When You Die at the Palace, You Really DIE at the Palace!

07-May-09 1:03 PM by
Filed under Fade to Black; 1 comment.

Earlier this week, Hollywood lost one of its great comedic actors: Dom DeLuise. This jovial actor was best known for his work with Mel Brooks, dating as far back as The Twelve Chairs and continuing into more (in)famous films such as History of the World, Robin Hood, and Spaceballs. His first film was in 1964's Fail-Safe, which to this day I consider one of the most terrifying films I have ever seen. He grew portlier with each role, which just shows his dedication to the art: "I'm actually a thin serious person but I play fat and funny, but only for the movies."

Though rarely the leading man, Mr. DeLuise always lent a memorable flair to any movie in which he appeared. Take, for example, this scene from Blazing Saddles:

Or this scene from History of the World, Part I:

Mr. DeLuise passed away in his sleep on May 4th, 2009, following battles with cancer, kidney failure, and respiratory problems. Farewell, Captain Chaos. May you win that great big cannonball run in the sky.

Missed It By That Much

27-Jan-07 12:44 AM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television, Trailers; 9 comments.

Get Smart was the first "classic" show I stumbled across in a summer that began a love affair with Nick at Nite. The show and its brethren were sheer genius: famous actors in classic situations, presenting clean comedy my parents and I could enjoy together. My family continues to bond over this media even today: our recent Christmas gift to each other was the complete series on DVD. (not in stores until November 2007!)

The connection went beyond the screen, too. Even if I didn't yet know the word "deadpan" — a style I also admired from Johnny Carson — it was a quality I first loved, and later practiced, as a result of Don Adams' example. Though we have lost the likes of such gentlemen as Mr. Adams, Mr. Carson, and Ed Platt, I am relieved that we can still count among us Barbara Feldon, in whose recent book, Living Alone and Loving It, I was delighted to empathize with this belief:

The emotional excess of music felt more real than the muted emotion and soft demeanor I expressed in daily life. When I was this passionately engaged I didn't need anything else to "complete" me; not a man, not a career affirmation. I only had to give in to the music to live an immense life that I could experience any time I chose.

Now, as I am reminded by this news story, that heritage is to be passed on to a silver screen adaptation… and I find myself stricken with trepidation. Get Smart has been revived often enough, IMHO: the 1980 film The Nude Bomb, the 1989 film Get Smart, Again!, and Andy Dick/Elaine Hendrix's failed Fox TV revival, the eponymous Get Smart. These four entries have alternated between hit and miss, so technically, we are due a successful effort. But I've fallen victim to that flawed statistical logic before, and I'm hesitant to allow my childhood icons to again be disrespected in this manner.

Television shows have best transitioned to modern cinema when the script and director do not take the source material too seriously; only The Brady Bunch Movie has successfully at once lampooned and paid homage to its origin. But Get Smart is already a parody; it can't be further satirized. Though I think Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway could do the roles well, they aren't Don Adams and Barbara Feldon any more than Andy Dick and Elaine Hendrix were.

In my overprotectiveness of my childhood memories, am I the one taking the source material too seriously? Or is this adaptation indeed doomed to fail?