Pour One Out For: Leslie Nielsen 2/11/1926 – 11/28/2010

“I know this little, out of the way place, that serves great Viking food.”

I know what you’re thinking:  “Surely you can’t be serious”.  I am serious.  And don’t call me Shirley.  Leslie Nielsen, one of the greatest, if not THE greatest funnyman of all time, passed away yesterday in his sleep due to pneumonia complications.  Boy, I sure picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Best known for his portrayal of Lt. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun films, Leslie Nielsen had people wetting their pants in laughter for a good 30 years.  Never will I forget the first time I watched The Naked Gun.  It was a summer vacation in Florida and my grandfather had my uncle rent the movie.  When the “NICE beaver” scene happened, the three of us were buckled over, crying in laughter.  We didn’t stop for a good 10 minutes.  At the time the joke didn’t make sense, mostly because I was like 9.  But never the less, that one painfully amazing experience left its mark on me (that and the fact it was the only time I’ve ever seen my grandfather willingly wear shorts).  I’ve been a huge Nielsen nut ever since.

Many of the young whippersnappers of today probably only know Leslie from his rolls in the atrociously trendy Scary Movie franchise.  That right there shows what’s wrong with the world today.  Those movies reek!  Why would anyone use them as a basis for comparison?  The man has appeared in over 100 films and portrayed over 220 characters over the span of his career.  The fact that this new generation only knows him from horrible rip-offs of the fantastic parody films of the 70’s and 80’s, makes the McDonald’s breakfast I just ate come back up for another go.  He was a fantastic actor who’s farting was second to none.  That being said, I think it’s time for a little lesson in Leslie.  The following videos are clips/scenes/trailers from my favorite Nielsen pictures.  If you haven’t seen any of these, you’re a loser and need to have your head examined.

Repossessed

The Naked Gun

The Naked Gun 2 1/2

The Naked Gun 33 1/3

Airplane!

Not all of the films that Nielsen appeared in were comedies.  Bet ya didn’t know that, did ya.  He had a roll on The Golden Girls as Dorothy’s love interest, was Commander Adams in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet, as well as doing voice-over work for many documentaries.

Forbidden Planet

Creepshow

The Poseidon Adventure

There was a period in his career that most of us Nielsen fans try to forget, or at leas I do.  He had a brief stint of bombs back in the late 90’s such as Dracula: Dead And Loving It, Wrongfully Accused, 2001: A Space Travesty, and Spy Hard.  But because he is who he is, we forgave him.

I’m very happy I was able to meet Mr. Nielsen before his passing, even if it was very brief.  Oh Mars and I hit up the New England Super Mega Fest a couple years ago, and he happened to be there.

So long Leslie Nielsen.  May the Gods laugh as hard at your shtick as us mortals have, and always remember that I can hold my breath for a LOOOOOONG time.

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