A random man wandered into one of the most hilarious comedic movie scenes of all time.. and the director kept him in!
Blazing Saddles, directed by comedy legend Mel Brooks, was nominated for three Academy Awards and earned a ranking of number 6 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years . . . 100 Laughs list. This satirical Western stars many of the comic heavy-hitters of it's day: Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, and Dom DeLuise to name a few. But one man appeared on screen unexpectedly and made it into the final cut. Yep, just for wandering in at the right time, a man in a gray sweater is immortalized on film in what Conan O'Brien refers to as "one of the great comedy scenes of all time."
In an interview with Mel Brooks, Conan O'Brien admitted that every time he drives onto the Warner Brothers' lot, he thinks of the hilarious scene from the end of Blazing Saddles when the entire cast is running out of those same gates. Brooks said the funny thing about filming that day was that there was a man in a gray sweater who kept wandering back and forth in front of the gates—which were supposed to be cleared for filming. Brooks said he turned to one of his Assistant Directors and told him to chase the guy away; the AD complied, and the cameras rolled.
As main characters and extras poured out of the gates and onto the street in a deluge of people, sure enough, Mr. Gray Sweater reappeared. He is standing incredulously on the corner in front of the cross walk, just watching everyone run past. Brooks saw the footage and thought his presence, standing there as a genuinely confused bystander (no acting needed), was pretty funny. "Get his name," he told producers. "Get him to sign something . . . Keep him in; it's funny." And if anyone knows funny, it's Mel Brooks.