Earlier this week the man, the myth, the comedy legend, Mel Brooks was honored by adding his hand and footprints to the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the landmark Chinese Theater. In true Mel fashion, he wore an extra prosthetic finger for the impression.
The ceremony was timed in tribute to the 40th anniversary of the release of Young Frankenstein - which, in my opinion, is one of the funniest movies EVER.
In fact, Mel Brooks wrote and directed THREE of the American Film Institute’s Funniest Movies of All Time:
#6 - Blazing Saddles
#11 - The Producers
#13 - Young Frankenstein
The one-two comedy punch of Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein were releases in 1974. I was a one year old - so it wasn't until middle school when I discovered his movies. In 1987, the comedic spoof of my beloved Star Wars, Spaceballs, became an instant classic to those of my generation. We quoted it daily all the time, everywhere.
After that, my friends and I rented every Mel Brooks VHS we could find. History of the World Part 1, was a particular favorite. We memorized every line and song. I remember a particularly long bus ride into NYC for a field trip to the Museum of Natural History where we all recited the entire film from memory.
Do yourselves a favor and laugh this weekend. Watch a Mel Brooks movie. Seriously.
In a year where we have lost some comedy legends, let's celebrate one who is still with us and still giving the world an extra 'finger' whenever possible.
To learn more about Mel Brooks and hear some great stories from the man himself and his fantastic co-stars and collaborators, do yourself a favor and watch the PBS American Masters special about Mel . You can find it here.