R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen


I know he was a dramatic actor first. The Poseidon Adventure. Night Gallery. Viva Knievel. City on Fire. Prom Night.

But it was his comedic turns after 1980 that I remember most of all. I consider “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun” two of the five funniest movies ever.

Want proof? Here are some classic Leslie Nielsen lines from those two film series:

– – – – –

Rumack: Can you fly this plane and land it?

Ted Striker: Surely you can’t be serious.

Rumack: I am serious … and don’t call me Shirley.

– – – – –

Rumack: You’d better tell the Captain we’ve got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.

Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?

Rumack: It’s a big building with patients … but that’s not important right now.

– – – – –

Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?

Captain Oveur: I can’t tell.

Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.

Captain Oveur: No, I mean I’m just not sure.

Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?

Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.

Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

– – – – –

Frank: It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Jane: Goodyear?

Frank: No, the worst.

– – – – –

Frank: I’d known her for years. We used to go to all the police functions together. Ah, how I loved her. But she had her music. I think she had her music. She’d hang out with the Chicago Male Chorus and Symphony. I don’t recall her playing an instrument or being able to carry a tune. Yet she was on the road 300 days of the year. In fact, I bought her a harp for Christmas. She asked me what it was.

– – – – –

Frank: I’m single! I love being single! I haven’t had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!

(Music stops. People stare.)

Frank: I mean, at the time I was dating a lot.

– – – – –

Hapsburg: I don’t recall your name on the guest list.

Frank: That’s okay. Sometimes I go by my maiden name.

– – – – –

Frank: That’s the red light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there?

Ed: Sex, Frank?

Frank: Uh, no, not right now Ed.

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