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Police Squad! (TV Series 1982) Poster

(1982)

Trivia

ABC wanted the show to have a laugh track, but Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker wouldn't give in.
John Belushi filmed a cameo "guest star" appearance for the "Testimony of Evil" episode, showing him underwater wearing a pair of cement shoes. He died before the episode aired, so a new sequence was filmed with William Conrad.
Each week featured a "Special Guest Star" who is killed off in the opening credits. Lorne Greene and William Conrad are knifed and tossed out of cars; Georg Stanford Brown has a safe dropped on him; Florence Henderson is shot during a musical number; Robert Goulet is executed by a firing squad; and William Shatner avoids a burst of machine-gun-fire only to drink a glass of poisoned wine.
After the success of the "Naked Gun!" movies, both Comedy Central and CBS-TV, and not ABC-TV, re-aired all six episodes of this series in the summer of 1991. Producers wanted to include the John Belushi "guest star" appearance in the rerun of the "Testimony of Evil", which had been cut from the episode due to Belushi's death in 1982. The footage could not be located, and is now presumed to have been lost or destroyed.
Drebin's rank is oft intentionally misused, i.e. he might announce himself as 'Lieutenant Drebin' only to have that person immediately introduce him as 'Captain Drebin.' Even Drebin varies his title, making it one of those distinctively amusing subtleties the Abrahms and Zucker Brothers team are known for.
At some point in each of the first four episodes, Drebin runs over a set of objects (garbage cans, bikes) equal to the episode number. This joke does not occur in the fifth or sixth episodes.
Each episode has two titles: the voice-over narration inevitably fails to match the on-screen title.
Starting with the second episode, Drebin would reel off a list of the criminals apprehended in all the previous episodes. This joke was slightly ruined, as the episodes aired out of order, the fifth episode airing before the fourth and the fourth airing before the third, thus criminals were referred to before they were arrested. This joke was not done in the first or third episodes.
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According to Pat Proft, had a second season been commissioned, the spot in the opening credits where Abraham Lincoln is shot at and retaliates with a pistol would have been replaced by a similar one, featuring Mohandas K. Gandhi and a machine gun. This joke was later used in a fake trailer for "Gandhi II" in 'Weird Al' Yankovic's movie UHF (1989).
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According to an interview with Jerry Zucker, David Zucker and Jim Abrahams on the Nerdist podcast, the original choice for Frank Drebin was Robert Stack, but he turned it down. Leslie Nielsen was their second choice.
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In every episode Drebin offers a pack of cigarettes to someone and says "Cigarette?". In each case the person glances at them and says a variation of "Yes, I know," or "Yes, they are."
Although none of the "Special Guest Stars" appeared in any of the episodes of the series due to being killed off during the opening sequence. One guest star (Robert Goulet) DID star in The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991), one of three movies based on the series.
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When ABC re-broadcast all six episodes the summer after the series had been canceled, they cut out the "and Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln" joke in the intro.
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The original video release of the series (before DVD) seems not to have obtained the rights to all the songs used in the original show. Songs such as "Happy Birthday" (that are copyrighted and therefore require a royalty) were replaced with alternates that were presumably royalty-free.
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In 1994, Leslie Nielsen (Frank Drebin) appeared in the popular British Saturday night entertainment show "Noel's House Party". Which at the end of the show, Nielsen and host Noel Edmonds parodied the famous closing credits from "Police Squad!" during the closing credits, which Nielsen and Edmonds faked a freeze frame, which the cast did in the closing credits of each episode.
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The episodes end with a mock freeze frame. However, instead of an actual freeze frame, the characters in the frame simply stand as still as possible. In one episode, the frame "freezes" with one character pouring the other a cup of coffee. As they stand still, the cup can be seen overflowing.
Each week Frank's snitch, Johnny the Shoeshine boy who knew everything, would meet with someone else that Johnny could give useful if esoteric information to. In the last three episodes he met with real-life people Dick Clark, Joyce Brothers, and Tommy Lasorda (even providing Clark with a special bottle of anti-aging face cream).
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Peter Lupus, who played the recurring character of Nordberg, was replaced by O.J. Simpson in the "Naked Gun" motion picture series that derived from this television series. Alan North, who had played Capt. Ed Hocken, was likewise replaced in the motion pictures by George Kennedy. Although Lupus had had a run on the series "Mission: Impossible," it's likely that both North and Lupus were considered too little-known as actors for a motion picture series, and therefore were replaced by the more bankable Simpson and Kennedy.
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Many of the gags from the television series were re-used in the Naked Gun films.
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The theme song, the opening credits, and the character of Lieutenant Frank Drebin were spoofs of M Squad (1957). Lee Marvin starred on that show as Lieutenant Frank Ballinger.
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In the 1990s, Leslie Nielsen appeared as Frank Drebin in Red Rock Draught Cider television advertisements, which were parodies of Police Squad! (1982).
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The only three cast members to be in all six episodes, and The Naked Gun movies, were Leslie Nielsen, Ed Williams, and Tiny Ron.
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Georg Stanford Brown was the "guest star" who would be immediately killed in the opening credits of the episode "Ring of Fear". He would direct the next episode "The Butler Did It."
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Tiny Ron played Al in the Naked Gun movies, and all six episodes of Police Squad!
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Paramount Television, which produced this series, later acquired rights to Quinn Martin's library, which was heavily spoofed on this show.
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One of the running gags was the man who was so tall that his face was never seen on camera and whose only role was to simply stand there and he never actually did anything.
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The freeze frames at the end of each show, mocks other television shows that end in freeze frames.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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