My father is a huge fan of NPR and even more intrigued by “Fresh Air” host, Terry Gross (who does the introduction). After my interview on MPR he said lovingly, “Let’s see who get’s to NPR first, you or Emma (my sister, the actress). That’s the real test!” Today he and I chatted on Skype while he is in Zurich for work. Although he was tired, he lit up when he told me about a recent interview with Mel Brooks. He suggested I listen and blog on it. So here you are my dear readers, bullet points of NPR’s interview with Mel Brooks.
- “I was literally crying with happiness”, he explained about seeing “Anything Goes” when he was 9 years old. Mind you, Ethel Merman was playing Reno Sweeney. Can you imagine seeing that? What an incredible experience!
- Being the youngest of four boys, his family was poor. Movies lifted his spirits. He looked up to Alfred Hitchcock and decided to write a letter to him. Hitchcock called him and agreed to work with him for 45 minutes every Friday on “High Anxiety”. Amazing!
- Gene Wilder was thanked three times when Brooks was receiving his Oscar for “The Producers” due to his fabulous performance. My family and I saw “The Producers” on Broadway starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. We saw Mel Brooks leaving the theater the night we were there and my dad mistakingly called Matthew, Nathan to his face. I will NEVER forget it!
- Although he was offered the Kennedy Center Honors, he waited until Obama was President to take it (he didn’t trust Bush). “I’m an EGOT… The only award I haven’t got is woman of the year!” What an honor to be an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner!
- After chatting about “Spamalot” and “The Book of Mormon” he said he is attempting to make a “Blazing Saddles” musical. This may be a hit for the “cult classic” fans. Just look how well “Newsies” is doing. People loved the movie and adore the musical!
- Listening to Mel Brooks sing “Puttin on the Ritz” and explain the process of how the song was chosen for “Young Frankenstein” was great. My family and I quote lines from the movie often. “What hump?”
- He and Carl Reiner have nightly dinners and watch movies together. “Wreck-It Ralph” was the most recent movie they both laughed at.
- What a sweet explanation of his wife, “From the first minute I saw her I fell in love and it lasted until the day she died. The couple did a song and dance duet to “Sweet Georgia Brown” in Polish during “To Be or Not to Be”.