The path to success isn’t always straight, but it does run true sometimes. After the massive success of Airplane!, the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team tried their hand at television with a cop show parody called Police Squad! It was brilliant, no one saw it, and it died an ignominious death after a brief handful of episodes, to be erased by the sands of time.
Except… the boys didn’t give up on their concept, and returned a few years later with a feature-length movie, The Naked Gun. It turned into a huge hit, spawned two very well-regarded sequels, and today is considered one of the best comedies of the 80s. It also gave Leslie Nielsen a proper fulcrum for his considerable comedic gifts and cemented a late career renaissance that won him legions of new fans. (And on a personal note, it provided my beloved Angels with a cinematic showcase we can be proud of. Take THAT, Major League!) The film opened today in 1988.