AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Police Academy
Director: Hugh Wilson (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Mar 1984
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 Mar 1984
Production Date:   Began 30 May 1983
Duration (in mins):   96
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Cast: Starring Steve Guttenberg (Carey Mahoney)  
  Starring Kim Cattrall (Karen Thompson)  
  Starring G. W. Bailey (Lt. Harris)  
  Starring Bubba Smith (Moses Hightower)  
  Starring Donovan Scott (Leslie Barbara)  
  And George Gaynes (Commandant Lassard) as Commandant Lassard
  Also starring Andrew Rubin (George Martin)  
  Also starring David Graf (Tackleberry)  
  And Leslie Easterbrook (Sgt. Callahan)  
    Debralee Scott (Mrs. Fackler)  
    Michael Winslow (Larvell Jones)  
    Bruce Mahler (Doug Fackler)  
  Co-starring Ted Ross (Captain Reed)  
  Co-starring Scott Thomson (Chad Copeland)  
  Co-starring Brant Van Hoffman (Kyle Blankes)  
  Co-starring Marion Ramsey (Laverne Hooks)  
  Co-starring Georgina Spelvin (Hooker)  
    Doug Lennox (Main bad guy)  
    George R. Robertson (Chief Hurnst)  
    Don Lake (Mr. Wig)  
    Bill Lynn (Parking lot manager)  
    Michael J. Reynolds (Office executive)  
    Joyce Gordon (Mrs. Thompson)  
    Don Payne (Barber)  
    Bruce McFee (Supply clerk)  
    Beth Amos (Little old lady)  
    Araby Lockhart (Mrs. Lassard)  
    Barry Greene (Cadet with hat)  
    Gary Farmer (Sidewalk store owner)  
    Josef Field (Blue Oyster dancer)  
    Gary Colwell (Blue Oyster dancer)  
    Jim Bearden (Driver)  
    Fred Brigham (Street punk)  
  Toughs: Marco Bianco    
    Ted Hanlan    
    Braun McAsh    
  [and] Rob Watson    
    Roger Dunn (Booking sergeant)  
  Officers: Wally Bondarenko    
    J. Winston Carroll    
    David Clement    
  [and] George Zeeman    
    Gino Marrocco (Arresting cop)  
    Gene Mack (Street thug)  
    Bob Collins (Drill instructor)  
    Danny Pawlick (Pool hall man)  
    Ruth Sisberg (Mayor)  
  Bar patrons: Peter Cox    
    Danny Lima    
    Dwayne McLean    
  [and] Brent Meyers    
  Martin's ladies: Carole Alderson    
    Suzanne Barker    
    Kimberley Boorman    
    Jayne Broughton    
    Julie McLeod    
  [and] Karen Robyn    

Summary: The female Mayor ends restrictions on new recruits for the Police Academy and hundreds of previously “undesirable” candidates sign up. One person not looking to join the Academy is parking lot attendant Carey Mahoney. But Mahoney’s life changes when he wrecks an obnoxious customer’s car and is arrested. Mahoney is taken to the police station where he meets Monsignor Larvell Jones, M.D., a black man who is gifted at making special sound effects. Captain Reed is a friend of Mahoney’s father, so Mahoney thinks he will get off but Reed has a different plan. Mahoney has the choice of County lockup or the Police Academy. The Academy can throw Mahoney out but he cannot quit or he will go to jail. Mahoney reluctantly chooses the Academy and asks to bring Larvell with him. Other cadets include gun enthusiast Tackleberry, mild photo clerk Leslie Barbara, klutzy Doug Fackler, socialite Karen Thompson, Latin lover George Martin, very tall former florist Moses Hightower, and meek Laverne Hooks. Self-important cadets Kyle Blankes and Chad Copeland try to impress the Police Chief but he is appalled at the incoming class. The Chief orders Commandant Lassard and Lt. Harris to get rid of the “scum.” They cannot throw anyone out but the bad cadets must be made to quit. Lassard is clueless but Harris is completely on board with the Chief’s plan. Harris quickly enlists Copeland and Blankes to help get rid of the losers and makes them his squad leaders. The new cadets line up and Mahoney sneaks behind Karen, pretending to be a drill instructor. His attempt to get kicked out, however, fails when Lt. Harris merely orders him to get back in line. Harris introduces tough but attractive female Sgt. Callahan who leads the out-of-shape cadets on their first run. In the