When I was growing up it was my dad that introduced to me some of my favorite comedy movies. Films like Caddyshack, Christmas Vacation, Ghostbusters, and the works of the legendary Mel Brooks as well as the Zucker Brothers. The Zucker Brothers (David Zucker and Jerry Zucker) along with their partner Jim Abrahams created some of the greatest deadpan, slapstick comedies since the early days of comedic performances on film. The two iconic of these movies being Airplane! and The Naked Gun.
Both of these films star the amazing Leslie Nielsen. The legendary comedic actor could deliver the silliest, most immature gags all the while maintaining the world’s best poker face. In The Naked Gun, Nielsen played the lead character of LT. Frank Drebin. Now what many may not know is that the full title of the movie is The Naked Gun From the Files of Police Squad. Growing up I thought it was just part of the gag that fits in with the movie, but in reality, it was being honest. Before The Naked Gun movie, there was a small 6 episode mini-series called Police Squad (in Color). This series was almost impossible to find, but now audiences that want a short but hilarious show to watch can get this series.
If you don’t know anything about The Naked Gun or Police Squad, well it’s easily described as a parody piece. The series is set up to reflect the police procedurals of the ’70s, so it is more Noir than current procedurals. The closest show that is similar to Police Squad is Brooklyn 99. But what separates the two shows is the type of comedy used. Brooklyn 99 is more focused on the characters and their growth. Whereas Police Squad is more simple. The actors play out each episode like it is an episode of Law and Order, meanwhile, there are gags going on around them that are just so stupid it’s funny. This is also mixed with various recurring gags, and off-screen and background humor.
For example, each episode has at least the same three recurring gags. When the episode starts in the credits sequence, the narrator introduces Leslie Nielsen and Alan North. He then introduces a guest star. The guest star is always killed off during the introduction and is never featured in the episode. Then during the episode Detective Drebin will interview a witness and offer them a cigarette by holding out a pack and stating “cigarette?” the person will then just reply back with “Yes I know.” Which is so simple and funny that I love it. There are also the end credits. During this time on TV, a majority of shows would end on a freeze-frame, meaning the show would pause on the last frame of the episode and have the credits played over that frame. Well in Police Squad the freeze-frame would just consist of the police actors freezing on their last action as if someone yelled “Red Light”.
These small, almost dumb, moments fill the show. Along with well-written dialogue and perfectly executive acting make this series an absolutely hilarious show. It’s a series that a viewer can binge in an evening and would say it’s PG in its rating if you want to watch it with some kids. But I understand that comedy is subjective, so it might not be everybody’s cup of tea. I would give this classic comedy series a 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone that just wants to laugh right now. You can find this series for sale on Amazon.