My Favorite Year (1982)
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Let’s go back to 1982
ABOUT THE MOVIE:
Seasoned actor Richard Benjamin made directorial debut in this Mel Brooks produced comedy. The movie is told through a young writer for show similar to Sid Caeser’s “Your Show Of Shows”
According to Brooks, Errol Flynn was a guest on one episode, and this real-life occurrence inspired Dennis Palumbo’s largely fictional screenplay. Swann was obviously based on Flynn, while Benjy Stone is loosely based on both Brooks and Woody Allen, who also wrote for Caesar.
According to Brooks, the character of Rookie Carroca also was based on a real person, a Filipino sailor in the U. S. Navy who was his neighbor in Brooklyn. Much like Alan Brady on The Dick Van Dyke Show, King Kaiser represented Sid Caesar (“Kaiser” is the German equivalent of the Roman title Caesar). Selma Diamond, another former Your Show of Shows writer (who inspired Rose Marie’s ‘Sally Rogers’ character on The Dick Van Dyke Show), appears in the film as a wardrobe mistress.
The character of Herb, a comedy writer who whispers almost everything he has to say, is loosely based on Neil Simon, another of Caesar’s staff writers, who, according to co-worker Carl Reiner, whispered ideas to colleagues rather than try to shout to be heard above the din of the noisy writers’ room.
Simon and Reiner made their own use of their Your Show of Shows experiences. Laughter on the 23rd Floor, written by Simon for the stage and later a television film, included thinly disguised versions of Sid Caesar and his staff. So did The Dick Van Dyke Show, which was created by Brooks’ friend and colleague, Reiner (who would later star in Van Dyke’s show as Alan Brady, with the character of Buddy Sorrell based on Brooks).
Brooks acknowledges that most of the movie’s plot was fiction. He said that Flynn’s appearance on Your Show of Shows was uneventful, that none of the writers had much interaction with Flynn, let alone became his friend or took him home to dinner.
The movie stars Peter O’Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper, and Joseph Bologna. O’Toole was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
The film was adapted into an unsuccessful 1992 Broadway musical of the same name.
The movie grossed over 20 million dollars at the box office.