Ever wonder why classic westerns showed so many scenes of cowboys eating beans around the campfire but no scenes of that meal’s often loud and acrid results? Well, you probably didn’t, but Mel Brooks did. “I mean, you can’t eat so many beans without some noise happening there,” Brooks said at the time. The resulting campfire scene, which seems to feature an endless sequence of cowboys breaking wind, is a landmark, generally considered Hollywood’s first fart scene. (In fact, the film is full of fart humor, from the name of Brooks’ character, Gov. LePetomane, taken from a 19th-century French performer whose blasts of flatulence were part of his act, to the movie’s title, which suggested that the post-bean activity continued once the cowboys were back astride their horses.)
Warner Bros. complained about the campfire scene, and so did movie critics, but audiences guffawed. Thus did 1974′s Blazing Saddles make movies safe for fart jokes, thus enabling gross-out filmmakers for generations to come. Somewhere, the folks behind Dumb & Dumber and Bridesmaids are busy thanking Brooks – quietly, we hope.