Genius is not a word I toss around freely.
Oh, I use it to describe myself three or four times a day, of course. But that's usually about it.
Not today, though. Today I want to send as many accolades as possible out to creative genius Melvin James Kaminsky of Brooklyn, New York.
We all know Mr. Kaminsky better as Mel Brooks, whose "Young Frankenstein" of 1974 still holds almost 40 years later as my favorite comedy of all time.
It is Brooks' other 1974 comedy, "Blazing Saddles," that takes center stage on this occasion, however because you can enjoy a digitally restored print of the raucous Western on the big screen as part of Cinemark Theaters' Classic Series one day and night only, Wednesday (May 15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.), at select Cinemark Theaters across the U.S.
And yes, you read correctly. Two of the most outrageous, entertaining comedies of all time debuted the same year. From the same filmmaker. With a little help from Count Basie (whose full orchestra appears from nowhere among the sagebrush in "Blazing Saddles"), some magnificent acting talent (Madeline Kahn as the Oscar nominated saloon singer in "Blazing Saddles" who's "so tired" and the monster's semi-reluctant, shall we say, romantic partner in "Young Frankenstein"), the beans-fueled flatulance campfire scene of "Blazing Saddles" and many others.
I could go on. In fact, I would if I didn't have better evidence than words can describe to point out what I mean when I call Brooks the cinema's Crown Prince of Irreverence. Some of you may think that cutting edge, down-and-dirty comedy -- dangerously chancy, even -- began with the "The Hangover" franchise in 2009.
Nope. Mentally roll back the clock to Feb. 7, 1974 and click on the "Blazing Saddles" trailer below.