HomeEntertainmentGene Wilder Once Got in An Argument with Mel Brooks Over Halloween Classic

Gene Wilder Once Got in An Argument with Mel Brooks Over Halloween Classic

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks have a long list of classic projects that they have worked on together over their long, successful careers.

Some of the duo’s unbelievably successful works include the 1967 production of The Producers and the 1974 wildly successful comedy, Blazing Saddles. Everything the duo touched turned into a piece of iconic film history. The two truly had a knack for creating something amazing on screen.

However, among their many classic works Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder developed together, there is one particular Halloween classic that brought about the only fight the two Hollywood icons would ever have.

In 1974, Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks collaborated together to pen the cult-classic film Young Frankenstein.

According to Wilder, there was one particular scene in the film with which the writers disagreed.

Gene Wilder Pens An Iconic Scene

The scene in question featured Gene Wilders character, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein dancing with his monster, who is played by another favorite Hollywood icon, the late Peter Boyle.

Together, Dr. Frankenstein and his monster perform a musical number set to “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

Wilder loved the scene for its light-hearted nature. However, Mel Brooks disagreed.

“I would write all day, and then he would come over after dinner and look,” says Wilder, remembering how he and Brooks worked together to develop the Young Frankenstein script.

“And, one night he came over and he looks at the pages and says, ‘You tap dance to Irving Berlin in top hat and tails with the monster? Are you crazy? It’s frivolous,'” Wilder remembers.

Of course, Wilder didn’t think the scene was frivolous. He felt it had a place in the film.

“I started to argue,” the iconic comedian recalls.

“I argued for about 20 minutes until I was at least red in the face,” Gene Wilder adds. Or, maybe, the actor notes, he may have even surpassed “red in the face.”

“I think it may have been blue,” Wilder jokes.

It’s clear that Gene Wilder remembers well how worked up he got explaining to Brooks why he thought Young Frankenstein needed this particular scene in the film.

He also remembers how the argument was resolved in an oddly calm manner.

“All of a sudden, he says, ‘OK, it’s in,’” Wilder muses.

So…Was It Right?

Of course, after spending as much time trying to convince the longtime Hollywood comedian and producer that this hilarious scene needed to be a part of the film, Wilder was surprised when Mel Brooks gave in the way that he did.

“I said, ‘Then why did you put me through this?’” Wilder remembered.

“And he said, ‘Because I wasn’t sure if it was right or not. And if you didn’t argue for it, I knew that it would be wrong. But if you really argued, I knew it was right,’” the actor explains.

Of course, we do know now that Wilder was right. The scene was a major hit, becoming one of the most famous of the film. After its release, Young Frankenstein became an instant classic that even to this day continues to find a new audience on a regular basis.