Transcript:

Interviewer: When I don't know if this is true with My Favorite Year, but we can start with Young Frankenstein. The movie's ready to test screens, so to speak. Tell me what Mel does. He goes around and pulls the secretaries out of all offices?

Michael Gruskoff: Yes, that's what he does with all his movies. Just get a real bottom line.

Interviewer: Well, actually, maybe you can actually see with all his movies, he.

Michael Gruskoff: With all yeah. With all with all his movies. Yes.

Interviewer: Give it to me as a complete statement with all his movies Mel test screen. This is the unique way he tested.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah. With all those movies he has. He gets the assistance people's assistant to come and screens the movie and gets a real gut feeling from it. It also fortifies him when he's speaking to executives at the studios. And, you know, he says, look at the reaction that I got from the people who pay to see the movies. And and, you know, you also learn from it as well. But, you know, he he listens. He's a real listener. And he he knows comedy so well and maybe a little beat. And this has happened before the final cut.

Interviewer: You know, everything that I'm seeing, reading about watching for Young Frankenstein, it seems like the worst problem you had was the actors laughing through a take. It seems incredibly like an incredibly smooth production, which I'm.

Michael Gruskoff: Very extremely. We made. I'm I made the deal on Young Frankenstein at Columbia Pictures. Well, it all started this way. It's actually quite an interesting story. Mike Medavoy, who was Gene's agent at the time, and Gene had a treatment of Young Frankenstein. And he's I used to be an agent. And he said, I want you to come back and you run the company with me. A company called IFA. I didn't want to do it. And he says, well, why don't you read? Comecome to my office and read these seven, eight pages.

Interviewer: Well, Is that sound giving us a problem. I heard that outside. I'd say you did. Yeah. Okay. Stop me when you hear something. Okay. Pardon me. I will be okay. We're gonna go. She's gonna hurt somebody. Don't come back of you walked out. Started again. Say Mike Medavoy.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah. So I had lunch with Mike and Mike Medavoy and he tried to induce me to coming in to be a partner with him in the agency business, which I used to be with a company called C.M.A.

Interviewer: It's someone I'm sorry.

Michael Gruskoff: Do what you have to do it out of your control? I know that.

