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Trivia / Blazing Saddles

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  • Acting for Two: Mel Brooks plays the Governor, a Yiddish-speaking Indian Chief that appears in Bart's flashback sequence, and (very briefly) one of the thugs waiting in line to be interviewed by Hedley.
  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Laughs: #6
  • Ashcan Copy: Mel Brooks' contract with Warner Bros. stated that if the studio wanted to maintain the rights to the property, they would either have to immediately produce a sequel or produce a Blazing Saddles TV series within six months of completing the film. Warner Bros. realized that the contract only said that they had to produce a TV series but that they were under no obligation of airing it. So they entered into an agreement with CBS and produced four short seasons of a Blazing Saddles series, with only the pilot airing once to make sure it qualified as a TV productionnote . Mel Brooks had no idea this was happening until Warner Bros. showed him a few episodes to prove they were holding up their end of the bargain when work began on a sequel that never got past the conceptual stage.
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  • Cast the Runner-Up: Gene Wilder was originally offered the role of Hedley Lamarr, but didn't feel right for it, and told Brooks that he wanted The Waco Kid instead. However, Brooks wanted someone older for The Waco Kid, someone like Dan Dailey. Dailey was originally considered for the role of the Waco Kid, but poor health and declining eyesight forced him to decline.
  • Completely Different Title: Many countries didn't go with the punny title (though Greece expanded with "Boots, spurs and saddles hot"). Latin America was "Madness in the West", Brazil and Portugal had "A Mess in the West", France was "The Sheriff is in Prison", Germany "The Wild Wild West" (in contrast to that show being "The Crazy Wild West"), Finland "Wild Wilder West", Italy "High Noon and a Half of Fire", Turkey "Silver Saddles", and Sweden followed the "Springtime for Hitler" title for The Producers with "Springtime for the Sheriff".note 
    • The Danish title "The Sheriff shoots at everything" deserves special mention for its loyalty to the spirit of the film (In Danish it sounds exactly like "The Sheriff don't give a shit about anything").
    • France: The Sheriff is in Jail
    • Norway: Wild West
    • Romanian: You Are on Fire
  • Cut Song: Mel Brooks wrote a song called "Bart" which would reveal that character's back-story as a pimp, but it was cut before filming began because he felt it slowed the film down and would make it less likely for audiences to sympathize with his plight.
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  • Descended Creator: In addition to his three acting roles, Brooks provided some of the (fake) fart noises during the campfire scene
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • Cleavon Little was not warned about the "you know... morons" line. His reaction was real.
    • Frankie Laine was not informed that the movie was a comedy. Mel Brooks simply told him it was about racism and Laine, assuming it was a serious movie about racism, sang it 100% sincerely. He only found out at the premiere. Brooks said that this helped him develop his distinctive comedy style of complete absurdity played utterly straight. Thankfully, Laine found the whole thing hilarious.
  • Executive Meddling: They tried. Mel Brooks was called into a meeting with the film company executives where they had a long list of changes that they wanted to make, including removing all instances of the N-word, and cutting the beans scene entirely. Mel took careful notes of all their requests, and when the meeting was over he dumped his notes in the garbage, because his contract gave him final cut on the film.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • Mel Brooks as a Native American chief. This is a reference to the early Hollywood practice of casting "dirty whites" such as Jews and Italians as Native Americans. The role's overt Jewishness also goes along with the theme of kinship between marginalized groups in American history.
    • Jewish-American Madeline Kahn as the very Germanic Lili von Shtupp.
  • Follow the Leader: According to film critic Dave Kehr, this was the first major motion picture to include a fart joke. That fact, assuming it's true, makes it the most influential comic film of all time.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: Blazing Saddles: The Wild Wild West in Germany.
  • In Memoriam: After Gene Wilder's death, AMC brought Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and this back to the big screen for a limited time.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Madeline Kahn - a classically-trained opera singer, among her other talents - playing the German Lili Von Schtupp in Blazing Saddles. Lili is extremely popular for her sex appeal, but her singing voice is deep, heavily accented, and mostly off-key. Namely because she's an old-west parody of Marlene Dietrich.
  • Life Imitates Art: It's unlikely if Mel Brooks knew the story, but in Real Life, a black man was named as the postmaster of Punta Gorda, Florida by a man who held a grudge against the town's founders, as a deliberate affront to its Southern sensibilities.
