The WB studio executives had mixed feelings about the film before it actually came out for the public to see. And, while the head of distribution wanted to entirely throw it out the window (after they’d already spent several million dollars producing it,) not everyone on the inside hated it.
John Calley was apparently one of the movie’s biggest supporters. At one point, Brooks came to him and asked if he was sure they should go through with some of the wildest scenes, including the campfire flatulence scene and the horse punch. But he assured the writer/director that the jokes were exactly where they belonged, saying, “Mel, if you’re gonna go up to the bell, ring it!” It is also Calley who convinced the other executives to reconsider their decision to dump it.
In 1975, the pilot show for a spinoff series of the film that was put together. Unfortunately, it never gained any traction.
Likely a major reason behind it was that a TV show wouldn’t be able to get away with all of the elements that made the movie such a classic. As one entertainment writer put it, “what’s the point?”
Slim Pickens’ Character Prep
When it comes to preparing for a role, actor Slim Pickens does whatever it takes to get him into character – even if that includes sleeping outside while clutching a rifle.
Yep, to really get a feel for his role as Taggart, he slept next to a campfire (and his RV) cradling his Winchester while on location shooting in the desert.
Actress Heddy Lamar was one of the most popular women in the world during the 1930’s and 40’s. During the time Blazing Saddles hit the screens, not so much, but the film would shine a light on her by naming the antagonist something eerily similar, “Hedley Lamar.”
The actress was far from impressed, either, and she even launched a lawsuit against Mel Brooks for it. The director, who’d been a fan of Lamar’s throughout his life, settled with her out of court, saying that he was “flattered” she’d even paid them the attention.
The Two Camera Rule
Many of the film’s scenes were shot by cinematographer Joseph Biroc, who used an experimental type of shooting that would become popular after the fact.
He insisted on using two cameras, rather than just one, to add some extra dimension to the scenes.