LOS ANGELES - Veteran funnyman Mel Brooks sank his hand and foot prints into the cement outside Hollywood’s famed Chinese Theater Monday - and couldn’t help adding a little extra detail for a laugh.
The comic director’s left hand appeared to have miraculously grown a sixth finger for the ceremony, ensuring his handprints will stand out from those of generations of Tinseltown greats it joins on Hollywood Boulevard.
He said he left the unique mark "just in case somebody from Des Moines, Iowa, says 'Harry! Harry! Look, Mel Brooks has six fingers on his left hand!'"
“About time, huh?” his son, the author Max Brooks joked as he presented his father to fans and media. “Comedians never get their fair share of recognition in Hollywood. How often does a comedy get best movie of the year?”
His 88-year-old father then stepped forward to press his hands and feet into the cement in the courtyard of the Chinese Theatre, joking: “I’m almost honored to be part of it.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all for being here and being part of the wonderful charade. I really love it,” he added, to applause.
Brooks is being feted to mark the 40th anniversary of spoof horror movie “Young Frankenstein.” The Oscar-bestowing Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was also to host a tribute in his honour at its headquarters in Beverly Hills.
“Ever since I was a kid from Brooklyn in 1952 I came out here immediately to the Chinese Theater and saw all these stars and their hands and their feet in cement.
“And I was so impressed that when I did ‘Blazing Saddles’ I ended the film with Harvey Korman dying being shot here. And he looks at Douglas Fairbanks’ prints and he says: how could he do such stunts with such small feet?
“And then he dies.”
Brooks, born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn’s Jewish Williamsburg neighbourhood in 1926, went on to become one of the most celebrated comedy directors.
His other famous movies include “The Producers” (1967), “The Twelve Chairs” (1970) and “Spaceballs” (1987).
TCL Chinese Theatre is one of Hollywood’s top tourist landmarks.
Some five million people per year visit to see the handprints of stars from past decades including Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Jack Nicholson, Robin Williams and Jennifer Aniston.
Brooks’ extra finger didn’t go unnoticed.
“That sixth finger must have been how you were able to write such great jokes,” wrote @MediaAvid on Twitter.