Interviewer: Charlie, you out there? So much for soundstage, right? It's such an oxymoron. Are they done right now? Okay, Mike Medavoy, go.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah. So I was having lunch with Mike Medavoy and he said, you know, I would like you to be my partner in this agency. And I didn't want to go back and be an agent anymore. So I he said, I have this project that I think you'll like it. Gene Wilder wrote it at seven, eight pages. When you come back to my office and read it, I read it. I loved it. He called Gene on the phone. He was a mentor at the time. And I said I loved Gene. He says, Great. I like some of the movies you made and I'd like to you can produce it, but only under one condition. I really want to get Mel to director and co-writer with me. And, you know, since I've worked with him on a number of movies and I said, I understand that. And Mel could have a producer of his own that he's gonna bring in that will eliminate you. So he said, I'm going to speak to Mel. And do you know him? And I said, I know him, but he doesn't know me. So that's a funny story. I mean, I. He said, I'm going to set up this meeting twelve o'clock at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He'll be there in two weeks. He's meeting Warner Brothers on Blazing Saddles. So Blazing Saddles wasn't done yet. It was in preparation. I go to the Beverly Hills Hotel. At twelve o'clock, knock on the door, he opens the door and he looks at me up and down, he slams the door in my face. He then opens up this deal. He says, You're Michael Grosskopf. You little picture here. I want Mel. I had seen Mel in the hallways of William Morris when he was they were his agents. Never said hello to him. But I said hello to him on Fire Island. I was there with my friends. We shared a house there. He was there. He had just got divorced. And we had a mutual friend, like a real Gatsby type of guy named Charlie Casher, who had just made millions of dollars selling a company to Charlie Rabson. I was twenty one. Twenty two. My friends were that age. Mel was probably thirty two. Thirty three. And Charlie used to have parties, love parties, love girls. Burt Drac Bacharach used to play at a bar on the island. He's after finishing work at twelve one at about one o'clock at night. I used to come and play the piano at Charlie. So it was all frolicking and all great. So Mel to see me and my friends there in our bathing suits. And so when he opened the door and saw me there, he remembered me from that period. And he says, come on in. He says, You are Michael. You used to be an agent. You could have been my agent. And, you know, that is a little riff. And he said. You produce the movie, Get Me a Deal. Just let's make a deal. Because Mel was cold at that time. He had made two great movies. Twelve Chairs and The Producers. They just did not perform. But they're classics. And he was out here getting, you know, making arrangements to do Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein and became the hottest guy in town after that. But at that moment, he wasn't. And I made a deal at Columbia, which subsequently. They passed because the budget was that they said we'd make the movie at two million dollars. And we came in at two point to two point three. And now said, I can't do it for two. I won't make the movie that I want to make. So I then took the project to some friends that Alan Ladd at. Twenty century fox. They say we love it. We'll make the movie for two four. Don't worry. You know, you have a cushion. And that's how it started. My relationship with it, with him. We moved to Fox and it was strange because I was making it when I met Mel. And then Mel made Blazing Saddles and he hadn't started and he had an office at Warners and I made a deal at Warners to do a movie. And my new office was right below his. While we were preparing Young Frankenstein, we were both at Warner Brothers. I mean, I was making a movie called Grafitti and the Goldust Twins, and he was up there doing Blazing Saddles. And then we moved his office and I moved mine to 20th Century Fox. I was there for about 11, 12 years, and my office was right next to an elevator. And he'd get out of the elevator and go right into my office and do five minutes every morning, every move.I said, this is the richest real estate in the business, you know, because he he needed. He has so much energy and the anxiety and everything. And I had a dog and he loved my dog. And I used to bring my set it to work all the time. So he'd come and do jokes with me. He did jokes for the dog and then go back to his office. So it was a great relationship. And on Young Frankenstein, there was no problem whatsoever. It was very, very smooth. And you mentioned there. Yeah. A lot of times there was one time he came up to me and he says, you must believe this, that Michael I said he said because you're just laughing too much and everybody else is laughing and you have to get them to stop laughing. But we couldn't stop laughing because it was that scene when Madeline Kahn arrives at the door and, you know, with. Marty Feldman holding her bags. And Gene and Terry opened the door, so it was that quartet over that. And she was wearing this or thing. And Marty kept them biting it. And she was hitting him over the head with it. You know, and one thing led to another. And it was bedlam.

Interviewer: And they didn't. I'm sorry.

Michael Gruskoff: Go ahead. No, please.

Interviewer: Isn't it Mike Medavoy? This is important to mention also because Gene has sort of said this in other interviews, kind of a little grin on his face. Mike represented Gene, Marty and one other.

Michael Gruskoff: Gene, Marty and Peter Boyle.

Interviewer: Right.

Michael Gruskoff: And Gene. And so that was a package.

Interviewer: You should you should tell us that.

Michael Gruskoff: Yes. And and all Mike really said at the time was, you know, I think Marty Feldman and Peter Boyle would also work well in this. And I said it would be up to Mel to decide who it is. But I think they're great. And Gene does. And Gene is going to be writing it. But that was all contained. Those three and it came from Mike, you know, which was terrific. And he remains a good friend of mine.

Interviewer: I know that there I know the whole thing about wanting to do it in black and white. As the producer did. Did you ever say. Should we. Should we cover ourselves? Should we do shoot in color?

Michael Gruskoff: No. You. You don't unless I really believe we should. But, you know, you know, there Gene and Mel are artists. They had this vision of what they wanted to do. And, you know, Jean and I were working on the side with because, you know, Mel. Gene didn't want Mel to be in the movie, and, you know, he said as an actor, you know best. He didn't want it to get. He won't. He didn't. You know, Mel's jokes, you know, too many of you know sometimes that over the top and he wanted to keep keep. That's know like a straight line on it. And Mel said, listen, you know, it's a collaboration. And. Gene was enormously creative and helpful. You know, they was the first of all, they had done the producers together. I think they did another. Yeah. Then they did Blazing Saddles together. And Mel. Well, as you know, we'll tell you the story of how Gene bailed them out on Blazing Saddles. You know, and that's the big reason he did Young Frankenstein. He liked the idea. But Gene was there for him. And Gene really wanted Mel to direct it. So, Mel.

