time you blink, chameleon

In your kitchen sink, chameleon,
chameleon, chameleon days

They're so much fun,
they'll even jump right through a hoop

Oh, boy!

And they change color
when they're swimming in your soup


Flying in the air, chameleon

Crawling in your hair, chameleon

Take away all your care,
chameleon, chameleon, chameleon days

NARRATOR: There were many popular
songs inspired by Leonard Zelig,

tunes that swept the nation.

MAN: (SINGING) I want you for myself alone

MEN: (SINGING) Leonard the Lizard,
see him running across the floor

See him skittering out the door

You have such reptile eyes

Eyes like a lizard that weave their spell

NARRATOR: In addition to
the products and endorsements,

there are the endless exhibitions.

In Hollywood, he is a great favorite
and is offered a film contract.

Clara Bow invites him
for a private weekend,

and tells him to bring
all his personalities.

In Chicago, he meets
heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey,

who clowns with Zelig
at his training camp.

In Washington, DC, he is introduced to
both Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

In France he is hailed as "Le Lézard." He
is the toast of the Parisian music halls.

His performance endears him as well
to many leading French intellectuals,

who see in him a symbol for everything.

His transformation
into a rabbi is so realistic

that certain Frenchmen suggest
he be sent to Devil's Island.

At the Folies-Bergère, Josephine Baker
does her version of the Chameleon dance,

and later tells friends
she finds Zelig amazing, but a little lost.

Everyone used to be at my place,
that is, everyone who was someone.

And occasionally, someone would bring

Zelig in... Leonard in.

Cole Porter was fascinated by Leonard,

and he once wrote a line in a song...

Uh..."You're the tops,
you're Leonard Zelig."

But then he couldn't find
anything to rhyme with "Zelig."

I'm flyin' high

'Cause I've got a feelin' I'm fallin'

Fallin' for nobody else but you

You caught my eye

Now I got a feelin' I'm fallin'

Show me that ring
and I'll jump right through

I used to travel single, oh

We chanced to mingle, oh

Now I'm a-tingle over you

Hey, Mr. Zelig, stand by

'Cause I've got a feelin' I'm fallin'

Fallin' for nobody else but you, wow!

NARRATOR: Though the shows
and parties keep Zelig's sister

and her lover rich and amused,

Zelig's own existence is a nonexistence.

Devoid of personality, his human qualities
long since lost in the shuffle of life,

he sits alone, quietly staring into space,

a cipher, a non-person,
a performing freak.

He who wanted only to fit in, to belong,

to go unseen by his enemies and be loved,

neither fits in nor belongs,
is supervised by enemies,

and remains uncared for.

The board at the hospital
has all but forgotten Zelig.

Only Dr. Fletcher continues
to fight for his custody.

The court turns her final appeal down.

Throughout her valiant legal battle,

she is frequently in the company
of her attorney, Charles Koslow.

He falls in love with her
and presses for her hand in marriage.

She is ambivalent.

Reluctantly, she is beginning to abandon
all hope of recovering Leonard Zelig.

That summer,
Geist has booked them in Spain.

It is the last leg of a European tour
that has been wildly successful.

Relations between Martin Geist
and Ruth Zelig have grown strained.

They have become bored
with one another, and quarrel frequently.

The situation grows worse
when she meets Luis Martinez,

a mediocre and cowardly bullfighter
with whom she falls in love.

Though he wishes to impress Ruth Zelig,

Martinez displays
his usual panic in the arena.

Good fortune is with him, however, as
the bull gives himself a brain concussion.

Martinez takes credit for the kill,
and, cutting off the bull's ear,

presents it to his lover
with great bravado.

That evening, in a jealous rage,
Martin Geist returns to his hotel room

and confronts Ruth Zelig.
He demands that she give him the ear.

She refuses. Geist insists
upon possession of the ear.

They quarrel furiously, and Martinez
is discovered hiding in the closet.

Geist pulls a revolver and shoots him.

He turns the gun on Zelig's half-sister
and kills her, then he takes his own life.

In an orgy of jealous violence,

Leonard Zelig's life
is turned upside down.

At first, the news reverberates
around the world.

Then, just as quickly, the thrill-hungry
public becomes apathetic.

Fresh scandals appear and make headlines.

Events in the Jazz Age
move too rapidly, like Red Grange.

A population glutted with distractions
is quick to forget.

The '20s come to a crashing climax, and
still Leonard Zelig is nowhere to be found.

Dr. Eudora Fletcher
searches in vain to locate him.

When several leads prove disappointing,
she gives up, discouraged.

