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Mell Brooks:All About Me

Mel Brooks

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Director, producer, actor, ERGOT - one of few entertainers who have won all four major prizes: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Made friends with comic Sid Caesar, and when he got a gig on a TV show, he hired MB as his writer. Then MB got a dream job - eight weeks in Hollywood at a thousand dollars a week. He came back to NY and convinced Sid that should quit the highly-successful, top-rated TV show and go to Hollywood and make movies. But NBC made him an offer he couldn't refuse - salary went from $5000 to $25,000 a show, a million a year.

1964 commissioned to write a spoof TV show at time of James Bond's Goldfinger and Robert Vaughn and David McCallum The Man From UNCLE. So they cameup with the CIA agent who was also an imbecile: Get Smart. MB created the shoe phone for Don Adams, and for years, every time he went to a restaurant people would take off their shoes and pretend to call him. It was Don who came up with the "Would you belive ...." routine.

Came up with the script for The Producers, but demanded to produce it, even though never actually produced anything bfore. So to get experience went out and directed a few commercials. The film won him an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Made another movie (Twelve Chairs which was acclaimed but not a huge hit. had two Oscars, but only made $50,000 each filmm, each of which was a year's work.

Then came Blazing Saddles. (Hedley lamarr's big dumb foreman Taggart is played by Slim Pickens, who was the guy who rode the A bomb down in Dr Strangelove). Couldn't find anyone in Hollywood to play Mongo ("only pawn --- in game of life") so got a pro footballer, Alex Karras.

MB plays 3 characters in BS - the Governor, the Indian chief and guy in aviator costume in outlaw recruiting line.

Next up was Young Frankenstein, which he wrote with Gene Wilder. Both films came out in 1974, and both big hits.

Then Silent Movie, the plot of which involved MB playing a director trying to get famous film stars to appear in his film. So (as director) he just went round and convinced stars to do a cameo - Burt Reynolds, James Caan (straight out of The Godfather), Burt Reynolds, Liza Minelli and Paul Newman. And the coup de grace getting the famous mime, Marcel Marceau to speak the only line of dialogue in the film ("NON!"). Anything for a laugh - right at the start, MB, Marty Feldman and Dom DeLuise are driving through LA in a tiny Morgan sports car. There's a very pregnant lady waiting at bus stop. "Lets give her a lift". She gets into the back of the car, which tilts back onto it's rear wheels. Mel drives off with the front wheels in the air.

Poll of favourite actors released MB #5, Burt Reynolds #6.Burt had to put up with MB phoning him up and saying "Hello 6, this is 5"

Spaceballs bc he'd destroyed Westerns, horror movies, silent movies, Hitchcock suspense, and Star Wars et al was only genre left to spoof. Got John Hurt to reprise his rolwe from Alien where creature bursts from his chest. In Spaceballs does same and he goes "Oh no ... not again!"

Robin Hood: Men In Tights has great line: "A black sheriff?" "Why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles" Also the film with return from Crusades "This would never have happened if your father was alive" "HE'S DEAD?" "Yes" "And my mother?" "She died of pneumonia" "My brothers?" "Dead of the plague" "My dog, Pongo?" "Run over by a carriage" "My goldfish, Goldie?" "Eaten by the cat" "My cat?" "Choked on the goldfish... but it's good to be home, isn't it Robin?"

Leslie Nielsen In Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

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