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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  May 17, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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tavis: from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. "blazing saddles" has been released. we are so glad you can join us. my special conversation with mel brooks coming up now. ♪ >>and by contributions to your
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pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >>excuse me while i whip this out. [screams]
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40 years since he gave us "lazing saddles, this is a "onderful -- "blazing saddles this is a wonderful addition. i have seen this more times than i can count. i laugh every time like it is the first time i have saw it. >> when they come to the desert, there is one scene where you see the desert on a big screen. it is an imax. there is a lot of desert. all of the horses lined up. there is a tollbooth. [laughter] it is so racy. -- crazy. tavis: last night we wrapped up the conversation and you're about to make a point. it has been 24 hours. you remember? -- it gives you so much.
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so many great stuff like "downtown abby" and all kinds of weird, wonderful people shows. it is a strange phenomenon. watched by intellectuals and college graduates. [laughter] you figure that one out. i love pbs. we is to have it on casey et. it was a local station here in santa monica -- we used to have a year on kcet. it was a local station here in santa monica.
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>> and memorandum for those who are kcet listeners. do mind if we do not do pbs? yeah we might. are you crazy? we love pbs. where are you going? [laughter] they just did it. say behalf but all of those at pbs so cal and ross country, it is a delight to know that mel brooks watch us -- acr oss the country, it is a delight to know that mel brooks watches us. i was overjoyed at that piece. amazing job. >> i liked it. it was like 36 hours of stuff. >> it was lovely. it is beautiful.
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it was like a trifecta of talent. >> what has been the most difficult part of the process for you? what will be excepted and digested? inspiration. say all your frustration out. i think it is the first part. it is a creation. it is the inspiration and the writing.
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you could be editing. it doesn't mean a thing if it isn't something like little movies that you love. it is inspiration. it is a strange movie that nobody knows. gourmets a chinese society that used to meet every tuesday night. it was made up of julie green joseph.l and we, you know, we would talk. they would to spend the night eating chinese food and talking.
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a bad guy. [laughter] this is a story that joe told. at midnight every night he would come down. her husband was -- there is a cliché. they would make a sandwich. cheese, ham, turkey. a big sandwich. he did that. he actually made that. so amazed and proud of him. [laughter]
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he could make that and it it. -- eat it. i would take it up to the attic for his writing. -- he would take it up to the attic for his writing. he is on the stairs. is at the top of the stairs. tumbles down the stairs. he fears a crap. he-- he hears a crack. he knew he broke his leg. >> paramedics. >> he is in the middle. there is a sandwich. [laughter] he crawls toward the sound which. -- sandwich. [laughter] finishes it and has a long crawl back to the
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phone so they can call. and it is true. he knew he would be in the hospital. for a month or something. [laughter] when he told us the story, it is beautiful. >> go-ahead. we have got time. tell me about max brooks. >> max brooks wrote a couple of books. thought -- i i hope he doesn't hear this -- i bet it was a little crazy. i thought i was worried about him. [laughter] i said, all right. ok. you like zombies. the book is a zombie survival guide that is about what to do in case you were attacked by a zombie. you know how to defend yourself or hide or where to go. you got it -- to stick a knife
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through their brains. it is a little embarrassing. >> i'm laughing at you making fun of his idea with the stuff that you produce. you have got nerve. you have that nerve. [laughter] >> and then following -- by the way, the book sold like 2 million copies. booken writes another about a zombie war called "world war z." and brad pitt falls in love with it. it is a worldwide success. he is doing really well. he tells me about this. he says, i do not see a lot of money in that. [laughter] this is about the regiment and
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world war i. african-americans were part of the u.s. army in world war i were not allowed to fight. was keen to show their prowess. when they got overseas, they asked the general pershing if they could fight for the french. as arench took them in fighting unit and they won every metal possible to win in a war. the risk airlines. -- they risked their lives. never lost a battle. >> the harlem hell fighters. >> it was a black regiment. max sees the book about them. it is a graphic novel.
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really beautiful. i'm not making this up. sony pictures, i think they'll make a wonderful movie. >> brad pitt, will smith. >> the best. >> this is a remarkable book. thisaid to give it to tab -- tavis and say i will autograph it if you put two on the show. okay. [laughter] >> okay, max. we got it. someone call max. get his book on the shelf. brooklyn.orn in your father dies when you were two. said you lostuy
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them. we did not lose him. he died. [laughter] we did not lose him. we like him. >> you're just a kid. how did you become a man? your mom raising four boys by herself. >> we had our grandmother. -- irving was like a surrogate father. he went to brooklyn college for eight years, four hours and i said he could work it hours a day -- 8 hours a day. time it is 1944. we are in the war. my mother has four blue stars in
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the window, four boys and the service. -- in the service. my brother and i are fighting the germans. another brother is fighting the japanese and another fighting at the george washington bridge and trying to get across. [laughter] anyway, we are on the service. my brother is in the air. air force. 23 missions. they made it 50 missions. he gets shot down and is a prisoner of war. you can make a record to send it back home. he makes a record called "i miss you." that was the song that thing crosby made. -- bing crosby made.
