14 Fun Facts About ‘The Naked Gun’

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Leslie Nielson, who was a smash hit with audiences from the first moment he appeared onscreen in Airplane!, cracked us all up as he starred as police detective Frank Drebin. An inept police officer who uncovers an assassination plot against the Queen, he bumbled his way through love (and starring alongside O.J. Simpson).

Whether you’re a megafan of the movie or just a casual lover, we think some of these 14 facts might surprise you.

14. Weird Al’s cameo delighted everyone.

Weird Al would have loved to even be an extra in the movie, but when the Zuckers heard he was a fan of the short-lived television show, they wrote him into a scene.

13. The movie went through at least one title change.


Paramount wouldn’t let them call the movie Police Squad because they thought it was too similar to Police Academy. They were given a list of20 other titles to choose from, but picked The Naked Gun because “it promised so much more than it could ever deliver.”

12. Weird Al was also very…Weird Al about his cameo.

He would take dates to see the movie without telling them he was in it, and always wore the same Hawaiian shirt he donned for the film. The women “flipped out.”

11. It was Priscilla Presley’s first time doing comedy.


The directors believed casting people who usually played serious roles made the dry parody even funnier. Zucker quipped that the only problem they had with her was when her ex (Elvis) visited the set.

10. One of the scenes was shot at the famous Ambassador Hotel.

It was the Queen’s reception. The hotel permanently closed one month later and was demolished in 2005. It lives on in movies like The Graduate, Pretty Woman, and Forrest Gump.

9. George Kennedy wasn’t a fan of the filming process.


He claimed the directors didn’t believe in doing any fewer than 40 takes, and that doing every joke 40-plus times was “painful.”

8. The actress who played Queen Elizabeth made her living as an impersonator.

Jeannette Charles had been impersonating Her Majesty since 1971, and had since appeared in many films as the British royal matriarch. She retired in 2004.

7. Dominique, the Ludwig’s secretary, was a shoo-in.


She was played by Charlotte Zucker, Jerry and David’s mother.

6. Tim McCarver would have played a baseball announcer for free.

He wasn’t paid much, and reportedly would have worked for free in order to be on set with Nielson. He’d been a fan since Airplane!

5. They were inspired by several older movies.


The film’s creators cited inspiration from Farewell, My Lovely, The Day of the Jackal, Mad magazine, Dirty Harry, and M Squad.

4. By the time the movie released, Reggie Jackson was retired.

And he was an Oakland Athletic, not an Angel, for his final season.

3. They destroyed a famous painting.


A copy, anyway. It’s Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy, and it hangs in The Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.

2. The Naked Gun theme song was played at Nielson’s funeral.

The lauded actor was 84 when he passed away. Dominik Hauser’s theme played as the Mounties carried his coffin.

1. It turned out to be John Houseman’s final role.


He played the middle finger-raising driving instructor in the movie, but prior to that, won an Oscar for The Paper Chase and collaborated with Orson Welles on some of his biggest projects.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for a re-watch!

Did any of these surprise you? Did we leave out any juicy tidbits? If so, please share them with us in the comments!