Hair On The Range

One of the funniest and most politically incorrect movies made back during the early 70’s was ‘Blazing Saddles’. It had many hilarious scenes but one that I particularly liked and is relevant to this true story was when ‘Mongo’ the big dumb guy played by Alex Karris sticks his head down into the fire to light his cigar. Well, back in the 70’s when we lived on McHenry Street in Baltimore we had a friend who did his own version of Mongo by trying to light a cigarette on the stove and instead wound up lighting up his head and hair instead. We will call this guy ‘George’ to protect well, you know…

It all started one night as we were hanging out at the house in the dark, since the electricity had been shut off. George decided that he wanted to do something different and said that he was going to drink a shot of ‘Colt 45’ malt liquor every minute until he had consumed the whole six pack. After going down to Wolford’s bar on the corner and grabbing a six pack, he came back and sat down at the table and proceeded to do just that. My brother Rick and I hung out and watched as he started drinking the shots once a minute as planned.

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About the time that he had finished the six pack I decided that I was going to bed and went upstairs to lie down in my broken down Dracula like bed. George meanwhile decided that he would like to continue this game, and went down and got himself another six pack. Meanwhile, Rick had decided to bed down on the sofa in the living room and left George to continue with his drinking. A bit later on, Rick says that he remembers a peculiar pungent smell and woke up to see George walking towards the front door patting his head the whole time.

The next day Rick ventured down to George’s house, and knocking on the door, was ushered into the house by George’s mother. Rick said that George had his back to him as his mother replied, “he really did it upright this time”. As he turned around, he could see that George had his head smeared with Vaseline and had burnt off a good bit of his hair as there were only little nobs left showing. Apparently, George had tried to light a cigarette on the stove and had held his head down into the fire a bit too long and after doing his version of ‘Mongo’ departed with a very burnt cranium.

I don’t know if George ever saw the movie Blazing Saddles as it came out around the time that this incident happened, but I’m sure it wasn’t a planned imitation of ‘Mongo’, but still turned out to provide a lot of unbeknownst humor whenever I’m reminded of George and ‘Hair on the Range’.