Interviewer: Do you need a sip of water?

Michael Gruskoff: I'd love a litte of water? Am My licking my lips a lot.

Interviewer: No, but It's. Sound guy can we have the air on? We shot everybody else with it on earlier. Well. OK. It's ok. We'll leave it off. I'm just worried about other stuff from earlier.

Michael Gruskoff: Wow that helps this out of this job.

Interviewer: Is this out of the shot? It's out of the shot. But whatever you want to reach over. Yeah. Yeah, whenever you need it. You know. I want to.

Michael Gruskoff: Incidentally, Mel didn't want the movie to end, you know. It was just terrific. We're having a good time and we were in budget. He said, I have a new ending for the movie. And the staircase in Young Frankenstein, he says, I want everybody to dress up in a tuxedo and including myself. And I will walk out.

Interviewer: Start again.

Michael Gruskoff: And yeah, I know you wanted to have another kind of ending for the movie. And it was like a Broadway show where everybody would come out and think about. And his vow was everybody walking down the steps of the castle steps. And he would be the last one walking down with the Irish setter, which he said, I want to do. I said, great. Do it, you know. And so we shot it. And it that allowed him to add a day on because he just wanted. Didn't wanna end it abruptly. But we had what we needed. And we didn't need that. And still, you know, he asked me a couple of weeks ago, I said, Michael, can you look and see if we can if that shot is anywhere in that box? And I really have to get around to do it, but I don't know how they'd find it or.

Interviewer: The. How did you come to. Well, one thing I want to touch on is it. So here you are producing. But he's a very astute business man. I mean, he's very good. I mean, did you find that to be a real help because.

Michael Gruskoff: He wasn't into the business, you know? You know, of Young Frankenstein. We had 20th Century Fox putting up all the money and distributing it. And his deal was made before Blazing Saddles came out. So all the deal, the deal was in place and it was a deal. That Fox had a great deal because, you know, at that time when the when it was made, Mel, as I said, it was not a commodity. Here he became a commodity. And, yes, he's a fantastic business man. But this wasn't a business thing. A lot of his movies later on became big business things. But see on foreign rights. But not not not during that time. That was Blazing Saddles, nor with Young Frankenstein, where he would own a great, good portion of the movie.

Interviewer: 1974 is a really big year for him because the year starts off with the release of Blazing Saddles and ends with.

Michael Gruskoff: With Young Frankenstein.

Interviewer: I hate to get you to do this, but you should say that.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah. Well, yeah. Well, 1974 was a major year for him because it's I think Blazing Saddles was released in February or March and then Young Frankenstein was released in December. And we were up against huge pictures , you know, Towering Inferno and about three or four other movies that they were like four hits that Christmas. And we were one of them. And we were like we were like snuck in here really. And to have those two movies in one year, he as he says, he wasn't Mel Brooks. He was Mel Brooks. That's he was a different person.

Interviewer: That must have been interesting to watch that happen.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah. Yeah. Because he grasped it. Let's see, at that time, seven nineteen seventy five. He was about 50, 51. So he wasn't like a twenty five thirty year old director coming. And look at his background, you know, from the Catskills to theater, television. He knew what to do and and you know, his relationship with Ben was just fantastic. You know, we had a good home life. I dont know when Max was born. Max was born.

Interviewer: Late 70s I think.

Michael Gruskoff: Late 70s.

Interviewer: But he so he. What did you notice? Do you need water? Or you're good.

Michael Gruskoff: I'm good.

Interviewer: What did you notice as the change from 74 to.

