Just like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein before it, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder’s Young Frankenstein spawned its share of imitators. For one, there was a rather miserable David Niven comedy called Old Dracula, but the kicker must be Sevimli Frankestayn, aka Turkish Young Frankenstein, a spectacularly inept shot for shot remake that plays like a straight horror film. In other words, a knock-off of a classic satire… that misses the joke!
At 81, Mel Brooks is the Elder Statesman of Slapstick. In November, in case you haven’t heard, he’s reviving Young Frankenstein as a big budget Broadway musical. The tryouts in Seattle have been widely publicized on TV and the Net.
Watch Brooks making his pitch on entertainment news shows, available on YouTube here and here. There is some overlap between the two clips, but you get a glimpse of the very elaborate sets that include a rising slab, complete with lightning bolts. Here’s a fine Seattle Times article, and a slideshow (pics by Greg Gilbert) of actor Schuler Hensley — who also played the Monster in the film Van Helsing — being transformed into a very green Frankenstein Monster, and this Playbill feature has good pictures (by Paul Kolnik) of the very energetic cast. The official website for the Young Frankenstein musical is here.
Frankenstein Meets The Mermaid
This weekend, the New York Times carries an article called “Monster, Meet Mermaid”. Turns out the competition for Young Frankenstein won’t be the other Frankenstein Musical opening at the same time, but rather the big new Disney show, The Little Mermaid. Now, how’s this for trivia: This is not the first time that a comedy-based Frankenstein Monster meets a Mermaid. Back in ‘48, at Universal, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was shooting concurrently with the William Powell fantasy, Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. Glenn Strange and Anne Blythe, both in costume, posed for a neat publicity shot.
All we need now is for Young Frankenstein’s Schuler Hensley and The Little Mermaid’s Sierra Boggess to get together and close the circle. Do it on January 1st, and it'll be a 60th year reunion!
And that wraps up my contribution to the Slapstick Blog-a-Thon. I had a ball! I was introduced to some great blogs, I read some terrific posts, and I made some new friends. Here’s a pie in the face to Thom Ryan at Film of the Year who made it all happen. Thanks, Thom, and congratulations on a job well done.