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Police Squad! - Long-Awaited Naked Gun Films' Forerunner Finally Coming To DVD!

Posted by David Lambert
In the late '70s a funny film called Kentucky Fried Movie came along, written by three fellow: Jim Abrahams, and David & Jerry Zucker. A few years later the team of Abrahams, Zucker & Zucker reunited for a little something called Airplane!, which was very successful at the box office ($83 million...back when that was a lot of box office) and promptly became a cult classic. A couple of years later, while a sequel to that film was being written by somebody else, the team of Abrahams, Zucker & Zucker were busy in TV, making a very funny buy very short-lived series called Police Squad!

Police Squad, starring Leslie Nielsen (who was also a part of A,Z&Z's first two films), only lasted 6 episodes. But it launched a 3-film franchise known as The Naked Gun trilogy. The first film came six years after the original series, and the subtitle was "From the Files of Police Squad." Nielsen reprised his role as the bumbling Lt. Frank Drebin, with a pre-murder-suspect O.J. Simpson joining him as Detective Nordberg. Also on board were George Kennedy as Captain Ed Hocken and Priscilla Presley as Drebin's love interest, Jane. These four were there for both sequel films as well: "The Smell of Fear" and "The Final Insult."

But in Police Squad, Nordberg was played instead by Peter Lupus (Mission: Impossible) and Hocken was played by Alan North (Another World). Guest stars in the six episodes included Lorne Greene, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Tommy Lasorda, K. Callan, Robert Goulet, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Spencer Milligan, William Shatner, John Ashton, Florence Henderson, Dick Miller, William Conrad, and Dick Clark. Since the advent of the Naked Gun films, fans who had seen the TV show had been wanting to get it on home video, and fans who missed the series wanted the chance to find out where the films got their start.

While there were a pair of VHS releases for Police Squad, with three episodes on each tape, the show has never had a DVD release even though the films have been on DVD for quite some time. At the beginning of this month, though, a fellow posting as "Hank E" mentioned at The Home Theater Forum that "Police Squad is coming out, it's scheduled for June 2006." When I asked about the source of his info, he replied only that, "David, it's not been announced yet. I could tell you my source, but then I'd have to kill you." Oh, don't worry...he capped it with a smiley!

But here we had a healthy amount of skepticism about this info...after all, we've heard it before, with nothing materializing out of it. We tried to ask at the studio, of course, but it's been difficult to get responses during the holiday season and the run-up to it. However, I seem to owe Hank an apology: we did indeed get confirmation from Paramount Home Entertainment at the end of last week that Police Squad! is indeed being scoped out for a possible DVD release in 2006. This is good news, indeed, and worth sharing on the day after Christmas (a.k.a. "Boxing Day") as well as the first full day of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Happy holidays, all, and we hope that we here at TVShowsOnDVD have brightened your weekend a bit more with some news you feel good about. We'll be back tomorrow with more, of course!

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