Monday, November 29, 2010

Bon Voyage, Leslie Nielsen

I woke up this morning to find that Leslie Nielsen didn't.

Nielsen was strong as a horse for his age (84) but unfortunately was felled by pneumonia. He succumbed to it at 5:30am at a hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Nielsen was, of course, one of the all-time comedy greats, helping to carry the torch of straight-faced satire into the new age with the Scary Movie and Naked Gun series of films, Mr. Magoo, and Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It. However, the Leslie Nielsen I'll remember best is his younger self, in the operatic musical The Vagabond King, the atmospheric spy flick Night Train to Paris and the horror TV pilot Dark Intruder. And of course, don't forget he was in The Reluctant Astronaut with Don Knotts and in Irwin Allen's classic The Poseidon Adventure.

But Nielsen's greatest achievement, saith I, came right out of the gate with his second film, the science fiction milestone Forbidden Planet in 1956. "Nice planet you have here. High oxygen content." Tonight I'll be watching Forbidden Planet in a salute and a tribute to Commander John J. Adams, aka Leslie Nielsen. Join me, won't you?

- - JSH

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