Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks!

Today, June 28th, is a very special day. It is the birthday of one of the most talented, brilliant comedians to ever wind up in Hollywood. The man of whom I speak is the very funny and wildly popular Mel Brooks.

Starting out as a stand-up comedian in the Catskills (from 1945 to 1949), he was first recognized as a great writer of comedy when he wrote sketches for Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows (along with Neil Simon and Mel Tolkin). He wrote and directed his first film, The Producers (starring Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Kenneth Mars, and Dick Shawn) in 1968. For this he won his first and only Oscar (Best Screenplay, 1968), beating out 2001: A Space Odyssey.

He then went on to make The Twelve Chairs, an adaptation of a Russian novel. Neither film did well at the box office. However, in 1974, he made two of the most popular comedy films of all time: Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. The ’70s also gave rise to Brooks’s loving homage to the Master of Suspense, High Anxiety, and an outright parody of silent movies (aptly named Silent Movie).

During the ’80s, Brooks was still up and running, giving audiences three memorable (but not legendary) comedies: To Be or Not to Be (a remake of the 1942 Benny/Lombard masterpiece), History of the World: Part I, and Spaceballs.

The ’90s were fairly unfair, as Brooks made three films (Life Stinks, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and the very funny Robin Hood: Men In Tights), all of which failed financially and critically.

However, Mel has made millions of us laugh over the years, and, just a spring chicken at 84, hopefully plans to continue. Thanks, Mr. Brooks, and a very happy birthday to you. I’ll send you some Raisinets.


Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Long Time, No Post

Hello, everyone! It’s been quite a while since my last post, and I’d like to sincerely apologize. I know that there are hundreds of you loyal readers out there, absolutely depending on me for my informative and informally humorous reviews of everyone’s favorite classic films. I am honored to serve you, and it is a task which I do not take lightly. I again apologize for my thoroughly unprofessional indolence. I hope, someday, you can learn to forgive me.

To make you a little more willing to listen, I’ll give you a sneak peak of some of the great films that are coming soon to SC:

Sullivan’s Travels (Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, 1941)

The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925/1942)

Dial M For Murder (Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, 1954)

Bullitt (Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn, 1968)

Foreign Correspondent (Joel McCrea, 1940)

The Producers (Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, 1968)

His Girl Friday (Cary Grant, Rosalind Russel, 1940)

The Thin Man (William Powell, Myrna Loy, 1934)

Psycho (Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, 1960)


Is that better? I thought so. Anyway, thanks for being such a loyal legion of fans. I couldn’t live without ya.


Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm  Comments (2)  

Happy Birthday, Dean Martin!

The King of Cool.

Today is the birthday of one of the most talented male vocalists of all time. He also starred in nearly 50 films, and was a member of the famous Rat Pack (along with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop). Some of my favorite films of Martin’s include Rio Bravo (1959), Ocean’s 11 (1960), Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), and Some Came Running (1958).

I cannot, of course, talk about either Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis without mentioning the other. Martin and Lewis made one of the most successful comedy teams ever (tied, possibly, with Abbot & Costello and Hope and Crosby). They made several films and countless radio and television appearances. His Celebrity Roasts are an absolute gem of comedy, including guest stars such as Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Ronald Reagan, Jack Benny, Sammy Davis Jr., Foster Brooks, Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Jonathan Winters, Dom DeLuise, and many more.

His easygoing attitude was a breath of fresh air amid the actors and comedians who took themselves too seriously. He was an extremely talented, handsome, fun-loving entertainer. He will be remembered for decades to come.

Happy birthday, Mr. Martin, and rest in peace.


Published in: on June 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm  Comments (2)