After immortalizing a joke in the cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre — with an extra finger on his left hand — Mel Brooks was in his usual feisty form Tuesday night at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to kick off a 40th anniversary screening of “Young Frankenstein.”
Brooks, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr and producer Michael Gruskoff joined Leonard Maltin for a lively Q-and-A.
Brooks told the SRO crowd that the screening of the first cut — which came in at two-and-a-half hours — didn’t go well but credited himself and editor John C. Howard with key adjustments for the final 105-minute version.
Brooks contended that he knew he had a hit during filming because star Gene Wilder and the crew kept “killing” takes because they could not stop laughing.
Brooks and Leachman bantered back and forth several times with actress accusing him of cutting her scenes as Frau Blucher. Brooks noted that he had told Leachman to portray Judith Anderson’s Mrs. Danvers character from “Rebecca,” saying it was the easiest part to cast.
Garr said she based her German accent on Cher’s wigmaker for “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.” Brooks said one of his favorite scenes involved Gene Wilder commenting on the huge door knockers at the castle and Garr responding, “Thank you, doctor.”
Brooks mocked Fox topper Jim Gianopulos several times. The studio released a Blu-ray edition of “Young Frankenstein” on Tuesday.
(Pictured: Cloris Leachman, Mel Brooks and Teri Garr at the Academy’s anniversary screening of “Young Frankenstein”)