I felt it was a shame,
because here was this unique case

that I could make my reputation on.

Not that I knew how to cure him,

but if I could have him
alone and feel my way

and be innovative and creative,

I felt that I could change his life,
if I only had the chance.

MAN: (ON NEWSREEL) 300,000 of the
faithful are waiting before St. Peter's

for the appearance of Pope Pius XI.

Borne on the shoulders of 12 attendants,

the seat of the gestatoria carrying
the Holy Father

is drawn out to the central balcony,

where he bestows his blessing
on Rome and all the world.

This is the first time that this ritual
has been performed in 63 years,

and brings to a climax on Easter Sunday
the religious ceremonies of Holy Week.

Oh, but what's this?
A commotion next to the Papal Father?

Somebody doesn't belong up there.

The guards are summoned amidst
chaos, as His Holiness Pope Pius XI

tries to swat the intruder
with a sacred decree.

The faithful can't believe it.

NARRATOR: It is, of course, Zelig.

He is returned to the
United States by Italian authorities

and readmitted to Manhattan Hospital.

"I welcome this opportunity
to treat Leonard Zelig,

"now that he's back
as a ward of the hospital.

"I'm grateful that the board
has given me this chance.

"I sincerely hope to return him to society
a useful, self-possessed citizen

"no longer a curiosity
with no life of his own."

NARRATOR: Dr. Fletcher has
no time now to think of marriage.

All her attention
must be devoted to Leonard Zelig.

Her plan is to bring him
to her country home.

She will set up
a neutral environment away from society.

Here, she will begin searching
for some new way to treat him

in the hopes of penetrating
his unique malady.

Aware of the significance of her work,

Eudora Fletcher arranges to keep
a filmed record of the proceedings.

For this, she contacts
her first cousin, Paul Deghuee,

an inventor and part-time photographer.

And she said "I want to make a record
of this case for future generations

"and the world of science,

"and I want you
to keep the camera very quiet."

And I said, "Why don't you
just take notes and write it up?"

She said, "Paul, when a man changes his
physical appearance, you want to see it.

"You can't read about it. Besides which,
I am planning to make history."

NARRATOR: The "White Room"
is carefully arranged for maximum serenity.

It is a small study in Dr. Fletcher's
house, sparsely furnished.

Clumsy photographic lights are nailed to
the wall to provide sufficient illumination.

Microphones are hidden
in specially selected places.

The camera shoots through a pane of glass

which renders it relatively unobtrusive.

Only the noise of the motor is a problem,

but this is muffled with a blanket
and anything else handy.

From this cramped vantage point,
photographer Paul Deghuee

will record
the famous "White Room Sessions, "

a remarkable document
in the history of psychotherapy.

By today's standards, the White Room
Sessions would seem very primitive,

and yet they were really quite effective

in developing a very strong personal
relation between doctor and patient.

The question whether Zelig was a psychotic

or merely extremely neurotic

was a question that was endlessly
discussed among us doctors.

Now, I myself felt that, uh...

His feelings were really not
all that different from the normal,

maybe what one would call
the well-adjusted, normal person,

only carried to an extreme degree,
to an extreme extent.

I myself felt that one could really think
of him as the ultimate conformist.

Leonard, do you know why you're here?

To discuss psychiatry, right?

You're a doctor?

Yes, I am. I am. Perhaps you've read
my latest paper on delusional paranoia?

Turns out the entire thing is mental.

Now, suppose
I tell you you're not a doctor.

Well, uh...
I would say that you're making a joke.

Is it always so bright in here?

Oh, I'm recording these sessions on film,
if you don't mind?

- No. Somebody's behind there, right?
- Mmm-hmm. That's right.

- That's a camera.
- Mmm-hmm.

Leonard... Leonard,
why don't we start with simple reality?

- Leonard, you're not a doctor.
- No?

No. You're a patient. I'm the doctor.

Well, I wouldn't tell that
to too many people if I were you.

Leonard, you're not a doctor.

Is she gonna be all right? 'Cause...
Is this a...

I've gotta get back to town.
Really. I have an interesting case,

treating two sets of Siamese twins
with split personalities.

I'm getting paid by eight people.

NARRATOR: "The first week's sessions
did not go too well, "

writes Dr. Fletcher in her diary.

"Leonard identifies with me and
is convinced that he is a doctor.

"He is guarded and suspicious.

"There is something appealing about him,
too. He's quick-witted and energetic.

"Perhaps it is
his very helplessness that moves me.

"I must keep flexible
and play the situation by ear."

