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Uproarious episode of the 'Police Squad' series comes up with truly gut busting gags. Sergeant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) becomes aware of a protection racket going on after one of the victims, a dance instructor, is brutally beaten by thugs Leo (Robert Costanzo) and Rocky (John Ashton) in front of her class. Drebin and boss Ed Hocken (Alan North) devise a plan that will have Drebin pose as a new business owner to attract the attention of the criminals. Drebin and Norberg (Peter Lupus) subsequently open a key store (no, not a keister, a key store) and find their business thriving, and naturally the criminals turn up. Drebin ends up "working with them" to find his first order of business will be to bump off the pretty young dance instructor (Connie Needham). This episode, written by Nancy Steen and Neil Thompson based on Pat Proft's story, is good fun from start to finish, opening up with special guest star Florence Henderson being gunned down. Inspired gags include the dance students mimicking their instructor's positions as she is being beaten, Norberg's ineptitude when it comes to key making (the keys end up stuck to the ceiling), the multitude of pets that crime boss Dutch (Al Ruscio) keeps in his drawers, and especially the freeze frame joke where Drebin and Hocken stay in place while the coffee Hocken is pouring does not. Wise shoeshine guy Johnny (William Duell) educates a fireman on the proper way to douse a blaze, and Drebin gets a lesson in where rocks come from, from both Leo AND Dr. Olson (Ed Williams). The actors (also including Rebecca Holden as sexy Stella) have an absolute blast with the rapid fire jokes, with Drebin doing a perfect job of backwards driving. A very snappy episode that's a total pleasure to watch. Nine out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A woman reports being blackmailed by some thugs. The Police Squad gets additional reports of the same kind from other shop owners. So Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen in fine deadpan form) and the bumbling Norberg (the excellent Peter Lupus) open up a key store in the most troubled area to find out what's what. Director Reza Badiyi, working from a blithely wacky script by Nancy Stern and Neil Thompson, relates the off-the-wall story at a zippy pace and maintains a cheerfully zany tone throughout. The guest cast have a ball in their juicy roles: Al Ruscio sneers it up well as fierce ringleader Dutch, Robert Costanzo and John Ashton are appropriately menacing as brutish thugs Leo and Rocky, Connie Needham does well as fetching and frightened ballet instructor Jill, and Rebecca Holden is a vampy delight as Dutch's foxy moll Stella. Moreover, there are amusing appearances by regulars Ed Williams as brainy forensics expert Mr. Olson and William Duell as sage shoeshine guy informant Johnny. "Brady Bunch" matriarch Florence Henderson briefly pops up in the opening credits as a woman who gets blown away in her kitchen. Of course, there are also plenty of inspired loopy gags that include a Mommie Dearest Daycare Center run by a Joan Crawford lookalike, Dutch keeping various animals in drawers in his office, and keys on the ceiling of the store falling down throughout the show. Ira Newborn's cornball melodramatic score provides a fair share of laughs as well. A total hoot.
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