Friday Funnies: Mel Brooks Edition!



Hello Posse,


I hope you had a great week and will have a relaxing weekend as we get deeper into the hectic holiday season. If you need a break from all the hustle of this time of year, I would like to suggest making some popcorn and M&Ms (trust me on this, I got this habit from my brother-in-law and it's amazing) and watch Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles!


I have been wanting to share this film for some time now. It was released in 1974 and not only has an all-star cast performing in it but the list of writers for the script is pretty impressive too. The film is based on a story by Andrew Bergman. In 1985, New York magazine named him the unknown king of comedy. The script for Blazing Saddles was written by Brooks, Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg and Alan Uger.


Mel Brooks directed this western satirical movie which stars Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder. The supporting cast is a typical cavalcade of stars who regularly appear in Brooks' films and were very well-known stars at the time including: Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Slim Pickens, Dom DeLuise, Liam Dunn, and Anne Bancroft, just to name a few. In addition, Mel Brooks makes his usual appearances in his own film.


When watching this movie it is hard to imagine the problems that went on behind the scenes to get this film to the big screen. Bergman had originally started out intending to do this film on his own. The Movie was titled Tex-X at the time, Alan Arkin was hired to direct, and James Earl Jones was tagged to play the sheriff. However, the project fell apart and the rights were eventually bought by Brooks. The script was reworked, retitled, and recast.


Rewriting the script proved to be a challenge with so many talented people on the team wanting their ideas in the script. The process was referred to as a riot by those involved. A few of the writers left before the final script drafts were complete. There were also casting issues.


The team wanted Pryor to play the part of the sheriff but due to his well publicized issues with drugs and alcohol, the studio refused to insure him. John Wayne was originally wanted for the part that would eventually go to Wilder but Wayne thought the script was too "Blue" for his image.


Even after the film was finally written and cast, the film had even more obstacles to overcome. Brooks had numerous disagreements with Warner Bros. over the language used in the film. One of the main disagreements was over the use of the "N-word". When asked about this, Brooks said that he received constant support from Pryor and Little when fighting for their script.


After surviving all of these battles, the film was still almost not released. After a screening, studio execs wanted to scrap the film and just take the financial loss but the studio president at the time decided to release the film in test markets in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles would go on to be the studio's top-grossing film that summer.


So get your popcorn ready and enjoy the show,

Stephen




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