Police Squad! is a television comedy series first broadcast in 1982. It was a spoof of police dramas, packed with visual gags and non sequiturs. While a parody of many television shows and movies, it bore a particular resemblance to the... [more]
Police Squad! is a television comedy series first broadcast in 1982. It was a spoof of police dramas, packed with visual gags and non sequiturs. While a parody of many television shows and movies, it bore a particular resemblance to the Lee Marvin cop show, M Squad.
Police Squad! was created by the comedy filmmaking trio Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker, who had previously worked together on The Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane!. Despite critical acclaim, the show was cancelled by ABC after just six episodes. This was enough to gain a strong cult following through repeat broadcasts, which led to the 1988 film version The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! and two further sequels. Many gags from the show were recycled for the films.
Leslie Nielsen played a role that was written especially for him, as Detective Frank Drebin in the series and all three films. Alan North played the role of Captain Ed Hocken on the show; in the films, the role was played by George Kennedy. Peter Lupus also co-starred on the show as Officer Norberg (in the films, O.J. Simpson appeared as the similarly named Officer Nordberg). Ed Williams, who played scientist Ted Olson on the show, would reprise his role in the films, making him and Nielsen the only two actors from the series to appear in the movies. Robert Goulet, who appeared as one of the "special guest stars" who were invariably killed off at the beginning of their episodes, would appear as villain Quentin Hapsburg in the second Naked Gun film. Dr. Joyce Brothers played herself in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! She also played herself in Episode 4 of the television series.
The show was presented in the style of a Quinn Martin show of the early 1970s, with a portentous narrative over the opening titles which made a big feature of the show being "...in color", followed by numerous gags. Each episode would similarly play credits over a 1970s style freeze frame of the final scene, except that the frame was not frozen – the actors simply stood motionless in position while other activities (pouring coffee, convicts escaping, chimpanzees running amok) continued around them.
One noticeable difference between the series and the films is in the portrayal of Frank Drebin. In the series he is shown to be considerably more competent and strait-laced, and less Maxwell Smart-like than he is depicted in the films. The TV portrayal of Drebin was never intended to be overtly comic, merely a sendup of the ultra-serious Dragnet-like portrayal of TV cops. In the series, Drebin was intended to be the archetype of the straight man, in contrast to the rampant hilarity going on around him. It was not until the films that Drebin was changed to a more outwardly comic character.[ [show less]