How are you today, Leonard?

Fine. And I... Uh... (CLEARS THROAT)

I gotta get back to town soon. You know,

I teach a course
at the psychiatric institute

in masturbation and...

- I see.
- I'm a doctor, you know, and I...

"Guilt-related masturbation."

No, no, not guilt-related.
I... I teach advanced.

- I'm quite a respected doctor there.
- Leonard, I'd like you...

...eyes follow this pen
and just let yourself breathe deeply.

- Why? What...
- Relax.

You're trying to hypnotize me, obviously.

- Do you mind?
- Of course I mind. I'm a doctor. I'm...

- Leonard, you're not a doctor.
- I am a doctor!

- Just relax.
- No, I can't. I'm... I'm due back in town.

I... I have this masturbation class.

If I'm not there, they start without me.

NARRATOR: As the weeks go by,

Dr. Fletcher grows more
and more frustrated.

"Leonard continues to insist
he is a doctor,

"and even refuses
to let me hypnotize him," she writes.

"I believe his experiences
of the past year

"have made him more defensive than ever.
It is discouraging."

She was under great pressure,
you could tell.

She was moody and nervous. He was fine.

Napping, sitting in his chair reading...
He used to refer to himself as Dr. Zelig.

He was reading books on psychiatry.

I told her "You'd better
get away for a day and relax.

"The strain is becoming too much for you."

NARRATOR: Leaving Zelig alone,
Dr. Fletcher takes Paul Deghuee's advice

and she and her fiancé
spend some hours off relaxing.

They go to Broadway,
then to a well-known nightclub,

where, despite a lively stage show,
Dr. Fletcher is distracted and uneasy.

She is unable to think
of anything but her patient.

The atmosphere with her fiancé, Koslow,
is awkward and strained.

He is put off
by her total obsession with Zelig.

Ironically, it is in the noisy and
smoke-filled atmosphere of the nightclub

that Eudora Fletcher is struck
by a brilliant and innovative plan

that will create
a major breakthrough in the case.

- Dr. Zelig?
- Yes?

I... I wonder if you could
help me with a problem.

Well, I'll certainly try.

Of course, we can't promise anything,
you know.

You see, last week I was with
a group of fairly erudite people

who were discussing the novel Moby Dick,

and I... I was afraid to admit
that I hadn't read it, so I lied.


You see, I want so badly to be liked, to be
like other people so that I don't stand out.

- That's natural.
- I go to such extreme lengths to blend in.


You're a doctor, you know?

should know how to handle that.

No, but the truth of the matter is,

I... I'm not an actual doctor.

- You're not?
- No, Doctor.

No, I've... I've been pretending to be
a doctor to fit in with my friends.

You see, they're doctors.


That's something.

But you're a doctor, and you can help me.
You have to help me.

Actually... I don't feel
that well, actually.

But my... My whole life's just been a lie.

I've been posing
as one thing after another.

Well, you... You need help, lady. Um...

Last night... Last night,
I dreamt that I was falling into fire.

What does that mean?

That's terrible. I don't know.
You know, I...

Please, Doctor. I know
I'm a very complicated patient.

- Jesus. I don't feel that well.
- What am I suffering from?

How should I know? I'm not a doctor.

- You're not?
- No. Am I?

- Who are you?
- What do you mean, who am I?

- I don't know. These are tough questions.
- Leonard Zelig.

- Yes, definitely. Who is he?
- You.

No. I'm nobody. I'm nothing.

Catch me, I'm falling.

Playing on Zelig's identity disorder,

Dr. Fletcher has manipulated him
into momentary disorientation.

With his guard lowered,
she quickly puts him under hypnosis.

Using posthypnotic suggestion, she will
now be able to induce a trance at will.

My brother beat me.

My sister beat my brother.

My father beat my sister
and my brother and me.

My mother beat my father
and my sister and me and my brother.

The neighbors beat our family.

People down the block beat
the neighbors and our family.

I'm 12 years old.

I run into a synagogue.

I ask the rabbi the meaning of life.

He tells me the meaning of life,

but he tells it to me in Hebrew.

I don't understand Hebrew.

Then he wants to charge me $600
for Hebrew lessons.

NARRATOR: Dr. Fletcher's therapy
consists of a two-pronged attack.

In the trance state, the personality will
be deeply probed and then restructured.

In the conscious state,
she will provide love and affection,

unconditional positive regard.

You will be completely honest.

You're in a deep trance.

You will become, not who you think
I want you to be, but you'll be yourself.

Now, how do you feel about it here?