Michael Gruskoff: I noticed that he wanted to make up for a lot of time, which he did. And he started his production company. And always interesting movies. You know, he's you know, Mel stays up a lot. You know that, you know. But when he stays up, he reads classics. He's one of the most most well read people, Russian literature. You know everything. He really knows a lot, you know, on our lunch that we have on Fridays. You know, sometimes him and Paul will get into a literature conversation. And it just amazes me because that's where they're both coming from, you know.

Interviewer: Did you know even Carl was talking about earlier in and Mel would say even when he was on your show of shows that he would be had so much energy slash anxiety, slash pent up.

Michael Gruskoff: Smarts, anger, whatever the whole thing, you know.

Interviewer: Right. So are you saying that the success of the movie sort of allowed him to finally kind of bloom?

Michael Gruskoff: It allowed him to do his thing. The head of the studio who I originally made the deal and very good friend of all of ours is Alan Ladd Junior. And Mel would go into Laddy and say, you know, I have this idea about a silent movie and about, you know. Laddy is a very, a quiet type of person, you know, and not flamboyant, but knows the industry inside out because of his being born into the industry. And he would say, yeah, I like the idea how much? And I would say I can do it for two and a half or three, whatever he said. How much? He said, I have two and a half. And he said, go make your movie better. But there was a whole stream of very successful movies that he was making at the time, you know, Star Wars and Alien, you know, and Young Frankenstein and about 25 others that were, you know, the Bob Fossey. All that jazz. You know, Paul Mazursky's movies.

Interviewer: How did you get involved,.

Michael Gruskoff: Robert Altman's movies.

Interviewer: Oh that's right. How did you get involved in My Favorite Year?

Michael Gruskoff: My Favorite Year came about, a writer came to me with an idea. We're not with a script that I read and I didn't. I kind of love. There was one thing from the script while Bill Hitchcock coming to New York at the turn of the century. And. A publisher asking him to come. And he was drunk all the time, and the publisher assigns a young, you know, an intern to look after him and keep him straight during that time. I was always fascinated with your show of shows. I grew up watching it all the time and I was so close to Mel and and knew all his a lot of us mistake. And one day, one day when he came into my office to do his five minute bit. I said, listen, you know, I wanted to work with them again. And I never had given giving him anything. And I said, what about us doing something about a guy like yourself when you're 20 years old? And Errol Flynn coming into New York to do your show of shows. And he's broke and he's never done anything live either theater or television. He was a movie star, you know. He said, let's put up the money. Let's get it written. And I was I would more or less gave the writer who wrote that all its grip a shot to write this and it didn't turn out well at all. And Mel says, don't worry. I know what I need. What has to be done? And I'll get Norman Steinberg, who worked with him on Blazing Saddles, to do us a favor and come in and completely rewrite it. Norman came in and they must have a eight or 10 drafts. Mel really put a lot of time into it. We got the screenplay. We like that. Laddy had left Fox at that time. So we went to David Begelman, who was running MGM, and I don't know if Mel told you. He's a very funny thing that happened and how we got David to commit to do the movie, because at first glance, you know, it's not an action movie. It's you know, it's. That's the type of movie that it's hard to get made. And we had Richard Benjamin, who had never done, directed a film before. That's who we wanted. And they wanted other directors. So they said David said fine and. You can see Mel's footprint all over the movie. So. So do you want to direct movies or do you want to direct television?

Interviewer: You know, I'm primarily a photographer. Yeah, but I've done I've done several of these for American Masters. Did Harry Grant and, Irving Thalberg and. I do stuff for Turner Classic.

Michael Gruskoff: Right. Right.

Interviewer: Actually, I am. I own all the rights to Cecil Beeton's Diaries.

Michael Gruskoff: Oh, God. Yeah.

Interviewer: I'm working. I actually live with a writer in New York and a theater company where I play it.

Michael Gruskoff: What do you want to do with it?

Interviewer: Direct it.

Michael Gruskoff: I'd love to see it when you're finished.

Interviewer: So would I.

Michael Gruskoff: How often do you have one of those.

