Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder

Died yesterday, at 83 years of age.  I only offer some of his best lines from a couple of my favorite movies.

Talk about a movie they would never make today.  Gene Wilder played Jim, the “Waco Kid.”  Sheriff Bart, referenced below, was played by Cleavon Little.

Jim, to Bart (the new black Sheriff in a very white western town): What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny?" "Make yourself at home?" "Marry my daughter?" You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.

Jim: It got so that every pissant prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out the Waco Kid. I must've killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille. Got pretty gritty. Started hearing the word "draw" in my sleep. Then one day, I was walking down the street when I heard someone shout, "Reach for it, mister!" I turned around to see who it was, and there I was, standing face-to-face...with a 6 year-old kid. I just put my guns down and walked away. Little bastard shot me in the ass!

Bart: Are we awake?
Jim: We're not sure. Are we... black?
Bart: Yes we are.
Jim: Then we're awake. But we're very puzzled.

Bart: Okay, Jim, since you are my guest and I am your host, what are your pleasures? What do you like to do?
Jim: Oh, I don't know. Play chess...screw.
Bart: Well let's play chess.

Gene Wilder plays Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the famous one.

Igor: Dr. Frankenstein...
Dr. Frankenstein: "Fronkensteen."
Igor: You're putting me on.
Dr. Frankenstein: No, it's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Igor: Do you also say "Froaderick"?
Dr. Frankenstein: No... "Frederick."
Igor: Well, why isn't it "Froaderick Fronkensteen"?
Dr. Frankenstein: It isn't; it's "Frederick Fronkensteen."
Igor: I see.
Dr. Frankenstein: You must be Igor.
Igor: No, it's pronounced "eye-gor."
Dr. Frankenstein: But they told me it was "ee-gor."
Igor: Well, they were wrong then, weren't they?

Dr. Frankenstein: For the experiment to be a success, all of the body parts must be enlarged.
Inga: His veins, his feet, his hands, his organs vould all have to be increased in size.
Dr. Frankenstein: Precisely.
Inga: [her eyes get wide] He vould have an enormous schwanzschtücker.
Dr. Frankenstein: [ponders this a moment] That goes without saying.
Inga: Voof.
Igor: He's going to be very popular.

Dr. Frankenstein: Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved even at the cost of my own life. No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door!
Inga: Yes, Doctor.
Igor: [sarcastically] Nice workin' with ya.

[Dr. Frankenstein enters the Monster's cell, accidentally bumping into a table. The Monster awakens, roaring with rage. Panicking, Dr. Frankenstein turns back to the door.]

Dr. Frankenstein: Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. [Turns to the Monster, then back to the door] What's the matter with you people? I WAS JOKING! Don't you know a joke when you hear one? [Sarcastically] HA HA HA! [Begins pounding on the door; outside, Frau Blūcher stops Inga and Igor from trying to open the cell.] Jesus Christ, let me out of here! Open this goddamn door or I'll kick your rotten heads in! MOMMY!!!
Frau Blucher: [blocking the door as Inga and Igor again try to open the cell] Nein!

[The Monster roars, shrugging off its chains. Dr. Frankenstein turns back to the Monster, deciding a different approach...]

Dr. Frankenstein: Hello, handsome! [The Monster looks momentarily wrong-footed] You're a good looking fellow, do you know that? People laugh at you, people hate you, but why do they hate you? Because... they are JEALOUS! Look at that boyish face. Look at that sweet smile. Do you wanna talk about physical strength? Do you want to talk about sheer muscle? Do you want to talk about the Olympian ideal? You are a GOD! And listen to me, you are not evil. You... are... GOOD! [The Monster starts to cry, and Dr. Frankenstein hugs him] This is a nice boy. This is a good boy. This is a mother's angel. And I want the world to know once and for all, and without any shame, that we love him! I'm going to teach you. I'm going to show you how to walk, how to speak, how to move, how to think. Together, you and I are going to make the greatest single contribution to science since the creation of fire!
Inga: [from outside] Dr. Fronkensteen! Are you all right?
Dr. Frankenstein: MY NAME IS FRANKENSTEIN!!!

Thank you, Gene.


  1. Sad to lose a fellow who brought so much laughter to others. I loved him as Willy Wonka as a kid.

  2. The world would be a lot better off if there were more Willy Wonkas, Thornton Melons, and Walt Kowalskis among us.

  3. R.I.P. G.W.

    Great writer/actor. I also liked him in 'The Producers' and 'The Frisco Kid', among others. But 'Young Frankenstein' will always be my favorite. My two sons and I had just watched 'Y.F.' last Wednesday as part of a double header movie night - a send-off for my oldest who we drove to Berklee in Boston over the weekend. (The other movie was 'Monty Pythons Holy Grail'.)


  4. For me, it's the obvious love that Wilder had for the original that makes this such a classic. It was his project I believe. Maybe my all time greatest comedy. I can still recite pages of dialog from memory. Drives the girlfriend nuts! :)