Nightwatcher's Patrol #23

Spaceballs: The 30th Anniversary retrojunk article!
June 05, 2017
Comedy movies. Most of us have a deep fondness for anything that can make us laugh, whether it be a movie, a friend or relative doing something stupid or just a really bad joke. It can also make us feel better when we are feeling down, as a great toon rabbit once put it: "Laughter can be a very powerful thing, sometimes it's the only weapon we have". Who would know that better than that all around genius madman of comedy, Mel Brooks. His movies have gathered their own fan base and inspired new up and coming comedians to start their own careers of laughter. None however have been so beloved as a certain space opera spoof that, I'm fairly sure, everyone would call their number one Mel Brooks movie in a list of top five, and that movie is Spaceballs. As it so happens 2017 also marks the thirtieth anniversary of Spaceballs and in honor of that I've decided to take us on a trip back to the Planet Druidia and beyond in a very special thirtieth anniversary article that I'm hoping Mr. Brooks would be proud of. So fasten your seat belts and prepare for ludicrous speed, so long as your ships can take it, (because, as we all know, light speed is to slow), as we take a look back at this blockbuster comedy legend.

Spaceballs: The Movie

Why didn't somebody tell me my ass was so big?!

First off, the exact thirtieth anniversary to the day will be June 26th in case anyone else wants to do something special, and we can't forget that this will also be the fourtieth anniversary of the franchise that inspired Spaceballs in the first place (Episode IV: A New Hope came out in 1977). In fact, most of the art work for the upcoming movie, episode VIII, will use red as a primary color to celebrate this "ruby anniversary".

Happy 40th Anniversary Star Wars!
May the Force be with us all

Sadly, we lost both Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds last year so I'm afraid that Princess Leia will be killed off in this one instead of surviving through the entire sequel trilogy as originally planned. No Leia in Episode IX, sorry guys. {:(

*Moment of silence*

I also feel the need to apologize since I can't put any music or video clips from the source material into the articles because the YouTube video adder doesn't seem to be working right now. I don't have any of my own recorded clips from these things either and even if I did I would have to go through the torturous ordeal of getting special permission from their parent studios to use them or risk getting in trouble with the law for copyright infringement. So, on that happy note, let's begin shall we?

It was June of 1987, school was out and I had just finished first grade and was now excited for my seventh birthday (I change age in July). Another notable comedy movie that summer was the big screen debut (theatrically speaking) of the ever popular Jim Varney character Ernest P. Worrell in Ernest Goes To Camp (released on May 22nd, another of my favorites from that decade that is also celebrating it's thirtieth this year).

Happy 30th Anniversary Kamp Kikakee, knowutimean?

Needless to say, the teachers were all flabbergasted to see a seven year old come back to school for second grade quoting all the the funniest lines from a movie that is clearly made for adults, even though it is only rated PG (personally, I think Spaceballs should have gotten at least a PG-13). In fact on parent teacher night they told mom I had a "strange sense of humor for a kid that age". You know what was even stranger? When mom and I went to see Spaceballs, we were the only ones in the theatre who were laughing. No, I'm not kidding, and I don't get it, if you don't have a good enough sense of humor then why would you bother to see a Mel Brooks movie? I'm sorry but it makes no sense to me, though it does bring to mind another line from that great toon rabbit, "If you don't have a good sense of humor, you're better off dead" (or, as I like to put it, "if you don't have a good sense of humor, you may as well be the walking dead"). It feels good and is good for you. Seriously, smile, darn ya, smile!

Spaceballs was the first Mel Brooks movie I saw and I have to admit, when I went to see it for the first time I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except for it being funny of course, although I was already familiar with Mel Brooks (believe it or not) thanks to mom having seen most of his movies by then. Needless to say, I left the theatre quite satisfied and have been spewing out the best quotes from it ever since. It spoofed everything from the classic Star Wars trilogy, from Luke and Han being combined into the main hero Lonestar, to an actual man-dog in place of Chewbacca (Chewy himself being a physical representation of a humanoid dog). They even managed to spoof two major fast food chains with the villains Pizza the Hutt (Pizza Hut) and Col. Sandurz (KFC), infact a certain line stabbed a joke directly at the latter: "What's the matter Col. Sandurz, chicken?". This leaves Taco Bell as the only chain from the trinity to not be spoofed here, although it was used as a plot gimmick in Demolition Man so I guess that counts for something. But the most popular, thus famous, part of the movie would have to be it's main villain, a whiney little Darth Vader wanna be of a runt who some how gained the authority to boss his people around:

Just remember, what ever you do, don't try and do Helmet's job for him, "What? You went over my helmet?!". Sadly Rick Moranis's wife Ann passed away from breast cancer in 1991 and he found it difficult to balance making movies, concidering the traveling that is usually involved, and now having to raise his two kids as a single father. Ultimately he chose his kids over his acting career which is why he has been absent from movies for the most part. He is still active but has become selective about his roles, or as he puts it "picky".

