Among my fondest memories of the 1970s and '80s was watching Young Frankenstein & Blazing Saddles on a 19" TV in a converted small bedroom in Grandpa & Grandma's house we called 'The Den'. Filled with three generations of laughing Italian family and cousins, The Den became legendary for side-splitting, rib-busting and even tearful fits of laughter, thanks to Grandpa's homemade 'black box' and of course, Gene Wilder & Mel Brooks. His writing and the characters he played appealed to all of us. To this day I can easily hear in my mind his wonderful voice singing the songs from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
Gene Wilder was the first actor I felt a real connection with. His conscious choice to avoid profanity surely contributed greatly to the fact that I rarely use swear words in sentences, written or spoken, even for caption contests. Young Frankenstein became the comedy bible for most, but hit particularly resonant chords in Generation X, who's young minds were just forming complex ideas when Gene came along, first in theaters followed by a near devotional level of airplay by 'Channel 100', 'The Z Channel' and finally HBO. Today some of us can recite most of the film's dialogue and are still amazed when we discover that some still didn't realize that was Gene Hackman as the blind man, or that the train station sequence with Madeline Kahn was a tribute to Federico Fellini's '8 1/2', which was also shot in black & white just eleven years earlier in 1963.
There is a palm tree in Santa Barbara with a plaque dedicating it to Gilda Radner. I'm hoping we can plant another one close-by for Gene.
If you have a favorite Gene Wilder movie clip, interview or memory please share it with us…Continue
Posted on August 29, 2016 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment
I was watching In the Heat of the Night(1967) and heard Virgil say that Sam couldn't have driven two cars at the same time.
As Rod Steiger pondered this rarely-contested fact for a moment it dawned on me. It is quite easy to drive two cars at the same time as long as you have about 30 feet of PVC pipe, 100 ft of 8 gauge steel wound wire and one roll of Gorilla Tape. For ease of control the wires on the driver's end would be attached to a couple of hard-rubber handles controlling steering, gas & brakes:
WARNING: Do not attempt this on the open road. However, if you happen to live in the middle of Australia go ahead and have fun. And, just like with remote control helicopters it's best to start out with inexpensive vehicles until you dial in the controls.
Posted on January 20, 2014 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment