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.