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Saturday, September 01, 2018

‘It’s Enrico Pallazzo!’: The inside story of ‘The Naked Gun’ baseball game

“There’s so much that’s taken seriously about baseball,” Abrahams said. 

That’s an understatement that was as true in 1988 as it is today. So much of baseball culture is seen as stiff and joyless. Just consider the traditionally stoic nature of everything, the ongoing debates over bat flips, home run trots, pace of play and the rest of the unwritten rules. It’s ripe for parody.

Laughing at the normally stiff and serious is “a very healthy laugh,” Abrahams said.

“In a sense, you’re having a laugh at your own expense too. You’re kind of saying, ‘You know what? I took that seriously, and I didn’t really have to take it that seriously,’” he said. “That’s sort of the spirit of parody, I think.”

ZAZ and Proft approached the sequence with a nothing-is-off-limits approach. They looked at every aspect of a baseball game — from the perspectives of fans, players, coaches, broadcasters and umpires — to find the bits most suitable for a send-up.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 01, 2018 at 03:11 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: enrico pallazzo, naked gun, reggie jackson

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   1. RMc's Daps of the Dope Artists Posted: September 01, 2018 at 07:39 AM (#5737327)
So much of baseball culture is seen as stiff and joyless.

As is so much culture in general. We're living in the Era of That's Not Funny, after all.
   2. Bote Man Posted: September 01, 2018 at 08:48 AM (#5737333)
In a D-league softball game last year a coach admonished me for pointing out to my teammates the fact that we had just scored something like 5 consecutive runs, because the other dugout might hear me and that would not be considered sporting.
   3. McCoy Posted: September 01, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5737338)
Doesn't one run usually follow the other?
   4. Rally Posted: September 01, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5737358)
I would have gotten 1988 wrong on a trivia question of when Naked Gun came out. Would have guessed earlier since Reggie’s last year as an Angel was 1986. Now I know why the team and casting came about.
   5. greenback slays lewks Posted: September 01, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5737396)
“I didn’t realize what I was getting into,” said Chuck Fick, a former minor leaguer who played the Angels’ catcher in the film. “I didn’t know it was a slapstick at first, and I started reading the script, and once I saw the umpires got (a player) in a pickle, I knew something was up.”

There's something funny about Robert Fick's brother using the word "slap" to describe action on a baseball field.
   6. Darren Posted: September 01, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5737427)
"We have this movie called 'Naked Gun.'"

"Probably a serious movie."
   7. Bote Man Posted: September 01, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5737435)
Doesn't one run usually follow the other?

Not if the offense makes an out in between scoring runs; keyword "consecutive". I wasn't rubbing their noses in it, I was just happy because our team photo was in the encyclopedia under the term "Stinkage" so the idea of scoring multiple runs like that had me giddy for a rare treat.
   8. AndrewJ Posted: September 01, 2018 at 06:15 PM (#5737451)
I attended a campus preview screening of Naked Gun in the fall of 1988 with about a dozen close friends. I don't know if I've ever laughed harder at a movie.
   9. Obo Posted: September 01, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5737501)
"Probably a serious movie."

Well "The Naked City" wasn't exactly a laugh-a-minute saucy romp.
   10. bobm Posted: September 01, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5737509)
I had a manager long ago who reenacted this scene in a CEO/boardroom client presentation. It was awesome when he walked back into the room.
   11. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: September 01, 2018 at 09:14 PM (#5737517)
Well "The Naked City" wasn't exactly a laugh-a-minute saucy romp.


Nor were "The Naked Prey" or "Naked Lunch" ...
   12. ajnrules Posted: September 01, 2018 at 10:28 PM (#5737553)
That was a really good TFA. In fact it inspired me to go back and watch the original Police Squad series. There were quite a few baseball references, but none of them top the Tommy Lasorda cameo with Johnny, the deus ex machina character.

Tommy Lasorda: It's my pitching, Johnny. You think I need another starter?
Johnny: How should I know?
(Lasorda gives Johnny a dollar bribe)
Johnny: The rigors of a full season on a four-man rotation are just too demanding. You need a left-handed swing man to fill your long relief spot. Give him an occasional start and it'll round out your staff nicely.
Tommy Lasorda: You're talking about a guy like Gossage, aren't you, Johnny?
Johnny: Oh, come on Tommy, use your head! Gossage is right-handed and besides, he can't throw more than two innings! Here's the names of five southpaws with career ERA's under 2.93. And you wouldn't have been in this mess if you hadn't given up Tommy John.
   13. OCF Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:31 AM (#5737573)
When I was a kid, I read Mad Magazine movie parodies. When the various Zucker movies came out, including Airplane and Naked Gun, I understood that it would be impossible for Mad to write the parody, because that's what the movies already were.
   14. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:48 AM (#5737577)
Just in case there was any doubt:
David Zucker:
"I think the biggest influence was MAD Magazine. My mother remembers me sitting alone in the den, reading MAD and laughing out loud. Basically MAD would set up familiar situations and then reverse the outcome that readers expected. This is pretty much what we do in our films."

Jerry Zucker:
"We were influenced by many things, but certainly by MAD magazine. There was a regular feature in MAD – I think it still may be today – called “Scenes We’d Like to See,” and the way they’d do it was to have each panel leading up to the final panel be completely straight, nothing was silly, and the characters weren’t caricature-y, and then in the last panel they’d make the joke and sort of pull the rug out from under you. We always felt we’d learned subliminally from that. So we cast straight actors and used serious music, and instead of having silly sets, we put it on a real airplane. That kind of stuff allowed us to get more ridiculous with the jokes."

Robert Weiss, producer of "Police Squad" and all three "Naked Gun"s:
"We all grew up watching the same TV shows and reading MAD Magazine. Part of how we describe it is 'Scenes We'd Like to See.' That was a department in MAD Magazine where in a few panels they would set up some movie situation, something archetypical you'd seen lots of times before, then give it some odd twist or bizarre punch. And this is the kind of thing we like to do."
   15. OCF Posted: September 02, 2018 at 12:50 AM (#5737580)
I should add that one thing shared by Mad and Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker (and maybe I'm especially talking about the Police Squad TV show) was a devotion to the margins and backgrounds of frames - if you looked back there, there was usually something abnormal going on.
   16. Leroy Kincaid Posted: September 02, 2018 at 06:05 AM (#5737590)
Not if the offense makes an out in between scoring runs; keyword "consecutive". I wasn't rubbing their noses in it, I was just happy because our team photo was in the encyclopedia under the term "Stinkage" so the idea of scoring multiple runs like that had me giddy for a rare treat.


I was going to ask if your league used 5 bases.

The Nude Bomb was high-brow stuff.

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