Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Good to be the King

The funny fellow above is one Melvin Kaminsky, a.k.a. Mel Brooks, born this day 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. His father's family were Polish Jews, and his mother's family were Russian, and M. Brooks would use quite a bit of "Jewish" humour in his films. He was a sickly child that was picked on a lot, but he eventually joined the Army, and fought during World War II. He started his "career" as a stand up comic, and then moved into television, before eventually moving to making movies. His first full-length movie was 1968's "The Producers" for which he won the Academy Award for best original screenplay. He then went onto such comic classics as "Blazing Saddles," and "Young Frankenstein." One of his trademarks is the theory that if you need a good villain in a film, just throw in some Nazis, and you are set. Probably my favorite film of his is "History of the World, Part I." I have seen it about 30 times, and can still quote large portions of it, not that that is anything to be proud of, but hey I never claimed to be highbrow. Well, that is not true, I have claimed to be a comedy snob, but Mel Brooks brand of goofball comedy still makes me chortle with glee today. There is just something sublimely ridiculous about his films that is pure genius. The line that is the title of this post comes from that film, and oddly enough he recorded a rap song with that title that became a dance hit. Mel Brooks, at the age of 55, rapping, and making the dance charts, not even he would put that goofiness in a movie. He is one of the few artists who have won an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, and a Grammy. Now that superfecta takes some talent, and Mel has loads of it. He actually produced the dramatic film "The Elephant Man," but would not allow his name to be attached to it, because he feared that audiences would think it was a comedy. The man has talent, range, and good sense, those are rare qualities to find in anyone, and even more impressive to find all three of them in one human being. One thing I did learn about him while doing the massive amount of research for this post, is that he created the TV series "Get Smart." There you go, even I can still learn a bit about my heroes. So, for making it "Good to be the King" Mel Brooks (June 28th, 1926-present), you are my (308th) hero of the day.

No comments: