Wednesday, August 17, 2016

POLICE SQUAD - Season One, Episode 01 - "A Substantial GIft" (1982)

Besides boxing and "Night Flight," I didn't watch a lot of TV back in 1982, I had way cooler things to do, like putting the pieces of my life back together, so I'm not really sure if I ever saw "Police Squad" the first time around!  Too bad, it's so dumb, I'm sure I would have loved each and every episode!

The very first episode of "Police Squad" was titled "A Substantial Gift" and substantial it is, in the wacky department!
Here's less than a minute of the theme song by the brilliant composer Ira Newborn. The narrator says that the title of the episode is "A Broken Promise!"

Then immediately after Lorne Greene is announced as the special guest star, he's thrown out of a car as a stabbing victim, and it just keeps on going from there!

 Can't get much better than that! Two of my favourite words, Bijou, and Acme in one show; all it would take to make it a perfect game would be Moxie, and Bitsko!

Kathryn Leigh Scott is Sally, a gal with some orthodontist bills to pay, so she's kind of desperate!
Kathryn was Maggie Evans on 310 episodes of "Dark Shadows" from 1966 to 1970, and is still working today!!

I thought this was Pete Rose, but it's actually Russell Shannon as the innocent, but twisted victim Ralph Twice! His name sets off a series of gags, like "Did you shoot Twice? No, I only shot him once!" etc.

Time for our hero Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin to get to work!
Of course Leslie will go on after this to make the "Naked Gun" movies, but I'll always remember him the most for his role as Commander Adams in "Forbidden Planet," the best Sci-Fi movie ever made!

You can tell by the chalk lines how serious this is going to be!

The investigation brings Frank and his partner Ed as played by Alan North to a part of town known as 'Little Italy!'

Tiny Ron is Al, the seven foot man that they never fit in the shot!

A handful of guys get killed as they try to piece together the crime scene using real bullets!
It's not all about wordplay, although there is a lot of that, it's more of a "natural surrealism!"
A mind flip-flop!

There's the all-night wicker store!

And the Orthodontist's office with it's array of tortured rich teens!

Cheaper than Jerry Warren, but yet more effective!!

The elevator scene is very odd!

Sally's true hair colour and identity is revealed, almost, kind of, not really!

The big ending is a shootout between Frank and Sally! They do big closeups, and then the camera backs out, and you see how ridiculously close they are to each other! Frank breaks out the bullhorn to make it even sillier!
"Police Squad" owes a lot to The Firesign Theater in my opinion (As do a whole lot of other people!) If you can't see Nick Danger written all over this thing, you just might need a third eye!
It's short, in color, and a kick in the head from start to finish! There's only six 30 minute episodes, so you could easily binge out the whole show in the morning, and then spend the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out what the Hell happened to your life!! You can find each and every one of them right here for free! As crappy as a lot of the world is today, that is a substantial gift!


TC said...

At the time, I recognized some of the stuff that was being parodied. The opening scene (where he pulls up in the convertible, gets shot at, takes cover, and shoots back), and the jazzy theme music, was a spoof of M Squad, starring Lee Marvin. And the voice-over announcer during the opening credits, and the episodes divided into Acts and an epilogue, was a spoof of Quinn Martin shows like The Untouchables and The FBI.

But I only recently realized (from watching a YouTube video) that the first episode was a satire of a particular M Squad episode. The clerk at the credit union murders her boss, steals money, and frames a customer for the robbery. Of course, in the Police Squad version, she had dental bills instead of gambling debts.

Each episode, from the beginning (the guest star getting gunned down, and the voice-over announcement not matching the on-screen title), to the end (a freeze frame where the actors couldn't hold the pose), was a wild ride.

EEGAH!! said...

Your memory is better than mine TC. Thanx for all the xtra info. I'm really looking forward to watching the next 5 episodes! This is my kind of humor!!

zillagord said...

One of the greatest shows of all time!

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??