In 'Blazing Saddles,' Gene Wilder helped recall a fading black-Jewish alliance - www.jewishaz.com: Arts & Culture

Appreciation In 'Blazing Saddles,' Gene Wilder helped recall a fading black-Jewish alliance

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size
  • An alliance

    Actor Gene Wilder, right, puts his arm around the shoulder of Cleavon Little in a still from the film, "Blazing Saddles," directed by Mel Brooks, 1974.

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 5:57 pm

Last year, I joined some 3,000 people at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for a wide-screen showing of Mel Brooks' 1974 Western parody "Blazing Saddles." In the onstage interview that followed, Brooks, then 89, was beside himself in his delight at sharing his 42-year-old comedy with a real live audience.

There was only one awkward moment in a joyous and hilarious evening, and it came when Brooks asked if anyone in the audience actually lived in Newark. One person, in the balcony, said yes. Brooks couldn’t know it, but it was a reminder of the sad history of Newark and the white ethnic populations, including a vibrant Jewish community, that fled the city for the suburbs — an exodus that culminated with the riots that scarred its downtown in 1967. The Performing Arts Center is an attempt to woo back suburbanites, although few linger after the concerts and performances end.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 25 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 25 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information. If you need help, please contact our office at 602-870-9470. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Need an online subscription?

Subscribe

Login

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.