Well Company, it's Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and since we have taken the whole long weekend PLUS an extra day off, I suppose that it is time to get back to writing posts. So here we are. The is so much to talk about from the last five days - Black Friday/Cyber Monday, how I spent Cyber Monday rounding the Unpaid Interns up and putting them back in their cages, I mean dorms, the major leak of US Diplomatic cables, the continuing row between the Koreas, the EU beginning to investigate Google for violating anti-trust laws - but I think we need to talk about Leslie Nielsen.
By now I am sure you know, Company, that he has passed away at age 84. The veteran actor, who began his career as a serious television actor, became one of the most beloved and quotes comedic actors in the industry. After acting in over 150 live television dramas and a series of dramatic movies including Forbidden Plant and The Poseidon Adventure, he came across the script for the disaster spoof Airplane! and wanted in, because he knew that it would be the future of comedy. And so Dr. Rumack was born with his now world famous line "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley" which was his deadpan response every time someone said "Surely you can't be serious."
I was always a fan of "We have to get these people to the hospital.""The hospital!? What is it?""It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now." Genius. It was the method of his delivery, his dry wit and deadpan facial expression, that always sealed the laughs. I personally have always thought that his deep, sort of official voice had something to do with it too. He had the perfect cop voice for The Naked Gun and Police Squad, and would have made a voice-over guy on par with Phil Hartman. Couldn't you hear him selling you orange juice?
I think that my favorite part of the life of Leslie Nielsen, aside from the hilarious laughs, is that he always seemed to know himself but never be too serious about himself. It takes a lot of self assuredness and a great sense of humor to make a movie like Spy Hard. And so he will be missed from this world, even though he laid low as he increased in age, making cameos and the like, and even doing a one-man show on the life of Clarence Darrow. That is the kind of show that your wife drags you to in order to force feed you some civilization, and you hate it until you find out Leslie Freaking Nielsen is doing it, then you are enthralled by him in his white hair and black tuxedo. A lot of people could learn a lot of things from him, but I suppose that in the end we will always have Dr. Rumack and Lt. Frank Drebin under the dusty covers of our VHS tapes, and we will always be able to call him Shirley, despite that he doesn't like it. Rest in peace Leslie Nielsen