classroom, Mahoney acts up again, but Harris will not kick him out so Mahoney goes straight to Lassard. Unfortunately, Lassard promised Captain Reed that he would keep Mahoney for the entire training. Mahoney, however, is still determined to get kicked out. The obstacle course proves problematic for the cadets but Mahoney manages to put brown shoe polish on Harris’ megaphone. In retaliation, Harris orders Copeland and Blankes to put Mahoney through a grueling workout. Latin lover George Martin, disguised as a female, sneaks into the girls’ dorm. He does not realize Callahan is watching. The cadets’ training continues but no one does well at the shooting range, except for Tackleberry who brought his own high-powered weapon. When Callahan leads the self-defense class, her first “victim,” Leslie, ends up with his head between Callahan’s legs, and, suddenly, all the other men willingly volunteer. That night, Mahoney checks out the girls’ shower room, but Harris catches him. The girls only see Harris outside their window and scream. Now Harris really wants Mahoney to leave, and offers to call Captain Reed so the two can persuade him. Harris is dialing the phone when Karen walks by. She sees Mahoney and flirts with him. Suddenly, he decides not to leave. Harris is furious and orders Copeland and Blankes to put Mahoney through another tough workout. The cadets get their first leave and Harris wants to know where they are having a party. Copeland and Blankes force Leslie to ask Mahoney for the location, and Mahoney happily misdirects them. Copeland and Blankes end up at the Blue Oyster bar, a gay leather bar. At the real party on the beach, the other cadets have a great time. Mahoney and Karen go for a walk and have their first kiss. Back at the Academy, the cadets maneuver the shooting course with varying degrees of skill. That night, George once again sneaks into the girls’ dorm, only to find Callahan waiting. She throws him on the bed and takes charge. Later, George heads back to the men’s dorm and confides to Mahoney that he is in love with Callahan. Copeland and Blankes want revenge on Leslie for sending them to the gay bar so they sneak a hooker into his room just before inspection. Mahoney, however, sneaks the hooker outside and hides her under a podium to wait for her “real” customer. Mahoney is unable to leave when Lassard shows up with his tour group. Lassard steps to the podium and is quite surprised when the hooker goes to work. Before he leaves, Lassard looks back and sees Mahoney appear from underneath the podium. The cadets slowly improve. When they are ready to go on ride-alongs with real officers, Harris takes Mahoney. Soft-spoken Laverne is completely ineffective at controlling the scene of a traffic accident involving farm animals. Harris and Mahoney are stuck in the resulting traffic jam. Harris decides to investigate so he commandeers a motorcycle, hits a car and flies into the rear-end of a horse. The driving test is next, and Hightower wakes Mahoney in the middle of the night to confess he cannot drive. They take Copeland’s car and rip out the front seats so Hightower can fit inside. They get off to a rocky start, but Hightower is a fast learner and soon outmaneuvers two cop cars in a high-speed chase. The next morning, Hightower aces the driving test, but Laverne accidentally drives over Copeland’s foot. Copeland’s racial slur infuriates Hightower and he tips over the police car with Copeland inside. Hightower is immediately kicked out. In the cafeteria, Copeland and Blankes try to start a fight with Mahoney. He refuses but they persist so Leslie whacks them with a tray and a huge fight ensues. In Harris’ office, Blankes blames Leslie but Mahoney takes the fall and Harris gleefully kicks him out. Mahoney heads to the dorm to pack. Accident-prone Fackler, meanwhile, is on a ride-along and inadvertently starts a riot when he tosses an apple out the window that smacks a tough guy in the head. The tough guy mistakenly thinks two other men are responsible. A fight starts, and mayhem quickly spreads. The