2011-02-15

Mars Attacked.

I was looking for an excuse to watch Get Smart today. Unfortunately, the reason for doing so is a rather sad one. Alas, comic Kenneth Mars has met his untimely end.

First watch part one of this episode...


Then in one of his earliest roles, Kenneth shows up at the 5:35 mark here.



I don't want to spoil anything but if the only reason you were watching these was to see Mr. Mars, then don't watch part 3.


Of course, his main claim to fame was in The Producers (not the musical or remake of the musical but the original upon which they were based.) Kenneth Mars played Nazi-playwrite Franz opposite Zero Mostel's Max.

Franz Liebkind: You know, not many people know zis, but der Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.
Max Bialystock: Really? Gee, we didn't know that, did we, Leo?
Leo Bloom: No, we sure didn't.
Franz Liebkind: THAT'S BECAUSE YOU WERE TAKEN IN BY THE BBC! Filthy British lies! But did they ever say a bad word about Winston Churchill? CHURCHILL!
[gags]
Franz Liebkind: With his cigars, and his brandy, and his ROTTEN paintings! ROTTEN! Hitler, there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two coats!

Among the dozens of animated feature voices he did, one of the roles he will be most remembered for is that of Grampa Longneck in the Land Before Time series...


Oh yeah, he also showed up in Young Frankenstein. Here are some snaps I took off my computer screen:



Wait a sec, that didn't feature Kenneth Mars! No, but it did showcase Betty Garrett who also passed away this week. Everyone knows of her as Edna Babish on Laverne & Shirley, I know of her best as Irene Lorenzo on All in the Family and I just learned that she is the widow of Larry Parks who portrayed Al Jolson in the eponymous Jolson Story.

I'm going to do some fancy Kevin Bacon work and segue into another death. Red Skelton was in the last clip, Wayne & Shuster starred on the Red Skelton show in between their innumerable Ed Sullivan appearances and their own long running show, Frank Shuster is the cousin of Joe Shuster, Joe Shuster co-created Superman with Jerry Siegel, Joanne Siegel was the widow of Jerry and the inspiration for Lois Lane. Well, Joanne Siegel passed on yesterday at the age of 91.

I'm sorry to see all of them shuffle off this mortal coil, but the ladies were in their 90s and Kenneth reached 74 so they all had a pretty good run.

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