December 5, 2023:
2022 Topps Garbage Pail Kids #23a Wild Gene
First of all, Gene Wilder is in my Top 5 Actors of All Time. It's a group with some shifting membership, but the two Genes, Wilder and Hackman, are the rock-solid stalwarts, never found to be on the outside looking in. Depending on the mood, the other members have included Billy Bob Thornton, Bill Murray, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt, and, yes, even George Clooney. (Clooney just has a great delivery. I'm convinced that one could become at least a character actor by studying Clooney's cadence and speech patterns and trying to mimic them.)
Additionally, Wilder is a Milwaukee native. He went to a high school that is just under a mile from where I live.
And let's talk about Young Frankenstein. I'm from the era when VHS was king. We were a cable-free home, so what I did watch was dependent on the whims of network TV and whatever videos I could get my hands on. I grew up with a battleship of an RCA top-loading VCR, and for as long as I could remember, my dad curated a collection of movies that were either taped off TV, or got from friends who duplicated some for him. We had the Star Wars, the Indiana Jones, the Close Encounters, but where his influence was really strong was in the comedies. We had Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Blazing Saddles, and of course, Young Frankenstein. To this day, we still quote the funniest lines: "Frau Blucher." "Walk... this way." "Put. The candle. Back." The movie made such an impression on me that when I bought my first DVD player while in college, Young Frankenstein was one of the first pair of DVDs I bought to try out on my new machine. (The other was Austin Powers. Couldn't live entirely in the past.)