There are a lot of movies that spoof some of the classic genres, but no one does it better than Mel Brooks. Whether he was poking fun at the old-timey Westerns, the horror flicks or even silent movies, Mel Brooks really can do no wrong. When Star Wars came out, he knew he had to do something, but I don’t think even he anticipated what it would become.
There was a lot of work that went into making this comedic gem, but it’s so seamless when you watch it you probably never even noticed. Let’s see how many of these behind the scenes secrets you knew about!
1. Mel Brooks asked George Lucas for permission
Before he could even begin writing the script, Brooks asked Lucas (creator of Star Wars) for permission to parody his movies. Lucas agreed under one condition: Brooks couldn’t sell any Spaceballs merchandise after the movie came out. That’s why you can’t really find any officially licensed items of the movie.
2. But George Lucas LOVED the movie
Apparently he loved it so much he wrote Brooks a letter saying he would “bust a gut from laughing so hard”.
3. Barf the dog, played by John Candy, almost looked very different
Originally they made a full face mask that looked like a bulldog but Brooks vetoed it. He said that “if they were going to hide John Candy behind a mask, he might as well hire someone else for half the price.” They tried a nose and upper lip piece, but eventually ended up with the animatronic ears, tail, small nose, and patch over one eye that we all know and love.
4. Not only did his costume take some time to develop, it had it’s own little team to operate
There were a few differently components that moved on this costume. The tail was operated by Candy himself through a switch in his paw, but the ears were what required extra help. They each operated independently of the other so they were operated by two separate people.
5. Rick Moranis made one of the biggest creative decisions for the movie
In the movie, Dark Helmet has this big Darth Vader-style helmet on for a while and each time he does his voice is very deep (a lot like James Earl Jones in Star Wars). However when he takes the helmet off it’s Rick Moranis‘ regular voice. The idea to have the helmet change his voice was actually Moranis’ idea!
6. It shares an interesting connection with The Wizard of Oz
The stage where they filmed the Yogurt’s temple scenes was the same as the one used to do all the yellow brick road scenes in The Wizard of Oz.
7. John Hurt parodied himself
The scene where an alien bursts out of his chest is obviously an parody of the movie Alien, but John Hurt didn’t realize it was such an elaborate moment. He thought it would be a quick little cameo but instead he had an entire scene where he replayed the iconic moment, with one little difference…
The entire movie is a classic that you absolutely should revisit now that you know all the behind the scenes secrets! Who was your favorite character in this awesome parody?
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