Transcript:

Interviewer: The camera.

Teri Garr: OK.

Interviewer: OK, go ahead.

Teri Garr: My mother was the wardrobe woman and Frankenstein and she got all the stuff for us.

Interviewer: And you were saying that she you would come up to her and say, well, you asked her, just say I asked her if there was if they were done casting.

Teri Garr: I asked her if they've finished casting. And she said she didn't know. And I said, well, wait a second let me go there. So then I went my agent got me an audition and I went there a couple of times. And finally around the third or fourth time, he said, Okay, you got it. Unbelievable.

Interviewer: And you want to say, originally you had auditioned for Madeline Khan's part, but Madeline ended up. That's it. You have in the book that originally you auditioned for Madeline's part.

Teri Garr: Yeah.

Interviewer: And and Madeline was not sure she wanted to do it or not. And then she accepted. And then Mel said, you know, you said, is there anything else? And Mel said come back tomorrow with a German accent to audition for Enga.

Teri Garr: So. OK, so.

Interviewer: Basically, is that you had been auditioning for Madeline's part?

Teri Garr: I had been interesting from Madeline's part, but then she decided to take that part. So then I said, if you can go back tomorrow with German accent Well, I your audition for the other part of the assistant. And I thought, well, I can never get this, but I'll try it. So I went home and I came back the next day and I tried out and I got it. It was unbelievable.

Interviewer: And you said you told us at the time at the time you were a regular on the Sonny and Cher hour and Cher's wig stylist, wig person was a German woman. And you picked up the accent from her.

Teri Garr: That's right. She was Renata, what's her name. And she would share. She may share some costumes or whatever you call it. You know.

Interviewer: No it's okay to say. I would just say I was a regular on the Sonny and Cher hour. And at the time and and I remember that Cher's wig person was a German woman, Renata. And that's where I picked up the accent from. Ok.

Interviewer: I mean, yeah, just just say I was a regular on the Sonny and Cher hour, and.

Teri Garr: I was a regular on the Sonny and Cher hour so I figured, Mel, if you saw me, you know, he'd think I know what I was doing, but I didn't know what I was doing. Anyway, he got me. I got to come and to be out um, Young Frankenstein.

Interviewer: Yeah. But just to that it was actually I how about we did this you say. I actually had to say I actually lifted the I got the German accent from Cher's wig lady.

Teri Garr: I got a German accent from Cher's wig lady. So I just came and did her voice which was like this. And that's what I did. And I got the part.

Interviewer: Let me see here. You were mentioning well, also you you said when you went back to the audition that you thought enough to really pad your bra for the assistant.

Teri Garr: I so I went. I went. I went back for the audition. I decide to really pad my bra because I was supposed to be buxom. That was a joke. So I put socks in my bra and stuff. And then, I don't know, I just got the part.

Interviewer: This is a great thing you say. Talk about Mel onset that he was he was really open to everyone suggestions and that he would he would say, OK, what does she say here? And then he people would offer suggestions and say, OK, enough, don't help me anymore.

Teri Garr: That's right. Mel would say, don't help me anymore. He would leave. He'd say there'd be a scene. And we did. Let's have this or that. We didn't know what to do. So he decided he would make it up as something bad. So he did.

Interviewer: Great. And if you can say. Just say he would he would Mel would ask people for suggestions and then he'd hear enough and it's OK enough.

Teri Garr: He would ask people for suggestions and then he said, that's enough. Don't do anymore. And that's it.

Interviewer: Madeline Kahn has had been quoted as saying that it was a very fun set, but also kind of exhausting because everyone was trying so hard to keep up and be funny. Was that, did you feel that?

Teri Garr: Yes, it was true. Madeline said that was.

Interviewer: Yeah. So just to say it was it was a really fun set, but exhausting because everyone had to was trying to be funny and on all the time.

Teri Garr: It was a really fun set, but it was exhausting because everyone is just trying to be on time. But that's all I know. I remember.

Interviewer: How would you describe Mel as a director?

Teri Garr: He's an excellent director. He's really funny and good. And he knows what he's doing. And he's really good and funny. More than that, though, he's wonderful.

