Black Bart (TV Movie 1975) Poster

(1975 TV Movie)

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Nowhere near as funny as the movie it was based upon.
Ddey6527 March 2005
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.
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Black Bart is OK, but it's no Blazing Saddles
Bertonator6 September 2005
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.
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Can't Make It To Television!
Syl8 July 2012
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.
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Horrendous TV pilot, thankfully not picked up for more episodes
Mark Honhorst30 August 2011
Warning: 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.
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Virtually laugh-free
gizmomogwai15 May 2010
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.
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It coulda been a contender
joestrike4225 June 2005
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!
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interesting addition to DVD, worth checking out
dav07dan0227 June 2005
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.
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TV Show not good
uppitee26 March 2005
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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Black Bart is a Black Mark for Television
moviemik-32 July 2004
Quite possibly the worst television pilot I have ever seen. Besides the crudeness of the plot (which would not bother me if it was funny) there is not one redeeming quality in this and is a black mark on the otherwise distinguished careers of Lou Gosset and Noble Willingham.

How could the guys who put together Blazing Saddles come up with drek like this?

I feel as though I must take a shower after watching this show. Everyone who made this show should go by the name of Alan Smithee. If there was an award for worst pilot episode ever made, this would win it hands down. Why on earth they would include it in the 30th anniversary DVD of blazing saddles is one of those errors in judgment that will be contemplated for years to come.
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Michael H29 January 2005
This was on the 30th Anniversary DVD for Blazing Saddles, itself brilliant, but not this. Nowhere did I see Mel Brook's name on here and I can guess why, he's got a lot more sense to not be associated with this pilot. My gawd, who would find this funny. Sure there may be a race issue but for me it just wasn't funny, well cause it's simply not funny. It's like the writers didn't even try to be funny, just to cash in on being tied with Blazing Saddles. Did they expect this show to go for several seasons when they made this pilot? Flat out, they didn't care. It was a quick cash cow which thank god didn't cash out. I guess it's useful for historical purposes only, or only to demonstrate how stupid and unimaginative Hollywood writers can be.
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good idea but needed more work.
dehammer-19 July 2006
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 itself.

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.
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Failed Pilot Based On "Blazing Saddles"
tlarkin5 September 2003
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.
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A Strange Misfire
gavin694215 May 2015
Western spoof concerning the adventures of a black sheriff and his fast-drawing sidekick fighting corruption and bigotry in the old west. Based on the feature film "Blazing Saddles" (1974).

Whether or not this would have been a successful sitcom is anyone's guess. If nothing else, it has Gerrit Graham, so if that would have continued Graham could have been a great star. Why no one from the movie appears in the pilot is unclear. Obviously some of them had other things to do, but it feels like they made zero effort to reunite the cast.

From this one episode it is hard to make judgments, but it strikes me as difficult to continue on like this. For "Blazing Saddles" there is a clear story arc. Here, we do not see it. The most I get from it is that maybe it will be an old west "Andy Griffith Show" with race jokes thrown in. And that would get old.
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movieman_kev26 September 2005
This very unfunny failed TV Pilot can be found as an extra on the 30th Annivesery DVD Special Edition "Blazing Saddles". Imagine the movie without the satire, humor, or writing skills. But with all the trappings of a typical lame '70's sit-com show complete with obtrusive laugh track and you'll still have no clue how sheer putrid this failed show was. What the hell was Lou Gossett Jr. thinking when he signed onto this disaster?? This was possibly the worst thing he's been in (and yes I'm including the first "Punisher" movie and "Iron Eagles 3". Steve Landesberg, I understand as he can't say no to crap.

