Today, Mel Brooks is 94 years old!
Mel Brooks. What can you say Mel Brooks? Not only did he help to redefine American comedy but he was also responsible for bringing David Lynch to Hollywood. Brooks was the one who hired Lynch to direct The Elephant Man. It can probably be argued that, if not for Brooks, Lynch’s feature film career would have begun and ended with Eraserhead. Brooks not only hired Lynch but also protected him for studio interference. When the execs tried to make Lynch remove two surrealistic sequences from The Elephant Man, Brooks stood up to them. When they requested a more conventional biopic, Brooks defended Lynch’s vision and the result was one of the best films ever made.
Of course, Brooks isn’t listed in the credits of The Elephant Man. Though he produced the film, he went uncredited because he didn’t want people to assume that the movie was a comedy. By doing so, Brooks missed out on an Oscar nomination but he also ensured that the film was taken seriously. It’s hard not to respect someone who was willing to go uncredited to help make the film a success.
Though Brooks, as a producers, was responsible for a number of serious films, there’s a reason why Brooks is associated with comedy. He’s a very funny man and he directed some very funny films. In honor of Mel Brooks, here’s a scene that I love from 1974’s Young Frankenstein.
Happy birthday, Mel Brooks!