  • Money, Dear Boy: While he clearly put his heart and soul into the final product, Brooks readily accepted the directing duties, despite his preference to direct scripts he'd conceived and written himself, because he was completely broke after his first two films bombed.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bart is partially inspired by Bass Reeves, a born-slave who became black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River and was thought to be responsible for some 3000 arrests and 14 kills.[1]
  • The Other Marty: Gig Young was originally cast as The Waco Kid. He collapsed on his first day on the set due to alcohol withdrawal and Gene Wilder immediately replaced him.
  • Prop Recycling: At the beginning of the scene in which Mongo awakens chained up in the sheriff's office, when Bart is hanging up posters on the board, there is a wanted poster already hanging up on the wall. This same wanted poster can be seen on the wall in the jail house in Rio Bravo.
  • Real-Life Relative: Mel Brooks' wife Anne Bancroft is an uncredited extra in the church congregation.
  • Recycled Set: The movie was filmed on the same outdoor sets as Westworld.
  • Recycled: The Series: Black Bart was an attempt to bring the movie to TV on CBS, only without the presence of Mel Brooks, Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, or jokes. It never got past the pilot episode in public, but apparently they kept making episodes (WB's intentions were to make the movie into a yearly series much like the Carry On... Series movies in Britain, only for Brooks' contract to say they had to keep making stuff or else lose the rights — the TV show was their way around this) until around 1979, when they realized a sequel most likely wasn't needed. Only the pilot has ever been publicly released, on the Blu-Ray.
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  • Throw It In!: In the scene where the cast of the film runs out of the Warner Bros. backlot, a man in a blue sweater is seen standing beguiled at the scene. Mel Brooks said in an interview with Conan O'Brien that the man was just standing there, and despite being told that he had to move because they were filming something, he came back right as the mob runs out of the backlot. Mel Brooks then told one of his assistants to go to the man in the blue sweater and ask him to sign a film release, because him just standing looking confused made the scene work much better.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Brooks wanted John Wayne for the role of Jim, the Waco Kid. Wayne rejected his offer because the script clashed with his family-friendly screen persona, but he also found it to be hilarious and told Brooks he'd be "first in line" to see the movie.
    • Had Richard Pryor (who contributed to the script) been a more reliable actor and/or not coked out of his mind (Mel Brooks found out the truth of the warnings he'd been given when Pryor called on a day he was supposed to be writing to explain he was actually with a couple of girls in New Jersey), he would have played Bart himself, launching his frequent film partnership with Gene Wilder a couple years before Silver Streak.
    • Wilder himself was a last-minute replacement for Gig Young, who turned up on the set too inebriated to act. Several other actors were considered before Young. This is also quite ironic, given that the Waco Kid is a recovering alcoholic.
    • They nearly missed out on Wilder as well as he was just about to leave for Europe to film his part in The Little Prince. Wilder convinced the director of that movie to rearrange the shooting schedule to allow him to film his scenes at the end of the production so that he could do this favor for Brooks.
    • Numerous scenes were cut from the film, including a scene where Bart tricks Mongo into diving for treasure and a scene with the governor touring the fake Rock Ridge with the press. Some of them were used to pad out a censored version of the film that has aired on TV, and are included on the Blu-ray release.
    • Dom De Luise has claimed that the role of the director of the film-within-a-film, "The French Mistake", was originally meant to be played by Peter Sellers. However, after Brooks endured an exhaustive four-hour audition, he instead cast DeLuise.
    • Brooks also asked Johnny Carson to play the Waco Kid; he declined.
    • The original plan for the film was to have Alan Arkin direct, with James Earl Jones playing Bart.
    • The gag of Lili finding out the truth about "[Bart's] people being gifted" originally included the punchline "I hate to disappoint you ma'am, but you're sucking on my arm." The line was so audacious that Mel Brooks himself thought it was too much and had it cut.
    • Brooks announced he was working on a Broadway adaptation in 2010, after it was teased at the end of the Young Frankenstein musical, but nothing more has been heard of it since.
  • Write What You Know: The gag of Mongo punching a horse in the mouth wasn't just some sophomoric joke the writers tossed up. Mel Brooks had actually seen his former colleague Sid Caesar (who was known for his intimidating stature and violent outburst) do that once.
  • Working Title: Tex X, Black Bart and The Purple Sage.


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