American Masters salutes Mel Brooks on May 20 (check your local PBS station listings for details). I love this photo of Brooks with his 2000 Year Old Man collaborator (and fellow Sid Caesar “Your Show of Shows” writer) Carl Reiner. Brooks is an Oscar and Tony winner (for “The Producers”), one of the creators of the classic “Get Smart” spy spoof television series, and the mad genius behind “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Spaceballs.” He also produced the serious drama “The Elephant Man” and the bittersweet gem “84 Charing Cross Road,” both starring his wife, Oscar-winner Anne Bancroft.
Some great Mel Brooks quotes:
Why should I indulge myself and do a David Lean-ish kind of film? I could do my little Jewish Brief Encounter and disguise it – shorten the noses. But it wouldn’t be as much fun as delivering my dish of insanity.”
My movies rise below vulgarity.
Oh, I’m not a true genius. I’m a near genius. I would say I’m a short genius. I’d rather be tall and normal than a short genius.
Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So, for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast-beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one.