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Mel Brooks in Spaceballs (Image courtesy MGM)

Stuff We Love: The magical, Mega-Maid-moving powers of The Schwartz in Spaceballs

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Jan 31, 2018, 4:32 PM EST

As a lingering effect of my wholly inappropriate upbringing, I’m a huge fan of ‘80s comedies. Probably for the same reason, I’m also an ‘80s sci-fi guy. So for my money, there are few better cinematic fixes than Mel Brooks’ 1987 Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs.

It’s a testament to Brooks’ masterpiece that I likely quote Star Wars and Spaceballs (and possibly Fletch) more than any other film. And the fact that I use “May the Force be with you” — one of the most iconic lines in all of filmdom — interchangeably with “May the Schwartz be with you,” tells me that the Schwartz must be as important to me as The Force, which is pretty much my guiding philosophy. 

While of course paying heed to The Force before it, I am here and now declaring equal love for the Schwartz. And I’m determined to figure out just why I love it so. 

First and foremost, it’s Brooks himself, who co-wrote, produced, directed, and played two roles in the film: the fresh air-snorting President Skroob, and the great, the wise, the all-powerful, but still plain Yogurt. It’s Yogurt who introduces Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) to the power of the Schwartz, as well as to the film’s exceptional merchandising (with some Transformers goods mixed in). And despite Mel’s many fantastic deliveries in the film, it’s his likeness via a talkie doll who perhaps says “May the Schwartz be with you” best.


But it’s not just the line, it’s the concept of a unifying energy throughout the galaxy, which owes everything to its predecessor, of course. But when you take all the weight of that concept and lighten it with weightlessness of absurdity, now you’ve got an underlying philosophy I can really get behind. Particularly one so in line with my former religious beliefs, considering I was born Jewish (and can’t quite shake it) and the Schwartz is very obviously a nod to my people, many of whom are named Schwartz. (Including my old friend Bryan, whom I’d like to give a shout out to now.)

Furthermore, where would Lone Starr — and, for that matter, all free air and Druish Princess lovers — be without the Schwartz? Indeed, it’s the Schwartz that allows Lone Starr to switch Mega Maid from suck to blow, and — “come on Schwartz, come on Schwartz” — replenish 10,000 years of fresh air to the ransacked planet of Druidia. 

And beyond that, it’s Lone Starr’s mid-rift focused wielding of the Schwartz ring as he heroically battles Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), despite them having the same size Schwartz. But it’s not till Lone Starr loses the ring that he finds out it’s really “bupkis,” (like my grandma would say), and the Schwartz resides inside him, which allows him to Schwartz-summon a handy mirror and deflect one of Helmet’s rays, sending him careening into Mega Maid’s even handier self-destruct button, and making the world yet again safe for Druish Princesses in distress. And what's not to love about that?