I will never forget meeting Leslie Nielsen.
When I was with 970 WFLA in Tampa in the early 90’s, I had the opportunity to meet Leslie Nielsen at Wade Boggs’s annual charity softball game. After shaking hands, I was horrified by what I heard. It seemed that this most famous actor passed very audible gas in my presence. I didn’t say anything, embarrassed obviously for this poor man who must himself have been embarrassed. He wore very noticeable hearing aids so perhaps he didn’t hear his rather sonorous contribution.
Later when speaking with colleagues, especially my dear friend and Tampa legend (which is the subject of another paean altogether) Tedd Webb, I learned that they too had experienced Nielsen’s “gas-conade.” When confronted, he showed us the source of that unmistakably universal fanfare. Han-D-Gas. It was a device that we all had to have and were never without. It was secreted in one’s palm and was the source of more hilarious terror than I can even count: elevators, physicals and intimate moments. On more than one memorable occasion, I punctuated many an interview on TV and radio with that universally-recognized report to the horror and chagrin of the interviewer.
As Nielsen did to the horror of two British chat show hosts.
Godspeed, Frank Drebin. And on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you.