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These 8 “Blazing Saddles” Facts Will Make You Say Yee-Haw!

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Perhaps the most audacious movie of Mel Brooks’ directing career, the subversive satire Blazing Saddles takes on racism and prejudice in a way that is still winning over fans four decades later.

Below are 8 howl-worthy facts that will make you want to stand up and cheer – and give it a re-watch, too.

#8. Slim Pickens slept outside, with his Winchester, to get into character.

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Dr. Strangelove. 1964 Dir: Stanley Kubrick With: #PeterSellers #SlimPickens #GeorgeCScott #SterlingHayden #JamesEarlJones #drstrangelove #drstrangeloveorhowilearnedtostopworryingandlovethebomb novel #PeterGeorge screenplay #StanleyKubrick cinematography #GilbertTaylor music #LaurieJohnson #satire #comedy #political _"Stay on the bomb run, boys!"_ _Major T. J. "King" Kong_

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To get into Taggart’s mind, Slim Pickens grabbed his gun and slept under the stars. That’s dedication!

#7. It was originally titled Ted X: An Homage To Malcom X.

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Cleavon Little (1939–1992) Born this day June 1, 1939 in Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA. Seen here as Bart in Blazing Saddles (1974) He won the lead role of Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles over Richard Pryor, who co-wrote the script, intending to play the role himself. Studio execs were apparently nervous over Pryor's reputation as a racy comedian and thought Little would be a safer choice #cleavonlittle #birthday #bart #blazingsaddles #actor #chickasha #oklahoma #1932 #1992

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Other rejected titles were Black Bart and The Purple Sage, and the final title came to Brooks while he was taking a shower.

#6. Gene Wilder wasn’t even close to Brooks’ first choice.

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Gene Wilder (1933–2016)  Born this day June 11, 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Birth Name – Jerome Silberman. Seen here as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein (1974) and as Jim 'The Waco Kid' in Blazing Saddles (1974). Had played a man wrongly accused of committing a crime in five movies: Silver Streak (1976), The Frisco Kid (1979), Stir Crazy (1980), Hanky Panky (1982) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). What's your favourite Wilder film ? #genewilder #birthday #jeromesilberman #drfrederickfrankenstein #jim #thewacokid #youngfrankentsein #blazingsaddles #actor #milwaukee #wisconsin #1933 #2016

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Though Brooks described Wilder’s eventual performance as “magnificent” in the DVD documentary, many actors (including Johnny Carson) turned the part down before Brooks cast…Gig Young.

Then Young was removed from the role when he became violently ill from alcohol abuse on the first day of filming and everyone realized that having an alc*holic play an alc*holic probably wasn’t the best idea.

“We draped Gig Young’s legs over and hung him upside down. And he started to talk and he started shaking. I said, ‘This guy’s giving me a lot. He is giving plenty. He’s giving me the old alky shake. Great.’ And then it got serious, because the shaking never stopped and green stuff started spewing out of his mouth and nose, and he started screaming. And I said, ‘That’s the last time I’ll ever cast anybody who really is that person.’ If you want an alcoholic, don’t cast an alcoholic. …Anyway, poor Gig Young, it was the first shot on Friday, nine in the morning, and an ambulance came and took him away. I had no movie.”

Wilder took over almost immediately and the rest is history.

#5. John Wayne declined a role.

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Today we remember John Wayne's life & legacy. In honor of the Duke, what is your favorite thing about John Wayne? We will share your answers on our Instagram stories throughout the day! #JohnWayne

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The Duke found the script funny but didn’t think it aligned with his resume and career. He did say, “I’ll be the first one in line to see it!”

#4. Wilder pitched the idea of Young Frankenstein while on set.

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Remembering iconic actor Gene Wilder today on his birthday 🖤 We loved him in Young Frankenstein ⚡️ Which of his roles is your favorite?

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Young Frankenstein, the movie that followed up Blazing Saddles for Brooks, was pitched by Gene Wilder on set.

“His idea was very simple. ‘What if the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein wanted nothing to do with the family whatsoever? He was ashamed of those wackos.’ I said, ‘That’s funny.’

#3. It was the first movie that audiences heard someone fart onscreen.

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Born on this date the late great #genewilder #willywonka #blazingsaddles #stircrazy and tons more

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Brooks once saidBlazing Saddles, for me, was a film that truly broke ground. It also broke wind…and maybe that’s why it broke ground.”

He argued that cowboys ate so many beans that there was no way they didn’t have gas, and out came the campfire scene that made movie history.

#2. It almost spawned a television series.

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Gene Wilder behind the scenes on the sets of “Young Frankenstein” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Born on this date in 1933 in #Milwaukee, Wilder earned two Oscar nominations in his career, one each for acting and for writing. #GeneWilder

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A pilot called Black Bart was filmed in 1975, but was never picked up.

#1. The character of Mongo was played by a former NFL player.

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Webster (1983-1989) Susan Clark (Katherine Calder-Young Papadapolis), Alex Karras (George Papadapolis) & Emmanuel Lewis (Webster Long) #Webster #SusanClark #EmmanuelLewis #AlexKarras #Comedy #Drama #Eighties #80s #Telecomedia #Sitcom #tvseries #vintage #classictv #television #tv #kids #childhoodmemories

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Alex Karras was a Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle who started appearing in films in the 1960s. He continued acting and is probably best known for the role of George Papadapolis on Webster.

Definitely one to pull out for your kids (once they’re old enough, of course).