Nerds on Film
Episode No. 71 — Mel Brooksuary: Peruvian Death Squad Allegories
Nerds on History’s Eric Bricmont is a guest this week as NoF measures their respective Schwartz’s via a discourse on Spaceballs.
Content:After a rousing conversation about whether we like sci-fi parodies, we got to the meat and potatoes of the episode, Mel Brooks’s Spaceballs. Throughout the episode we shared lots of fun information, such as:
- The film was Bill Pullman’s first film. He had been seen by Brooks in a theatre production in LA prior to casting.
- Brooks was originally looking for a big star to lead the film, and tried to get Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks to take the role of Lone Star before casting Pullman
- The scene where Barf tries to get up with his seatbelt still on was an accident. John Candy improvised “Oh! That’s gonna leave a mark” and they kept it.
- “Spaceballs: The Book”: R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame wrote the novelization.
- The scene with Dark Helmet playing with the action figures also wasn’t in the script. Brooks came up with the idea on set one day, told the idea to Moranis who then improvised the entire scene.
- Vespa is the Italian word for WASP. (hehe)
- Brooks and George Lucas had a “Fair Use Agreement” that would not allow for Spaceballs merchandise like that depicted in the film to be produced.
- Brooks was conflicted about the Jewish (Druish) jokes in the movie. He was ashamed they were in there but proud that he left them in.
We were surprised to learn that while our guest Eric, while not a heavy film nerd, has seen Spaceballs at least a dozen times, and can speak adamantly about it.
Some of you avid listeners may know that I myself am a DIYer and craftaholic. My dad dragged me against my will to OSH and Home Depot on the weekends when I was a kid when I would rather stay home and read. He then made it up to me by teaching me how to use power tools, to build things, and to look at the artistic potential of a piece of junk. It unlocked a personal creativity that I’m proud to say that I share with my dad, and his dad, and his dad.