Friday, February 28, 2014

#1,292. The 2000 Year Old Man (1975)

Directed By: Leo Salkin

Starring: Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks

Trivia: This special was originally broadcast in January of 1975

The 2000 Year Old Man is a 1975 animated special based on a character created by Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. Lifted directly from several recordings the duo made over the years, The 2000 Year Old Man plays out like an interview in which a reporter (voiced by Reiner) questions a man claiming to be 2,000 years old (Brooks). As you can imagine, the results are pretty hilarious.

A witness to many historical events, the 2,000 year old man regales us with stories from the past, going all the way back to when he lived in a cave, though, according to him, life wasn’t nearly as primitive then as we thought. In fact, every cave had their own National Anthem, and after all these years, the 2,000 Year Old Man still remembers his particular cave’s song (“Let them all go to Hell, except Cave 76!”). Throughout their 25-minute conversation, the two discuss everything from women (the cavemen he hung around with didn’t realize there were women until a guy named Bernie discovered them) to music, which apparently began as a side effect of fear. His stories go further into the future as well, including the startling discovery that Shakespeare wrote 38 plays, and not 37. The Bard supposedly penned a work titled Queen Alexandra and Murray. Needless to say, it wasn’t a hit (“It closed in Egypt”).

The animation style of The 2000 Year Old Man is pretty basic, but then it didn’t need to be anything special. The reason to watch this short movie is the banter between Reiner and Brooks, who play off each other perfectly. Both men would go on to direct movies (Reiner teamed with Steve Martin on a number of films in the ‘70s and ‘80s, including The Jerk and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, while Brooks turned out comedy classics like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein), and with The 2000 Year Old Man, we get an opportunity to hear the two in their younger days, acting out one of the funniest comedy routines of all-time.

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