Getting Smart About Mel Brooks

Getting Smart About Mel Brooks

There are national treasures that we often forget about until they’re gone. There’s one we won’t be guilty of looking past. The great Mel Brooks.

Brooks turns 90 years old today and his life cannot be contained or summed up in a single post. If you grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you were familiar with his television work through the eyes of Maxwell Smart. If you are a little older, you remember him writing for Sid Caesar. His movies are the encyclopedia of comedy. The politically correct among us would never allow someone like him to come along today, as he took on every possible uncomfortable topic imaginable.

Movies like “Blazing Saddles” should be mandatory viewing for anyone hoping to make it in comedy. “Young Frankenstein” did the job of spoof makers before many of them were even born. If you don’t think so, there’s evidence you’re wrong in the creation of “Spacebars.”

My introduction to Brooks, as a high school student, was “Life Stinks,” one of his lesser known movies. The sarcasm was something I could so easily relate to, along with the angry, dry humor that I’d fallen in love with at the time. I had seen “The Producers” before that point in life, but was too young to actually understand what was going on, although I did sing, “Springtime For Hitler” unknowingly.

Let’s celebrate this man and his work. He’s conquered animation, movies, musicals, television and an establishment of critics and censors, whom he’s outlived and outgunned.
I think the word legend is thrown around far too easily, mostly by people who refer to themselves as such, but it’s more than a description for Brooks. It’s an understatement.

“Get Smart” still airs nationally on MeTV. Check your local listings for time and channel. In the meantime, get ahold of these top 5 Mel Brooks films to watch again:

  1. “Blazing Saddles”
  2. “Spaceballs”
  3. “The Producers”
  4. “Young Frankenstein”
  5. “Silent Movie” and/or “History of the World Part 1”