Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mel Brooks At 90

Today we're wishing one of the funniest men on the planet a very happy birthdayThat performer, writer, director, producer, songwriter, and perpetually wacko comic personality known as Mel Brooks is ninety years old. In his seventy year career he's brought us some of the finest comedy to grace the American stage, big screens in theaters, and the television screens in millions of our homes. And there's no end in sight either with his work in animated features, occasional television appearances, and  persistent rumblings of a Spaceballs sequel.

Brooks in a still from Blazing Saddles, 1974

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 the gems:

The Producers (1968)   "Will the dancing Hitlers please wait in the wings? We are only seeing singing Hitlers."

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 (2005) "I'm not going into the toilet. I'm going into show business!"

Three of the films listed aboveBlazing Saddles The Producers (1968)and Young Frankenstein are ranked at #6, #11, and #13, respectively, on the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest Comedies list.  Quite an achievement for a sickly kid who got his start as a drummer at resorts in the Catskills. 

In closing here is an unforgettable three minutes and twenty seconds from the film he calls his personal favorite, the 1968 production of The Producers:

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