Headscratchers / Blazing Saddles

What was the meaning behind the Cecil B. DeMille joke?
Waco Kid: "I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille."
  • Since Cecil B. DeMille 'killed' so many people in his movies, his 'kill-count' must be very high. These days, someone might say, "I've killed more people than Quentin Tarantino [has killed in his movies]!"
  • There's an old joke: DeMille is planning an epic battle scene with tens of thousands of extras. The producer demands, "How are we going to pay all those people?" CB replies, "We won't have to. We'll use real bullets."
  • Cecil B. DeMille made a lot of huge-scale epic movies, often with battle scenes involving hundreds of participants at a time. Ergo, lots of people 'died' in them.
  • DeMille made epic movies long before Hollywood had proper health & safety standards, and he was famous for insisting that actors and extras do dangerous stunts. To be fair, he'd often try the stunt himself to prove it could be done, but it was still unreasonable of him to demand that Victor Mature should wrestle a lion or Paulette Goddard should risk getting seriously burned. He was also a vengeful Jerkass, so this is Mel Brooks getting a bit of revenge on behalf of anyone who was ever injured on a DeMille set.

What's the significance of the Yes and No on the cow's ass? Is there a "Complete Annotated Brooks" you can pick up somewhere?
  • It's a joke on old school buses, which had "Yes" on the side which you could pass on. At least that's what my dad told me.
    • Not just old school buses. Half the trucks I see on the road these days have Yes/No or some variation ("Pass/Fail", "Live/Die", and so on) on them — and if you're wondering why, it's because trucks make wide right turns, and if you try to slide up past them on the right at a corner, you may find yourself plowing right into the side of the cab.
    • And here, I'd been assuming, for my entire life, that it was some kind of sex joke that contemporary audiences would have gotten. Huh.

When Sheriff Bart clapped his hands together to trap the chess piece, he opened them and looked surprised that it wasn't between them. Shouldn't he have been able to feel that it wasn't between them as soon as he clapped them together? I know, Rule of Funny.
  • ...Nope. Have you ever been so sure that there was a bug on you that you could feel it moving around? You might know there's no bug, but you think there is so strongly that you can feel it. Since it would be so improbable for the Waco Kid to succeed in having taken it (and him not having seen it) it would be no surprise that his brain would simulate the chess piece being in his hand because it couldn't comprehend any other situation. The Waco Kid's reflexes simply exist outside the bounds of what we perceive to be reality.
  • Maybe the Waco Kid missed the first time and actually snatched it after he opened his hands.

  • I have this nagging feeling everyone gets this but me, but what is the "Baby, I'm not from Havana?" line about?
    • You're not the first to ask. According to an answers column on Yahoo!, it's from an old stereotype that Cubans can... go a lot of times without needing a break.
    • This Troper always assumed it was a reference to something long and brown: a cigar
    • First answer is the correct one. See the "Cuban Superman" scene in The Godfather Part II.

  • Sitting Bull is an Alter Kocker because...?
    • Because Mel Brooks thought it would be funny.
      • And as it says on the main page, in old days, "dirty white" (Jews and other Eastern Europeans) actors were frequently cast as Native Americans who would speak in their native tongue.

  • Which hand does the Waco Kid shoot with? In his conversation with Bart after their chess game, he said he shot with his shaky left hand. But later we see him shooting with his right hand.
    • His right hand. He used to shoot with his left until he got the D Ts.
    • Two possibilities. One is that he actually used to be better, and we're still not seeing him at his best, but like some gunfighters he practiced enough with his off hand (in case something happened to his good hand) to be able to use it pretty well too. (Think of Inigo wanting to use his off-hand to fight the Man In Black.) The other possibility is that he used to shoot with his left because it was his off hand, and if you wanted to shoot on the move you learned to guide the horse with your good hand and shoot with your off hand. Now that his off-hand is bad he's gone to shooting with his good one.
    • He shoots with both, as shown in the scene where he shoots the guns out of Lyle and his gang's hands.

  • Looking for confirmation on Hedley's "Methodists" moment when listing his army. Why did he throw in Methodists?
    • A bit of Genius Bonus as back in the bad old days Methodists were some of the few people who would minister to those in prison and people of color without reservation, and were also anti-slavery, both in the US and UK. This didn't do their faith's reputation much good among the white majority in many states, hence Hedley tacked them onto his list of scumbags.
    • Rule of Funny. This troper had seen Blazing Saddles over a hundred times over forty years and not picked up that line—it always sounded like he was just roaring something incomprehensible. When I watched it with a group with the subtitles and finally realized how Hedley Lamar ended his rant, I laughed so hard I nearly broke my chair. Some things are just damned funny.

  • Why does the line for Hedley's 'recruitment scene' include Mexican banditos, hillbillies, Nazis with Gnarly Weapons, Arabs, bikers, and Klansmen?
    • Simple! This is a movie shoot; all of those extras just went to the wrong set. After all, Warner Bros. was filming a movie with Hitler at the same time, so there would have to be some German soldiers around.
    • Also ... well, honestly, imagine you're a Nazi in the 1870s American Wild West. Adolf Hitler hasn't been born yet. You've gotta make a living somehow.

  • When Mongo is tormenting the bar patrons by squishing them behind a piano, there's still one who's sitting out still having a drink and seemingly oblivious to Mongo's rampage. What's his deal, and why did Mongo leave him alone?
    • Perhaps Mongo operates similarly to a T-Rex and is drawn to movement? So the other patrons panicked, tried to run, and were attacked while that one guy was smart enough to sit still.
    • Mongo smell fear! Mongo not smell fear on drunk. Drunk only smell of sadness and regret. Mongo sad for drunk.
    • It was crowded behind the piano, and Mongo couldn't fit the drunk in.

  • Why didn't Hedley just pay the people of Rock Ridge to let them build the railroad through their town? It would have been less of a hassle than throwing bandits at it and having them burn it down.
    • Because that would mean spending a lot more money, and he's very greedy.
    • He doesn't want the land so he can build the railroad. Railroad's coming either way. He wants the land because after it's built, the land will be worth a fortune, and he wants to own it.