My Grade: F
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A comedy that brings tears to your eyes
thomasm53 December 2004
Genuine tears, not from laughter. Whoever wrote this hopefully lost their job. I wonder if Lou Gossett and Steve Landesberg(who later became Dietrich on Barney Miller) are awful. I would have loved to have had a Mel Brooks commentary to this on the DVD. It would surely be funnier than the dialog. Even the sets don't seem right. I don't think they could have got this on TV if they had put a horse's head in bed with a TV executive. I've seen few failed pilots but if many of them are like this, Hollywood is - well considering some of what DOES make it on TV maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Hopefully the people who make DVD's will never make a mistake like this again.
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Like a Wet Fish in the Face
dsuszek2 January 2007
Watching this was like getting a large mackerel slapped in your face over and over again. Even when you thought, "That mackerel surely can't be coming around again," *slap* there it was. I'm not sure what they were thinking. This is the sort of pilot I watched and wondered, "Did the actors know they were on a doomed ship destined to never be made into a series?" Not only black stereotypes but Swedish and Indian ones as well. And while "Blazing Saddles" made these stereotypes into a mix of comedy and uncomfortableness, these stereotypes were just downright offensive. There was no plot line, the ending was slapped on, and the jokes aren't. Still, if you are a student of comedy, watch this pilot to see what you shouldn't do.
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The reason why many movie tie-in pilots never air
Super61isdown13 October 2005
To review this movie, I without any doubt would have to quote that memorable scene in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" (1994) when Jules and Vincent are talking about Mia Wallace and what she does for a living. Jules tells Vincent that the "Only thing she did worthwhile was pilot". Vincent asks "What the hell is a pilot?" and Jules goes into a very well description of what a TV pilot is: "Well, the way they make shows is, they make one show. That show's called a 'pilot'. Then they show that show to the people who make shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they're going to make more shows. Some pilots get picked and become television programs. Some don't, become nothing. She starred in one of the ones that became nothing." Now to stretch on what Jules was talking about, there are BILLIONS of television shows/pilots that were never aired because they simply were not...well, good. Probably the most notorious pilot that comes to mind is "W*A*L*T*E*R", a spin-off to "M*A*S*H" with Gary "Radar" Burghoff as the lead. Hmmm, would somebody really want to be watching Radar for a half-hour trying to solve crimes? Hence, the show was never picked up. What many people don't know (or what they thought they knew) is that pilots are hardly ever shown on the air, for they are made strictly for the Television networks for them to decide. Some have made they're way past and got onto the air (The pilot for the animated series "American Dad" comes to mind, as the show's serial itself didn't begin until nearly four months later. However, there are times were we should all be glad pilots never make it to air, and this here is why.

"Black Bart", a supposed tie-in with the Mel Brooks comedy classic, "Blazing Saddles", is a stale and bland "sitcom" with little heart and no soul. "Saddles" was a controversial comedy, nevertheless, with it's racist humor and vulgar comedy, which comes to mind "what idiot decided this would make a great television show FOR PRIME TIME TV?!?" I say "supposed", because none of the memorable characters from the movie, aside from Bart, on in this mess of a TV show. Mel Brooks wasn't even involved with the production of the serial and this was the first mistake in a long line (In a related story, I recently found out about an unaired TV pilot for a series based on the movie "Clerks." that Kevin Smith was no involved see what happens?!?).

Set somewhere around the same time as the movie (or at all), the story circles around the only Black sheriff in the wild west, named appropriately 'Black' Bart, who is this time played by future Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr., obviously before his stint in "real" acting, whereas in this he is playing a "G-rated" Richard Pryor. Most of the other characters are carbon (if not, really bad) copies of the characters in the movie: Jim, The Waco Kid is replaced by a similar looking character named Reb Jordan, a former Confederate soldier who is quick with the gun. Lilian Von Schtupp is now Belle Buzzer, a more of a ripoff of the character being that she's a show dancer and a German with a Marlene Dietrich-type accent and personality. While that's pretty much the end in similarities, The lead "bad guy" in the story is Fern Malaga, played by Noble Willingham, who I assumed would've been Hedley Lamar if Warner Bros. secured the rights to the name (See trivia for "Blazing Saddles") and his son Curley...I dunno, Taggart I suppose? The story is a poor excuse for a sitcom, much less a pilot. Bart deals with the mayor's drunk son and he's out-of-control behavior which has caused the town to spin. Really, it's a story that tries to introduce all the characters in the "series" and doesn't focus on the variety and context that would make this an "alright" show. I can't really call it a sitcom (and even if I wanted to) and that's primarily the fact it was shot on the backlot at Warner Bros. Studios and later added a laugh track, so the show is set up almost exactly like "M*A*S*H" (complete with a bland and dull "laughing" that is identical to the series). The acting is so-so, but there's one part that always make me laugh, and that's when the actor playing Reb Jordan almost seems to forget his lines and tries really hard to remember them while trying to sputter out a piece of dialogue. HA! The script is rather dull and is attempts to make racism more humorous than it was in the movie (Surprisingly, they use the word "N***er" numerous amount of times through a 22-minute episode, rather touchy for it's time period and even for today) and it gets repetitive.

If you ever get your hands on this unseen piece of sssss...surly interesting novelty item, watch it just for the sake of the feeling for watching pilots (It's on the collector's edition of "Blazing Saddles", God knows why). There, yourself get a first hand chance for the reason why many movie tie-in pilots never air.
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I don't think I laughed once
MovieAddict201612 July 2004
After the success of "Blazing Saddles," WB decided to convert the financial success of that film into a television show called "Black Bart" (the title Mel Brooks always wanted for "Blazing," which was deemed too controversial).

They made a pilot starring Lou Gossett Jr. that was never made into a TV show. Remember Jackson's speech to Travolta in "Pulp Fiction" about pilots? Yeah...

