Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mel Brooks Turns 80 Today...

Happy birthday to one of my idols. I only hope that I can meet him in the next couple of years, although my tongue will probably turn to rubber and I'll end up saying something stupid like "Mr. Brooks, I presume?"

My Dad was an absolute Mel Brooks NUT, and he regarded HIGH ANXIETY as the height of Western culture (tongue-in-cheek).

My Dad was a Hungarian Jew who lost his father in the Holocaust, and survived himself by hiding in an attic with his mother for the last year of the war (they didn't start rounding up the Jews in Hungary until 1944. See SUNSHINE. Now.)

When my father arrived in Canada in 1956, after the Hungarian Revolution, he didn't speak a word of English, was already in his 30s, and had to start his life over again.

For my Dad, Mel Brooks used the language in interesting ways, and his sense of the ridiculous and gag play were perfect for an age when people were just happy to be alive, happy to be normal, happy to be free from total war. It was a less cynical time, and my Dad loved the escape that Mr. Brooks provided.

I know my Dad would have loved THE PRODUCERS on Broadway, and it makes me sad to think that he didn't live to see it. I can just imagine sitting next to him in the theatre, yukking it up...

I think that Mel Brooks did an amazing thing with THE PRODUCERS on Broadway -- single-handedly bringing back a more classic, funny structure to musicals. And inadvertently, THE PRODUCERS was there for everyone in New York after 9/11.

From Answers.com:

Happy 80th birthday to writer/director/producer/actor Mel Brooks. The man responsible for GET SMART, BLAZING SADDLES and THE PRODUCERS, Brooks is one of a small number of people to win an Oscar (animated short THE CRITIC, THE PRODUCERS), Emmy (MAD ABOUT YOU), Tony (THE PRODUCERS for a record-breaking 12 Tonys) and Grammy (2000 YEAR OLD MAN, THE PRODUCERS).

Most of his movies are spoofs on different film genres: horror (YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN), silent movies (SILENT MOVIE), westerns (BLAZING SADDLES), Hitchcock (HIGH ANXIETY) and science fiction (SPACEBALLS).

Quote: "Hope for the best, expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed." -- Mel Brooks, THE PRODUCERS

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