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A brief history of spoofs

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“Blazing Saddles” (1974). Mel Brooks kicked off the modern spoof era with this racy comedy that collected all the best moments of Hollywood’s classic westerns and gave them a slightly naughty, slightly raunchy twist. Cowboys eating beans around the campfire were never seen the same way again. (Peter Sorel / MGM)
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“Airplane!” (1980). The comedy team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker struck gold when they found the script of a 1950s airplane thriller called “Zero Hour.” Taking the old script about a guy who gets on a plane to chase his girlfriend and then winds up being talked through the landing by his old army sergeant as inspiration, all the writers had to do was add jokes. The line, about finding somebody aboard the plane who didn’t have fish for dinner was in both films. (Paramount Pictures)
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“Spaceballs” (1987). Grand-spoofing pooh-bah Mel Brooks started to lose his touch. His film “Spaceballs” was not only too late (the first “Star Wars” film was released 10 years earlier) it wasn’t as funny as some of Brooks’ earlier works, although still arguably funnier than his follow up, “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” (Peter Sorel / MGM)
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“The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad” (1988). By the late ‘80s the mainstream film-spoofing responsibilities had passed from Brooks into the capable hands of Jerry and David Zucker and Jim Abrahams. After making six episodes of a show called “Police Squad” starring Leslie Neilsen they turned the idea into a film franchise. (Ron Phillips / Paramount Pictures)
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“Hot Shots!” (1991). Once a spoofer, always a spoofer—at least according to Hollywood. This 1991 film starring Charlie Sheen (who would go on to make “Hot Shots Part Deux” and two “Scary Movies”) was penned and directed by Abrahams. A riff on “Top Gun,” our seventh-grade self thought this movie stood up just fine on its own. (Marsha Blackburn / 20th Century Fox)
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“Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (1996). The social problem films of “Menace 2 Society” and “Boyz N the Hood” weren’t screaming out for parody, but that didn’t stop the Wayans brothers--Shawn, Marlon and Keenan Ivory--from taking the spoof genre out of the realm of old Hollywood ridiculousness and giving them a more topical feel. (Adgar Cowans / Miramax)
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“Austin Powers” (1997). The first film in the “Austin Powers” franchise gave the spoof genre a shot of much needed originality, but it was the third “Austin Powers” with its $213 gross that made the most money of any spoof film to date. (Melinda Sue Gordon / New Line)
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“Wrongfully Accused” (1998). Leslie Nielsen began life as a serious film actor—see his performance in the sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet"—but after his turn as Dr. Rumack in “Airplane!” he became the go-to guy for movie spoofs, appearing in all three “Naked Gun” features (as well as the short-lived TV show): “Spy Hard,” “Dracula: Dead and Loving It,” “Repossessed” and this take-off of chase thrillers. (Doug Curran / Morgan Creek)
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“Scary Movie” (2000). When this film came out it blew people’s minds. No, it wasn’t brilliant, or hilarious or astute, but it did make $42.3 million in its first weekend, a record at the time for an R-rated film. (LInda R. Chen / Dimension Films)
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“Date Movie"/"Epic Movie” (2006/7). After serving in the spoof movie trenches through three “Scary Movies,” co-writers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer got the chance to create their own parody of romantic comedies and mega-budget blockbusters, collecting memorable scenes from the genres in question and throwing them together in a dangerously timely mish-mash. (Myles Aronowitz)
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