Mel Brooks provides long overdue look behind the scenes of Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein clip

Mel Brooks is finally letting us peek behind the curtain of the original cyborg send-up.  Forty-two years after its release Young Frankenstein is still a classic–a horror comedy like no other.  An homage that is every bit as cinematic in quality as its source material, Young Frankenstein is coming to a bookstore near you.

Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film is Mel Brooks’ own look back at the film he was the most proud of.  Full of anecdotes and more than 225 photos, many rarely seen, plus cast interviews, this new work will be a must read for Mel Brooks fans.

Brooks is of course a comedy genius.  Three of Brooks’ films have been featured on the American Film Institute’s 100 best comedies of all-time: Blazing Saddles at number 6, The Producers at number 11, and Young Frankenstein at number 13.  Brooks is also famous for The Twelve ChairsSilent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World, Part I, Spaceballs, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Young Frankenstein book

Young Frankenstein starred a dream team of comedic actors: Gene Wilder, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, and the late Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle, and Marty Feldman.  And Gene Hackman.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

When I was young, I loved the movies because they saved my life.  I was so grateful to cinema for opening up worlds that were not open to me as a poor Jewish kid from Williamsburg, Brooklyn…  I was five years old in 1931 when James Whale’s Frankenstein came out.  The following summer the movie played at a theater in Williamsburg and my older brother, Bernie, took me to see it…  It was a big mistake.  It was the scariest thing I saw in my life. 
That was a hot summer in Brooklyn, and in our two-bedroom apartment, I slept right by the fire escape.  I said to my mother, “Mom, please close the window.”  She said, “It’s a hundred degrees in here, I can’t close the window.  What’s the matter?”  I said, “If you leave the window open, Frankenstein will come and eat me.”  (We called the monster Frankenstein because we didn’t know the difference). 

YF cast photo with mel brooks

My mother said, “Okay, let’s talk about this.  First of all, the monster lives in Romania, in Transylvania.  Romania is not near the ocean.  So he’s going to have to get to Odessa.  He’s going to have go a long way to get to a boat.  Then he has to have money to pay for his passage.  He may not have any money if he is just a monster.  He may not have pockets.  Let’s say he makes his way to Odessa and he gets a boat to America.  The boat may go to Miami.  It may go to Baltimore.  It may not go to New York.  If it goes to New York and he gets off there, he doesn’t know the subway system.  If he finds the BMT (what we called the subway back then) and he gets to Brooklyn, he doesn’t know our street.  Let’s say he does find our street.  But remember, the people on the first floor have their window open.  He is not going to climb way up.  If he’s hungry, he is going to eat who’s ever there on the first floor.”’
And you know, Mom made sense. So I said, “OK, leave the window open.”  But it haunted me… 
More than forty years later, when I was finally a little less scared, Whale’s movies would inspire me and my friend and collaborator Gene Wilder to make Young Frankenstein.  Of all of my films, I am the proudest of this one.   My hope was that Young Frankenstein would transport audiences the way I was transported as a kid sitting in the dark in Williamsburg.  I think we succeeded, and in this book I will show you how we did it.

Pre-order Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film now here at

C.J. Bunce

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