Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder in “Blazing Saddles”

The late Gene Wilder wasn’t the original Waco Kid in the comedy “Blazing Saddles.” Veteran actor Gig Young got the role of the drunken gunfighter.

But Young was a drunk in real life, and director Mel Brooks says he showed up for the first day of shooting and began throwing up, unable to do the job.  Brooks sent Young to a hospital and called Wilder, who flew out the next day.  He tried on the costume, worked with the horse, and created a character that was both a send-up and tribute to classic Western heroes.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.