Interviewer: Do you remember any specific direction he gave you?

Teri Garr: Shut up, he said shut up. Just kidding. He didn't say that. He said. Just keep it up. Do it. What do you want to do? Do do do how, how you want to do it?

Interviewer: We have a plane. Was that okay or do we need to repeat that? Ok.We good?Ok. So just if you could repeat that is there was a plane. Just say he was open to suggestion he was, you know.

Teri Garr: He was open to suggestion and he had lots of people coming in, and for my part, there was a lot of people like Farrah Fawcett came and lots of people and I got the part by the mistake. I mean, not really. But it was you know, it's interesting.

Interviewer: Would you say that that movie really changed your career?

Teri Garr: Oh, yes, definitely. I thought after this movie comes out and I'm able to walk across the parking lot. And of course, it wasn't true. I could walk across any place I wanted go because it didn't matter. But it was yeah, I was a big change for me.

Interviewer: Did you mean because you thought it would be a bomb or. No. Because you thought you couldn't walk because you'd be bombarded.

Teri Garr: I thought I'd be bombarded, but I wasn't. It didn't matter.

Interviewer: And it professionally, it changed the way people. What did it do for you professionally?

Teri Garr: A lot. It's still playing, that movie still plays, and people tell me and come up to him and say, you know, my husband wants to tell you that, you know, you boobs are big or something like that. And it's funny.

Interviewer: The. I just want to say. We should get that one. And Gene co-wrote it. So was he very active on set in terms of contributing or was didn't Mel really take over?

Teri Garr: He was he was active, but not that much. Yeah, he was active a lot.

Interviewer: But he deferred to Mel.

Teri Garr: Uh Huh.

Interviewer: How would you describe the relationship between Gene and Mel?

Teri Garr: Excellent. I think, yes.

Interviewer: Real camaraderie?

Interviewer: And. How much how much improvisation was there?

Teri Garr: Not a lot. It was all in the script. And because Gene wrote in, so you were really, really well and that's about it.

Interviewer: Hold on one second. OK. I'm going to just feed it back to you, if you could just say Gene and Mel had a really great relationship, there was great camaraderie.

Teri Garr: You know, Gene and and Mel had a great relationship, great camaraderie. They got together a lot and they they wrote it together.

Interviewer: Give it to me one more time, because you were adjusting your hair.

Teri Garr: Gene and Mel, were really good together. And they they wrote it together and where was I?

Interviewer: There was great camaraderie.

Teri Garr: There was great camaraderie.

Interviewer: How long had your mother been working as a wardrobe mistress?

Teri Garr: For a long longtime.

Interviewer: Yeah. My mom had been working. My mom worked as wardrobe mistress for 25 years.

Teri Garr: My mother worked for as a wardrobe mistress for like twenty five years and. And then she worked on this movie. And I didn't know that I was always asking her what's going on? And she said, you know, I'm doing this movie now. And maybe there is a part for you. So I said, well, let me see if I can get it. So then I got my agent to send me out. And I went down there and I got the part.

Teri Garr: Teri I made up the 25 years. It's 25 years now the. Was it you you wrote in the book that your. Was it you or your mom, you were shy about telling Mel that you, you and your mom were related? Was it your mom or was it you?

Teri Garr: No it was. I didn't want it. She she said didn't want me to tell him that she was to say.

Interviewer: I'm sorry. Say my mom didn't want me to tell Mel that we were.

Teri Garr: My mother didn't want me to tell Mel that we were related. And I said, why? She's didn't give me an answer. And then finally, one day he found out that that was my mother. And it was great. It was really good.

Interviewer: I think in the book you write and he said, you must be very proud to your mom.

Teri Garr: Yeah.

Interviewer: You should say.

Teri Garr: My my mother said he said your mother must be very proud of you. So I said, I want to ask her. She was right there. Was good.

Interviewer: Did your mother handle your wardrobe, too?

Teri Garr: Oh, yes. Everybody's.

Interviewer: So she was the head wardrobe lady for it.

Teri Garr: Yes.

Interviewer: Wow.

