Harvey Korman, 1927 - 2008


Remember when I did that movie quote game, and this was one of the lines I loved:

"I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists."

The wonderful comedian who delivered that list so perfectly was Harvey Korman as Hedy--that's Hedley!--Lamarr in Blazing Saddles (1974).  For older generations he may be best known for his almost ten years of work on The Carol Burnett Show, among other memorable comedic television appearances.  But for me he will always be the Attorney General/Assistant to the Governor/State Procurer Hedley Lamarr (above and below with another favorite, Madeline Kahn as Lili Von Shtupp).  I think his character is the only one I can constantly quote from this film.  I can't really even tell what kind of accent he used, but he had so many great lines:

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."

"You will be risking your lives, while I whilst I will be risking an almost-certain Academy Award nomination for the Best Supporting Actor."

"My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention."

"Be still, Taggart, be still!"

I love the way he says "Rock Ridge, Rock Ridge."  My parents are moving to a neighborhood with a vaguely similar name (which of course escapes me now), but whenever they mention it I always say "Rock Ridge, Rock Ridge!"  I'm almost 100% positive it doesn't annoy the hell out of them...

Korman also appeared in Mel Brooks' High Anxiety (1977) and History of the World: Part I (1981).   Perhaps at the absolute lowest point of his career, he appeared in "The Star Wars Holiday Special", along with BEA ARTHUR who played the owner of the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine!  You can see it in all its unbelievably terrible beauty here (he shows up at 01:18).  Thank you, Youtube, thank you.  

And thanks to Harvey too, for all the laughs.  He will be missed.


Allie said...

I used to watch him on the Carol Burnett Show when I was little. Even then, I thought he was the funniest man... Thanks for that well-deserved shout-out. Not many know of the great Heddy Lamar.

Maryann said...

Wow! I'm jealous of your carol burnett show experience. Thank goodness for Youtube.