SHOW NOTES — Mel Brooksuary: Peruvian Death Squad Allegories


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.



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.

Sean also made some very astute observations that we didn’t get to fit into the episode:

  • This film seems to rely on more visual gags than previous Brooks movies.
  • Prominent actor and little person Tony Cox was an Ewok in Return of the Jedi and a Dink (Jawa parody) in Spaceballs. He went on to better roles in Bad Santa, Me, Myself and Irene,  and Oz The Great and Powerful.
  • In every version he’s seen on TV, VHS, or DVD, you can see the track that the little animatronic alien moved on in the diner scene.  Only on the Blu-ray is it cropped so that you can’t see it.
  • The wedding scene at the end’s “DO you?”  “Do you?” marriage gag was recycled in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

And of course,  no NoF episode would be complete if we didn’t quote half the movie.  But if you haven’t listened yet, you get to hear Sean and I bust out some funny impressions have us read lines form the movie as Christopher Walken,  Woody Allen,  Samuel L. Jackson, Leon Phelps (The Ladies Man), James Mason, Al Pacino, and Vincent Price.

By the way, if you haven’t seen this movie, below are the links to go see this movie, as well as articles we researched in preparation for the episode.  Also, below we’ve includes some resources where you can learn even more about the movie!



Box Office Mojo —

IMDB Trivia —


See The Movie:  Amazon Instant Video | Blu-Ray  | iTunes                         


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Stay Nerdy, Friends!



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