Written by / 8/29/2016 / No comments / ,

GOODBYE WILDER GENE: A MEMORIAL FOR GENE WILDER

We Rushed this Rushed Tribute, so FORGIVE any Unedited Mistakes!
What was it about Gene Wilder that worked? That really, really worked? To go back to WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, the trickster who limped until suddenly being able to roll himself over, hop back up and shake hands, was all part of an unexplainable magic... outside the script and outside the box... that put everyone, young and old, in a spell – and for decades we were completely spellbound...

It's difficult to fathom that such a good thing couldn't last... longer than the long time it did. After a while, Wilder became like a magic trick everyone just kind of... stopped using. Of course, we all remember the Mel Brooks' double-genre parody of BLAZING SADDLES and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN: in the first, his character's jail-cell introduction ended a string of laugh-a-minute introductory jokes and is where the story really began, and the latter, co-written by Wilder and Brooks, is his most famous venture. Most also recall STIR CRAZY, with Richard Pryor, where both had an equal share of screen-time following Gene's lead in SILVER STREAK, a train-set homage to Alfred Hitchcock that only sporadically featured the black comedian and both, as a team, collaborated on four films together...

Drinkin in BLAZING SADDLES
The years rolled on, and fewer recall his duds, like HAUNTED HONEYMOON, an attempt to parody both Orson Welles as a boy wonder radio programmer along with the Wolf Man replacing Frankenstein... Or his pretty good, underrated movies like THE FRISCO KID, a Western that was more an adventure than satire, and co-starred STAR WARS big shot Harrison Ford...

Gene & Richard go STIR CRAZY
Then, during the glossy 1980's, when the Romantic Comedy genre was in top form – adding to that a sort of 10 style middle-aged male fantasy – there was one of Gene's last moderate hits... THE LADY IN RED...

And, sadly, the decade that followed, long after his wife, Gilda Radner, had died, it seemed like our former hero couldn't get arrested: This is when a failed sitcom had Wilder's name on it, which wasn't fair: Seeming like blasphemy even if it did work (years before TV was a promotion), that kinda stuff was far beneath the man who'd accomplished so much, and always made the big screen seem twice its real size... and then some...

Julie Dawn Cole
But it takes the past, present and future fans of Gene Wilder to simply think back and realize what he did – that was unexplainably wonderfully amazing. Even if, for example, you watch BONNIE AND CLYDE... In a crime-spree road flick, he was way too quirky for the fast-paced mainstream vehicle. THE PRODUCERS and then, back to square one, WILLY WONKA kept him from being stuck in minor roles in big films to starring in big roles in projects that were almost all his own... That would've made zero sense without him... But he didn't try too hard to steal the thunder as lightning would strike effectively around him: 

"Gene Wilder was lovely and never lost his patience with us," WILLY WONKA's Veruca Salt actress Julie Dawn Cole wrote in a Cult Film Freak interview, "though I am sure having five kids bouncing around all day must have been tiresome." And, after a life's work, he's laid to rest, but his legacy lives on. RIP, Gene Wilder: One of a Kind! 
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