With Universal Studios as producer, The Munsters were able to use classic monster images to which they added running gags, including the central theme that they considered themselves just an average, middle-class family to make a typical sitcom into a brilliantly campy classic.
Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, Frankenstein’s monster/joke-cracking suburban Dad was electric. Yvonne De Carlo as a blood-sucking Donna Reedesque PTA Mom was inspired. Add cool cars, pets, a young werewolf, older vampire and of course, the family oddball, the ‘plain’ niece, Marilyn, and they had a runaway hit.
What I could piece together about The Munsters:
1313 Mockingbird Lane has been used in many TV series and movies in various forms including Desperate Housewives.
Spot was alleged to be a fire-breathing T Rex, not a dragon.
The Munsters and The Addams Family ran concurrently, 1964-1966. The Munsters had higher ratings, but was knocked out by Batman, in colour. Kapow!
Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis were in Car 54, Where Are You? together before The Munsters. Gwynne says “Car 54, Where Are You?” in the Munster Go Home! film.
Herman worked at Gateman, Goodbury & Grave Funeral Parlor. The spooky John Carradine played Mr. Gateman.
Fred Gwynne continued acting, including Jud Crandall in Stephen King’s Pet Semetary (I guess you could say Gage was his Achilles’ Heel) and who could forget his conversation with Joe Pecsi about the ‘yutes’ in My Cousin Vinny.
Pat Priest replaced Beverley Owen as Marilyn Munster after episode 13; the two were so similar most people didn’t even notice.
Butch Patrick played himself, dressed as Eddie Munster in The Simpsons in 1999.
Fred Gwynne’s costume weighed about 50lbs and filming in black & white they had to use violet face paint to catch the light.
The Munsters did have a certain built-in charm.
Suicide isn’t a laughing matter. Neither is depression.
Have we lost the ability to see that line between genuinely mourning the loss of someone and using it to gain attention for ourselves?
Where to begin? The media are too obvious, they’re a well-oiled exploitation machine.
Social media is too often the Land of Shallow, where pictures, platitudes, Slacktivism, jokes, and memes are welcome, but anything of substance is frequently ignored or seen as annoying.
Yet it’s the memorials that confuse me the most.
What does wasting money on flowers, balloons, teddy bears and candles do?
Does it bring those lost back?
Does it stop the next accident, murder, or suicide?
No. It just mildews.
What a terrible waste.
Maybe it’s a form of pain behaviour. People need to show how much they care, show that they’re in pain.
- Take the money you would spend on items for a memorial and donate it to those in need.
- Help someone who suffers from mental illness get help or support.
- Help someone undergoing cancer or other treatments with extra expenses.
- Help society’s most vulnerable get enough food, shelter, dental care, eye glasses, medicine.
- Do something useful. Wouldn’t that show you care? Ease your pain?
Robin Williams chose to leave this world. I expect this loss is felt deeply by his family and friends, and to a lesser degree, by his fans.
If you’re actually upset about this, help someone who is struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and other forms of mental illness.
Maybe we wouldn’t need Suicide Hotlines or Kids Helplines or so many other band-aids if people would stop making so many hurts.
Be there to listen to someone (hint, turn off your cellphone while listening; seeing your head bent over your phone as you absently say uh-huh at maybe the right spots will probably just remind them of how messed up the world is).
Take the time to be in the moment.
I’ve been a fan of Robin Williams since I saw him as Mork (first on Happy Days then on Mork and Mindy).
I liked most of his work, funny or serious or seriously funny.
I was even one of the 10 (that number is an estimate, it might have been an even dozen) people watching The Crazy Ones, before it was cancelled.
It’s a distressing incongruity that many comedians use humour as a mask, a shield, a façade…That while they are making us laugh, making us forget our worries, making us remember that life is worth living they are haunted by inner demons.
Robin Williams was a frenzied mastermind of comedy, or sometimes a serene, gentle man, or an alien, a genie, batty bat, toymaker, spinach-eating strongman, hologram, penguin, robot, a scientist, DJ, doctor, wax figure, dreamer, camper, dad, soldier, psychologist, or whatever he needed to be; he was an actor, an entertainer.
We watch people on screens and think we know them. We don’t.
We don’t know what is in their heart, in their minds.
We don’t know what haunts them, or drives them, sometimes they don’t even know themselves.
It is sad when talent is lost, but instead of fake monuments that will die, or mold, or rot, why not do something that will help people, not just give you a chance to be on TV, something to talk about or post on social media.
I know it’s not popular, but do something real (not reality TV real but real real) and meaningful.
Based on the controversial BBC series, Till Death Us Do Part (created by Johnny Speight) and warmed up with The Honeymooners and The Flintstones, nothing had prepared us for Archie Bunker (played by the apparently sweet Carroll O’Connor).
