In this election year of 2016, filled with so many annoying people that they constitute an argue for space colonies as a means to get away from them, it is sometimes hard to remember that other people have brought nothing but joy to life. Gene Wilder, the famous comic actor, who died from the complications of Alzheimer’s was one such person. His collaboration with the great film director Mel Brooks in three films helped to define his career as a man who could bring a smile and a belly laugh with equal alacrity.

The first Mel Brooks film Wilder appeared in was “The Producers,” a wickedly mad cap adventure about two unscrupulous Broadway producers who try to rake it in by producing a flop. They think they have found a sure fire disaster with “Springtime for Hitler.” Of course things go sideways when audiences take it for a brilliant satire poking fun at its subject and Nazism in general. The film also starred Zero Mostel as the down on his luck impresario who sucks the nebbish, nervous accountant played by Wilder into his nefarious scheme.

The next film Wilder made with Gene Wilder was “Blazing Saddles,” a sendup of westerns with an unsubtle message about race relations. Wilder plays a down on his heels gunslinger who aids a black sheriff played by Cleavon Little who is having problems being accepted by the white denizens of the western town he is assigned to clean up. The movie, with its frequent use of the “N word” could never be made in today’s hypersensitive era.

Finally, Gene Wilder was in the title role of Brook’s “Young Frankenstein” as the descendant of the famous mad doctor (cinema 1930s version, not the 18th Century Mary Shelly character) who has to come to terms with his destiny to recreate the monster of legend, played by Peter Boyle.

Wilder was in innumerable other Movies, including “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and a number of collaborations with a different kind of comic actor, Richard Pryor.

This writer’s guilty pleasure is, for personal reasons, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother.” A particular woman who saw it with me when the world was new and full of possibilities, then young, would remember what is meant.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!