Well, here it is, another one that didn't get off the ground, and reasonably so. It's included on the new 30th Anniversary DVD of "Blazing Saddles."

It's not funny at all and features the word "n!gger" at least three times within the first three minutes. No wonder it never got aired.
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The Flip-Side Of Blazing Saddles : Not Funny
FightingWesterner6 December 2009
A mercilessly corny and painfully unfunny attempt to transplant the character of Sheriff Bart from Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles into his own weekly sitcom, this is really as bad as some people say it is!

The laugh-track only serves to remind the unamused viewer what all in this supposed comedy is intended to be a joke and just how desperate for laughs it really is!

However, it is somewhat interesting to see Louis Gossett Jr. trying his best to impersonate Cleavon Little. His embarrassment shows through in every scene. He was much funnier in the HBO movie El Diablo than he was here in this slab of cheese!

Truly the best and funniest thing about Black Bart is the name of his horse!
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Worst show ever!
itsmrbigtoyou1 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be one of the worst written series ever. It's main problem is it's just not funny. At first I thought it was gonna be good, but how wrong I was, it's starts with a horse-wagon collapsing and everyone inside getting injured, I though to myself: ''Oh, this looks hilarious''. I quickly changed my mind when I heard the awful and dreaded canned laughter play over the dialog. In fact, in most places the dumb computerized sound of the so-called ''audience laughing'' often makes the dialog hard to hear. Another thing is it's so obvious there is no audience present as the camera spin's around the set many times and we see no one watching the show. i tried desperately to turn off the canned laughter, but sadly, this wasn't a ''Mash'' disc where you can switch it off, and so, I actually didn't even watch the whole show, and I have no intentions of doing so either. This was one of the worst concoctions ever put to film, the worst part I saw in the pilot was when a ''seriously'' injured Spanish woman scrambles to safety from the wreckage of a fallen-over wagon, she is shouting uncontrollably in Spanish, and because there are no subtitles on screen telling us what she is saying, we hear the first sound of the canned laughter. And this is the kinda series it is. Wgatever you do, don't ever watch this, it's crap, fresh from a horse's behind, I would much rather have seen some out-takes form the movie itself. God help us all if the complete series is ever releases on disc.
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Much more than an uninspired remake Warning: Spoilers
"Black Bart" is a 25-minute television short film from over 40 years ago. First of all make sure you read the title correctly. This has nothing to do with Blackbeard or pirates. It has to do with a Black man becoming sheriff of a small town in the Wild West. You have heard that already? Well, it is possible. This one here was made 1 year after Mel Brooks' Oscar nominated "Blazing Sadlles" and it seems they wanted to take the story to the small screen for a series. Unfortunately, they never made more than this pilot episode. The lead actor here is Louis Gossett Jr., roughly 10 years before his Academy Award win. I thought "Black Bart" was a decent little film, nothing extraordinary, but definitely better than its rating suggests. I guess this was methodically voted down to the bottom by mad "Blazing Saddles" fanboys. Go check out "Black Bart". It is worth seeing and includes a handful funny moments and quotes. Thumbs up.
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this is not black bart
ibdex6 November 2013
the cover on the review is Blazing saddles, why the title black Bart is used is confusing to me. i never saw or intend to see that movie, or series. i was hoping the review would stay true to Blazing saddles, either get the picture of Blazing saddles off, or the title changed. otherwise this review makes no sense to me,this is from my perspective, if i am wrong tell me can you show one movie and write a review of another, isn't that called fiction. anyway i found the review useless, as it had nothing to do with the picture of blazing saddles, so i am still trying to figure out what the intention was and why it was even there, it is misleading to anyone not familiar with the movie, and the rating-3.7 is also misleading to anyone new to the movie-Hello anyone in there.
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It's all in how you look at it
JM Klinger8 June 2005
Okay, I just now finished watching the "Black Bart" pilot for the first time, from the "Blazing Saddles" DVD, and came online to see if IMDb had anything interesting to say about it. I was shocked and amazed to find such a mean comment about the pilot, but I certainly think everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I just hope that people will give this a proper viewing, because I quite enjoyed it. The humor's there, even if it's not in the same style as the movie. The reason for this is most likely because Mel Brooks didn't have anything to do with it. I still enjoyed it quite a bit, and am now all psyched to watch "Blazing Saddles", which I haven't seen in awhile. I think the reason this didn't get a season-full of episodes is that it's mighty risqué for 1970's TV. I mean, they use the "N-word" frequently, and make constant sexual references concerning the saloon-hostess. It would probably do a lot better now, in a world full of viewers sick with reality TV... Just another opinion...
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