It's the worst.

I hate the country.

I hate the grass and the mosquitoes.

And cooking... Your cooking is terrible.

Your pancakes...

They're... I dump them in the garbage
when you're not looking.

- Uh-huh.
- And the jokes you try and tell when...

When you think you're amusing,

they're long and pointless,
there's no end to them.

I see. And what else?

I wanna go to bed with you.

Oh... That surprises me.

I didn't think you liked me very much.

I love you.

You do?

You're very sweet, 'cause you're...

You're not as clever as you think you are.

You're all mixed up,

and nervous, and you're the worst cook.

Those pancakes...

Oh, I love you.

I wanna take care of you.

No more pancakes.

FLETCHER: I started out by trying
to use Leonard to make my reputation,

and then I found that
I had very strong feelings for him.

I never thought I was attractive.

I never had a real romance.

Charles Koslow was the type of man
my mother felt I should marry.

NARRATOR: Feeling more confident
every day with her patient,

Dr. Fletcher takes him
for a cautious outing,

an afternoon at
her sister's house in nearby Teaneck.

Meryl Fletcher is an aviatrix,
a fine professional pilot.

Eudora Fletcher is an amateur pilot,

and the afternoon is spent relaxing
and retelling old flying experiences.

As the weeks pass, Zelig is encouraged

to open up more and more,
to give his own opinions.

What was guarded at first
soon becomes expansive.

ZELIG: I hated my stepmother,
and I don't care who knows it.

I love baseball.

You know, it doesn't have to mean
anything, it's just very beautiful to watch.

I'm a Democrat. I always was a Democrat.

Is it okay if I don't agree with you
about that recording?

- FLETCHER: Of course.
- ZELIG: I mean, Brahms is just always

too melodramatic for me.

You have to be your own person
and make your own moral choices,

even when they do require real courage,
otherwise you're like a robot, or a lizard.

Are you really gonna
get married to that lawyer?

I... I would much rather you didn't.

No, I don't agree.
I think this guy Mussolini is a loser.

Uh... Are we ever gonna make love?

NARRATOR: It has been three months, and
the board wishes to examine the patient.

Dr. Fletcher says
Zelig is not ready to leave the premises.

The doctors agree to visit him there.

The date is set, four days hence.

If progress is insufficient,
she will be removed from the case.

I was very nervous,
because in his waking state

he never remembered
anything from his trance state,

and I wondered if there could be some
way of locking these two things together.

And then I also was worried
that if he was with strong personalities,

he might lose his personality.

Sunday at noon. The doctors arrive.

They are greeted
by Eudora Fletcher and Leonard Zelig

and are shown around the grounds.

Though Dr. Fletcher is tense and alert,

Leonard Zelig seems calm and at ease.

Despite the fact that he is surrounded
by physicians, he does not turn into one.

The encounter appears
to be a resounding success,

when Dr. Henry Mayerson comments
innocently about the weather,

saying that it is a nice day.

Zelig tells Dr. Mayerson that
he does not agree that it is a nice day.

Dr. Mayerson is taken aback
at the firmness of Zelig's conviction.

He points out that
the sun is shining and that it is mild.

Zelig, trained to voice his own personal
opinions fearlessly, is too aggressive.

He has been molded
too far in the other direction.

He has become over-opinionated,

and cannot brook
any disagreement with his own views.

I had taken him
too far in the other direction.

He had struck Dr. Mayerson and
several board members with a rake.

This was not what we wanted, and yet
I felt that I had accomplished something.

I felt if I could have him for two more
weeks, I could do some fine-tuning

and turn Leonard Zelig
back into his own man.

Dr. Eudora Nesbit Fletcher,

the hero, or should we say heroine,
of the hour.

The beautiful and brilliant psychiatrist
never lost faith in her conviction

that Leonard Zelig, the human chameleon,
was suffering from a mental disorder.

Working with her cousin,
cameraman Paul Deghuee,

the doctor managed to keep
a vital record of the proceedings

including rare footage
of Zelig hypnotized.

The patient and his healer have become
fast friends in the process,

and enjoy one another's company
even when she's not working on him.

The result of maintaining
a courageous minority opinion

is a resounding success for psychiatry.

Who says women are just good for sewing?

Now it's on to City Hall,

where the town's newest celebrities are
given the key to the city.

CITY HALL SPEAKER: We're honored
to present this key to New York City

to the two of you.

And, uh... Jimmy Walker
did wanna be here this afternoon

and sing Leonard the Lizard,
but he was just too busy.

