Among the comedy films of the 80s and 90s, one film that stood out was “Police Academy,” which was filled with various absurdities but still resonated well with the audience. Today, I’d like to share some interesting facts about the movie “Police Academy” and its sequels.
1. Initially, actors like Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, and even Bruce Willis were considered for the role of Mahoney. However, the role eventually went to the relatively unknown actor Steve Guttenberg. This role catapulted Steve to popularity, as he went on to star in films like “Three Men and a Baby,” “Short Circuit,” “Three Men and a Little Lady,” and more.
2. As is common in filmmaking, scenes are not shot in chronological order, and “Police Academy” was no exception. One of the first scenes filmed was the head-shaving scene of cadets Copeland and Blanks. Some scenes that came before this event were shot later, so the actors had to wear wigs since their heads were already shaved, whereas the plot required them to still have hair.
3. In the United States, the first installment of the film had a decent rating, but starting from the third part, the franchise’s quality declined significantly. Audiences were becoming tired of second-rate comedies. However, the Soviet and Russian audience, not yet saturated with Western comedies, enjoyed both the original and its sequels.
4. For the role of cadet Laverne Hooks, the director cast the relatively unknown singer Marion Ramsey. To make her character more comical, the budding actress wore rubber padding to make herself look plumper and donned a funny wig.
Marion was initially reluctant to wear such padding, but the director assured her that Hooks would improve over time. However, this never really happened.
5. One of the creators of the “Police Academy” film, Paul Maslansky, has Russian roots. Therefore, when the opportunity arose, he decided to shoot the seventh part of the film in his historical homeland.
6. Bubba Smith had a professional football career, but over his 11-year sports career, he earned much less than he did for his role as Hightower. By the way, for those who didn’t know, the name “Hightower” translates to “tall tower,” which suits the character.
7. Michael Winslow, who portrayed the African-American Sergeant Larvell Jones in all parts of the film, actually mimics all the sounds as shown in the movie. After the success of the film, Winslow became a regular guest on various shows and even had his own program. On television, he was dubbed the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects.” By the way, he also provided the voice for Mogwai in the movie “Gremlins.”
It’s worth noting that Michael Winslow is one of the few actors who appeared in all installments of the “Police Academy” film series and even in the TV series of the same name.
8. In 2015, a film called “Lavalantula” was released, which was about fiery tarantulas that appeared after a volcano eruption. What’s interesting is that several actors from “Police Academy” appeared in this movie: Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Michael Winslow (Jones), Leslie Easterbrook (Callahan), and Marion Ramsey (Hooks).
9. In 1997, a TV series with the same name was released. However, only Michael Winslow remained from the original cast, and even he appeared in only some of the episodes. Other actors from the original film series also made occasional appearances in the TV series.
10. Only the first film in the series has an R rating (17+). Subsequent films in the series were more lenient in terms of content. The second part received a PG-13 rating (13+), and the later parts were rated PG (suitable for children with parental guidance).
11. Initially, Hightower was supposed to be just a minor character. However, during test screenings, the audience was so impressed by the character that his role was expanded, making him one of the main characters.
12. In the original script, the character Switchack, played by Tim Kazurinsky, had the surname “Schewchuk.” However, Bubba Smith couldn’t pronounce this name without errors, so it was changed to “Switchack.” Interestingly, in the store owned by Switchack in the second film, the name “Schewchuk” still appeared.
13. Originally, Switchack was supposed to appear only briefly in the film. However, the creators were so pleased with the chemistry between Zed and Switchack that they decided to increase his screen time.
14. The character Leslie Barbara, played by Donovan Scott in the first film, was supposed to appear in the second film as well. However, when he learned that his character would have to eat from a plate that a cat had visited, he declined the role. To keep the scene, the character Vinnie Schtulman was introduced in the film, who took on that task.
15. The Japanese character Nagata, who appeared in the third part of the film, was initially supposed to be an Indian.
This explains why he sleeps on nails and meditates by a candle.
16. David Graf (Tackleberry), Michael Winslow (Jones), and George Gaynes (Commandant Lassard) appeared in all seven parts of the series. Leslie Easterbrook couldn’t appear in the second part due to her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter.
17. In “Police Academy 3: Back in Training,” Blanks and Copeland engage in sabotage, so they keep switching the radio signals to confuse Hooks. During one of these switches, the video game “Paperboy” about a newspaper delivery boy appears on the screen. You’ve probably played this game on the “Dendy” console.
If you want to relive your childhood and play old-school 8-bit games you used to enjoy on the “Dendy,” I recommend getting a portable 8-bit console like the SUP. It can be played both at home, connected to a TV, and on the go. The portable console already comes with hundreds of classic 8-bit games, and unlike cartridges like “9999 in 1,” each game here is unique.
18. Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney) believed he had outgrown “Police Academy,” leading him to decline roles in the fifth, sixth, and seventh installments. He was also offered a role in the TV series but turned it down as well. In the film’s plot, Mahoney was supposed to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant, which ended up going to Hightower in his absence. However, twenty years later, he expressed regret for his decision and agreed to reprise the role if an eighth installment were to be made. As of now, the fate of the film is uncertain, but considering the current trend of reviving old franchises, it wouldn’t be surprising if the film eventually sees the light of day. However, the main cast of the film is now over 65 years old, and some of the actors who portrayed characters like Tackleberry, Hightower, and Lassard have sadly passed away.
19. Bobcat Goldthwait, who played Zed, did not participate in the film due to a disagreement over the offered fee. Because Goldthwait did not join the production, the creators decided that there was no reason to bring back Tim Kazurinsky (Sweetchuck) since they worked best as a duo.
Naturally, these are just a few of the facts about the iconic “Police Academy” film series.