Like all my Disney stories this one is true. Not too many years ago, Mel Brooks was producing a television series and all production was being done at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. That meant Mr. Brooks and his production staff had offices on the Walt Disney studio lot. I gotta confess it was fun having Mel Brooks and his writing and producing pals on Walt’s lot. Mel and the guys loved having an afternoon coffee break on the patio of the studio commissary each day. Knowing this, we would schedule our break time each afternoon in the same location. That way, we could sit nearby and enjoy Mel Brooks and his guys tell zany stories and crack jokes throughout the afternoon. It eventually became something we looked forward to each afternoon.

Naturally, Mel Brooks and his cronies enjoyed lunch at the Walt Disney Studio Commissary each day. Mel loved to dine outdoors and he eventually found a table on the studio commissary patio that he particularly liked. Each day at lunch time, Mel Brooks and his guys could be found enjoying their lunch at this particular table. In time, it became common knowledge that this was, "Mel’s Table." I guess you can see where this is leading. One day a hapless individual new to the Disney studio purchased his lunch and headed outdoors to the patio. As you’ve probably  already guessed, he made the mistake of sitting at "Mel’s Table." Those of us already enjoying lunch waited for the upcoming scenario to be played out. At least five or ten minutes went by before Mel Brooks came through the commissary doors and headed for his table only to find the young man sitting alone eating his lunch. Eventually, Brooks was joined by his team, and the group of five or six simply stood silent on the studio commissary looking at the young man who continued eating his lunch. Moments passed, and then the young man suddenly became aware he was the center of attention. In a quiet panic, he quickly gathered up what was left of his meager lunch and scurried away. During this entire scenario not a word was spoken. It was like a scene in a movie except this particular Mel Brooks comedy bit took place in real life.

The result of this benign incident is that it was so beautifully underplayed. Not a word was spoken yet the whole incident was hilarious. As an old gagster and comedy writer you learn that the funniest things that often happen - are the times when nothing funny happens at all.

A Mel Brooks comedy being played out at the Walt Disney Studio. And, we watched it all happen.

A Mel Brooks comedy being played out at the Walt Disney Studio. And, we watched it all happen.

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AuthorFloyd Norman