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Rhinestones, Not Diamonds


Mel Brooks is one of those rags to riches, only in America stories. But, it’s not like Brooks hit the lottery. He worked hard for what he made of himself. Here, Brooks remembers his mother — burning the midnight oil — making a rhinestone dress to sell.

Mel Brooks: Make a Noise premieres nationally Monday, May 20 on PBS (check local listings)


- My aunt Sadie would work in various factories.

She worked in a dress factory once.

Aunt Sadie was a hard worker and she split her salary between my mother and her mother, my grandmother.

And I remember when it was about two in the morning and I couldn't sleep and I got up and I saw my mother.

Ch-ch, ch-ch, ch-ch, it was a little machine.

Ch-ch, ch-ch, ch-ch.

And there was a mountain of diamonds on the kitchen table, a little mountain of diamonds.

I began crying, I said, mom, I rushed out I was about five or six.

We're rich, we're rich.

Where did you get them?

She said, Melvin, Melvin they're did not diamonds.

They're a thing called rhinestones.

They shine like diamonds, but they're really glass.

And she said, what they good for is, they make dresses, they make these rhinestone dresses.

I said, it's going to take you all night.

She said, it's going to take a few hours.

She never complained.

She hardly ever, come on, I never saw her complaining or crying.


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