MAN: (ON NEWSREEL) After City Hall,
Eudora Fletcher, the beautiful genius

who cured Zelig
of his science-defying condition,

is honored by fellow scientists
at New York's Waldorf-Astoria.

Present are luminaries from
all over the world,

not just in the field of psychiatry,

but physics, biology,
mathematics, and you name it.

Here she is exchanging theories
with Nils Andersen,

the father of modern blood disease.

Later in the week, Dr. Fletcher is again
honored by the greatest city in the world,

as she gets to christen her first ship.

Quite a success story
for a little girl from the backwoods.

MALE NEWSCASTER: Dr. Fletcher has
smashed the bottle, not champagne...

I'm speaking to you from
the home of Mrs. Catherine Fletcher.

She's the mother of Dr. Eudora Fletcher,

the famous psychiatrist
so much in the news these days.

And I'm going to be
asking Mrs. Fletcher to...

To begin with, to tell us something about
what it's like to raise a medical genius.

And I might ask you
about the many sacrifices

that you've made to put your daughter
through medical school.

And could you speak
right into the microphones, please?

Sacrifices, we had none.
John was a stockbroker,

he had plenty of money, and I came
from a wealthy Philadelphia family, so...

Well, I'm sure that your daughter
always wanted to be a doctor,

ever since she could remember.

I don't think so.

I always thought she'd want to be a flier
like her sister Meryl and raise a family.

- But she was a very moody...
- But still, a mother always dreams

for her child to have the kind of success
that your daughter has.

- She was a very difficult girl.
- Well, tell me about your husband.

I understand that
he is a simple businessman.

He must be so thrilled and pleased

to have his daughter
achieve such recognition.

John had problems, depression. He drank.

Well, Mrs. Fletcher, thank you
so much for speaking with us today.

MAN: (ON NEWSREEL) Here at San Simeon,

glorious dreamland of newspaper mogul
William Randolph Hearst,

celebrities from
all walks of society, sun or play.

There's Marie Dressler with Mr. Hearst.
Always a popular guest at San Simeon,

Miss Dressler accepts
a flower from an ardent admirer.

Along with her is Marion Davies.

When she works,
Miss Davies is always dead serious,

but here at this fabulous playground,

she shows us her fun side.

There she is with you-know-who,
Charlie Chaplin, always kidding.

Although New York is 3,000 miles away,

Jimmy Walker somehow appears
through Mr. Hearst's enchanted gateway.

Another New Yorker is Leonard Zelig,

here shown clowning with
everybody's favorite cowboy, Tom Mix.

Won't Tony be jealous?

Tony is Tom's horse, and we always
thought they went everywhere together.

There's that fellow Chaplin again,
this time with Adolphe Menjou.

There's Claire Windsor
and Dolores del Rio,

and a very charming Eudora Fletcher

chatting with Hollywood's newest
dancing sensation, James Cagney.

Oh, and what have we here?

Only a beautiful lady
named Carole Lombard.

And there's Dr. Fletcher and Leonard Zelig

hitting a few with Bobby Jones
on Mr. Hearst's golf course.

Unless Leonard can go back
to his old chameleon personality

and turn into a golf pro,

I'd bet my money on Bobby.

But who cares, if they're having fun?

Leonard Zelig, do you want to give
the kids of this country some advice?

I sure do. Kids, you gotta be yourself.

You know, you can't act like anybody else

just because you think that they have
all the answers and you don't.

You have to be your own man and learn
to speak up and say what's on your mind.

Now, maybe they're not free
to do that in foreign countries,

but that's the American way.

And you can take it from me, because I
used to be a member of the reptile family,

but I'm not anymore.

I'm sittin' on top of the world

I'm rollin' along

Just rollin' along

Oh boy, I'm quittin'
the blues of the world

I'm singin' a song

Just singin' a song

Glory, hallelujah, I told Leonard Zelig

Hey, Len, get ready to call

Just like Humpty Dumpty, I'm ready to fall

I'm sittin' on top of the world

My, my, my, rollin' along

Rollin' along

NARRATOR: Zelig, no longer a chameleon,
is at last his own man.

His point of view on politics, art,
life and love is honest and direct.

Though his taste is described
by many as lowbrow, it is his own.

He is finally an individual,
a human being.

He no longer gives up his own identity

to be a safe and invisible
part of his surroundings.

Oh, his taste wasn't terrible.

He was the kind of man who preferred
watching baseball to reading Moby Dick.

And that got him off on the wrong foot,
or so the legend goes.

It was much more a matter of symbolism.
To the Marxists, he was one thing.