What the hell am I lookin' at?!
When does this happen in the movie?!?!

Spaceballs: The Soundtrack

One of the best aspects I've found about this movie is the music, I would have to say that it has one of the best soundtracks in the comedy genre. The score was composed by John Morris who did an awesome job, especially considering that this wasn't a serious space opera like it's parent franchise but that didn't seem to matter to Morris. The opening theme from Spaceballs has become one of the most iconic in comedy history and the theme of Mega-maid is one of the best tracks on the album. I have also always loved the vocal songs in this movie, the two sides of the soundtrack seem to mesh really well together and they make the movie that much more fun to watch. A version of the score album can be purchased for download from and iTunes, it contains twenty one tracks, some of which I used to put together my own 30th anniversary album. For those who are interested in listening to my compilation I am willing to share it this time since it is an official movie soundtrack. The track listing for my home made album is as follows:

1. Spaceballs - Main Title
2. Long Ship/Dark Helmet Entrance/Evil Schwartz/Planet Druidia
3. "Raise Your Hands" by Bon Jovi
4. Bad Ship#1/Beam Bad Ship/Luggage Down/Matched Luggage/Bad Year Blimp
5. "Heartstrings" by Berlin
6. Desert, Thirsty, March, Falls/Bad Ship#2
7. Into Cave/The Cave
8. The Schwartz/Power of Schwartz
9. "Wanna Be Loved By You" by Ladyfire *
10.Love Theme
11."Hot Together" by June pointer (Pointer Sisters)
13.Entering The Ear/Down The Ladder/Hand Prints Pts. 1 and 2/Lonestar and Helmet
14."Good Enough" by Van Halen
15.Fanfare for Prince Lonestar/Kiss/Big Finish
16.Main Title [w/o sound effects]
17."Spaceballs" by The Spinners **

(* had to be recorded off of YouTube since it was only available on the initial album, ** may also be hard to find now, I got it off of the 19th anniversary score album, sadly both albums are now out of print)

Which was why I put this one together while I still could, because the out-of-print albums will cost a small fortune now and who knows how long the digital score album will be available. It is eight dollars to purchase by the way, so not a bad deal there. I should also point out that the Love Theme I used is the LP version from the 19th anniversary album as opposed to the shortened version that is usually used on the official release albums. Also note: the only vocal track I didn't use is "My Heart Has A mind Of It's Own" by Kim Carnes and Jeffrey Osborne. It is a very pretty song but I had forgotten about it until after I put the album together. I listened to it on YouTube later and liked it but I am happy with the album as it is and I tried not to make it to long, so it will do.

Spaceballs: The Animated Series

I know what you're probably thinking, "Wait, seriously? Spaceballs had it's own animated series?!". Yes, I'm afraid it's true, the series ran from June 4th, 2008 (Super Channel in Canada)/September 21st (G4 in USA) until March 1st 2009 with a grand total of thirteen episodes, or one full typical season for a cartoon series. Mel Brooks, Daphne Zuniga and Joan Rivers all returned to reprise their roles as President Scroob and Yogurt, Princess Vespa and Dot Matrix respectively. The rest of the cast was rounded out with replacement actors: Rino Romano as Lonestar, Tino Insana as Barf and Dee Bradly Baker as Dark Helmet. The pilot episode was a retelling of the movie with some notable changes: in the movie Lonestar lost the ring of the Schwartz during the battle with Helmet but got to marry Vespa because he was revealed to be a prince, while here it was the other way around, he actually got the ring back, somehow, as he was seen wearing it later but he wasn't revealed to be a prince so Vespa decided to stay single since she couldn't marry Lonestar and didn't want to marry Prince Valium. We also got a little treat in the first episode "Revenge of the Sithee" when Dark Helmet's origin was finally revealed along with his real name: Pannakin Crybaby. The episodes spoofed just about everything from Terminator to Jurassic Park to Pirates of the Caribbean and even Spider-Man, in this show, no other film property in Hollywood was safe. The series premiere was delayed by a year (it was supposed to start in 2007). When the first two episodes finally aired here in the U.S. G4 preceded them with an airing of the original movie. Needless to say, it is considered to be one of the worst movie based cartoons in history, and sadly it is now available for purchase on digital for about ten dollars. So, if I may be so bold, which actor needed the insurance money?

Spaceballs: The Future

According to reliable sources on the inside it is possible that there could be a sequel movie on the horizon, although word of this project has been going around for some time now and of course there is the ever present casting problem. Supposedly Rick Moranis (Dark Helmet) had claimed in an interview back in 2013 that he and Brooks had discussed a potential sequel with Moranis having pitched the title Spaceballs III: The Search For Spaceballs II, however, it would seem that this idea fell through as Moranis and Brooks were unable to reach a deal to get the project going. It may not be over yet though, with the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Brooks still hopes to make the sequel and that Moranis will reprise his beloved, classic role. Brooks is also thinking of using his title idea from the first movie, Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money. Personally I wouldn't make the sequel for a couple of reasons: 1. Sadly, Brooks suffered a blow with the death of his wife Ann Bancroft, a fellow actor, in 2005, which took a lot out of him, including most of his sense of humor. This is why the movie adaptation of Get Smart (2008) wasn't as funny as his previous works despite having been co written by him.