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my mother with a record on "i miss you." miss you more than i can say dear ♪ i would say, don't put the record on. we know you miss him and love him. as you put it on every night. he made it. everything worked out. >> everything has worked out for you. how did you get into this business? when did you know or how did it happen to you? >> it was amateur hour. there were three prizes. there was a major at spinning. there is a big fat guy. every time he hit a high note -- a button went off.
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[laughter] he was dancing. he was fair. i wanted to be -- i was terrific. [laughter] everyone is doing mammy. i was doing the other jokes. weet ♪ you are s ♪ sweet 16 they do not know that. they wanted "mammy." majorette gets that three times. the fat guy with the buttons flying all over. three prizes. i got nothing. but i was determined. i went into the resort in the
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mountains. i was a bus boy and a waiter. i was all kinds of things. and iy someone got sick was the utility after. -- itunately, the part was a district attorney who is about 70 years old and they put a wig and a weird on me. i'm supposed to say, they're there. tell me in your own words exactly what happened that night. i can do that. i've got to do it older. this.idn't like -- i did it like this. [gruff voice] there, there, harry. tell me in your own words exactly what happened that night. the glass breaks. i do not know what to do.
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it is all quiet. i take off my wig and my beard. i'm only 14. i've never done this before. and i knew then that i was in comedy. i got pretty big laughs. [laughter] >> you mentioned going up to the mountain. how did you -- how have you perfected this? you write so well. >> the inspiration is 80% of it. it is not just one rewrite. before the ideas are captured. you have got to be blessed with the ability to come up with a new comment your friend come exciting ideas. you have got to be blessed -- you have got to come with the new, exciting ideas.
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you have got to be blessed. it is easily understood or acceptable and polished. >> i suspect you are the final arbiter, but how do you know when you have gotten to the point where it is going to work? >> i could hear the audience laughing. i'm a bit of a genius. >> robot to know. >> you say it so it -- you have got to know. >> you say it so modestly. [laughter] i write something and i can hear the audience laughing and enjoying it. i have been blessed with the -- everyo prejudge once in a while something bombs. that is ok. [laughter] lousy audience. [laughter] most of the time, most of the
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time it was worth it. you are very bright and very smart. thehave a good sense of whole business. our business. you have a good sense of what is working and what is not. even more important, what is valuable. we have got a good leader in you and what is valuable. i watch her show. i do. >> i'm glad you -- i watch your show. i do. >> i'm glad you say that. have you come lush that went to go left or when to go -- accomplish that when to go left and went to go right and when to stand still? your own compass? lucky toe got to be intuit that from our families. my mother was good. she was kind.
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ebulient.billion -- she was onward and upwards. she had always be singing. it would be a cold winter morning. it would be freezing. she would put my clothes on the radio or an warm them up and dress me under the bed so when i got out of bed i was warm. should be singing all the time. da-da-dar her doing -di-dee-do-do. i got a lot of life force from her. and for my brothers. i think i was lucky that early --ironmental thing was evening --
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and the mountains. [laughter] ladies and gentlemen, the man of 1000 faces. and i turn and, say they are waiting for 1000 faces. and they were. [laughter] you couldn't please them. >> tough crowd. >> i used to go there all the time. dancing and singing and dancing. once in a while, there was a large growth weird she was once, kiss mes me itce, kiss me once again, it has been a long, long time. they were tolerant. she was singing.
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there was a big guy with a kind of light vest. he comes in. he looks up at the apollo. in those days when you did not like a contestant, you said boo. bang. they're going to take her off. wishy-washy.was they do not want to hurt her feelings. he comes out. he says, we've got to shoot her. [laughter] i'll never forget. that is company. they shot her and took her off. >> mel brooks knows comedy. manyave entertained us for years. a lot of funny stuff and serious
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stuff as well. this is hilarious. the 40th anniversary of "blazing saddles." a special 40th collection out now. and promoting an upcoming guest on this program. >> max brooks. >> max brooks will be seen here on pbs in the coming days. mel brooks, i'm honored to have you on this program. >> i have one question and then i will go. >> where did tavis come from? living in my aunt was texas. she must have met some man in texas. >> a traveling salesman. >> probably. >> my name is tavis. i would love to have a cup of tea with you. [laughter] >> the rest of it is history. >> it is good.
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the tavis smiley show. give me a minute. i joke. there are many i say no to, but i like you. the next thing is radar. we have got to do radar togeth er. >> love you, mel brooks. faith.ys, keep the >> for more information on today show, visit taverns -- tavis smiley at pbs.org. >> hi. i am tavis smiley. join us next time. see you then.
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >>
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next, the drought plus an early heat wave for a hot fire season. coming back with wes moore, a glimpse of the veterans returning home from the front lines. >> we know the bullets will stop flying, but the wars that many of us are facing as we come back home will not. a look at some key local races in the upcoming june primary.

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