Friday, April 10, 2009
"I'm Sargeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant Police Squad"...
Longtime readers of Illogical Contraption (meaning those of you around for the last 4 months or so) might remember a post I did on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a criminally underrated and short-lived sci-fi TV show from 1987. Well, there was an even BIGGER atrocity committed on network television 5 years earlier, namely the heinously short run (only 6 episodes!) of the brilliant cop-drama spoof Police Squad!.
Police Squad!, which was produced by the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker team that also brought us Airplane! and Kentucky Fried Movie, starred "straight man" Leslie Nielsen as Captain Frank Drebin, a role he reprised years later in the Naked Gun film series. While the TV show found almost NO audience in its initial prime-time slot on ABC, the repentant public picked the ball up years later, giving Police Squad a strong cult following that led to a second run in 1991 (where I initially saw it) and an adaptation into the aforementioned film trilogy.
Check out an intro:
The demise of the show was attributed to its, uh, "unique" sense of humor, which consisted of slapstick humor, bad puns, ongoing gags, and deadpan delivery. Apparently, the public just didn't "get it", and its cancellation stands as yet another testament to the monumental bad taste of the American people.
Police Squad!, in its short run, featured guest appearances by William Shatner, Robert Goulet, and Florence Henderson (all of whom were killed off in the opening credits), but even this tremendous star-power couldn't keep it afloat. It's a goddamn shame. Police Squad! was fucking brilliant, a show too weird to be popular and too hilarious to be profitable. But you bastards sunk it, and as my VHS copy of the original series slowly disinegrates and fades, I am reminded yet again of the prophetic lines Neil Young wrote so many years ago:
"It's better to burn out than to fade away."
Below: The cast of Police Squad! - Leslie Nielsen as Colonel Frank Drebin, Peter Lewis as Officer Norberg (later changed to Officer NorDberg and portrayed by O.J. Simpson in The Naked Gun), and Alan North as Captain Ed Hocken.
You can watch the first half of the series RIGHT HERE! LUCKY YOU!
Now go buy the whole thing on DVD!