Slapstick comedy has the ability to unarm the most serious of situations by elevating its intensity until it becomes farce. In a way, it’s the drag queen of the comedy world, with overly distraught characters making a mess of the most mundane situations. Sometimes you just gotta laugh, even when it comes to matters crime, the law, and life and death. And nowhere is this more the case than in the magnificent movie series The Naked Gun, starring the one and only Leslie Neilsen as the totally unqualified Police Detective Frank Drebin as he bumbles through some of the most high-stakes cases to ever be imagined.
Created by the comedy filmmaking trio, Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (who are often known as ZAZ), The Naked Gun was actually inspired by their own television show – which you might just remember – by the name of Police Squad! This spoof show allowed ZAZ to incorporate their slapstick comedy into the world of police procedurals, and it actually proved fairly popular with their viewers. However, the show was canceled after just six episodes, and ZAZ were left with all of these ideas and nowhere to put them.
A few years after this cancellation, ZAZ decided to put their ideas into a brand new project, and use their previous series to inspire a collection of movies. In fact, this was the day that The Naked Gun was born. Since then, we have been able to enjoy three incredible crime comedy movies, including From The Files of Police Squad in 1988, The Smell of Fear in 1991, and The Final Insult in 1994. Like most movie franchises, the first movie proved to be the most successful, with an incredible 87% on movie reviewing site Rotten Tomatoes. As the movies went on, the ratings went down – but that didn’t make them any less iconic.
Over the course of its run, The Naked Gun series totalled a whopping $216,819,186 in the box office. While many credit the comedy of ZAZ as what made the series such a success, there’s no denying the fact that the series’ cast also played a huge part in the films’ legendary status. With recurring main characters in all three movies, the cast of The Naked Gun has stayed in our minds ever since The Naked Gun left the theaters, but that wasn’t all these movies had to offer. Throughout the series, the creators also brought new and exciting characters onto the big screen, including some of the biggest names in Hollywood. However, it’s been nearly three decades since the last movie came onto our screens… Have you ever wondered what they’re up to now?