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Blazing Saddles’ Most-Loved Line Was a Mistake

Blazing Saddles is regarded by many film lovers and critics alike to be one of the most iconic comedy films ever made. It’s earned this glowing reputation for several key reasons.

For one thing, it’s widely considered to be one of the best examples of movie satire. Mel Brook’s highly-esteemed classic is a western comedy film that parodies and satirizes the traditional western genre, as well as American society’s social and political issues such as racism, corruption, and bureaucracy.

Blazing Saddles featured a talented ensemble cast, including the likes of Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman, and Mel Brooks, and despite being released over four decades ago, the film remains relevant and popular today due to its timeless humor and clever satire.

The film likewise broke new ground with its use of humor and language, and it is often considered one of the funniest films of all time. Its impact on popular culture can still be seen today, as many of its jokes and catchphrases have become part of the American lexicon.

In this video, we’ll be discussing how one of the film’s most beloved and memorable lines almost wasn’t even included in the final film. We’ll also be taking a revealing peak behind the scenes to uncover some little-known facts about the film that likely some of the most devout Mel Brook’s fans might not even know about.

Facts Verse Presents: Blazing Saddles Most Loved Line Was a Mistake

Mel Brooks Was Leery Of Including Racial Epithets

Brooks was reasonably quite wary of including so many epithets being uttered by white characters when developing Blazing Saddles, but his co-writer, Richard Pryor, and actor Cleavon Little, were able to convince him to stay the course and include them anyway.

Throughout the writing process, Brooks kept asking Pryor and Little if they were going a little ‘overboard’, especially when it came to the liberal use of the “N-word”. He was worried not only of upsetting the audience but also getting in trouble with the studio and its censors.

Pryor replied to Mel after expressing his concerns by telling him that if the racists and “bad guys” use that kind of language, then it’s fine, but if good people start using it, that’s when you know that you’ve stirred up trouble.

The Infamous “No Parking” Scene

Film fans will fondly remember the following scene from the film quite well. When the brutish Mongo parked his trusty horse in a no-parking zone, he ended up getting confronted by a fellow horse rider. Mongo then casually walked over to him, cool as a clam, and decked the horse. In doing so, he ended up knocking both of them abruptly to the ground.

Evidently, Brooks didn’t simply pull this bit out of thin air. Instead, it’s said that the scene was inspired by a real-world story that he once heard from his former boss, Sid Caesar.

Despite how uproariously funny Mongo’s horse clobbering scene was considered, some audience members found it to be tasteless and inappropriate. Animal rights groups, in particular, were up in arms over the perceived mistreatment of the equine. Fortunately, in reality, no horses – or any other animals for that matter – were harmed in the making of the film. Even so, it was argued that a less violent scene could’ve been made, which wouldn’t potentially give any horse-haters any bad ideas.

Gene Wilder Had To Step In For The Waco Kid

In the first round of filming, the Waco Kid was originally played by actor Gig Young.During the filming of an early scene, the Waco Kid was hung from his bunk while heavily intoxicated before proceeding to berate Bart. After viewing the scene, you might justifiably assume that Young was a phenomenal actor for acting drunk and belligerent so naturally. But in reality, he really was that drunk – so much so that production had to be ceased. Gig was then effectively given the boot, and Gene Wilder was called in to swiftly replace him. Several years later, Gig filed a lawsuit against the studio for an alleged breach of contract.

Slim Pickens Was Dedicated To His Craft

For a comedy flick that involved farting cowboys, some of the stars that appeared in it took their respective roles quite seriously. One of these dedicated and hyper-focused stars was Slim Pickens, who desperately wanted to truly embody Taggart, the leader of the bully gang who ceaselessly worked to terrorize Rock Ridge citizens.

Slim decided that in order to really get into character, he would sleep outdoors just like a real cowboy. Not only did Slim do just that, but he also slept with his Winchester tucked under his arm, reminding him constantly that he was supposed to be a big bad tough-as-nails outlaw.

Mel Brooks Was A Bit Of An Outlaw Himself

Lo and behold, Sheriff Bart wasn’t exactly the most popular figure in town. Astonishingly, in order to be set free by the townsfolk, he ended up holding a gun to his own head. Initially, Brooks got the idea for this scene from something that supposedly happened in his childhood.