Teri Garr: But, you know, I wore J. Julie Andrews dress in one of the parts. I worked backwards because I just found it thinking it's good.

Interviewer: Did we get that clean, Brian? You know where it was from.

Teri Garr: It was from movie star. It was called.

Interviewer: Oh, great, because you were at Fox.

Interviewer: So actually, they should say if you can give it to me, please. They actually ended up. It's the glittery dress, right? You should say one of the dresses in the film is actually Julie Andrews old dress from Star. I just wore it backwards.

Teri Garr: One of the dresses in the movie was from Star. It was Julie Andrews dress. I just walked backwards. That's all.

Interviewer: And. Did you. You wanted the Madeline's part at first, right?

Teri Garr: Yes, I did. But.

Interviewer: Tell us. You see, I wanted Madeline's part at first.

Teri Garr: I wanted Madeline's part at first. But then I didn't get it because she took it. And then I said, well, well, OK. So then I got to come back and try for the assistant and I got that part. Enga.

Interviewer: Right. And there's some there's some parts still in the movie today where you can see all of you sort of laughing, particularly the part where Gene Marty says about bringing the bags in. He says, I'll take the blonde. You take the brunette, you can still. Was there just take after take. I mean, if you want to say we had to do so many takes to stop laughing.

Teri Garr: We had to. So it takes to stop laughing. That part where where it says you get the bags. And he says no. You get that peg. I'll take this one. And it was Madeline and me. So that's what he was referring to us as bags. And we were people who were girls, women.

Interviewer: The if you could just say this one more time, it was. So we could have it clean that. Just say you know Mel would ask everyone for advice. He was, he would ask everyone for advice on the set. He wanted everyone to contribute and then he would say, OK, don't help me anymore.

Teri Garr: Yeah. He would ask everyone on set for advice and no one would give it to him. And then he'd say, OK, I dont want it anymore. Shut up, everybody. He was like that.

Interviewer: And. What is this? How did. Had you ever done anything close to this in terms of that style of comedy?

Teri Garr: No, I hadn't. I was on Sonny and Cher Show, but that was different. Just sketches and stuff.

Interviewer: So what would you. How would you describe the difference between, like, sketch comedy on the Sonny and Cher Show and then this? I mean, this level of like what was the shift that just that this was so much faster pace.

Teri Garr: Yeah it was faster and that that's all I know.

Interviewer: Yeah OK, maybe if you could say that. Maybe if you could say, as opposed to the Sonny and Cher, as opposed to sketch comedy on the Sonny and Cher Show this was a whole other pace.

Teri Garr: As opposed to sketch comedy on Sonny and Cher Show. This was a whole other pace. It was different. And that's all.

Interviewer: And. Just say maybe again, so we'll just get it. I'm sure we have it clean, if you can just say when I went back to audition for Enga, I made sure I stuffed my bra with socks.

Teri Garr: When I went back to audition for Enga, I made sure I stuck by our socks. So they're a little big, but it didn't help. I still look small.

Interviewer: Because I knew. No, no, it's good because I know they were looking for sometbody buxom. You know, they think, you know. Yeah. If you could to say I knew they I knew the part called for when I went back the next day, I stuck my with socks because I knew they wanted somebody with big breasts. I knew they wanted somebody buxom. Yeah. Thank you. You're not getting a writing credit on this. When I went back to our show. When I went back to read for Enga the next day, I stuffed my bra because I knew they wanted somebody really buxom.

Teri Garr: When I went back to to read for the next day, I stuffed my bra because I knew they weren't selling really buxom. And that's all I know.

Interviewer: And let's just make sure if you can just tell me one more time that. Just say I had 24 hours to come up with a German accent and I just imitated Cher's wig stylist accent.

Teri Garr: So I had 24 hours to come up with a with with an accent. And I just had Cher's person to imitate. And I went there and did her I did her accent. That was why I got the part. Her hair. My makeup.

Interviewer: Yeah. If you could throw in the word German. Yeah. Say you had 24 hours to come up with the accent and you were working on the Sonny and Cher Show. And so you just copied Cher's wig stylist. Cher's wig stylist was German.

