Sunday, June 28, 2015

Blazing Saddles! Mel Brooks Turns 89 Today

Mel Brooks in a still from Blazing Saddles, 1974.
Care to guess which director has three of the top fifteen films on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Comedies?  It's none other than Mel Brooks, performer, writer, director, and producer of some of the finest comedy to grace the American stage, big screens in theaters, and the television screens in millions of our homes. Brooks started in comedy in the Catskills in the late 1940's, became a television comedy writer and performer in the early 1950's, and graduated to film direction with The Producer's in 1968. The rest is history, a laugh track of films including:

Blazing Saddles (1974)   "Pardon me while I whip this out."

Young Frankenstein (1974)   "Abby...Normal."

Silent Movie (1976)  "Non!"

High Anxiety (1977)   "Those who are tardy do not get fruit cup!"

History of the World Part I (1981)   "It's good to be the king."

Spaceballs (1987)   "May the schwartz be with you."

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)   "Actually Scarlet is my middle name. My whole name is Will Scarlet O'Hara. We're from Georgia."

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)   "I have been to many stakings - you have to know where to stand! You know, everything in life is location, location, location...."

The Producers (musical) 2001   "Will the dancing Hitlers please wait in the wings? We are only seeing singing Hitlers.

The Producers (film remake) 2005   "My blue blanket! Give me back my blue blanket!"

It's amazing to realize that Brooks has been entertaining us for over 65 years. He has no plans to stop. A musical production of Young Frankenstein is back in the news. What I find even more remarkable is the fact that the Mel Brooks on stage and film is most often the same man one finds in private life. How does he do it?  Regardless, we're wishing one of the funniest men on the planet a very happy birthday.

And now, an unforgettable three minutes and twenty seconds from the film he calls his personal favorite, the 1968 production of The Producers:


n.b.  The American Film Institute list referenced has The Producers at #11 , Blazing Saddles at #6 , and Young Frankenstein at #13.



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