Why Suits Should Not Rule the World

Mel Brooks looks back at making Blazing Saddles:

It was about a dozen executives at a screening room at Warner Brothers and, no, there were two guys that laughed. Now, not so loud, they didn’t want to hurt the other people’s feelings. But the ten other guys in the room didn’t laugh and at the end Leo Greenfield, who was in charge of domestic distribution — nice guy, I got along with him — but he said, “I have to voice my feelings, I think we should bury the picture and eat the money and not release it. It’s disgusting and I don’t want the Warner Brothers logo on it.” And [John] Calley [who ran the film division] said, “Well, let’s have a screening,” and that was a big, big hit. Right from the opening credits — the WB logo burning through and Frankie Laine singing and the whip cracks — that was it, we were home free. The hell with executives, the hell with politically correct. The manager said he’d never heard laughter like that in that movie house.

6 thoughts on “Why Suits Should Not Rule the World

  1. I wish I had the quote but Robert A. Heinlein had problems getting one of his books published, even though he was an established writer by the time he did it. The book had to be cut back in length by almost a third, though if u buy Stranger in a Strange Land in the store today, it’s the original version. Two other books he wrote that won Hugos were also dissed by the publisher.

    • If Heinlein were still here, he’d be self-publishing. I get review copies from publishers all the time, mostly “body mind and spirit” books they want me to review on the Buddhism site, and most of it is sugary, boring crap that all sounds alike. Other people must read this stuff, I know, but I’ve been finding that not just with books but also with magazine submissions that if what one writes doesn’t fit a mold, somehow, editors won’t even look at it. I actually did do some research looking for a publisher who might take my religion book, and I couldn’t find one that was an obvious fit. I know the industry well enough to know that if a book doesn’t fit into the rest of a publishers’ catalog it probably won’t be promoted and marketed competently, anyway. Might as well do it myself and keep a bigger chunk of the profits.

  2. Some months ago, I read the obituary for Diane Disney Miller, who was Walt Disney’s daughter. When her mother, Lillian Disney died (late 1990s), Miller took on the task shepherding her mother’s $50 million gift toward building a concert hall “fitting to the memory of my husband, Walt Disney”.

    At one point, the concert hall’s board wanted to dismiss the architect, Frank Gehry, because they felt he was too inexperienced, and probably were nervous about his radical design. Miller dug in, and insisted on keeping Gehry, because she remembered how studio suits took over and ruined her father’s projects back when he was an unknown.

    Because of this painful childhood memory, we have this stunning concert hall that is a destination all by itself, to say nothing of what it’s done for the music scene here and downtown in general.

    There’s lots of stories like this in the arts – it just goes with the turf. I’m reminded of that famous scene in “Amadeus”: “Too many notes”. The greater the artist, the more you have to deal with mediocrities.

  3. Blazing saddles seems to be a parody of the Obama administration. A savy man of color against a town full of oafs. Timing is everything. You can get away with almost anything if you use humor. George Carlin , bill Hicks, and Jon Stewart are prime examples. I guess that fits the court jester position.

  4. THAT is one of the funniest films, ever!
    My HS friends and I decided to sit through it a 2nd time, and see who could hold off laughing the longest.
    I lost it in the opening credits – just like at the first viewing.
    I don’t think anyone was able to hold off for very long.

    “Too many notes.”

  5. OT, but good news!


    Texas pro-gun organization asks members to stop carrying weapons into restaurants because it’s not helping their open-carry cause, but hurting it.
    All y’all think?
    WHODATHUNKIT! – that open-carry gun groups sending swarms of armed morons into local restaurants might scare and offend diners who are out trying to enjoy a meal with their families!!!

    It burns with the heat of a trillion billion million thousand hundred suns!

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