I’m a laugh addict. Movies, TV, books, people (not usually at them, more like, if they make me laugh), to be honest, I’m even satisfied with smiling. I have the laugh lines to prove it. Which brings me to Mel Brooks, bad man having contributed to these aforementioned lines.
One of the worst offenders is still Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder (whom I wished to marry when this movie came out, now I’d go for friendship).
You’d think after all these years I’d get tired of it yet I don’t.
It’s impossible to explain how hilarious this doting spoof on Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein is, but I’m chuckling even as I type.
As time marches on, 40 years later, watching this has become bittersweet with the passing of so much of its brilliant cast.
Props created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein were used as most of the lab equipment in this film.
The ‘Walk This Way’ gag in the movie was the inspiration for Aerosmith’s hit, Walk This Way.
Cloris Leachman improvised a scene in which Frau Blücher (add horse whinnying here) offers “varm milk” and Ovaltine to Dr. Frankenstein/Fronkensteen.
Gene Wilder came up with the idea for YF and pitched it Brooks while filming Blazing Saddles.
Wilder and Brooks agreed the latter couldn’t actually be in the movie because Brooks’ charisma always managed to break the fourth wall whether or not he played himself. But he did provide all the sound effects. It’s good to be the movie King…
Wilder fought Brooks to keep the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” (written by Irving Berlin, made famous by Fred Astaire) bit in; thank goodness he won.
Young Frankenstein was not only filmed in black and white for effect, Brooks used unusual techniques like iris outs, wipes, fades to black, and old-fashioned opening credits.
As a gag, Marty Feldman furtively moved his character’s hump from shoulder to shoulder to see if anyone would notice so they added it to the film with lines like, “Didn’t you used to have that on the other side?”, and “What hump?”.
Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle also starred in the mind-numbingly funny Yellowbeard with the astonishing Graham Chapman.
Gene Wilder always had trouble not laughing during scenes. I understand.
Now – Put…the candle…back!
I loved this show when I was young. It was on Saturday mornings before they were more commercials than shows.
Let me warn you, the only frightening part about this show was it’s complete cheesiness.
Vincent Price (I’m guessing they spent most of their budget on him) did the opening, closing and some bits crushed in between.
All 130 episodes were taped in a few months in 1971.
It had quirky sketches like The Librarian where a scary old guy (Billy Van, really, most of the characters were him) in a dusty library read horrifying stories except they were more like ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and ‘Henny Penny’ and then he’s say, wasn’t that terrifying? Hmmm, maybe you had to see it.
They also had the Dr. Pet Vet, Igor, The Grammar Slammer, The Professor – U.S. physicist Professor Julius Sumner Miller (Mickey Mouse Club’s Professor Wonderful), Gronk,
Grizelda the Ghastly Gourmet, The Mosquito, Count Frightenstein exiled to Castle Frightenstein in Frankenstone, Canada for failing to revive Brucie J. Monster, a Frankenstein-like monster.
I watched it years later to see if I only enjoyed it because we had very limited TV. No, still peculiar, clever, lots of slapstick, and so bad it was good.