Today we're wishing one of the funniest men on the planet a very happy birthday. That 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:
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...."
Three of the films listed above, Blazing 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.