Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Frankenstein's Fred

If he doesn’t make it to the White House, Fred Thompson would be a natural for the musical version of “Young Frankenstein,” the Mel Brooks 1974 classic that came out not long after the Watergate black comedy played out on live TV.

Just as Gene Wilder gave life to the hulking Peter Boyle in Transylvania, Sen. Howard Baker pushed forward his gangling former campaign manager as Minority Counsel in the Washington hearings and launched his dual career in politics and acting.

In yesterday’s debate, it was difficult not to picture Thompson as the Creature who came off the lab table stiffly but eventually warmed up enough to perform a creditable soft-shoe “Putting on the Ritz” for the nervous crowd that had been anticipating his debut.

The question now is whether Thompson’s handlers can continue to zap him with enough voltage to keep their big guy animated while holding off Giuliani’s angry Republican villagers who will be hounding him on the campaign trail.

If not, Mel Brooks will be waiting.

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