As the comedy franchise about a bunch of hapless US cops in a crime-ridden city, the series of Police Academy films began in 1984 and continued for the next decade, raking in millions at the box office. For some cinema-goers, the comedy was too low-brow, but others loved the mix of slapstick humour and innuendo.
Directed and co-written by Hugh Wilson and released by Warner Bros Pictures, the first Police Academy movie grossed $155 million at the box office worldwide, spawning a further six films. The franchise followed the chaotic lives of a bunch of raw recruits from all walks of life, culminating in Mission to Moscow in 1994.
The series begins in 1984, when the city mayor announces a new policy to boost police numbers, as crime is escalating. All willing recruits will now be accepted and the former standards, in relation to general fitness and educational levels, will no longer apply.
This opens the floodgates to all kinds of recruits who wouldn't have been considered before. The initiative causes outrage in the police department hierarchy. Henry Hurst, the chief of police (played by George Robertson) is furious at the lowering of standards. He decides to do everything in his power to force the new cadets to quit.
His deputy, Lieutenant Thaddeus Harris (played by George William Bailey) is in charge of cadet training and agrees the shambolic bunch of new recruits should be driven to quit by devising a tough and miserable training regime.
Cadet Carey Mahoney (played by Steve Guttenberg) has been in trouble with the law and is sent to train as a police cadet, rather than going to prison. Mahoney's father was also a policeman, but initially, Carey has no intention of following in his father's footsteps and aims to get thrown out.
However, somewhere along the line, he falls for fellow new recruit Karen Thompson (played by future Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall). After failing to get himself thrown out, he decides to take his training more seriously and become a police officer.
Their fellow trainees include self-confessed ladies' man George Martin (Andrew Rubin), military veteran and former security guard Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf), cowardly Leslie Barbara (Donovan Scott), human beatbox Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow) and super-strong man-mountain Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith).
During their training to become fully-fledged police officers, the recruits have many ups and downs - including falling out with their own colleagues.
In one famous scene, a fight breaks out in the canteen after Mahoney is taunted by cadets Chad Copeland and Kyle Blankes, who have been enlisted by senior officers to sneakily spy on their fellow trainees.
In a shock turnaround, mild-mannered Cadet Barbara finally snaps and defends Mahoney against the bullies, hitting Copeland in the face with a tray and knocking him to the floor.
The ensuing brawl leads to the cadets being hauled up before their commanding officer on a misconduct charge, with whoever threw the first punch being threatened with expulsion. However, in a display of loyalty, Mahoney decides to defend his friend and casts doubt on who started the fight so that Barbara won't be expelled - thus jeopardising his own career.
In another scene, a crazed lone gunman holds Lieutenant Harris hostage on a rooftop, and when Cadet Mahoney rushes up to save him, he is captured too. The standard police request to "put the gun down" doesn't work.
As the gunman lines Harris and Mahoney up against the wall, preparing to shoot them, Cadet Hightower saves the day. Posing as the gunman's ally, he gains his trust and then knocks him down a flight of stairs with a single punch, thus saving his fellow officers' lives.
Although the original Police Academy and the six sequels in the franchise were aimed at giving audiences a giggle, in reality, some of the policing methods and scenarios would have spelled disaster for the officers and bystanders.
For example, the brawl in the canteen could have led to possibly serious injuries, not only for those involved, but also for kitchen staff and other diners - particularly since the fight started near a range of scalding hot food storage units!
In the real world, it's unlikely that those involved would escape disciplinary action simply by lying about who started it. Bearing in mind Police Academy is now 34 years old, in today's modern police stations, the use of CCTV cameras would have established conclusively the circumstances of the fracas.
Not only would the senior officers know who threw the first punch (or the first tray), they would also know exactly who else was involved and what their role was, making it much easier to mete out punishment to the guilty parties.
In the scene where a gunman manages to hold two officers hostage on top of a public building, CCTV could again have helped the police, as they would have been able to track the criminal's movements and would be able to see exactly where he was and what he was doing.
In fact, thanks to modern door security systems including intercom and door-entry monitoring, access control and exterior barrier gates, it would be much more difficult for a gun-toting criminal to enter a public building in the first place.
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