As a young boy, Brooks apparently attempted to steal a water pistol and a pack of chewing gum from a local store. When the shop clerk attempted to stop him, Brooks claims to have pointed the “gun” at him, threatening that he was more than ready to pull the trigger.

Warner Brothers Weren’t Initially impressed

Warner Brothers had high hopes that Mel Brooks could capture the same kind of film magic that he produced when making his previous film, The Producers, but after the studio brass were treated to an early screening, all that one could hear in that room were those proverbial crickets chirping. To say that the Warner Brother’s execs were unamused is putting it lightly. The film was very poorly received, and the studio was worried that the audience would find the movie to be as unfunny as they did.

Not letting their cold response hold him back, Brooks remained confident that the film would do well and that they simply needed to trudge forward with their plans to unveil it to the public. Eventually, Warner Brothers agreed to go forward with the film’s release, and they ended up being happily delighted to be proven wrong when early audience reactions were nothing short of enthusiastic.

Warner Was A Bit Stingy

Before the film’s release, Brooks was put into the difficult position of having to convince the studio about the film’s commercial and critical potential. The head of distribution over at Warner Brothers told him that the film was too vulgar for the American people and floated the idea of ‘dumping it’ and ‘taking a loss’.

At this point, Brooks likely was starting to get quite nervous, seeing as how his creation was on the chopping block.

Enter John Cailey, the president of the studio at the time. After reviewing the film and hearing Brooks out, he decided that the film should initially be released in select cities. These cities included New York, Chicago, and LA.

By the end of the summer that year, however, the film not only had been released to theaters across the country, but it had also become one of the studio’s biggest blockbusters.

Football Royalty Made Up A Large Chunk Of The Cast

Harvey Korman’s character Hedley Lamar may have failed in his efforts to remove Sheriff Bart from his post with his ousting of Mongo. However, Alex Karras was one of the most successful and popular football players of his day. He played in the NFL for a whopping 12 seasons!

Alex was part of the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 1960s and was also part of the All-Pro team nine times. Additionally, he was a four-time Pro Bowl veteran. It was only after leaving the Detroit Lions behind that he decided to instead pursue a career as an actor. His first notable credit came when he joined the cast of the sitcom Webster.

The Line That Almost Wasn’t

The comedy was iconic for all of it’s witty one-liners and hilariously written exchanges of dialogue, but there was one line in particular that stood out from the rest. After the townsfolk showed vitriol towards Bart, Waco Kid consoled him by saying “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land, the common clay of the new West. You know……morons”.

That last bit of the line “you know, morons” was ad-libbed, and the spontaneous improvisation caused Cleavon Little to lose his composure and erupt in laughter.

Without taking liberties with that line, the world very easily could have been deprived of one of the most memorable and hilarious bits of movie dialogue of all time.

On The Cutting Room Floor

Mel Brooks wasn’t afraid to push boundaries when it came to his signature brand of edgy comedy. This was to the delight of everyone with half an ounce of a sense of humor, but it deeply worried the studio who were, as they’ve always been, only considered about the bottom line – profit.

Warner Brothers urged Brooks to cut out several scenes, but he only ended up omitting the most risque and scandalous one.

The scene in question involved Bart and Lili Von Shtupp alone together in her dressing room. As she attempted to seduce him, she blew out a candle and asked him if it was true ‘what they say about you people’. Bart snapped back by saying “I hate to disillusion you, ma’am, but you’re sucking my arm”.

The Film Increased the Sales of Raisinets

At the end of the movie Harvey Korman made a stop at a movie theater concession stand. There, he ended up making the somewhat questionable choice of buying a box of Raisinets. According to Brooks, this scene led to an unprecedented increase in the sales of the candy.

When interviewed by Playboy in 1975, Brooks said that after mentioning Raisinets in his film, the manufacturer of the chocolate-covered raisin candy proceeded to send him a shipment every night. Unfortunately, the joke was on them, as Brooks evidently found the candy to be downright disgusting.

We could easily devote several hours to covering some of the little-known behind-the-scenes factoids tied to Blazing Saddles, but unfortunately, we’re just about out of time. Before we wrap things up, however, we’d like to pass the mic over to you to let your voice be heard.

Did you know that Mel Brooks only ended up cutting one scene out of Blazing Saddles for being too racy and that the reference to Raisinets at the end of the movie ended up creating an increase in demand for the confection? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching!

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