Who doesn’t love Gene Wilder?
I smile every time that commercial airs on television where Gene’s wonderful voice croons a line from “Pure Imagination” from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I don’t even remember the product (nor would I pimp it here if I did) but I tip my cap to their choice of material. Actor, writer, director, producer…Gene Wilder has given the world many laughs.
How would you like to start your film career in Bonnie and Clyde and then star in The Producers as your second effort? Or within a few short years, star in the iconic Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles and go toe-to-toe with the manic Richard Pryor? (Ironically Pryor was supposed play sheriff Bart opposite Wilder’s Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles – the part went to Cleavon Little, who the studio thought was a “safer risk”)?
Wilder’s film career all but stopped after the death of Gilda Radner in 1989, and in fact didn’t make as many films as you’d probably expect. But he sure had a high percentage of winners.
So Happy Birthday, Gene Wilder. These are ten of my favorite moments you’ve given me from a wealth of great performances.:
The Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles – “You can’t hold a gun let alone shoot one!”
Eugene in Bonnie and Clyde – “I’m gonna tear them apart! Those punks!”
George Caldwell in Silver Streak – “I can’t pass for black!!”
Dr. Ross in Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex – “If I could see Daisy alone…”
Victor Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein – “Putting on the Ritz”
Skip Donahue in Stir Crazy – “We don’t take…no shit. That’s right. No shit!”
Dave Lyons in See No Evil Hear No Evil – “YOU…are a dumb idiot!”
Willie Wonka – “Pure Imagination”
Claude and Phillipe – Start The Revolution Without Me – “Crazy? I’ll show you crazy!
Leo Bloom in The Producers – “I’m wet! I’m hysterical and I’m wet!”