Gene Wilder

Funny thing about Gene Wilder—when he entered my awareness, it was the early eighties and he was in The Woman in Red. Kelly LeBrock was way more in the mid-eighties public consciousness than is remembered. All off of two movies and Woman in Red was one of them. And I’ve never seen it. I think my mom and sister used to watch it. Maybe. Maybe not. We watched Young Frankenstein somewhat regularly—it’s one of my wife’s favorite movies—and I saw Willy Wonka at school at least once a year for a while. I heard about Wilder’s funnier, R-rated comedies—Blazing Saddles, Stir Crazy, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (which I swear my mom tried renting for me and my best friend once, but we didn’t see it then—Wilder plays Dr. Doug Ross). I saw The Producers in my preteens, then finally Blazing Saddles around fourteen or fifteen. I wanted to see Haunted Honeymoon because I liked haunted house movies as a kid, but still haven’t. I saw See No Evil, Hear No Evil when it came out on VHS. Silver Streak I finally saw as an adult. Gene Wilder made a whole bunch of classic movies for almost twenty years. The great ones in that run are truly great comedies. He pretty much retired after Gilda Radner’s death; I might have tried his “Something Wilder” TV show but I can’t remember, but actually probably not. You can’t do better than Young Frankenstein.

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