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Police Squad [DVD] [1983]

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Police Squad [DVD] [1983] + The Naked Gun Trilogy [DVD] + Airplane/Airplane 2 [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Leslie Nielsen, Alan North, Rex Hamilton, Ed Williams, William Duell
  • Writers: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Swedish
  • Dubbed: German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Nov. 2006
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I0QSOE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,276 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Frank Drebbin (Leslie Nielsen) leads his bungling detective squad in the comedy series that inspired the 'Naked Gun' films. This comedy classic mercilessly spoofed every detective show convention known and was the blueprint for the irreverent, 'anything might happen' formula that later made Nielsen a big movie name. Full of ridiculous moments such as when the weekly special guest star is introduced during the opening title sequence - and killed as soon as their name is read, never to be seen in the episode again. William Shatner, for example, dodged several bullets - before sitting down to a glass of poisoned wine. Even the title sequence itself was not straightforward; the title of the episode would come up on screen while a voiceover would say something entirely different. Thus does every episode have two titles; 'A Substantial Gift' (The Broken Promise),' 'Ring of Fear (A Dangerous Assignment),' 'Rendezvous at Big Gulch (Terror in the Neighborhood), 'Revenge and Remorse' (The Guilty Alibi),' 'The Butler Did It (A Bird in the Hand)' and 'Testimony of Evil' (Dead Men Don't Laugh).


In addition to spawning the popular Naked Gun movie franchise, Police Squad! had a lasting impact on TV comedy, and it's still a guilty pleasure. Hot from the success of Airplane! two years earlier, the ZAZ team (brothers David and Jerry Zucker and writing partner Jim Abrahams) decided to spoof TV cop shows, using the late '50s Lee Marvin series M Squad and the popular series format of Quinn Martin Productions (e.g., The Streets of San Francisco) as their template for supremely silly, gag-laden satire. With Airplane! star Leslie Nielsen as straight-faced detective Frank Drebin and Alan North as Drebin's befuddled boss, Capt. Ed Hocken, this half-hour series quickly established an irresistible combination of nonstop sight gags, non sequiturs, and repeated routines ("Cigarette?" "Yes, it is") that dared viewers to pay close attention or miss the laughs if they didn't. Ironically, this very quality--you had to actually watch the show instead of casually listening for punchlines--is what ultimately sealed the series' fate. After only six poorly rated episodes, Police Squad! was canceled without fanfare, and six years passed before Drebin returned as the bumbling hero of The Naked Gun.

In addition to the rib-tickling disparity between onscreen episode titles and narrated titles, and "special guest stars" (including William Shatner, Robert Goulet, Lorne Greene, and others) who get killed in the opening credits, loyal viewers could count on a weekly dose of hilarity from Nielsen, North, and their supporting players. Character actor William Duell appeared each week as shoeshine boy "Johnny the Snitch," capable of answering literally any question if you repeatedly greased his palm (a gag that led to info-seeking cameo appearances by Dick Clark, Dr. Joyce Brothers, baseball manager Tommy Lasorda, and others). And while original Mission: Impossible costar Peter Lupus poked fun at himself as the dim-witted Det. Norberg (later played by O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun movies), Ed Williams--an actual high school science teacher--is hilarious as "Mr. Wizard"-like lab technician Ted Olson, who dispenses dubious science lessons to unsuspecting children. The fast-paced barrage of humour guaranteed that every episode would deliver as many hits as misses, and while some of the jokes have lost their punch, Police Squad! still delivers the belly-laughs... and always will, as long as humans have an appetite for shameless stupidity. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Matty on 9 April 2007
Format: DVD
Finally Police Squad is out on DVD and it has a bunch of special features. The interview with Leslie Nielsen is ok and the featurette is pretty good. The gag reel is appalingly bad though, definitely one of those things you only watch once. The best part of this DVD is the six episodes themselves. The series was axed after the first series simply because no one watched it in the US, which is hard to believe but true nonetheless. My fave episode is the fifth one but they are all very funny. And if it hadn't been for this show we might never have had The Naked Gun films. Also its a shame Alan North wasn't in the films because he's brilliant as Ed in this show. This is a DVD that could be watched over and over and still be funny.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Q on 22 April 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
According to Bob Weiss on the Naked Gun commentary, they knew Police Squad was cancelled after the first episode because you actually had to "watch" the show. I really can't see why this was cancelled, it's an amazingly funny 6 episode series, written by the same team as the Naked Gun series. Sure, some of the references are a bit dated, but it makes it even better! Police Squad was way ahead of its time, and I'm sure that nowadays with Scrubs and the like, it would've survived much longer.

