Much More to His Funny Business

We love the people who make us laugh- the ones who provoke not just a polite giggle, but laughter that draws stares and embarrasses those around us. We form strong connections with those who help us forget ourselves and all the problems in the world, even if it’s just for a few seconds. This is evident in the demonstrations of appreciation of Gene Wilder since his death. We knew he was clever and a man with a heart, but there was intellect and a moral sense as well. That’s why I wanted to share one more Gene Wilder post.

Gene Wilder was a writer as well as a brilliant comedian. He had the idea for “Young Frankenstein,” and co-wrote the script with Mel Brooks.  Cloris Leachman’s camped-up creepy role as Frau Blücher, the housekeeper and assumed mistress of the late monster-maker, is one of the funniest parts of this very funny movie. Have you ever wondered where Wilder got her name?

“Frau Blücher” was the married name of the renegade Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, the erstwhile mistress of the philosopher and sometime Nazi Party member Martin Heidegger. The most influential Existentialist of the 20th century, Heidegger took over the University of Freiburg the same month that Hitler seized power in 1933, and threw in his lot with the Nazis–after looting Arendt’s dissertation on St. Augustine for material in his magnum opus Being and Time. The married Heidegger spent the 1920s sleeping with his Jewish graduate student and borrowing her research, before joining the Nazi Party himself. Arendt was obsessed with Heidegger. After World War II she appeared in public with Heidegger and aided his rehabilitation, even though Heidegger refused to renounce his support for Hitler.

Read the rest of the story of the real Frau Blücher  here.

Check out Wilder’s letter where he gives suggestions on what he should wear as Willy Wonka.

And here’s something from Terry Teachout on “Why Comedy Is Truer to Life Than Tragedy.”

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