Beyond The TV Grave -- ABCs Police Squad

Written Questioning ABC's Scheduling Logic by Bridger Cunningham
Sitcom satires being showcased without salvation?  Creaters Jim Abrahams and brother David and Jerry Zucker (the geniuses behind Airplane!) sought to lampoon the onslaught of police dramas via slapstick gags.  The series was heralded by critics, but cursed to be scheduled on the fading Thursday comedy block, which ABC bladed the following season.
Nielsen played Frank Drebin, part of an elite Police Squad investigating crimes.  The role was a welcome departure, as Nielsen previously held dramatic tenures prior to 1980 in his film career and shifted to comedy thereafter.  He is joined by Captain Ed Hocken (Alan North) Officer Nordberg (Peter Lupus), and division scientist Ted Olson (Ed Williams).  The series was chock with slapstick, wordplay and non-sequiter (nonsensical and misplaced conversation pieces) humor.  The series was ahead of its time as running gags included "special Guest Star" Robert Goulet's various characters being killed off in the opening sequence (a la South Park's killing Kenny in every episode early in its run).
Majority of the Thursday lineup was aging or ailing, as 4th season players Taxi and Mork and Mindy experienced rapid declines in ratings, along with a second season entry of Tom Hanks' Bosom Buddies.  Police Squad entered the lineup in early March 1982, with its six episodes ranked in 57th Place among the 105 entries for the 1981-82 season.  ABC annihilated most of its Thursday comedies, only sparing and relocating 9 to 5 as they sought a program overhaul for the next season.
Resurrection Via Motion Picture Trilogy
Six years after ABC foolishly cancelled this critical masterpiece, the Zucker brothers and Abrahams carried the comedic gold to motion pictures, distributed by Paramount Pictures.  The first installment, 1988's Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad was a critical and commercial success, spawning 1991's Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear and 1994's Naked Gun 33 1/3: the Final Insult.  North was replaced by screen legend George Kennedy and Lupus by football legend OJ Simpson (prior to his infamous 1994-95 murder trial), while Nielsen and Williams reprised their roles.  Adding the radiance of Dallas star Priscilla Presley (aka Mrs. Elvis Presley), the film trilogy expounded on grittier humor featuring a wider delivery of explicatives and sexually suggestive content.  The trilogy was a success, still regarded as one of history's finest installments in comedic satire.

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