Latest role for Jackson a crowning achievement

May 15, 1991|By Mark Hyman

Reggie Jackson knows about home runs. He knows about the World Series and about camera angles. He even knows about candy.

Remember the Reggie Bar?

This week is odd, though. This week, Jackson has a new role. He is the man to see with questions about the queen. Of England.

"I don't even understand why everyone is asking me about it that much," Jackson, now an Oakland Athletics coach, said yesterday at Memorial Stadium.

In his heart, Jackson knows. He need only think back three years to his cameo role in "The Naked Gun." Jackson played himself, then an outfielder for the California Angels, who is hypnotized during a game and whose thoughts turn murderous. While in a trancelike state, Jackson approaches a box in which the queen is sitting. In a magical movie moment, he murmurs, "I must kill the queen."

It all ends happily. Jackson is crushed by woman who fell out of the upper deck. The queen, played by a royal look-alike, escapes unscathed.

Tonight, the real queen of England will visit Baltimore and attend her first baseball game. The real Reggie Jackson, along with players and coaches from the A's and the Baltimore Orioles, is scheduled to meet her briefly before the game.

Awkward? Jackson, the actor, is unconcerned.

"I doubt very seriously she'll know who the hell I am. I don't think she'll know anything about it," he said.

On how he might greet the queen, Jackson said: "I won't say much. Just, 'Nice to meet you.' I am only going to respond to her. Know what I'm saying? I am not going to be in the way, cluttering up the scene or hogging the deal."

What the queen knows or does not know about "The Naked Gun" is a mystery. A spokesman at the British Embassy in Washington said he had "no idea" whether the queen has seen, or even knows of, the comedy about a bumbling detective played by Leslie Nielsen. Also in the oddball cast was a struggling newcomer, Jim Palmer, as a sports broadcaster.

Palmer said he is excited about the possibilities tonight: "You've got the queen, Bargain Night, Jose Canseco, maybe Madonna will show up. . . . If Reggie goes into a robotic trance, watch out."

For his part, Jackson is doing nothing to fan the flames this week. Yesterday, he said all the right things about the queen's visit, including: "I think it will be wonderful to meet anyone with that kind of stature. Just being in the presence of the president, of the queen -- those kinds of people, with that kind of understanding of what's going on in the world -- is enjoyable. It's just interesting to see how they act."

This week's royal visit apparently has not spurred record interest by Baltimoreans in "The Naked Gun." At a West Coast Video store on Guilford Avenue, both copies of the movie were on the shelves, and customers haven't been mentioning the film's topical scene.

"To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone has made the connection," said store owner Wilhelmina Hargrave.

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