Archie was a complicated guy.
Clearly bigoted and uncouth, he was also honest and hard-working, often expressing opinions people were thinking, but couldn’t go against the politically correct times to say.
He was also an excellent way to hold a mirror up to bigotry and prejudice without shoving it down people’s throats.
This show rammed through contentious and taboo subjects, including but not limited to: racism, homosexuality, rape, miscarriage, abortion, women’s liberation, menopause, breast cancer, impotence, the Vietnam War and more.
Archie was a scared man. His comfy chair world had been turned on its head.
He knew his place and everyone else knew their place. Until they didn’t.
Archie didn’t understand why everything he felt was right in the world, especially his world, had to change.
His long-suffering wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) was patient in ways no one, including their daughter, Gloria (Sally Struthers) could understand. Despite their many issues, it was clear they all loved each other deeply.
Gloria’s hippie husband, Mike/Meathead (Rob Reiner) highlighted the clash between The Greatest Generation (Archie as a WWII vet) and Baby Boomers, the struggle between the old guard and young people who wanted to change the world…Archie’s snug little world.
And then there were the spinoffs. The Jeffersons movin’ on up to the East Side.
Edith’s cousin, Maude (the incomparable Bea Arthur) visiting then getting a hilarious spinoff. And Good Times was a dy-no-mite spinoff from Maude. And more…
Taped in multi-camera format in front of a live studio audience, All in the Family never failed to break new ground.
I loved that they never used canned laughter. I’d prefer not to hear any laughter, but if I must, let it be genuine.
Family Guy pays tribute to All in the Family with its opening sequence of Lois and Peter playing the piano, and various other similarities…then again, the whole show is a pop culture fart. Of course, they’ve taken it much further, boldly going where even TV censors, after dying of exhaustion, knew they could go.
American Dad! (created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman) is an absurd animated emulation, though since the All in the Family players were more caricatures than characters, it makes sense. And they added Roger and Klaus; who can complain?
All in the Family and its official and unofficial offspring influence so many; although, looking around the world today, I think a lot of the messages are being missed, or misinterpreted.
I would be hard-pressed to believe anyone who had seen this movie didn’t like this movie. I know, it’s seen as chick flick material, but I think it can’t be reduced to just anything. It is so much more. It has comedy. Drama. Love. Romance. Bad men. Good men. Giants. Revenge. Fire swamps. Death. Swordplay. Beauty. Villains. Bravery. Cowardice. Pain. Dreams. Hope.
Some Inconceivable Princess Bride info…
Billy Crystal ad-libbed a lot of his lines. Anyone surprised?
Apparently Cary Elwes thought Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts/The Man In Black should have a mustache, to look more Errol Flynn-swashbuckling piratey guy. Not sure that really worked.
The Cliffs of Insanity are really the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland and matte paintings.
The Princess Bride has spawned parodies, parties, costumes, and of course, it’s inconceivable that people wouldn’t love to quote it.
William Goldman, the author of The Princess Bride also wrote screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, A Bridge Too Far, Misery, Marathon Man (his own novel), and many more.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman is supposed to be an abridged version of the book, The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. S. Morgenstern is really a pseudonym as well as a tricky narrative device that Goldman used to layer his novel. Confused yet?
The Princess Bride is a classic representation of Bildungsroman, a literary genre that concentrates on the ethical and psychological development of youth as they make the transition to adulthood. The term was created by J.K.S. Morgenstern (hmmm, sounds similar to S. Morgenstern). Here’s a few coming-of-age books, movies, and TV shows.
Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,
Sixteen Candles, Mean Girls, Superbad,
Varsity Blues, Easy A, Napoleon Dynamite,
The 400 Blows, Somersault, Garden State,
Clerks, Running With Scissors, The Graduate,
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,
Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Harry Potter,
Slumdog Millionaire, Youth In Revolt,
Rebel Without A Cause, Pretty In Pink, Twilight,
War Games, Wuthering Heights, Precious,
The Breakfast Club, Juno, Boy, Winter’s Bone,
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hamlet,
Prozac Nation, Now and Then, Boys Don’t Cry,
Freaks and Geeks, The Spectacular Now,
Trainspotting, American Graffiti,
Moonrise Kingdom, Say Anything,
Romeo and Juliet, My So-Called Life, Blue Lagoon…
Can you think of any others?
Remember the ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size)? Actually people in costumes, with Rob Reiner doing the noises.
Look closely, above the sick Grandson’s (Fred Savage) bed is the hat Rob Reiner wore in This Is Spinal Tap; Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) did The Princess Bride score and insisted on the subtle nod.
That was actually Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin fencing, both left and right-handed. The only stuntmen used were for the flips. Just in case you needed to be reminded how cool they are.
I’m frugal watching commentaries, they can detract from the entertainment of the movie; exceptionally so here.
