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Mel Brooks announces Young Frankenstein book

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Steven R Stack

This October, film legend Mel Brooks will publish Young Frankenstein — an inside look into the making of the classic film, featuring behind-the-scenes photos and original interviews with the cast and production team, EW can exclusively announce.

Below, we’re thrilled to reveal the book’s cover, an excerpt adapted from Brooks’ introduction, as well as a sneak peek at some of the photos you’ll see in the book. Young Frankenstein hits shelves October 18 — but take your first look inside here:

Excerpt from Mel Brooks’ introduction to Young Frankenstein:

When I was young, I loved the movies because they saved my life. I was so grateful to cinema for opening up worlds that were not open to me as a poor Jewish kid from Williamsburg, Brooklyn… I was five years old in 1931 when James Whale’s Frankenstein came out. The following summer the movie played at a theater in Williamsburg and my older brother, Bernie, took me to see it… It was a big mistake. It was the scariest thing I saw in my life. 

That was a hot summer in Brooklyn, and in our two-bedroom apartment, I slept right by the fire escape. I said to my mother, “Mom, please close the window.” She said, “It’s a hundred degrees in here, I can’t close the window. What’s the matter?” I said, “If you leave the window open, Frankenstein will come and eat me.” (We called the monster Frankenstein because we didn’t know the difference). 

My mother said, “Okay, let’s talk about this. First of all, the monster lives in Romania, in Transylvania. Romania is not near the ocean. So he’s going to have to get to Odessa. He’s going to have go a long way to get to a boat. Then he has to have money to pay for his passage. He may not have any money if he is just a monster. He may not have pockets. Let’s say he makes his way to Odessa and he gets a boat to America. The boat may go to Miami. It may go to Baltimore. It may not go to New York. If it goes to New York and he gets off there, he doesn’t know the subway system. If he finds the BMT (what we called the subway back then) and he gets to Brooklyn, he doesn’t know our street. Let’s say he does find our street. But remember, the people on the first floor have their window open. He is not going to climb way up. If he’s hungry, he is going to eat who’s ever there on the first floor.”’

And you know, Mom made sense. So I said, “OK, leave the window open.” But it haunted me… 

More than forty years later, when I was finally a little less scared, Whale’s movies would inspire me and my friend and collaborator Gene Wilder to make Young Frankenstein. Of all of my films, I am the proudest of this one.  My hope was that Young Frankenstein would transport audiences the way I was transported as a kid sitting in the dark in Williamsburg. I think we succeeded, and in this book I will show you how we did it.

Photos with captions from Mel Brooks:

“Producer Michael Gruskoff and I take a break and go back to our Brooklyn beginnings, sitting on the stoop.”

“Dr. Frankenstein is bereft and heartbroken. The monster has attacked him. Inga comforts him, maybe a little too much.”

“Here is Peter Boyle having fun as the monster, choking his director. Our genius black-and-white cinematographer, Gerald Hirschfeld, is looking on, enjoying the fun.”

“I had a great idea for the end credits of the film. I thought we should all walk down the castle steps and take a bow. I loved it until I saw it, and then I knew it was a beautiful waste of time.”

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