As Agent 86 would say, "missed it by that much". 2. Also quite sadly, half of the main cast members from the original movie are also passed away now. John Candy (Barf), Joan Rivers (voice of Dot Matrix), Dick Van Patten (King Roland) and Dom Deluise (voice of Pizza the Hutt) are all gone now, although Pizza was killed off in the original movie anyway so in Deluise's case I guess it wouldn't really matter (not to be cold or anything). "Pizza the Hutt, famed half man, half pizza, was found dead earlier today in the back seat of his stretched limo. Evidently, the notorious gangster became locked inside the car and ate himself, to death!" In any case, I guess we will just have to wait and see if anything comes out of this.

Spaceballs: The Fan Base

Merchandising! Merchandising!
Where the real money from the movie is made!

This is always the best part of a classic movie with a cult fan following, these people always come up with some of the coolest ideas for merchandising there favorite films. Just check out these tee shirt graphics, both of which I'm pretty sure are real.

How would you like to find that breakfast cereal on the shelf at your local supermarket? Well, unlike Dark Helmet I like raspberry so it might work for me. I would definitely read that comic book though. And how about these mock Lego sets depicting Lonestar's Winnebago (Eagle 5) and Spaceball 1.

Pretty sweet, huh? Somebody, who is obviously a hard core fan, thought these up and major props to them, they've got my little fan boy drool faucet flowing. They look like the pictures on the Lego box and instruction manual and each model comes with a cool little feature like the secret hyper jets on the Winnebago, "Buckle up back there, we're going into...hyper active!", and the "WE BRAKE FOR NOBODY" bumper sticker at the rear end of Spaceball 1. Heck, they even thought up a mini set of two Spaceball troopers combing the desert with a giant ACE unbreakable. Ahhh, pure 1980's bliss! I figure that the folks at Lego would probably stay away from a property like this, but man, if only these sets were real, I would buy them in a heart beat. Now this person just has to design Lego sets for Vespa's Mercedes and Mega-maid and the collection will be complete.

In 2009 Brooks won an honoree medal at Kennedy Center, among other awards that he has won over the years, and we watched it on television. The performers put on a great show, including Jack Black with "Men In Tights" from Robin Hood: Men In Tights (my second favorite Mel Brooks movie), but I was surprised to see that Spaceballs was conspicuously absent from the show, along with Blazing Saddles if I remember correctly. I figure that The Spinners probably still own the rights to the song so it couldn't be used without their permission, *sigh* to bad. I still enjoyed it though, as did Mel apparently as we noticed that he seems to have memorized all of the songs and was singing along in the audience, (lol!). It has been a good run for the last thirty years and hopefully Spaceballs will retain it's legacy for another thirty years and more. I hope everyone had fun and enjoyed this look back, and possibly forward, at one of the greatest comedy movies of our time (at least in my eyes). I know it has taken me a while to return but hopefully my next article, whatever it might be about, will come sooner rather than later. Until then Retro Junkers...

P.S. On another note I'm also celebrating another anniversary with this article. May 28th was my tenth anniversary as a Retro Junker and it's been an honor and pleasure to have hung out with you guys for the past decade. I will be the first to admit that I have had my down moments. First off, my original plan when I first started was to make my articles bi monthly in order to afford myself more time to write them but obviously it hasn't worked out that way. I have also made some notable mistakes in about half of my articles and left things out having forgotten about them only to remember them after the articles have been posted at which point it is now to late to fix this. Once the articles are posted you can't go back in to further edit them which we get a warning message about when we are about to submit them. You would think this would help me with my problem but apparently not. I also left a comment reply on my very first article, Monster Mash, that I should never have posted. I don't know if fellow Retro Junker thawk is still frequenting the site but if he is, incidentally, my sincerest apologies, the last thing I would want is to scare someone away from such an awesome site. I'm glad you guys have enjoyed [most of] my articles though, I seem to have had a pretty good run for the most part. Sadly, most of my retrojunk buddies from the early 00's have long since moved to another site which I too had joined up with but they seem to have locked me out for some reason (in which case the name of the site will not be mentioned here), so I'll just stick with retrojunk instead, annoying advertisements and all. So there. I have also enjoyed reading your articles, from movies to TV shows to video games that you all enjoyed when we were kids, they have really been a joy to read, mostly because I always find it ineresting to get a glimpse of our beloved childhoods from your points of view. Thank you for your wonderful articles and your kind words in the comments sections on most of mine. :) So here's to another ten years (hopefully). May the torch of nostalgia continue to burn bright. Nightwatcher out.
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