The Catholic Church never
forgave him for the Vatican incident.

The American people, in the throes
of the Depression as they were,

found in him a symbol of possibility,
of self-improvement and self-fulfillment.

And of course, the Freudians had a ball.

They could interpret him
in any way they pleased.

It was all symbolism,
but there were no two intellectuals

who agreed about what it meant.

I don't know if you could call it
a triumph of psychotherapy.

It seems more like
a triumph of aesthetic instincts,

because Dr. Fletcher's
techniques didn't owe anything to

then-current schools of therapy.

But she sensed what was needed
and she provided it,

and that was, in its way,
a remarkable creative accomplishment.

When I think about it,
it seems to me that his story

reflected a lot of
the Jewish experience in America,

the great urge to push in
and to find one's place

and then to assimilate into the culture.

I mean, he wanted
to assimilate like crazy.


NARRATOR: Eudora Fletcher's life
has also changed from this experience.

For her, fame and recognition
are empty rewards

and do not live up to the adolescent
fantasies that prompted her ambition.

She and her patient have fallen in love,

and it is no surprise when she forsakes
the upwardly mobile attorney Koslow

and announces wedding plans with Zelig.

WOMAN: (SINGING) Now there's one thing
to think of when you're blue

There are others much worse off than you

If a load of trouble should arrive

Laugh and say it's great to be alive

Keep your sunny side up, up

Hide the side that gets blue

If you have nine sons in a row

Baseball teams make money, you know

Keep your funny side up, up

Let your laughter come through, do

Stand up on your legs,
be like two fried eggs

Keep your sunny side up, up

Keep your sunny side up

It was wonderful to see
my sister and Leonard together.

She drew strength from him,

and they were so much
in love with each other.

She looked happier than she had in years.

I remember they decided
to get married in the spring,

and then, of course, the roof fell in.

NARRATOR: Two weeks before the wedding,

an ex-showgirl named Lita Fox comes forth

and claims that she is married to Zelig.

She also claims to have had his child.

It is an immediate scandal.

We were married a year ago.
He said he was an actor.

He sounded just like one,
and I'm in show business, too.

So we drove to Baltimore
and we were married,

and I have a license to prove it.

NARRATOR: He had married her while
under a different personality.

When she read of the plans for his
forthcoming wedding to Eudora Fletcher,

she was mortified
and decided to take legal action.

Zelig says he will fight it in court,

but public opinion begins
subtly to shift away from him.

Clever attorneys portray Lita Fox
as an abandoned woman.

The child is neglected,
poor and fatherless.

Zelig has sold his life story to Hollywood
for a large sum of money.

When the scandal breaks,
the studio demands its money back.

Zelig can only return half
as the rest has already been spent.

Outraged, the studio gives him half his
life back. They keep the best moments,

and he is left with only
his sleeping hours and mealtimes.

Zelig is shaken by the scandal,
but it is only the beginning.

Now another woman steps forward.

Helen Gray, a salesgirl
from a Wisconsin gift shop

claims that Zelig
is the father of her twins.

She tells her lawyers that he passed
himself off as a fur trapper.

Zelig has no recollection,

but admits it could have happened
when he was under one of his spells.

It is the signal
for the floodgates to open.

He married me up
at the First Church of Harlem.

He told me he was
the brother of Duke Ellington.

He was the guy who smashed my car up.
It was brand-new.

Then he backed up over my mother's wrist.

She's elderly, and uses her wrist a lot.

He painted my house a disgusting color.

He said he was a painter.

I couldn't believe the results.
Then he disappeared.

NARRATOR: That Zelig could be
responsible for the behavior

of each of the personalities he assumed

means dozens of lawsuits.

He is sued for bigamy,
adultery, automobile accidents,

plagiarism, household damages, negligence,

property damages, and performing
unnecessary dental extractions.

I would like to apologize to everyone.

I'm awfully sorry
for marrying all those women.

It just... I don't know,
it just seemed like the thing to do.

And to the gentleman
whose appendix I took out,

I'm... I don't know what to say.

If it's any consolation, I may still
have it somewhere around the house.

My deepest apology goes
to the Trokman family in Detroit.

I... I never delivered a baby before
in my life,

and I, I just thought
that ice tongs was the way to do it.

NARRATOR: Thriving mercilessly
on loopholes and technicalities,

the American legal profession
has a field day.

Zelig is branded a criminal.
Despite Dr. Fletcher's insistence

that he cannot be held
responsible for his actions

while in his chameleon state,
it is no use.

