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|Index||23 reviews in total|
With BLAZING SADDLES, Mel Brooks did to the western what Sergio Leone
couldn't do... make us laugh at all the clichés and stereotypes we've
been reluctantly accepting throughout the late-19th and much of the
20th Century. Not surprisingly, Black Bart was meant to capitalize on
the popularity of the movie it was based upon. After all, if THE ODD
COUPLE and M*A*S*H can go from being successful movies to successful TV
sitcoms, so can BLAZING SADDLES, right? WRONG! I don't really mind when
other actors & actresses take on famous roles, so it didn't bother me
that Lou Gossett Jr. adapted the character that made Cleavon Little so
famous. Gossett was actually the best part of this pilot. But when you
make a series based on a movie, you should at least stick to the same
characters. Steve Landesberg doesn't play as the Waco Kid, he just
looked like him, drank like him, and shot like him. Lilli Von Schtupp
not only got a different actress to play her, she got a different
name(BELLE?!). Noble Willingham only looked like Howard Johnson(John
Hillerman). It's even got a half-assed clone of Mongo.
I was going to comment on the original movie rather than this turkey of a pilot, but very few people haven't seen the movie, so there's really not much detail I can or should go into. As far as the use of racial slurs directed at Bart goes, as offensive as they are, they're appropriate from a bigoted white society, who Bart apparently always makes fools of. Too bad this potential series wasn't as good as the movie.
I found Black Bart an interesting bit of history behind Blazing Saddles. However, it isn't Blazing Saddles. Movies made by Mel Brooks have a certain tone to them, a type of comedy that is unique to Mel's style of writing and execution. But remember that Andrew Bergman wrote Black Bart before it got re-written "Your Show of Shows" style by Mel Brooks and other writers, including Richard Pryor. So when Black Bart got made into a TV series, it used concepts from the initial screenplay. So obviously, it ain't Blazing Saddles. But it had a tone of what was on TV at the time, along with M*A*S*H and All In The Family. Louis Gossett, Jr. was funny in the role of Sheriff Bart. But the rest of it could of been better, with a little more comedic polishing. It could have been another TV classic, but it's just another show that didn't quite make it. And it now stands in the shadows of it's inspiration. Black Bart is OK, but not great. And it's just plain NOT Blazing Saddles. Apples and oranges.
The Blazing Saddles phenomenon spun off this spin-off pilot episode which probably never made it to television in the first place. Lou Gosset revives the character of Black Bart from the Blazing Saddles film. The cast of characters has changed into a small town but none of the original players are there. Steve Landesburg played the Gene Wilder role under another name. The pilot is rarely uneventful and not very funny even though there was a laugh track there. It was film on the back lot for westerns. True, the show could have been better if there was more than Black Bart in the picture. The other cast members aren't known to me. Gosset would win an Oscar and Landesburg went on to Barney Miller. Still, I can see where they tried to capture Blazing Saddles success for television but the original cast of characters and the film itself was the allure not just the story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Black Bart: It has all the offensiveness of "Blazing Saddles" and none of the humor. This possibilities for raunchy humor on TV were limited back in 1975, so this proposed TV version of The classic Mel Brooks film "Blazing Saddles" relied on using almost every racial slur in the book. It didn't even include the slurs in a joke, it kind of just threw them out there in the air. The perfect combination to offend everyone, while making nobody laugh. Louis Gossett Jr, Steve Landesburg, and Millie Slavin all look like cheap stand ins for the original actors. Noble Willingham of "Walker, Texas Ranger" fame turns in an okay performance as the Mayor. Look for Brooke Adams as "Jennifer". If this show had been picked up, my guess is, all we would have to look forward to would be more misplaced racial slurs and 60s TV show humor. And that is basically what this show was- a show with Gilligan's Island style humor and mean spirited name calling. This would all be fine if it were funny, but believe me,it's not. Maybe if it had lasted longer, I would have a different opinion on it, but it probably would have still been terrible.
Ouch. Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles is a classic, one of the best
straight comedies ever made. This idea for a TV show based on the movie
is just bad. Like the movie, it's about a black sheriff in a white town
in the racist old west.
In a 22-minute episode I laughed just once; the majority of jokes here are lame, even if they try to tackle sensitive subject matter like racism and sex. For example, the sheriff threatening to shoot a white cowboy in his nose for using the N-word. That's supposed to be funny? It's common sense that black people won't like being labelled with a racist slur; there's no wit in a threatened violent response. A native American wanting to stop a manhunt for a ceremony? Is this a joke about how much natives like ceremonies? If so, why should I care? Lying about a robbery to get a new gun? Wow. Clever scheme.
