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Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Start the year as you mean to go on and so I'm putting my feet up and handing over the reins of Tainted Archive to Chris from the Louis L'amour Project.

Not only has he had loads of snow to play about in, when the rest of us have to cope with the rain, but he's also found time to review the Police Squad DVD.

So let's put virtual hands together for our guest reviewer, Chris.

Police Squad! is where comedy begins and ends for me. I first learned of it back in the early 90s when Comedy Central was promoting the heck out of The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear and was showing the six Police Squad! episodes over and over again. I recorded them on a VHS tape and for years that was my only means of watching them, until a couple of years ago when my wife bought me The Complete Series on DVD.

It does not disappoint, and any fan of The Naked Gun, Airplane, or other Zucker brothers pursuits should consider adding it to his/her collection. Here are some things I like about the Police Squad! series:

  • It has all of the Naked Gun jokes, but predates The Naked Gun films by about ten years. The jokes are way fresher.
  • All six episodes were released in 1982, and the sets and quality of the film reflect that, which is a huge plus for me. It's kind of hard to explain, really--it's all about the vibe. If you've seen Charles Bronson's St. Ives, you know what I'm talking about.
  • The actor who plays Nordberg is a lot funnier than O.J. Simpson, who played Nordberg in the Naked Gun film series.
  • The acting is superb. Leslie Nielsen and Alan North nail every line and play the material as if it were Shakespeare. This only adds to the comedic value for me--that they're completely oblivious to the hilarity surrounding them
That there were only six episodes of the Police Squad! series is something of a double-edged sword for me. I wish there were more, but feel the fact that it was so short-lived adds to its specialness. If you like comedy, I highly recommend checking this gem out.

Chris's own blog, The Louis L'amour Project (link above) contains postings on the western author as well as musings on other aspects of pop culture. I really enjoyed his postings on Jazz and his debate with fellow Jazz fan and blogger, David Cramer provoked me to discover Miles Davies. I owe them both big time for that......






Joanne Walpole said...

A guest blogger - how posh!
Nice to see Chris over here.

David Cranmer said...

I've always enjoyed these shows and have probably seen them too many times. Police Squad and the later Sledge Hammer! tv show is priceless comedy.


And happy new year to you, Naval

ALL - I've never really listened to Jazz. Everytime I tried to get into it I would pick a piece of heavy jazz and then give up.

However Miles Davies really connected with me and has led me to trying Chet Barker, Count Bassie, Stan Getz and many other jazz men of the past.

I think my prefered Jazz is of the variety they call - Cool Jazz but I especially like the ragtime stuff. A lot of it is so closely connected to the blues which is one of my favourite music genres. There's real heart and soul in the blues and that most transfers to Jazz.

I'm still a jazz novice but I'm enjoying the journey of discovery.


David - ahh Sledge Hammer. We used to get it over here in the UK at some ungodly hour and I was always in bed then

Keith said...

Happy New Year! Cheers!

David Cranmer said...

Sledge Hammer! is on dvd now and is a real hoot. I believe there was only two seasons... An episode called WITLESS and is a takeoff of Harrison Ford's WITNESS is a comedy high.

Danny-K said...

Yes, I well remember the Sledge Hammer series - hugely enjoyable - laughed like a drain when it aired here in the UK.

David Rasche as he was then as Sledge Hammer, would be an absolute shoe-in for the US version of the dodgy detective Gene Hunt, in the successful and award winning TV series, LIFE ON MARS, it's either currently filming in the US or may even have aired there already.

However, my memories of David Rasche are somewhat coloured by his portrayal of a dishonest cop in a film playing opposite Tom Selleck - can't for the life of me recall the the film's title but David Rasche plays the exact same character as he did in Sledge Hammer - but this time with terrifying menace - he frames Tom Selleck who is imprisoned unfairly - for several years. Inside prison Tom Selleck has to murder a black inmate who is intent on making Tom Selleck his 'bitch'. With the advice from an old lag, Tom Selleck murders the bully and gains 'respect' from the other inmates. Now trained in the same dangerous game as David Rasche's character, he teams up with the old lag and years later after serving his time, gets his revenge by framing the dishonest cop big time. Now it's the dishonest cop's time to go 'inside'. An unusually powerful film for Tom Selleck IAMO.

In fact check out the the IMDB site for Sledge Hammer and you'll see the Sledge Hammer tag line perfectly describes David Rasche's portrayal of the 'bent cop' in the Tom Selleck movie, ie., "a police officer who always looks for the most violent solution to any problem."

P.S. Oh heck couldn't resist - just Googled for help: the film was called AN INNOCENT MAN. Watch David Rasche in that, and when viewing re-runs of Sledge Hammer, you'll find it hard to enjoy Sledge Hammer without looking at it through jaundiced eyes.