Leonard Zelig sets a bad moral influence.

America is a moral country.
It's a God-fearing country.

We don't condone scandals,

scandals of fraud and polygamy.

In keeping with a pure society,

I say lynch the little Hebe!

Throughout the humiliating ordeal,

Eudora Fletcher stands by
the man she loves, valiantly.

Privately, she tells friends that she is
worried about Zelig's emotional condition,

which seems to her to be deteriorating

under the weight of
conservative moral opinion.

In public, he tries to keep up
an appearance of composure,

but it is increasingly difficult.

It is clear he is coming apart when he and
Eudora Fletcher dine at a Greek restaurant,

and in the midst of the meal,
Zelig begins to turn Greek.

He longs desperately to be liked
once again, to be accepted, to fit in.

Public clamor over his morality
reaches a fever pitch,

and on the eve of his sentencing,
Leonard Zelig vanishes.

This is Chief Inspector
of Police Thomas Dowd

with a national broadcasting news break.

Leonard Zelig is missing.
On the eve of his sentencing

for an assortment
of crimes and misdemeanors

ranging from polygamy to fraud,

he has disappeared.

We are searching for clues and
would appreciate speaking with anyone

who might have any information
leading to his apprehension.

MERYL: My sister was just shattered.

She tried, you know, she tried to keep up
a calm front but she was just too upset.

And she wasn't a person
who usually displayed emotion easily,

except where Leonard was concerned.

Dr. Fletcher and the police confer daily.

Together they make public appeals

to anyone who might know
of his whereabouts.

Apart from several crank telephone calls,
there is little response.

Months go by and Zelig is not heard from.

Cars are searched.
False leads pour in from everywhere.

His jacket is recovered in Texas.

A manhunt in that state proves futile.

He is reported seen
in Chicago, in California.

This still photo appears
to have a man resembling him

with a mariachi band in Mexico.

Dr. Fletcher continues
to search for Zelig,

but hopes fade with each passing day.

FLETCHER: All I could think of was Leonard

and how much I missed him and loved him,

and of all the terrific times
we'd spent together.

It was really a very painful time for me.

The year ends, and Zelig is still missing.

I just moped around and wept.

And one night, after a very bad time,

my sister Meryl said to me,
"Come on, let's go out for dinner.

"Let's go to a concert."

I said, "No, I can't do it."
But she insisted.

And we went out
and finally ended up in a movie.

We saw Grand Hotel
and with it, there was a newsreel.

MAN: (ON NEWSREEL) Adolf Hitler
and the National Socialist Party

continue to consolidate gains
in Depression-ridden Berlin.

Denouncing the Treaty of Versailles,

the Nazis make fervent appeals to German
patriotism, promising to rebuild...

NARRATOR: Eudora Fletcher
is stunned by what she sees.

Amongst the Brownshirts,
she spots a figure who could be Zelig.

Yes, but then it really made sense,
it made all the sense in the world,

because although he wanted to be loved,
craved to be loved,

there was also something in him

that desired immersion
in the mass and anonymity,

and fascism offered Zelig
that kind of opportunity.

So he could make something
anonymous of himself

by belonging to this vast movement.

She sails for Europe the following week.

Ten days later, she arrives in Berlin.

Germany is a country deep
in the throes of the Depression.

Militarism and unrest are in the air.

She searches everywhere and makes
enquiries, but it is impossible.

After three weeks,
the authorities begin to get suspicious.

They watch her. While she is out,
they search her hotel room.

A fourth week goes by,
and she is about to give up and go home,

when news of a large rally
at Munich catches her attention.

It is rumored that it will be the largest
gathering to date of Nazi personnel.

Eudora Fletcher is counting on
the hope that Zelig may also attend.

And that if she can confront him,

the strong feeling he has
always had for her can be awakened.

At first, all appears hopeless.
The crowd is huge,

and it seems impossible
to locate any one particular face.


NARRATOR: Then, suddenly,

a figure flanking
the Chancellor captures her attention.

Behind and to the right of Hitler,
she spots Zelig.

Struggling to make contact,
she manages to catch his eye.

Like a man emerging from a dream,
Zelig notices her.

In a matter of seconds,
everything comes back to him.





Leonard! Leonard!


It was nothing like
it happened in the movie.

When Leonard came down from the
podium, they didn't know what to think.

We couldn't believe our eyes.
Hitler's speech was ruined.

He wanted to make
a good joke about Poland,

but just then, Zelig interfered

and Hitler was extremely upset.