cadets are dispatched to help at the periphery of the riot. Mahoney hides beneath his riot gear and joins them. Lassard’s directions land the cadets in the middle of the riot zone. Rioters soon surround Mahoney, Larvell and George. Lassard drives by for an “inspection” and they climb into his car. Rioters rock the vehicle until Larvell grabs the microphone and mimics machine gun fire. The cop car speeds off, but crashes down the street. Hightower is working in his flower shop, sees the rioting and heads out to investigate. Copeland and Blankes taunt rioters who are on the other side of a fence, but, when the fence runs out, a crazy bad guy steals the cadets’ weapons. Copeland and Blankes run away and take refuge in the Blue Oyster bar. The other cadets congregate on the street to regroup. The bad guy takes Harris as a hostage and shoots at the cadets from a rooftop vantage point. Karen is caught behind a crate in the middle of the street so Mahoney races to the roof. Laverne finds another entrance into the building. Mahoney reaches the bad guy who threatens to kill Harris so Mahoney drops his gun. Hightower steps onto the roof and says he wants to watch the bad guy shoot the cops. The bad guy agrees which gives Hightower the opportunity to knock him down the stairs where Laverne arrests him. At graduation, Mahoney and Hightower receive special awards. Mahoney steps to the podium and Lassard smiles slyly at him as the hooker once again goes to work from beneath the podium. Mahoney is all smiles as he marches with the Police Academy’s graduating class. 

Production Company: The Ladd Company (thru Warner Bros. A Warner Communications Company)
Production Text: A Paul Maslanksy Production
Distribution Company: The Ladd Company (thru Warner Bros. A Warner Communications Company)
  Warner Bros. (A Warner Communications Company)
Director: Hugh Wilson (Dir)
  Jim Margellos (Prod mgr)
  Michael Zenon (1st asst dir)
  Allan Harmon (2d asst dir)
  Richard Flower (2d asst dir)
  Rocco Gismondi (2d asst dir)
Producer: Paul Maslansky (Prod)
Writer: Neal Israel (Scr)
  Pat Proft (Scr)
  Hugh Wilson (Scr)
  Neal Israel (Story)
  Pat Proft (Story)
Photography: Michael D. Margulies (Dir of photog)
  Robert Saad (Addl photog)
  Peter Luxford (Cam op)
  Joachim Martin (Asst cam)
  Shin Sugino (Still photog)
  Chris Holmes (Gaffer)
  Tony Eldridge (Best boy)
  Ron Gillham (Key grip)
  Glen Goodchild (Best boy)
Art Direction: Trevor Williams (Prod des)
Film Editor: Robert Brown (Ed)
  Zach Staenberg (Ed)
  Howard Heard (Asst film ed)
  Ben Williams (Apprentice film ed)
  Donah Bassett (Negative cutter)
Set Decoration: Steve Shewchuk (Set dec)
  Neil Grocutt (Const supv)
  John Berger (Prop master)
  Chris Biden (Prop asst)
  Guenter Bartlik (Scenic artist)
  I. R. McEune (Head painter)
  Paul Theodore (Head carpenter)
Costumes: Christopher Ryan (Cost des)
  Lynda Kemp (Ward)
  Larry Wells (Ward)
Music: Robert Folk (Mus comp)
  Doug Lackey (Mus ed)
  Dan Wallin (Scoring mixer)
  Paula Spang (Mus coord)
  Record Plant Scoring, Inc. (Music scored at)
Sound: Anthony Ippolito (Supv sd ed)
  William Hooper (Sd ed)
  John Colwell (Sd ed)
  Stan Paul (Sd ed)
  David Lee (Prod sd mixer)
  Don MacDougall (Re-rec mixer)
  Richard Tyler (Re-rec mixer)
  John Mack (Re-rec mixer)
  Alan Holly (ADR/Foley mixer)
  Bob Rutledge (Foley ed)
  Paul Clay (ADR ed)
  David Kulczycki (Asst sd ed)
  Steve Switzer (Boom op)
  Gomillion Studios (Post prod sd)
Special Effects: Gene Grigg (Spec eff consultant)
  Neil Trifunovich (Spec eff)
  Roger Hansen (Spec eff)
  Diener/Hauser/Bates Co., Inc. Advertising (Title des)
  Pacific Title (Titles and opt)
Make Up: Ken Brooke (Makeup artist)
  James Brown (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Fern Champion (Casting)
  Pamela Basker (Casting)
  Michael Brownstone (Loc mgr)
  Penelope Hynam (Scr supv)
  Benita Allen (Prod asst)
  Christopher Kroll (Prod asst)
  Jim Kennedy (Transportation coord)
  Craig Kohne (Driver capt)
  Ron Kurelo (Police and weapons training)
  Rocky Thompson (Police and weapons training)
