Mad Science Is The Best Science: Our 14 Favorite Crackpot Geniuses

By David Wharton | 6 years ago

FrankensteinDr. Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein)
You’d think having Dr. Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley’s classic tale would be a given on a list like this would be a given. But you would be wrong, because he’s way too obvious, and obvious isn’t mad enough for our liking. No, I’ll take his initially not-mad-at-all descendant, played brilliantly by Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. (It’s pronounced Frahnk-un-steen.) Sure, the original managed to resurrect dead tissue into a living being, but most of the people on this list could do that in one lazy Sunday afternoon. Frankenstein the younger, however, earns his place in the annals of mad science simply because he’s initially so completely dismissive of his infamous ancestor’s research, only to embrace it with the gusto that only a musical number involving the formerly dead can convey.

Let’s face it: the original Dr. Frankenstein may have done it first, but Wilder’s good doctor did it better (and using an abnormal brain, no less). He’s literally got peasants at his door with torches and pitchforks, but he still manages to upgrade his creation into the dapper, well-spoken gentleman who successfully woos Madeline Kahn. And he gets an enormous schwanzstucker out of the deal. In the battle between Frankensteins, the edge clearly skews Young.

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