Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Happy 90th birthday to Mel Brooks...

A day late we know, but we hope he doesn't mind...

Celebrating Mel Brooks On His 90th Birthday: A Classic Routine

Michael Dale
28 June 2016
Everyone thought he was crazy when Mel Brooks told them he was going to make a movie about a Broadway musical called "Springtime For Hitler." But "The Producers" now considered a satirical masterpiece, won the fledgling filmmaker a 1968 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and turned his career around.

While he's best known today for hilarious films like "Young Frankenstein," "High Anxiety" and "Blazing Saddles," and for his later in life Broadway success with THE PRODUCERS and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, during the 1950s Brooks was primarily known as a sketch comedy writer. His Broadway debut came penning scenes for the revue Leonard Sillman'S NEW FACES OF 1952, which featured his bit where a small-time crook, played by Paul Lynde, was upset because his son (Ronny Graham) wanted to be a musician instead of following in his footsteps.

He then turned to television, joining Carl Reiner, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart on the writing staff of Sid Caesar's "Caesar's Hour," before heading back to Broadway as co-bookwriter of SHINBONE ALLEY, a musical based on Don Marquis' stories of "archie and mehitabel," about a poetry-writing cockroach and his alley cat friend.

His book for the 1962 musical ALL-AMERICAN (score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams) had Ray Bolger playing a European college professor who takes a position at a football crazy American university and uses mathematical equations to turn their sorry football team into winners.

During this time, Brooks' outrageous personality and energy made him a popular television guest, especially when he and Reiner teamed up for routines where Brooks was interviewed as a 2,000 year old man.

In this 1967 clip from the Colgate Comedy Hour, Brooks and Reiner are introduced by Dick Shawn for a set that includes an explanation of how applause was invented.

Happy 90th birthday to funnyman Mel Brooks

28 June 2016

A tip of the hat to funnyman Mel Brooks, who turns 90 today! The director of  "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein" and "The Producers" is one of the few people alive who've earned an EGOT: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

He was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn. He began his career as a comic and a writer for the early TV variety show "Your Show of Shows." Along with Buck Henry, he created the hilarious '60s spy spoof series "Get Smart."

He went on to direct some of the best-known comedy films of all time, including "The Producers," "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," "Silent Movie," "High Anxiety," and "Spaceballs." He won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for "The Producers" and received nominations for the screenplay for "Young Frankenstein" (which he co-wrote with Gene Wilder) and for the song "Blazing Saddles" from the film of the same name.

The Broadway adaptation of "The Producers" starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick ran from 2001 to 2007 and won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards.

Brooks was married to Oscar-winning actress Anne Bancroft from 1964 until her death in 2005. Their son Max Brooks wrote "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War," which became the hit Brad Pitt film.

Here's some of the ways you can celebrate Mel Brooks's birthday today:
Join the Mel Brooks Blogathon
Follow Mel on Twitter. (He describes himself as "Writer, Director, Actor, Producer and failed Dairy Farmer.")
Read "The 10 Funniest Lines From His AFI Tribute"
Watch the career-spanning documentary "Mel Brooks: Make a Noise" on Netflix or PBS
Listen to Mel Brooks recreate his classic 2000-Year-Old Man character as he talks about what Times Square was like back then
Buy "The Mel Brooks Collection" on Amazon

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