Mel Brooks is said to be working on a sequel to Blazing Saddles, in this case about the life of David Paterson.
Brooks is searching for the next Cleavon Little, who played Sheriff Bart in Saddles and who died in 1992. Harvey Korman, playing a corrupt pol in league with the railroad, handpicked Little to become sheriff in a plot to drive everyone out of town so the route for a new rail line could run right through it.
The new Brooks script sees Albany much as the original saw Rock Ridge, a town about to be emptied. Conveniently, EVERYONE in Rock Ridge had the last name Johnson, requiring no change in the Paterson sequel.
Famously, when Little is surrounded by armed townspeople who want him gone or dead, he puts a gun to his own head, a scene straight out of Albany this week:
Bart (low voice) “Hold! Next man makes a move, this n– gets it.”
Olson Johnson: “Hold it, men. He’s not bluffing.”
Dr. Sam Johnson: “Listen to him, men. He’s just crazy enough to do it!”
Bart (high pitched voice): “Oh, lo’dy, lo’d, he’s desp’it! Do what he sayyy, do what he sayyy!”
Little’s use of the race card also resonates in the Paterson script. “Just give me 24 hours to come up with a brilliant idea to save our town,” Little asks. “Just 24 hours. That’s all I ask.” But the townspeople scream: “NO!”
“You’d do it for Randolph Scott,” Little replies, referring to the legendary white actor who often played a sheriff.
Of course, Brooks played the nearly blind, womanizing governor William J. Le Petomane in the original, who once declared:
“Holy underwear! Sheriff murdered! Innocent women and children blown to bits! We have to protect our phony-baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph! Harrumph!”
Then, pointing to a member of his staff, the governor exploded:
“I didn’t get a ‘harrumph’ out of that guy!”
Yesterday’s cabinet meeting in the Red Room in Albany was said to have been an echo chamber of boisterous “harrumphs.”