Before They Were Stars: Mel Brooks Does an Early Version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”

Since Mel Brooks has recently announced that he wants to do Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money, I thought I’d dig up one of his earliest, most obscure pieces of work. In 1963, Brooks wrote and narrated a four-minute animated short called The Critic. The previous year, Brooks had attended a theatre which was screening a surreal, abstract animated short film and overheard an old immigrant man in the audience openly complaining about how he couldn’t understand what was going on because there was no plot. Brooks decided to use this incident as an inspiration when he made The Critic.┬áIn a way, you could almost call this short a precursor to Mystery Science Theater 3000 as Brooks assumes the persona of an old grumpy Russian Jewish man and provides some hilarious running commentary over a bunch of abstract animation. Believe it or not, The Critic wound up winning an Academy Award that year for “Best Animated Short”.

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