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When Things Were Rotten

Published Monday, December 10, 2012 @ 7:11 AM EST
Dec 10 2012

On December 10, 1975, the 13th and final episode of Mel Brooks' When Things Were Rotten aired on ABC.

Hoping to do for the Middle Ages what Blazing Saddles did for the Old West, the absurdist comedy premiered in the top 20 but quickly tanked. A critical success, it couldn't survive in its Wednesday 8 pm time slot opposite Tony Orlando and Dawn on CBS and Little House on the Prairie on NBC.

In that primitive age- before the Internet, before DVRs, yea, verily, even before Betamaxes- moms and dads opted for musical variety and wholesome viewing on the family's two television sets.

It was a shame. In addition to Brooks, the series boasted top-name talent. The show's bouncy theme was written by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, the guys who did Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, and Annie. Four episodes were directed by Peter Hunt, better known for directing the Tony-winning musical 1776 and its movie adaptation.

And it featured great stuff like:

Villain: "Are you ready to tell that to your maker?"

Victim (to camera): "Mel! I didn't do it!"

(YouTube video: Opening credits and theme, "When Things Were Rotten")

Once upon a time when things were rotten
Not just food but also kings were rotten
Everybody kicked the peasants
Things were bad and that ain't good
Then came Robin Hood... ba-bah!

Soon the band of Merry Men begotten
They wore outfits made of plain green cotton
Helping victims was their business
Boy oh boy was business good
Good for Robin Hood!

They laughed, they loved, they fought, they drank
They jumped a lot of fences
They robbed the rich, gave to the poor
Except what they kept for expenses!

So when other legends are fogotten
We'll remember back when things were rotten
Yay for Robin Hood!

Categories: Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks, TV, When Things Were Rotten, YouTube


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Quotes of the day

Published Monday, December 10, 2012 @ 3:12 AM EST
Dec 10 2012

Quotes of the day- Damon Runyon:
Alfred Damon Runyon (October 4, 1880 - December 10, 1946) was an American newspaperman and author best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the Brooklyn or Midtown demimonde. The adjective "Runyonesque" refers to this type of character as well as to the type of situations and dialog that Runyon depicted.

He spun humorous and sentimental tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters, few of whom go by "square" names, preferring instead colorful monikers such as "Nathan Detroit," "Benny Southstreet," "Big Jule," "Harry the Horse," "Good Time Charley," "Dave the Dude," or "The Seldom Seen Kid." His distinctive vernacular style is known as "Runyonese": a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, and always devoid of contractions.

Runyon's fictional world is also known to the general public through the musical Guys and Dolls based on two of his stories, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure". The musical also borrows characters and story elements from other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick The Winner." The film Little Miss Marker (and its remake, Sorrowful Jones) grew from his short story of the same name. Click for Wikipedia article.


A free-loader is a confirmed guest. He is the man who is always willing to come to dinner.

Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you.

Get as mad as you like but never get off the payroll.

He who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted.

I long ago came to the conclusion that all life is six to five against.

It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong- but that's the way to bet.

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

She is a smart old broad. It is a pity she is so nefarious.

You can become a winner only if you are willing to walk over the edge.

Categories: Damon Runyon, Quotes of the day


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