It's not just the jokes that bomb; so does the sheriff character. The sheriff of Blazing Saddles was a good guy: smart and adhering to good ethics. This sheriff, on the other hand, breaks a captured prisoner's nose (cruel and unusual by today's standards) and then acts as a judge in a case he couldn't be neutral for. I could see why Bart should be sheriff in the movie; I don't see why he's sheriff here. And I certainly don't see why this pilot should have been made into a series.
Director: Robert Butler, Script: Andrew Bergman(Story), Michael Elias,
Frank Shaw. Cast: Lou Gossett Jr., Steve Landesberg, Millie Slavin
Black Bart was a proposed television series spin-off from the 1974 movie blazing saddles that didn't quite get off the ground. It probably isn't as bad a many people make it out to be. The problem is that people that have seen this are constantly comparing it to blazing saddles. If one takes this show in its own context, it really is not all that bad. It will not generate the laughs of its pilot move but it does have some funny moments.
Mel Brooks had no involvement and the whole cast is different from Blazing Saddles with different character names as well(except Bart). This is to be expected since this was a proposed television show and Blazing Saddles was a feature film. I thought that Lou Gossett would be miss-cast for the part of Bart but after seeing the show I thought he was actually pretty funny. Many people will recognize Steve Landesberg from Barny Miller. He played Gossett's sidekick(similar to Jim or waco the kid-played by Gene Wilder). Millie Slavin played the part of Belle which is similar to the Lili Von Shtupp character played by Madeline Kahn.
Although not a great show by any means, it is still a good addition to the Blazing Saddled DVD and certainly worth a watch. It would have been interesting to see how this show would have evolved had it made it to prime time television.
This originally aired in the mid 70's on CBS, when that network was
home to shows like MASH and the Norman Lears series (All in the Family,
etc). The potential was there for this show to evolve into a MASH-like
ensemble comedy (or a Norman Lear-type social satire in old West drag),
but we'll never know if it would've gone that route.
Some of the changes in names and characters (Paris AZ instead of Rock Ridge, Belle (wearing an eye patch) instead of Lili, The Waco Kid now a former rebel soldier) were puzzling, others made sense (Landesberg repeatedly falling off the wagon, making the town's mayor/banker the villain in place of Hedley LaMarr) in terms of turning the movie into a weekly TV series. The credits listed the show as 'Created By' Andrew Bergman (NO mention of Mel Brooks), so perhaps these elements dated back to Bergman's original screenplay before Brooks, Pryor etc worked on it.
The repeated use of the N-word - by the white actors - was surprising but appropriate, since the show's intention (like the movie) was to point out their racism and stupidity. The casting was adequate to good & more than a few of the lines were fairly funny. The most grating element of the pilot was its laugh track - I'd forgotten how much I hate them!
I laughed at this show, mainly because I have seen many people with the
same attitudes that this show harpooned. it was not as good as the
movie, and would have been much better if they had stayed more with the
characters of the movie, but in its own right it was not that bad. most
pilots are made more to showcase the idea of the show than the show
An example is Charmed. it had two pilots, the one that was made to show the studio execs and the one that aired. they were basically the same, but one was well done, and had the actors that became the well loved sisters and their companions, while the other was shot, not with the best cameras and sets, but what they could use within their budgets. the same could be said of this pilot. it would have had to be redone if it had ever gotten on air. It might have made it if Mel Brooks had had a hand in it.
A failed pilot from 1975 based on "Blazing Saddles" featuring Lou Gossett in the role of Black Bart, originally and much more memorably played by Cleavon Little in the movie. Vastly inferior to the film with the writers trying to replicate and failing dismally at echoing the Mel Brooks type of humor. Was recently shown as part of Trio's "Brilliant But Canceled" specials. A misnomer if there ever was one considering it was neither brilliant nor ever had the chance of getting canceled because it never made it on in the first place.
I just watched the 30th Anniversary edition of Blazing Saddles, one of my all time Favorites!! The TV Pilot for Black Bart stunk. The plot was non-existent and the acting was not good. It was obviously an attempt to profit off of the success of Blazing Saddles and there have been TV shows that have succeeded in doing take-offs of big movies, but this one would never have worked. Considering that for so many years TV would not even play the farting noises when they televised the movie, it is inconceivable that they thought they could put a show on TV with the "N" word thrown around. On the other hand, I enjoyed seeing a lot of familiar faces!!! There were quite a few actors/actresses that I recognized from other shows over the years. I had to write down all the names and do a few searches. That was fun. I was arguing with my mother if Steve Landesberg was from Barney Miller or Mash. I won! :)
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