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9

The Brothers O'Toole (1973)

Building on the success of Evil Roy Slade, the very next year John Astin starred in his second Western spoof, The Brothers O'Toole. It preceded Blazing Saddles by just a year and there are those who think it even funnier. You be the judge. From YouTube:

Before Blazing Saddles hitched its horses to the western comedy outpost, The Brothers O’Toole roared into town with all guns blazing, taking western comedy slapstick to ridiculous new heights.

In 1890 Colorado, two slick drifters, renowned for talking their way out of tight situations, ride into a sleepy mining town called Molybdenum but pronounced Molly-be-damn. The masterly brothers O’Toole set about turning the town upside down in their relentless search for a legendary $30 million bonanza of hidden gold. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the brothers must use every trick in the book to not only outwit the good townsfolk but get away with the loot.

Featuring an eye-opening performance from revered funny man John Astin (Evil Roy Slade, The Addams Family) in a side-splitting dual role performance as both charming con man Michael O'Toole, and as "Desperate" Ambrose - a seedy western bandito. Also features Lee Meriwether as his homicidal significant other and Hans Conried in the role he was born to play.

I loved this film but reviews are mixed; it seems that you either love it or you hate it. Those who hate it probably hate Blazing Saddles for the same reasons and will likely never "get it".

Sadly, YouTube does not offer the complete film as they do Evil Roy Slade, and there are few excerpts, all of which are embedded below. The Spitting, Belching & Cussin' Contest is one of the funniest things ever seen on film, and the IMDb offers the full text of John Astin's magnificent soliloquy for your future reference and use. Bonus points to those who recognize the mention of Uriah Heep.

The DVD of the film is available for purchase through Amazon and, better yet, the film is also available through Amazon Prime.

The Theatrical Trailer

(That's Lee Meriwether, Batman's Catwoman, talking about the hanging)

The Spitting, Belching & Cussin' Contest

John Astin vs. Lee Meriwether


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As much as I like John Astin, this movie left me cold. When I saw it at the mall multiplex back in '73 I remember thinking, I was lucky I saw it at the buck matinee. This movie was slow, and boring. With the exception of Astin's soliloquy rant winning the "cussin' contest" (even referencing Uriah Heep from David Copperfield) it really did not go anywhere. The Brothers O'Toole might have been better had it been a TV movie like Evil Roy Slade. However, this was a low budget theatrical release. It was produced by American National Enterprises, a company that also brought "documentaries" on Bigfoot, Noah's Ark, UFOs, and Space aliens, to a theater near you. The director, Richard Erdmann, played Judge Quincey P. Trumbell. Prior to this Erdman helmed two episodes of the "Dick Van Dyke Show;" a soft-core porn/comedy called "Teenage Tease"(filmed in Salt Lake City!); and a TV movie "Mooch Goes to Hollywood." I suspect he was in over his head with this movie. Compared to this, "Evil Roy Slade" was Oscar quality.
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