Blazing saddles

Will the real Mel Brooks please stand up?

‘I went into show business to make a noise, to pronounce myself,’ Mel Brooks told Kenneth Tynan in 1977, in a New Yorker profile entitled, with appalling relish, ‘Detours and Frolics of a Short Hebrew’. ‘I want to go on making the loudest noise to the most people.’ His memoir All About Me! may be his final act of this pronunciation. He is 95. His real name is Melvin Kaminsky but that wouldn’t fit on a drum — a drum is his natural instrument — and he shortened it to Brooks. He was the youngest of four boys of Max and Kate. His father died when he was two, and