It may not have been a hit with the critics, but “Police Academy” was such a triumph, that the 1986 movie “Recruits” made it obvious that it was trying to ride off of the former’s success. The Canadian film made no bones about their inspiration as they used the phrase “Police Academy” in their poster’s promotional slogan, “You failed the police academy.”
“Recruits” tried to tap into the raunch market more than the predecessor, featuring a blonde police officer dressed very provocatively.
While there are one or two jokes that are definitely below the belt, director Hugh Wilson wanted to keep “Police Academy” a good wholesome comedy. Pulling this off proved much harder, as Wilson soon learned.
Popular among audiences at the time were: “National Lampoon's Animal House” (1978), “Caddyshack” (1980), and “National Lampoon's Vacation” (1983). These movies championed a different type of humor than what Wilson wanted. The screenplay for “Police Academy” had originally incorporated some cheap grabs, which Wilson tried to tone down on and clean up…well, for the most part, anyway.
Filming in the Wrong Institution
For years, viewers have tried guessing the filming location of “Police Academy.” It is clear the movie was making a satirical poke at the American police. Interestingly, the movie was not filmed in America or at a police academy. The actual location of the film was Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in Etobicoke in New Toronto.
You can certainly see where some of the actors got their inspiration. Fortunately, the psychiatric hospital has been transformed into the Lakeshore campus of Humber College. The college campus has become a popular destination with the franchise’s fans.
Bruce Willis Auditioned for Mahoney
Who could ever forget the goofball charm of Carey Mahoney? This lead character, played by Steve Guttenberg, is loved for his womanizing, practical jokes, and heart of gold. Tough guy Bruce Willis was just getting his career started at the time and auditioned for Mahoney’s part.
Willis had had some minor roles before and was looking for his big break. Sadly, it was not meant to be for Bruce and Mahoney. Somehow, we just cannot believe this hard-as-nails action hero could have pulled off the character's goofy charm.
Laverne Hooks' Fat Suit
The Police Academy is known for accepting all sorts and Laverne Hooks was certainly one of them. Played by Marion Ramsey, Hooks' character is known for her memorable line “Don’t move, Dirtbag!” Her not-so-athletic figure received much sympathy from the audience, making her a favorite. The actress was originally supposed to discard the fat suit she had donned in the entire movie in the final scene, a sign that her police training paid off.
Owing to time constraints, her appearance without the fat suit never made the final cut, causing her to reappear in the fat suit for the sequel.