Patrick McGinlay's Internet Tendency

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April 1, 2005

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Hey, you want to hear something tragic?

We've got this copy of Police Academy in my house which was taped off TV, probably in the early '90s, the only copy of Police Academy I ever watched in my formative years. Along with the Back To The Future movies, this tape (and the tapes of P.A. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) form the foundation for my cinematic education, sad as that may be to some. These are the films I know best.

So one night Police Academy comes on TV. I watch it, stifling the little voice in my head which says, "But you have it on tape! Why watch it on TV? That seems wrong, although I don't know why."

We come to the famous scene in which Cmdt. Lassard steps up to the podium to speak, and is given a blow job by the prostitute Blanks and Copeland smuggled into Barbara's room to get him thrown out of the Academy, but whom Mahoney subsequently removed and put under the podium.

I have never watched this scene before. It's missing from our tape copy.

Later, I say to my mother, "Hey, you know the version of Police Academy we've got is censored?" She doesn't understand, so I explain to her what I saw on TV.

She says, "Oh, I cut that out when I taped it. You were only ten or so, and I didn't think it was appropriate for you to see, so when I knew it was coming up, I just hit the pause button, then unpaused the recording when it was over."

I am flabbergasted. This is like finding the lost ending to Charles Dickens' unfinished The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, revealing the murderer to be a fiendish, hyper-intelligent purple space monkey, or being told that your favourite Queen album is missing an eight-minute layered guitar masterpiece with lyrics revolving around Freddie Mercury's experiences getting his knob polished by a middle-aged prostitute under a podium.

And all I can think is, "Damn, this explains why Lassard looks so confused!..."

I have since recovered. Now, back to the movie.

The other characters are not that interesting. Leslie Barbara (Donovan Scott) is the requisite fat pathetic shlub, an archetype often found in sophomoric comedies, especially ones dealing with "nerds" and "jocks". Thankfully, Barbara did not return after Police Academy, and the writers introduced a far more palatable fat character in Police Academy 4: Tommy "House" Conklin (Tab Thacker), who is much fatter than Barbara, but also much less pathetic. Scott later appeared in Psycho III, Splash, Too and Back To The Future III (as Marshal Strickland's deputy). Not his real name, the actor decided on the pseudonym "Donovan Scott" as tribute to his two heroes, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and actor/singer Jason Donovan. No, I made that up.

George Martin (Andrew Rubin) gets chicks by pretending to be a Latino. He gets his comeuppance at the hands of Callahan, who tears her shirt open (revealing her enormous breasts), lets her blonde hair down and rapes the hapless cadet. This could very well be a triumph for feminism, but I doubt you'll ever hear anyone other than me say so.

So the party's hopping, and the jerks Blanks and Copeland have been diverted to the gay bar, The Blue Oyster. A classic scene, wherein the two ostensibly straight males with Number One haircuts accidentally meander into a pleasant-looking bar which is filled with burly homosexual bikers, who -- naturally -- just want to slow dance with them. The Blue Oyster, as I think we all know, returned in most of the other Academy movies, along with its contingent of dance-crazy (and occasionally violent) gay men. Meanwhile, the real sex party for sex cops is going on down at the beach, where there's saxophones, nudity (although not in my copy -- another bit mum skilfully edited out) and Mahoney gets it on, facially, with Thompson, who we know will be good in the sack thanks to her insatiable character Samantha in Sex & The City.

"Say Now, That's Interesting" sidebarBut Blanks and Copeland are mad at having to face big, moustachioed reflections of their own confused sexuality, so they smuggle a hooker (Georgina Spelvin; see sidebar) into Barbara's quarters, leading to, as mentioned earlier, the "hooker and Mahoney get stuck inside the podium while Lassard speaks so the hooker blows Lassard and then Mahoney sticks his head out of the podium so Lassard thinks Mahoney did it" scene, which I won't bother going into here, since it's been so often dissected in PhD theses, social theory textbooks and the like.


In Part Four: we conclude our discussion of the original Police Academy and dive head first into its upstart little brother, Police Academy 2: Bobcat Goldthwait Arrives. Also, a comparative chart of the ranks attained by our cadets in the Metropolitan Police Force. Which is the only cast member whose character was ever demoted? The answer may surprise you!


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