Leslie Nielsen, William Shatner and the power of re-runs

The affection movie audiences had for Leslie Nielsen clearly ran deep, judging by all the appropriately positive coverage of his career. (Why oh why do Academy Award voters laud great comic performances like Frank Drebin of Police Squad in retrospect but snub those same performances at the time they fill out their Oscar ballots?).

Nielsen spent the last 30 years of his career making brilliant fun of the first 30 years of his career. William Shatner has plowed similar terrain, as to a lesser extent did Robert Stack, Peter Graves and Lloyd Bridges. The level of comedic and popular success they achieved in self-parody would have been impossible in the era of live television. Due to countless re-reruns on TV, DVDs and videos, even people who were born well after these actors initially portrayed straight-laced authority figures get the joke.

I watched Star Trek endlessly as a child, and recently bought about a dozen DVDs of the original series. After I had viewed them, I took them to the home of some friends who have a 9-year old son. I said he might like them, and he responded, with evident boredom “I’ve already seen all those episodes”.

A YouTuber gave this clip a rather exaggerated title, but it is still worth 15 seconds out of your day to see the great Leslie Nielsen one more time