It would be a fool’s errand to try and argue that Mr. Nielsen’s greatest moments were not in “Airplane” and as Lt. Frank Drebbin in the “The Naked Gun” and the “Police Squad!” series that preceded it. But, with everyone else saluting those amazing deadpan moments now that Leslie Nielsen has sadly left us at age 84, I thought I’d take a moment to take two somewhat less well known moments from his early, less funny movies.
First, before Captains Kirk and Reynolds and Han Solo, there was the not-so-dissimilar Commander J.J. Adams in “Forbidden Planet.”
And here is Nielsen in what honestly really is, in its way, an amazing pre-Zucker Brothers performance by Nielsen. In 1977’s “Day of the Animals” he portrayed an ad man who takes over one faction of an extremely ill-starred group of campers. Below, he indulges in some poor behavior even Sterling Cooper wouldn’t have tolerated.
And, because it’s mandatory, a brief moment of sheer genius from “The Naked Gun.”
UPDATE: More reaction to Leslie Nielsen’s life and passing from David Hudson.