The DVD Contains all 6 Episodes:

A Substantial Gift (The Broken Promise)
Ring of Fear (A Dangerous Assignment)
The Butler Did It (A Bird in the Hand)
Revenge and Remorce (The Guilty Alibi)
Rendevouz at the Big Gulch (Terror in the Neighbourhood)
Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh)

And the following extras:

Commentaries on three episodes with Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, Bob Weiss and Jim Abrahams
Gag Reel
Leslie Nielsen Interview
"Behind the Freeze Frames"
Casting Test - Ed Williams
Casting Test - Alan North
Producers' Photo Gallery
List of Celebrity Death Shots
Production Memo Highlights

English Subtitles are available. Sound is available in 5.1 Surround, or original broadcast Mono track.
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By MarmiteMan on 18 May 2007
Format: DVD
Ah yes, I remember it well. Remember first seeing them, remember where I was, remember what I was doing, and remember whom I was not doing it with/to [sigh]. Produced by ABC, the series saw its first US transmission on 4 March, 1982, but I believe its first UK transmission was in 1989 on BBC2, late-evening. [ERRATUM: am now reliably informed that it was originally on ITV]

"My name is Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective-Lieutenant, Police Squad, a special division of the Police Department"

Forget done-to-death POLICE ACADEMY, this is the best police drama spoof ever! Yes, you may now have guessed it, I refer to POLICE SQUAD (in colour), that marvellous creation of David and Jerry Zucker with Jim Abrahams, who gave us other classics such as AIRPLANE! and, of course, THE NAKED GUN series - which fans may recall of its subtitle comes "from the files of Police Squad."

Which is the original, featuring Leslie Nielsen parodying his previous 'serious' cop series THE PROTECTORS and THE NEW BREED, delivering puns and non-sequiteurs whilst playing it straight amid an avalanche of sight and sound gags. He had recently done deadpan comedy in AIRPLANE! but in POLICE SQUAD (in colour) he found his niche. The opening credits always featured Drebin, his boss Ed Hocken (Alan North) and Abraham Lincoln (Rex Hamilton) confidently returning fire following an ambush by assailants unknown, and "tonight's guest star" suffering some spectacular death, often after they, too, had confidently returned fire during an ambush. Drebin is then seen in his car, with deliberately-awful backdrops, introducing the flavour of the episode. "I'd just come from the stockyards. We'd gotten reports of hundreds of cows had been senselessly slaughtered in the area, but I couldn't find any evidence.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. Newstead VINE VOICE on 28 Feb. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ok so why only 6 episodes or is that just a joke too and they made more.

Brilliant all the way through from the special guests always being killed off in the credits and such basic old fashioned humor it is brilliant. My wife and I are in hysterics on the train in the morning watching it. Love the forensics guy doing the experiments and the you can see what is going to happen but cant believe it when it does it is so great.

I loved the 1st 2 Naked Gun films and this is a welcome addition to my collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Computernumpty on 2 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Police Squad was the short-lived TV series that spawned the Naked Gun films. If you've seen those you'll already be familar with the style and some of the gags. Also check out the excellent Red Rock cider ads from the 1980s (they're on Youtube).

So the new gag count on this DVD is lower than it might have been otherwise. But that's okay because there are more than enough to go round and anyway, much much of the fun is from the silly sight gags taking place in the background. This is a DVD that repays repeated viewings. And also, like in an old Carry On film, you can laugh or cringe as you spot a joke being laid. And then marvel that they had the nerve to see it through to the end. How they got away with some of these is beyond me, no joke is too silly, too obvious, too toe-curlingly bad to be passed over. Eg, the scene where they raid the strip club. "Is this a bust?" asks the showgirl. You can kinda guess what comes next ... "Yes, and a very impressive one. But we'd like to talk to you." When Frank Drebin orders a police officer to "put a tail on her" as a suspect leaves the office ... well, work it out for yourselves! There are also several running gags to laugh at, such as the all-knowing shoeshine boy, sex-obsessed laboratory technician etc.

Of the six episodes here, five are top-notch and only one is a bit weak. The extras are feeble, and some of the jokes and references are of their time. But if you like your humour deadpan, family-friendly and with lashings of corn, this is for you.
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