Program Details

A Video From the OLLI Archives: Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks: A 2000-Year-Old Friendship

Paul Offenkrantz
Video Catch-up

Course Description

OLLI breaks into their Archives to bring you one of their most popular video documentaries! Bronx-born Carl Reiner and Brooklyn-born Melvin Kaminsky (aka Mel Brooks) met for the first time in 1950 when the legendary Sid Caesar brought them together for "Your Show of Shows." Brooks (who had been a childhood friend of Caesar) became part of the comedy writing team that included Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin, and -briefly- Woody Allen. Reiner was brought in as a supporting actor but soon started contributing as a writer himself. Brooks and Reiner hit it off immediately and would often attend cocktail parties where they would improvise comedy routines. At one of these parties, Reiner held up an invisible microphone and said, "Is it true, sir, that you were present at the crucifixion?" to which Brooks sighed and replied in a heavy Yiddish accent, "Oh boy..." And the 2000-Year-Old Man was born. Individually, Reiner and Brooks went on to create the greatest comedy classics of their day. Their deep friendship withstood the test of time, lasting for almost seven decades. PRE-RECORDED PRESENTATION - NO INSTRUCTOR PRESENT.

About the Instructor

  • Paul Offenkrantz, D.M., a graduate of Oberlin College, attended the Yale School of Music and earned a Master of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College, where he was also ordained as a cantor. In his distinguished career, he has served communities in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and West Palm Beach. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Hebrew Union College and received rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute. He began singing professionally on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at the age of nine and appeared in over 30 different operas at the MET over the course of five seasons. He has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Richard Tucker, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, and many other important artists. He concertizes and lectures extensively throughout South Florida and is also an adjunct professor of Music History at the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University.