  Canadian Casting Associates (Local casting)
  Film Extra Services (Extra casting)
  Suzanne Lore (Prod coord)
  Don West (Prod accountant)
  Andrea Poulis (Prod secy)
  Patricia Johnson (Pub)
Stand In: Joe Dunne (Stunt coord)
  Buzz Bundy (Stunts)
  Debra Kirby (Stunts)
  Julius Leflor (Stunts)
  Denver Mattson (Stunts)
  Gary McLarty (Stunts)
  Angelo Reno (Stunts)
  Wink Roberts (Stunts)
  Dar Robinson (Stunts)
Color Personnel: Robert Raring (Col timing)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: Police Academy

Music: "El Bimbo," performed by Jean-Marc Dompierre and his Orchestra, courtesy of Arthur Young Enterprises, Inc.
Songs: "She's in My Corner," performed by Jack Mack and The Heart Attack, written by Max Carl and Andrew Kastner; "I'm Gonna Be Somebody," performed by Jack Mack and The Heart Attack, written by Max Carl and Andrew Kastner; "Relax," performed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, written by Peter Francis Michael Gill, William Johnson and Mark William O'Toole, courtesy of ZTT/Island Records; "Magic Moments," performed by Jon Joyce and Amanda Bennett, written by Burt F. Bacharach and Hal David; "True Lovin' Woman," performed by Jack Mack and The Heart Attack, written by Max Gronenthal, live recording by Westwood One Mobile Recording; "The Boys Come to Town," performed by Earlene Bentley, courtesy of Record Shack Records; "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," performed by The Shirelles, written by Gerald Goffin and Carole King, courtesy of K-Tel Entertainment, Inc.; "Crazy Chris," performed by Dave Brubeck, written by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, courtesy of Fantasy Records.
Composer: Burt F. Bacharach
  Dave Brubeck
  Hal David
  Paul Desmond
  Peter Francis Michael Gill
  Gerald Goffin
  Max Carl Gronenthal
  William Johnson
  Andrew Kastner
  Carole King
  Mark William O'Toole
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
The Ladd Company 22/6/1984 dd/mm/yyyy PA221975

PCA NO: 27106
Physical Properties: Sd:
  col: Medallion Labs®
  Lenses: Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
  Prints: Technicolor®

Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: Police
Subjects (Major): Cadets
  Police training
Subjects (Minor): Bars
  Women police

Note: The following written prologue appears in the opening credits: “On March 4th of this year… newly elected Mayor Mary Sue Beal announced that she was changing the hiring practices of this city’s police force. No longer would height, weight, sex, education, or physical strength be used to keep new recruits out of the Metropolitan Police Academy. Hundreds of people who never dreamed of becoming police officers signed up immediately. Naturally, the police completely freaked.”
       End credits include the following written statement: “We would like to thank the following for their cooperation: City of Toronto, Ontario Film-Video Office, Special Missions Group Ltd., City TV.”
       A 27 Mar 1984 LAEx article stated the story for the film originated when producer Paul Maslansky worked as a production executive on The Right Stuff. During filming in San Francisco, cadets assisted off-duty police with controlling the crowd. Maslansky saw a “hulking 50-year-old sergeant” yelling at two unlikely cadets. When Maslansky heard there was a new open hiring policy and almost anyone could get in, he knew “there was a germ of a good idea there.” The LAEx article also noted that Michael Keaton was to star and Dom DeLuise to direct, however, when the script was completed, neither was available. 1 Oct 1983 Screen International reported that Pat Proft and Neil Israel wrote the Police Academy script, then director Hugh Wilson did a rewrite. The 27 Mar 1984 LAEx reported first-time feature director Hugh Wilson’s prior directing experience was on WKRP in Cincinnati, a TV sitcom he created. A 16 May 1983 DV item reported the writers spent several weeks at the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Training Academy as part of their research.
