Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at her Balmoral Castle retreat in Scotland. She was 96 years old and reigned over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth states for over 70 ½ years. I was shocked yesterday morning when I heard the news yesterday morning that she was under “medical supervision” and even more shocked when I saw on the cafeteria television that she had perished. My first thought went to The Crown television series, set to premiere with Season 5 in November. Then came my thoughts about the 2022 Caymanian Queen’s 70th Platinum Jubilee 1 oz silver coin that I purchased this past Sunday for $22.50. The value of that coin—presumably the last issued to market to bear her image according to the minter—shot up. I’ll definitely add a little protection to it when it arrives to me in a couple of weeks. What really drew my thoughts to the late Queen was my first discovery of her. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Naked Gun film.
How I first came across this moment? I first saw the film back in 1991 on HBO. It featured Leslie Nielsen who was familiar to me from watching the Airplane! film a year or so earlier. I tuned it.
What it meant to me then? I was only 6 years old a the time so the film didn’t mean a whole lot to me. I was particularly enthused by the baseball scene. Nielsen’s Frank Drebin as an umpire was incredibly funny and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson as the “sleeper” ordered to kill the Queen, played by Jeannette Charles (who like Noel Gugliemi’s “Hector” was forever typecasted into that role). I remember the Queen throwing out the first pitch and having a hot dog.
What it means to me now? As a much older adult, I now have a deeper understanding of the film. It was really about Drebin finishing the case that O.J. Simpson’s Nordberg started against Vincent Ludwig. I especially get a chuckle out of the clichés. It was my introduction to famed actors like George Kennedy and Priscilla Presley. It also ushered in my love for police comedy films like the Police Academy series.