The SS wanted to grab Zelig,

but if they would have grabbed him,
they probably would have tortured him,

or maybe even shot him.

In the confusion, Fletcher and Zelig got
out of the building through a side door.

They grabbed a car.
They sped away in the car,

and the SS after them, shot them...

NARRATOR: In rare German newsreel footage,

a quick glimpse
of the escape was recorded.


FLETCHER: I was flying!
It was wonderful. And then...

Suddenly, something happened.
I was frightened.

I lost control. We went into a dive.

Leonard was so terrified
that he changed his personality,

and before my eyes, because
I was a pilot, he turned into one, too.

Zelig takes control of the airplane.

Acting the role of pilot,
he struggles valiantly with the aircraft.

The Germans, who are stunned,
take a full 15 minutes

before they follow
in hot pursuit of their quarry.

With Eudora Fletcher unconscious, Zelig,
who had never flown before in his life,

not only escapes the German pilots,

but sets a record for flying nonstop
across the Atlantic upside down.

MAN: (ON NEWSREEL) With a storm
of cheers and a blizzard of ticker tape,

New York welcomes back Eudora Fletcher

and Leonard Zelig, the human chameleon.

His remarkable feat of aviation
fills the nation with pride

and earns him a full presidential pardon.

Forgiving multitudes flock to see him

as he sits by the side of
his plucky bride-to-be.

Their journey of triumph
leads to City Hall.

New York's greatest honor,
the Medal of Valor,

is bestowed on Zelig by Carter Dean.

You are a great inspiration
to the young of this nation

who will one day grow up
and be great doctors and great patients.


This is a great thrill.

I'm glad we lived to see this day.

I've never flown before in my life,
and it shows exactly what you can do

if you're a total psychotic.


The thing was paradoxical,
because what enabled him

to perform this astounding feat
was his ability to transform himself.

Therefore, his sickness
was also at the root of his salvation,

and I think it's interesting
to view the thing that way,

that it was his very disorder
that made a hero of him.

It was really absurd in a way.

I mean, he had this curious quirk,
this strange characteristic,

and for a time, everyone loved him,

and then people stopped loving him,

and then he did this stunt,
you know, with the airplane,

and then everybody loved him again,
and that was what the '20s were like.

When you think about it, has America
changed so much? I don't think so.

After untangling countless legal details,

Leonard Zelig and Eudora Fletcher marry.

It is a simple ceremony,
captured on home movies.

"Wanting only to be liked,
he distorted himself beyond measure, "

wrote Scott Fitzgerald.

"One wonders what would have happened
if, right at the outset,

"he had had the courage
to speak his mind and not pretend.

"In the end it was, after all,

"not the approbation of many, but the love
of one woman that changed his life."

MAN: (SINGING) ...As long as I have you

Though there be rain and darkness, too

I'll not complain

I'll laugh it through

Poverty may come to me

That's true

But what care, I say

I'll get by

As long as I have you


WOMAN: (SINGING) Everybody go chameleon

Everybody show chameleon

Take it fast or slow chameleon,
chameleon, chameleon days

Everybody think chameleon

Every time you blink, chameleon

In your kitchen sink, chameleon,
chameleon, chameleon days

They're all around us
when we wake up every day


I'm glad they found us
'cause they take the blues away

Hey, hey!

Everywhere you go, chameleon

Everything is so chameleon

Top of your head to your toe,
chameleon, chameleon, chameleon days

They're so much fun,
they'll even jump right through a hoop

Oh, boy!

And they change color
when they're swimming in your soup


Flying in the air, chameleon

Crawling in your hair, chameleon

Take away all your care,
chameleon, chameleon, chameleon days


There's a brand-new dance come up the river

Just jerk your head and shake your liver

You're doin' the Chameleon

make a face that's like a lizard

And feel that beat down in your gizzard

You're doin' the Chameleon


Stick out your tongue
the way the reptiles do

Tryin' to catch a fly

Inflate your lungs like big crocodiles do

Hey, hey, my oh my

Throw your best gal down
right on the floor

She'll be beggin' you for more

And you're doin' the Chameleon

If you hold your breath till you turn blue

You'll be changing colors like they do

When you're doin' the Chameleon

Fo-do-do-de-oh, wiggle like a salamander

Go this way, that way, all meander

You're doin' the Chameleon


Stick out your tongue
the way the reptiles do

Tryin' to catch a fly

Inflate your lungs like big crocodiles do

Hey, hey, my oh my

Shake your shoulders,
move your seat around

Get right down and kick your feet around

Doin' the Chameleon, fo-de-oh-do