Interviewer: Well, it's I mean, you know, it's literally.

Michael Gruskoff: It's not a writer writer that's writing it then. Or is it?

Interviewer: No, it's. I've got a writer and I'm quote unquote writing with them. I write occasionally for The New York Times, too, you know, open the door. Yeah. I graduated from May I in the writing program. Right. You know, but it's just with the beaten thing, it's over 4000 diary pages. You got to pick pick your story.

Michael Gruskoff: Oh, yeah. It's a lot of major figure.

Interviewer: Yeah. Major figure. So.

Michael Gruskoff: A Noel Coward type of figure.

Interviewer: Yeah. The Duke and duchess, royal portrait photographer out the whole layers. Yeah. Barbeau, Churchill, Picasso, the whole everybody. I was going to say, are we rolling. Okay. I was gonna ask you about My Favorite Year. In that. It's astounding to me. But you know Mel better than I do, obviously, that I'm glad that you said this thing about him working closely on the material, because I find it amazing from every right, Dr. Richard. Never on set.

Michael Gruskoff: Never.

Interviewer: It's incredible.

Michael Gruskoff: And he said, you take care of it. You do it. You produce it. We didn't have a problem again. There was no problem. And and then he was there again. When we came to the editing stages. But he knows the buttons. He knows what's going to make people laugh. He knows how to get out of the scene and all the other stuff that, you know, makes a good comedy. And he said he was busy. You know, he had his production company. And he had the movies that he wanted to make. And he felt comfortable with me. And I was there all the time. Norman was there all the time. And Dick did you know it was very responsible guy.And Peter. Peter was unbelievable. There was a time when the only time Peter didn't come on the set and it was like eight thirty nine o'clock in the morning and they said, where is he? And you said you saw that you saw the movie and that was the scene when he just happened to be the scene when Peter arise from New York and he arrives as luggage right. So and everybody's waiting for him. Well, he that day we were all waiting for him. So I go to the Chateau Marmont. I said, I'm going to deal with this. And I said, as soon as I go to the front desk, I said, I need to see Peter. He said he's been on the phone for four hours to London. Apparently it's a family thing. So I'm smart enough to leave and leave well enough alone. I leave around 10 o'clock. I'm back at the studio. And that one day Mel came on the set and he must've got there on eleven. He said what the hell's going on. I said, Well, we're waiting for Peter. He said, What is he, a method actor? He doesn't have to keep everybody waiting because the scene everybody's waiting from thim to come in from L.A. to do your show of shows. We all cracked up, of course. And then Mel left, you know. But, you know, he was there during that period. And then Peter finally comes on the set around 12:00 and he comes up to me and he said, I know you were at the hotel. Let me tell you now, I'm going to put it. But what his words were from here on in Gruskoff, I'm going to carry you on my back and make this whole thing work. And I said, be my guest. He was a dream to work with. You know, before that, he just had one incident, you know, and it was a family incident. And he was just great to work with. And he really helped. I would think, as much as anybody, because he really made it work with Mark Lynn Baker, who is new. And they've really formed a terrific relationship. He loved being in Brooklyn. I took him to Nathans. He was a real sport, love, lovely guy. And whenever he comes when he's in L.A., he'll come and join us at that lunch we have. And he's always fun.

Interviewer: Tell us about that lunch. How did that start?

Michael Gruskoff: It started Mel and I would have lunch. Maybe once every two months, three months. You know, not not that much. I'd speak to him. But and during one of those lunches, he says, we have to do this more more often. And I said, fine. And we. And I got a number of other prominent a couple of prominent people just to join us. Individuals. And it was very nice. And then one day, Mel says I say to Mel out at the lunch. It's funny, you know, I got up this morning. I opened up my New York Times and there was a great article that Elvis Mitchell, who was working for The Times at the time, wrote on Paul Mazursky. Why isn't he making more movies? He's you know, he's an actor. He's made some great movies. And. And he says, well, let's invite that. You know, we love Paul. He would. It's a third floor and Fox thing, as he probably told you. You know, he says why do me and you, you know, get Paul and then let's get Laddy and Jay. So that's how it started there. And so I called Paul and I say, Paul, I saw that great article written in New York. In The New York Times today and. He says, why wasn't it something I went out to pick it up and my sprinkler system was working. I pick it up and I get drenched and then I come in and I open up the paper. And I see this article so unexpected. I got frightened. I thought it was my obituary. They thought I died. I got all the space for free. No, no public relations man, you know, so I said, when you have lunch and he says, fantastic. And that's how it really started. It must be about 10 years ago. So maybe the 11:00.

