80s icons: Larvelle Jones from Police Academy

The man of a thousand sounds and voices: we induct Larvelle Jones - aka Michael Winslow - into out 80s Hall of Fame...

Michael Winslow. Genius.

It’s easy to take potshots at the Police Academy movies, especially so if you watched the last three or four of them. But it does gloss over the fact that there was some real comedy talent among the cast list.

The late David Graf, for instance, would go on to appear in the woefully underappreciated Brady Bunch Movie, but it’s as gun-loving Tackleberry he’s most fondly remembered. Steve Guttenberg, too, had plenty in his corner, and is long overdue a Den of Geek Ready Reckoner, if only to give me an excuse to watch Diner, Cocoon and Short Circuit again. And what about G W Bailey as Harris? You could easily put together quite a list.

But if you had to pick the standout, the reason for sitting through the increasingly photocopied sequels, it would surely be the one-man special effect, Mr Michael Winslow.

Winslow played Larvelle Jones, the man who could make amazing noises, and frequently did. Whether it was simulating a volley of bullets, putting on one of his many voices or simply livening up a scene by utilising his incredible vocal talents, he’s frequently, and fondly, remembered as a real standout of the series.

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The actor who played him, Michael Winslow, now plays regular comedy gigs, and has his own website here. And it was while perusing that site that we discovered that he also provided the voice for Stripe, leader of the Gremlins in the original movie. Throw in his role in Spaceballs, a film we really need to get round to talking about soon, and his placed in Den Of Geek’s Hall of Fame is all but assured.

But it’s Larvelle Jones that we keep coming back to, a role he portrayed in all of the films, and in the television programme that followed too. Certainly when I was at school there were at least a couple of people who reckoned they could do all of his voices. But they were wrong. And long after Police Academy has left the screens, it’s abundantly clear that there’s very much only one Larvelle Jones, and one Michael Winslow.

So we celebrate in the time honoured fashion: by digging up a ropey looking clip off YouTube, with Jones in action. We salute you, sir…