Despite many gaffs, mistakes, continuity errors, and plot holes in this movie this is a beloved classic that’s been thrilling audiences for 27 years.
I can watch this movie from start to end or start watching it at any point. It’s that awesome.
I think in this film, ‘As You Wish’ simply means ‘I love you’.
To celebrate getting over 40,000 views on my blog I decided to say Happy 40th Anniversary to Blazing Saddles. Is it even possible that Mel Brooks’ nod to classic Westerns was released in 1974?
I saw this Mel Brooks masterpiece when I was around young – it was different times, people didn’t assume seeing comedy, even crude comedy was going to affect anyone. I didn’t understand half the jokes, so when I re-watched it later I was more impressed and hurt myself laughing.
Blazing Saddles takes satire to fine art status as Mel Brooks takes us back in time to the American Old West, circa 1874. He pokes fun at Hollywood’s version of the Old West, especially the racism by making a completely implausible scenario – a small Western town hiring a black sheriff, even by mistake and the mayhem that it caused.
Brooks was a pioneer in using offensive humour to mock people’s prejudices. He felt it could make people realize how silly intolerance was by making it funny. Still not sure everyone got the point.
Mel Brooks is a master at breaking the Fourth Wall before it became the cool thing to do. Known for throwing in anachronisms to amuse, bemuse, and possibly defuse any tensions his deliberate political incorrectness could cause, Brooks went to ye olde town in Blazing Saddles with various references like: WW II, Laurel and Hardy, Gucci, Academy Awards, Cecil B. Demille, and The Count Basie Orchestra playing April in Paris.
Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little are an amazing on-screen bromance; it’s clear in most scenes there are many private jokes and difficulty keeping straight faces.
I can never decide who makes me laugh the most, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn or Dom DeLuise or maybe the combination makes it so absurdly perfect.
Less Than 40 Fun Blazing Saddles Facts:
The now defunct Pickwick Drive-In Theater in Burbank, California became a ride-in theater as guests rode in on horseback for the Blazing Saddles première.
Mel Brooks is one of a small group to have every won EGAT – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award and a Tony.
Gene Wilder wasn’t the first choice for the Waco Kid, Johnny Carson among others turned it down and Gig Young became indisposed in early production with an elbow bending problem so Wilder was brought in.
Blazing Saddles was the first movie to have foreground music instead of background music.
Madeline Kahn received an Oscar nomination for her role as Lili von Shtupp. So the Oscars used to be fun I guess. Love her song, I’m So Tired, cracks me up every time.
Brooks’ wanted Richard Pryor who was one of the scriptwriters to play the Sheriff, but the studio thought he wasn’t as well-known as Cleavon Little.
Trailblazing Brooks made this movie the first to have on-screen flatulence. Come on, all those beans and coffee, yer dern tootin’ those cowboys would have been tootin’.
There are 11 men sitting around the fire during the bean scene, Mongo is to the side or it could have been a dirty dozen.
John Wayne said he found the script funny, but declined to actually appear in Blazing Saddles. How cool would that have been?
I always thought Slim Pickens name was funny.
Gene Wilder had the idea and a few pages written for Young Frankenstein and approached Brooks with the idea during filming of Blazing Saddles. They worked on the script together while filming. Blazing Saddles was released February 1974 and Young Frankenstein December of the same year.
Mel Brooks received some hate mail about the horse being punched. He explained the horses were trained to fall, like horses in Westerns, they were acting horses, no one hurt the horses. Brooks always seemed confused because he thought everyone understood how much he loved animals.
He also received hate mail about using the ‘N’ word although he was assured by Richard Pryor, Cleavon Little and others he use it correctly. In retrospect Brooks says he would reconsider using it, but found it interesting he only got hate mail from white people about the word.
Anyone remember how many flavors of ice cream Howard Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlor sold?
How about what snack Hedley Lamarr purchased at the theater? I had to look this one up.
What is most or least favourite of this movie? Mine is when Cleavon Little/Bart takes himself hostage; I think it changed comedy forever.
“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.” ~Dr. Peter Venkman
Ghostbusters was 30 years ago? Wow.
This is probably one of the best movies of all time.
Definitely one of the best comedies of all time.
Certainly one of the best paranormal comedies of all time.
I also believe this movie stands the test of time.
John Belushi was supposed to play Dr. Venkman, but when he died Bill Murray was brought in. Slimer was affectionately known as the ghost of Belushi on set.
The party scene with Rick Moranis (Louis Tully/The Keymaster) and his guests ad-libbed the whole scene. Bill Murray ad-libbed most of the movie.
Ghostbusters was originally titled Ghost Smashers.
The whole cast is out of this world.
30 years. That doesn’t seem possible.
I may have to go watch this again.
Don’t cross the streams.
Who you gonna call?