Interviewer: What do you think those lunches mean to now?

Michael Gruskoff: A lot. A lot. Because he trusted everybody there. Number one, he trusts them. And he's a Hamish person, Mel. And with all the staff. And he enjoys it. We met. We make him laugh, too, you know. And we've all have. A lot of battle scars on ourselves and getting movies made. So, you know, we relate to different things and we can tell different stories to one another. Yeah, I heard a great story on NPR onWild Bill Wellman last week. I don't know if you ever did. And anyway, it was an unbelievable story that was oh, it's about telling different stories and and laughing. And. Seeing our buddies, Jay Kanter, you know, wonderful man. Never told the fly in his life. Manage and handling all these great talent that he represented. And so we had Freddy Fields, who was like my mentor. He he used to be there. And then he passed away. And a man named Gareth Wiggan, who worked at Fox at the time. And he came in. He's gone now. I hate to say it. Enough of that.

Interviewer: No it's a great tradition. It's a weekly.

Michael Gruskoff: It's a weekly thing where we take the time to go there Not the time. We look forward to it. It's not taking the time. Well, we look forward to being there.

Interviewer: Does it have a hard out?

Michael Gruskoff: None. Well, it has Mel picking up the check all the time because he's making money in so many areas of the business. And he insists on picking it up because he can control it. And unlike the maitre d of it, in a way, it's like. Norman Steinberg is in town. He's staying at my house and he's going to come and join us on Friday. This Friday, I had met Michel Hazanavicius, the director of The Artist. And I just met him and we started talking and I told him about this friend, a movie that I made Quests for FIre. And he loved it. He saw it when he was a kid. It's one of his favorite movies. And Young Frankenstein, he says, Oh, I want to you know, I want to be you know, I would love to meet Mel. This was duringThe Oscars, just prior to the Oscars. And I said, I'll you'll join us for lunch. He said, what? I said, you come to lunch with us. And I seat him right next to Mel and Paul at lunch. He loved it. He was. He came back. He e-mailed me about him about five weeks ago. He said, I'll be in town for a few days and it's over a Friday. Can I come? And I said, of course he came. Same place. And about he got back to France. And about three weeks ago, he emailed me, said, Michael, it's Friday night. It's around eleven, twelve o'clock. I'm thinking of you guys having lunch. That's what it was. I just think about you guys on Fridays now, because I'll be you know, he'll be there in October and he's going to come and he's gonna bring Berenice, his wife. She'll go. And the only other woman, the only woman we've had was Polly Bergen. That's the only woman. Yeah.

Interviewer: I have a question because I actually a couple of times was it business meetings at or so right next to you guys.

Michael Gruskoff: Were you really. Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah. But so you had to start with you should tell us you had to switch restaurants because the restaurant closed. How did. How did. Who picked?

Michael Gruskoff: I know. I know the owners of Port. Him and my daughter went to school together and I knew. I felt that it would be the type of place, but it's on the street. And yet we would have our own privacy. And Larry had gone there and pull a gun and they said, yes, they like it. Let's try it. And I said, let's try that and let's try a couple of others, which we did. And this one was the best. And we go there and it's it's a show, you know, it's it's it's you know, it's in let's you know, it's like the V of NATO in Rome where you can see all these people. And we get a kick out of that.

Interviewer: What am I what am I missing? Because I think we got it. But what am I missing about Mel?

Michael Gruskoff: I know you were missing some things that probably are very funny. I should have written them down, but.

