ABC (ended 1982)
From the creators of Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane!, the Hot Shots! movies, and Top Secret!, Police Squad! began as the brain-child of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker. The series would later spawn three follow-up movies under the new Naked Gun titles. The series was set up to spoof the Quinn Martin Productions' police dramas of the 1960s and 1970s, hence the use of "In Color" by the narrator.
The show's main staple of entertainment came from sight gags (such as a tow truck being a truck in the shape of a big toe) and misunderstandings in dialogue, mostly from people taking things extremely literally. Several great routines came from these misunderstandings that left characters in the scene very confused, but left the audience with loads of humor.
Though critically acclaimed, it never did well in the ratings. In fact, Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker got the word from ABC right away that the show would be canceled. The reason? Because the audience actually had to watch the show. This isn't a bad thing, but the fast pace of the show was too intellectual for the average viewer, tired after a day's work. All the jokes, puns, and sight gags were too much to handle. Though it was never a ratings hit, the show has achieved cult status today.
Police Squad! is available on two VHS tapes, each containing three episodes. The VHS tapes are titled Police Squad! Help Wanted and More Police Squad!.
Fun Facts * Each episode has two titles. What appears as the on-screen title differs from the voice-over narration title. * The show contained on-screen act numbers after commercial breaks (Act I, Act II, etc.), with Act II being a gag title. * Each week featured a special guest star who was killed in the opening credits, and never actually appeared in the episode. * In each episode, Frank Drebin runs over a number of garbage cans equal to the episode number. * Starting with the second episode and continuing with each episode, Frank Drebin would reel off a list of the criminals captured from previous episodes. * During the closing credits, the cast would pretend to "freeze frame." However, coffee being poured into a cup would overflow onto a character's shoes, or Nordberg would enter the scene not knowing to stand still. * Frank could come to shoeshine boy Johnny who knew everything on the streets. Inevitably, someone else would come for information on fires, religious advice, baseball coaching, etc. Dr. Joyce Brothers would ask for sexual advice, and Dick Clark for music info and some of his "special face cream." * When Frank came into the lab, scientist Ted would be in the middle of some kind of vaguely sexual or sadistic experiment with a small child as his assistant (echoing Peter Graves' lines in Airplane!). Ted would then dismiss the child with the promise of another weird experiment later. * No matter how quickly Frank got to the scene, his boss Ed would already be there. * ABC wanted the show to have a laugh track, but Abrahams, Zucker, and Zucker wouldn't give in. * Though he was in the opening credits, Rex Hamilton never appeared in any of the episodes. * CBS re-ran the entire series over six-weeks when Naked Gun 2 ½ : The Smell of Fear was released. Unfortunately, it still did poorly in the ratings.moreless