Teri Garr: Right. Her wig style was German, so I copied her. That's all I know.

Interviewer: Yes. If you could start at the top and just say, I had 24 hours to get a German accent, so I just copied the accent of Cher's wig stylist who happened to be German.

Teri Garr: I had 24 hours to to get.

Interviewer: You're good. Start again.

Teri Garr: I had 24 hours to make

Interviewer: Twenty-four hours to get a German accent.

Teri Garr: To get a German accent , and so I.

Interviewer: Start at the top by 24 hours to get a German accent.

Teri Garr: I had twenty four hours.

Interviewer: Yeah. Take a deep breath. You get to do really powder. Let's just give you some powder. OK. We also need to reload. So yeah, we're good. Yeah. If we could just. Yeah, if we get to so if you could just say. Yeah. Just say my mom was working, working wardrobe on Young Frankenstein, and I asked if there were any parts. She said yes. I said no. My mom was working wardrobe by Young Frankenstein. I asked if if they were if they were still casting and she said yes. So I went in and read them. But there was they were reading a lot of girls.

Teri Garr: So my mother was working on that movie and I was still casting it. They were reading a lot of girls. But then I went in and I got the part. But I told you that for anyway. That's all.

Interviewer: And then the other thing, the one thing I would ask you to say again is that. Just if you could just say. Mel would ask everyone for suggestions. But then at a certain point, he'd say, Enough. Don't ask me it. Don't. Enough. I don't. Don't help me anymore.

Teri Garr: So, Mel would ask everyone for suggestions and then he'd say, that's enough. Don't help me anymore. I have my ideas now. So that was it.

Interviewer: OK. And then the thing about if you could say that it was a fun set to be on. You said you loved going home every day. I mean, you've had more fun on that set. But you said it was very fun, but also exhausting because everyone was trying so hard to keep up and be funny all the time.

Teri Garr: It was a fun set to be on, but it was exhausting. So we go on, be exhausted from that all day working. But it was fun.

Interviewer: Everyone was trying so hard to be funny all the time.

Teri Garr: Everyone was tracks hard to be funny and all the time except for me, I couldn't be funny. And I don't know.

Interviewer: You were plenty funny.

Teri Garr: Okay.

Interviewer: And just see, there's. Any memories of Marty Feldman?

Teri Garr: He was fabulous, Marty. He was great. He was really good. But he died, you know, in Mexico.

Interviewer: It was heart problem?

Teri Garr: Yeah. Heart problem.

Interviewer: Madeline would had done theater, right?

Teri Garr: Yes. In New York.

Interviewer: Right. And how is would you didn't really have that many scenes with her and. And also. I think it's important to say, because it's in your book, you should say. Mel picked me out of all the girls who auditioned. But he hadn't. But he admitted that Madeline was his first choice for the part.

Teri Garr: Mel picked me out of all the people that auditioned. But I was his first choice.

Interviewer: It's a no, it's no. Mel picked me out of all the girls that auditioned. But he admitted that Madeline was his first choice for the part.

Teri Garr: Right. So he he picked me, but he actually he said that Madeline was the first choice for the part. So I don't know. She got the part and I got this other partner is better for me.

Interviewer: OK. I think we're good. Yeah. I think we'll get. I think cut it with clips and photos. Yeah, I think that's the one that was clear. One more time to say my mom was doing the wardrobe on Young Frankenstein, if you could hit the title. My mom was doing wardrobe on Young Frankenstein. I asked her if there were any parts, if they were still casting. My mom was doing wardrobe on Young Frankenstein. I asked if they were still casting. She said, yes, go audition.

Teri Garr: So my mom was doing wardrobe on Young Frankenstein and I said, I want to go audition. So I asked my agent. He so sent me in. That was it.

Teri Garr
Interview Date:
2012-06-20
Runtime:
0:23:24
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
N/A
MLA CITATIONS:
"Teri Garr, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 20 Jun. 2012, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/318
APA CITATIONS:
(2012, June 20). Teri Garr, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/318
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Teri Garr, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). June 20, 2012. Accessed January 16, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/318

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