“Police Squad! was cancelled because the viewer had to watch it in order to appreciate it”*…
Police Squad! hit the air in the fall of 1982, thirty-minute comedy on ABC created by Zucker Abrahams and Zucker, who’d had enormous success two years earlier with Airplane!. A broad parody of television crime shows (perhaps especially, of Lee Marvin and M Squad), Police Squad! ran for only four episodes before it was jerked by the network– for reasons explained in the quote that titles this post. The two further episodes that had been produced were aired off the following summer.
In retrospect, it seems clear that Police Squad!‘s only crime was timing. As Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, said in 2010:
If Police Squad! had been made twenty years later, it would have been a smash. It was before its time. In 1982 your average viewer was unable to cope with its pace, its quick-fire jokes. But these days they’d have no problems keeping up, I think we’ve proved that.
Indeed, six years later Zucker Abrahams and Zucker took Police Squad! star Leslie Nielsen– along with the concept and the approach– back to the big screen with The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, which was both both a critical and a box office success. It was followed by The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.
Readers can see for themselves– all six episodes of Police Squad! are now available on You Tube. Happy 4th of July Weekend!
Special Holiday Weekend bonus: Stream 14 films that Roger Ebert loved and hated.
* Tony Thomopoulos, President of ABC Entertainment
As we do our best to restrain ourselves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1855 that Walt Whitman anonymously self-published the first edition of Leaves of Grass (it carried his picture but not his name). Whitman employed a new verse form, one with which he had been experimenting, revolutionary at the time– one free of a regular rhythm or rhyme scheme, that has come to be known as “free verse.” The content of Leaves of Grass was every bit as revolutionary, celebrating the human body and the common man. Whitman spent the rest of his life revising and enlarging Leaves of Grass; the ninth edition appeared in 1892, the year of his death.