Category Archives: mel brooks

Kenneth Mars 1936-2011

Kenneth Mars, the film, television and animation actor passed away this past Monday. You might not know the name but you know this guy. He was in everything. You might remember him as the Nazi playwright in Mel Brooks’ original The Producers film, or perhaps as Hugh in one of my favorite films, What’s Up, Doc?. But that would only be the tip of the iceberg.

He was also in Young Frankenstein, “Get Smart,” “Wonder Woman” and even “Misfits of Science.” On television I first discovered Mars as recurring guest W.D. “Bud” Prize on the brilliant “Fernwood Tonight” and “America 2-Night.” Just think of a TV series in the 1970s and he was in it. His animation career began with voice work on “The Jetsons” in 1962 and continued until just a couple years ago.

Kenneth Mars will be remembered and he will be missed.

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Dom DeLuise 1933-2009

Comedian, actor and chef Dom Deluise has passed away in his sleep. He was suffering from kidney failure and respiratory problems as a result of his battle with cancer. He was 75.

His film debut was in Sidney Lumet’s classic Fail-Safe, and amused television audiences first on “The Dean Martin Show.” Active in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, DeLuise was known mainly for his films with director Mel Brooks and also for frequently playing sidekick to Burt Reynolds. Reynolds himself told the press, “I was dreading this moment. Dom always made everyone feel better when he was around. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much.”

Dom was also the author of many cookbooks of his favorite Italian recipes, including “Eat This” and Eat This Too,” as well as a handful of children’s books. He’ll be missed. Applaud now, this is the end.

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Caveman and Company

Caveman ~ Oddly the thought of this movie brings back vivid memories of listening to WIFI-92 FM back in the late 1970s. This, along with flicks like Grease, Sgt. Pepper and Moment by Moment were treated like serious event movies with promotions and contests running constantly on the station. Caveman, notable for its own caveman language and that it featured superstar couple Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach, is actually a pretty funny visual joke piece. It kinda reminds me of what might have happened had Mel Brooks wrote and directed One Million Years B.C.. A hundred times better than any Geico commercial. The funniest part of the DVD however is that if you plug the captions in, all of the nonsense words are there to follow along. Zug zug.

Red Doors and the short subject Educated are wonderful and deservedly award-winning films by writer/director Georgia Lee about the Asian experience in America with quirky funky casts, characters and storylines. I just wish she would get over her seeming obsession with urination. Despite that, highly recommended.

Queen Sized ~ Like Ricki Lake a generation ago with the first version of Hairspray, the star of the new one, Nikki Blonsky, seems to have a stranglehold on every ‘big girl’ role in Hollywood. Here she plays an outcast girl (guess why) who is picked on by the cool kids until she triumphs over evil and becomes the high school Homecoming Queen. Harmless ABC Family fun.


Steambath ~ This was one of the shows that cemented my father’s opinion that Public Television at night was either educational documentaries or pornography. Good thing he never saw “I Claudius” later on in the decade. This was a television adaptation of Bruce Jay Friedman’s brilliant off-Broadway play. As good as I remembered as a kid, and watching it now as an adult I not only get the jokes but I understand just how really good it is.

27 Dresses ~ This chick-lit-style chick flick starring Katherine Heigl of “Grey’s Anatomy” is a bit predictable but on the whole quite entertaining. She plays a woman whose been a bridesmaid twenty-seven times but is secretly in love with the man who’s about to marry her shallow sister. Add in American-talking Brit James Marsden and hilarity ensues. Honestly not as bad as it sounds, and the best part is where Heigl models all twenty-seven bridesmaids dresses. “Really, you can shorten them and wear them again.”