Interviewer: I'm trying to think.

Michael Gruskoff: I covered the early ones. I'm covering now young. I'm going into Young. Frankenstein. Yes, some some of you know, just being around them, like you would know we would have lunch a lot. When young Frank, when Young Frankenstein was going on, you know, like we would meet him and Gene would have lunch every day and we'd go to Factor's Deli. Factor's Deli, was this this big at the time? Maybe four tables. We'd go there. While we were there Newsweek did a story on Mel and he made the cover of and the reporter said. On Pico Boulevard. Then we gave him a poster of the movie. You know, they have posters and that was their first poster. Well, now, fact is, is one of the big delis in L.A., you know, and they every time I don't go in there that much, you know, not for any other reason than I try to keep away from deli food as possible. But whenever I do go in. Thank you. You know that. Other things with Mel. This is Mel in a nutshell. Somebody, a great artist, could be performing at Radio City Music Hall. And it seats fifty five hundred people, Radio City, as he's about to go on. He slips and breaks an ankle can't go on. And the producer happens to walk outside and says sees Mel Brooks walking down the street. He's the type of person that can go on like that and do a performance with fifty five hundred people and make crack everybody up. And it would be a great show. It was like for an hour and a half. He has enough going on there and knows an audience. The producer, would be covered for radio. You know, the whole Radio City Music Hall thing would you know, you can do anything spontaneously. He did it at USC about two years ago. There must have been around twenty five hundred college kids. When we got there. There was a line filth, you know, so was filled up the place. He had them eating out of his hands and 10 minutes.

Interviewer: So in the approximately 40 years that you've known him.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah. Yeah.

Interviewer: It's about for almost 40 years.

Michael Gruskoff: Yeah.

Interviewer: A year shy of 40. What? We covered 74 to 75, but what's the big change yet? Because, you know, the comedy, the the comedy drive seems to be nice and steady and strong. But what changes have you seen in him that you've noticed?

Michael Gruskoff: The biggest, of course, is Anne. You know, that's the biggest you know, that was a love story. It was a love story. It was a great, great relationship. A Jewish guy from Brooklyn and a time girl from the Bronx. And I used to love when we were previewing Young Frankenstein and we'd go to San Bernardino and maybe around Santa Barbara, she'd come. She'd sit, you know, we'd sit in the back talking and they the great to be around the two of them. Just, you know, she's. She has a great deal to do with his success stabilizing. Stabilizing this genius.

Interviewer: So you're saying that did just see you form it as a complete sentence? The biggest change was when she passed away.

Michael Gruskoff: No, the biggest change, of course, when he when he was when he met her, you know. Not the biggest change is when she passed away. You know, when you when you when she passed away, you know, he says he's still feeling the burden of not being with her. You know, it's a wonderful love story. But the biggest change is what he's doing now, basically, he's getting on the. I kid him, I hit him. What he's doing now is doing the final cut of his life. He's doing he's having final cut of everything on these box sets that he's doing. In other words, if a. When he passes away, he's saying. Nobody is gonna call you and say, you have to come here to CBS. We need things. His things are done. So he's, you know, nobody's gonna, like, put him on television. You know, doing something on television that he's he's already doing it. He's preparing it. I joke with him. He's not doing it for that reason. He's doing it because it keeps him busy. And he knows his work better than anybody else. Like seeing the Alan Yentob. The audience went wild today. They loved it. When everybody was when you saw them clapping in London. You know, they were clapping at CAA. Simultaneously, they were breaking out in applause. So and I brought some friends, tough customers that they loved, you know, they they said it was a great, great show. You know.

Interviewer: I think we're good. Thank you.

Michael Gruskoff
Interview Date:
2012-07-12
Runtime:
0:43:00
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
N/A
MLA CITATIONS:
"Michael Gruskoff, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 12 Jul. 2012, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/319
APA CITATIONS:
(2012, July 12). Michael Gruskoff, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/319
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Michael Gruskoff, Mel Brooks: Make a Noise." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). July 12, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/319

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