Friday, April 24, 2015

How the West Was Fun

 By Alison Bruce

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm not sure where that puts parody, but you can't effectively poke fun at something unless you know it well and the best parody artists know and love their sources.

One of my favourite comic westerns is Blazing Saddles. In true Mel Brooks fashion, it goes over the top in poking fun at the western genre... and a few others in the process.

Blazing Saddles also tops the list of the top twenty western comedies compiled by Most Wanted Western Movies (rated by YouTube hits). With one exception, their top five match mine. (I haven't seen Destry Rides Again yet)

1. Blazing Saddles – (1974)
Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn and Harvey Korman in one movie. That's a hat trick for me.

2. Support Your Local Sheriff – (1969)
 This was one of those movies my father could watch over and over. Every time he did, I'd stop what I was doing and watch it with him.

3. Destry Rides Again -(1939)
 I haven't seen it, but I took a look at the summary and it bears a passing resemblance to the plot of Blazing Saddles... which means Mel Brooks "borrowed" it. (As he borrowed the Bugs Bunny-style voice from Mel Blanc.)

4. Cat Ballou -(1965)
This one might tie for second place on my list. I love Lee Marvin as the drunken gunfighter. Another Lee Marvin movie made the list: Paint Your Wagon. I only saw it once, decades ago but I still remember the theme song.

5. Maverick – (1994)
 I used to watch the original series with my father. He loved James Garner - which is why one of his other favourite shows was Rockford Files. He wasn't that crazy about the movie but I thought it did justice to the cleverness and fun of the old show.

Comic strips, movies, TV shows... Does anyone remember F-Troop? And then there's the cat herding commercial. Gotta love it.


Caroline Clemmons said...

I've seen and loved all of those five. I didn't like the Maverick remake as much as the old TV show, but it was still good. Fun post.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Thanks Caroline! I'm putting Destry Rides Again on my TBW List. It looks like a movie I would like.

Unknown said...

Thanks for reminding me who much I loved Paint Your Wagon. I must have watched it a dozen times, and love the theme song, Mariah. Your post brought a smile to my day. Thanks.

Alison E. Bruce said...

There's a Simpson's episode where Homer and Bart go out to rent a movie that isn't a romance or musical. They come home with a western starring two of the toughest guys in movies, Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. I know before they say anything that it's Paint Your Wagon... The title song is also one of my favourite road songs.

Unknown said...

I see you're still determined to kill us all with those poisonous puns. (You owe me a whole role of paper towels to replace the one I used cleaning the iced tea off my computer monitor. Darn cartoons.)

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I DO remember F-Troop. I even remember the theme song. Larry Storch was brilliant in that show. F-Troop was mandatory viewing every week when I was growing up. (That I grew up is merely a rumor, BTW.)

Of your list of movies, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF is probably my favorite. James Garner dripping red paint on the floor to discourage escape from a cell with no bars was priceless.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Crazy Canuck!

Paty Jager said...

Paint Your Wagon was filmed out of Baker City, OR. There was a big stink over the movie industry bringing in hippies to be extras on the set then left them in the area. ;) Anyway, that's what my dad always said.

I loved F-Troop even though it was pretty corny! Great post, Alison!

Alison E. Bruce said...

Send me your address and I'll send you a roll of toilet paper, Tex. I don't remember the words to the theme song but I can hum a few bars. Forest Tucker was my favourite.

Paty, I think F-Troop went beyond corny. Maybe that's why I liked it so much. F-Troop, Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heroes and Get Smart were the best things on TV until Star Trek showed up... for me anyway.