8/10/14: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)


Some of you know how much I love Jerry Garcia, right? So I’m gonna tell ya a story. Back in ’85, my wife Cindy & I, and my brother Mike & sister-in-law, Karen, decided to spend 4th of July week in D.C. when we found out the Grateful Dead were going to be at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia MD (what we called Jerryweather) on 7/1 at 6 pm. We left that day at 7 in the morning expecting to make the show, no sweat. Traffic had other ideas so when we got to Columbia, we stopped for dinner at the Holiday Inn and decided to cancel our room in D.C. & stay there for the night. We went up to the woman at the front desk dressed like…um…hippies to book the room. She told us they were completely booked, which made no sense since there were hardly any cars in the parking lot, so Mikey went to the phone booth, called 1(800)HOLIDAY, and booked a room on his American Express Gold Card – those were rare back then! Then he returned to the front desk & laced into her. ‘Give me the keys to our room IMMEDIATELY! Here’s our Reservation #. “Don’t you think I realize what’s going on here, miss? