Monday, November 29, 2010

RIP: Leslie Nielsen

Today marks the loss of someone that today's movie spoofs owe a lot of credit to.  Mr. Leslie Nielsen.  Leslie's career did not begin in comedy, oh no.  He made a name for himself by appearing in some of the most popular dramatic television shows: Rawhide, The Untouchables, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Columbo, The Streets of San Francisco..just to name a few.  But then a role came in 1980 that would change everything.  

'Airplane' was a spoof about airline disaster movies that were popular in the late 70's.  From the opening moment spoofing Jaws, audiences were now in the grasp of a movie that would become one of the most admired, and quoted, by comedy fans for decades to come.  

From here Leslie then took a role on a television show that was way ahead of its time.  Police Squad was a spoof on the serious television crime drama.  The Naked Gun movies (just as good) were based on this short lived tv show.  One of the signature moments of the show was the epilogue at the end of the show.  Many shows would always end with an awkward freeze frame at the end while the credits would roll.  So they decided to spoof that by just having the actors pause and hold their position. 

But of course, in all of his comedies, it was his dead pan delivery that made the lines even funnier.  And for those moments Mr. Nielsen, we can't thank you enough.

What say you?  Are there specific moments or lines he delivered that are your favorite?

POPped in memorium
Jungle Jesse      

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