Thursday, August 5, 2010

The (Other) Waco Kid

For anyone of my generation, one of the greatest comedies Mel Brooks every made was the 1974 film Blazing Saddles. Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder made a great comic team as Sherriff Bart and his side kick the Waco Kid. While it is a great film, I think it would have been even better had Mel Brooks managed to cast his first choice for the role of the Waco kid (drum roll please. . .). Originally, Mel Brooks wanted John Wayne for the part.

I read in Aissa Wayne’s book, John Wayne: My Father, that when the Duke received the script he laughed uncontrollably but told Brooks that while he was going to be the first one in line to see the movie, he figured it might hurt his image if he was in it. The mind boggles at the thought of the Duke doing the Waco Kid’s soliloquy:

I musta’ killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille. Then one day I heard a voice behind me, “Reach for it mister!” So I whirled around and it was a six year old kid…. Well, I threw down my gun and I walked away…. And then the little bastard shot me in the ass. So I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled inside a whiskey bottle and I've been there ever since.”

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