I hate having to write these sorta blogs, because it means that the person who has been such an influence on my pop culture life has left this world , yet when I do, so many good memories come flooding back.
It was probably about a week ago that a friend and I were having a debate about the value of The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. Just an ordinary discussion in my life. The end result is that we both praised Mr. Leslie Nielsen, regardless of our thoughts on the movie.
For the record. I was against it.
Yet, in truth, I am one of the biggest Leslie Nielsen fans around. Yes, I subjected myself to purchasing Superhero Movie, Scary Movie 3,4 AND Dracula: Dead & Loving It simply because Leslie was in them.
That’s the kind of adoration he instilled on his fans. He could do no wrong, because after all, surely we couldn’t hate his movies.
No we couldn’t. But stop calling us Shirley.
As most people know my favourite kind of TV shows are 70s cop shows. I nurtured myself on them. Their formula was perfect. The I stumbled across a short lived TV series called Police Squad! Starring Leslie Nielsen and Alan North in the ultimate 70s cop show spoof. Its dead pan humour and wit was like nothing I had seen before.
It was an instant classic!
Soon thereafter the Naked Gun movies started, and when it dawned on me that it was a film version of the TV show, I was practically the first one at the cinema. I always went with my mom to watch them, and despite any problems that existed between us, Frank Drebin made them disappear by the time the police car credits started.
My love affair with Leslie continued for the rest of my life.
I watched his work in the cult classic Forbidden Planet – which is on TCM almost every night!, his cameo appearance on The Love Boat, Due South, Hotel, Fantasy Island (all of which I stumbled across on VHS and DVD) .
There seemed to be a Leslie spoof every year, from Spy Hard to Wrongfully Accused. None of them ever came close to Airplane! or The Naked Guns, but Leslie could still make a fart joke funny.
A few weeks ago, I came across a gem of a movie called Big Fat Important Movie, and it pleased my heart that Leslie was still making movies. It made me go back and watch my collection of Nielsen classics, including the much forgotten Bad Golf Made Easier and Bad Golf My Way.
Below is something I’ll treasure forever. During my autograph hunting days, Leslie was at the top of my “want” list…..
Thank you Leslie Nielsen for making this world brighter for 6 decades, I can only hope there are a lot of nice beavers where you are now.
This blog could (and should) be so much longer…but Leslie’s work will forever speak for itself.
Tonight, I’ll curl up with a great autobiography….even if it is all made up.