CBS to team 'Police Squad!' with offbeat 'Morton & Hayes'

July 24, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- CBS has a delicious bit of recycling in store for viewers starting tonight, as well as a new show that even its producer, Rob Reiner, calls "an acquired taste."

If you are a fan of Leslie Nielsen and "Naked Gun," don't miss the return of "Police Squad!" at 8 tonight (and subsequent Wednesdays) on WBAL-TV (Channel 11).

"Police Squad!" is the 1982 ABC-TV spoof of cop shows that inspired the phenomenally successful "Naked Gun" movies.

The TV series was canceled after only six episodes. ABC executives said at the time that it demanded too much concentration from viewers for them to get the jokes. Tapes of the six episodes became collectors' items -- a kind of "basement tapes."

Tonight's episode features Detective Drebin (Nielsen) investigating the death of a credit union manager.

Following "Police Squad," at 8:30 tonight on WBAL-TV, CBS introduces a new series, "Morton &Hayes."

The show is based on the make-believe premise that a collection of old black-and-white films were recently unearthed from the vault of a fictitious film mogul. The short films feature a bumbling comedy duo, Morton & Hayes, similar to Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. The show is co-produced by Reiner, who appears at the start of each show to introduce the "film" we are about to see.

Kevin Pollak plays Chick Morton, the wise guy. Bob Amaral plays Eddie Hayes, the sweet-faced, put-upon one. In tonight's episode, they spoof the private eye genre, as a mysterious woman (Catherine O'Hara) asks for their help.

Amaral's ability to do physical shtick is impressive; he looks and moves like a young Jackie Gleason. But the first two episodes are not especially funny.

"I believe this kind of old-fashioned comedy still has an audience," Reiner said yesterday. "It's an acquired taste, and it might take some getting used to."

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