       The 14 Mar 1984 Var review reported this was the feature debut of G.W. Bailey, known for playing Sgt. Rizzo on TV’s MASH. As noted in multiple sources, porno actress Georgina Spelvin, star of The Devil in Miss Jones, was hired for a cameo role as a hooker. Michael Winslow is credited as playing “Larvell Jones,” but, in the movie, the character refers to his full name as Monsignor Larvell Jones, M.D.
       An 11 May 1983 Var item reported shooting was scheduled to start on 30 May 1983 in Toronto. Production notes from the AMPAS library and an article in 1 Oct 1983 Screen International noted Maslansky originally thought of filming in Florida but production designer Trevor Williams convinced him to check out Toronto. Williams felt that the site of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, on the shore of Lake Ontario, would be perfect because it provided classrooms, barracks and a parade ground. The production notes also reported that an Ontario-based company called Special Missions Group provided the expertise in “drilling, fitness and weapons handling.”
       According to an article in the 19 Apr 1984 HR, Alan Ladd, president of the Ladd Company, moved the film’s release to spring instead of its planned August 1984 release. Ladd felt the spring launch would attract more attention “than during the summer glut,” and his plan worked. The 27 Mar 1984 LAEx reported the movie “opened with $8,570,006 – the highest gross of any movie since Christmas.” The 19 Apr 1984 HR noted the film cost $4.2 million and grossed $37,798,967 in 24 days. An ad in the 29 Jan 1985 HR touted Police Academy as “the biggest comedy in the history of WB International” with an advertised gross of $73,178,428.
       The 19 Apr 1984 HR article reported that David Sheffield and Barry Blaustein were writing a sequel with the tentative title of Police Academy II. Budgeted in the same range as the original, The Ladd Company aimed to start filming in September and release it in the spring or summer of 1985.
       According to a 8 Sep 1992 HR article, when looking at net profits, Police Academy was “one of the most successful films of all time.” As of 30 Sep 1990, the film had garnered net profits of more than $35 million. There were six films in the Police Academy series, and they were released each spring from 1984 through 1989. The second film took in net profits of $20 million, and the third took in $12 million, therefore net profits of the first three films reached more than $68 million. Third-party net profit participants received 40% or approximately $27 million. Maslansky’s net profits totaled more than $14 million from the first three movies. The last three films in the series did not fare as well and, as of 30 Sep 1990, had “failed to hit break-even costs.”
       An item in 30 Jul 1986 DV reported that writers Neal Israel and Pat Proft sued Warner Bros. alleging they did not receive the correct compensation for the film’s sequels. The writers claimed they were due 2.5% of net profits from the sequels. Warner Bros. claimed it only owed them 1.25%. The writers asked for “$500,000 in general damages, $1,000,000 in punitive damages and a court declaration they were entitled to 2.5%.”
       The 15 Jan 1997 HR reported that 26 episodes of a Police Academy TV series from Warner Bros. Television Distribution would air on the Fox stations and reach “40% of U.S. TV households.” Warner Bros. International had also sold the series “widely overseas.”

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   16 May 1983.   
Daily Variety   30 Jul 1986.   
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jun 1983.   
Hollywood Reporter   12 Mar 1984   p. 4, 44.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Apr 1984.   
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jan 1985.   
Hollywood Reporter   8 Sep 1992.   
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jan 1997.   
Los Angeles Examiner   27 Mar 1984.   
Los Angeles Times   22 Mar 1984   p. 1, 6.
New York Times   23 Mar 1984   p. 12.
Screen International   1 Oct 1983.   
Variety   11 May 1983.   
Variety   14 Mar 1984   p. 22.

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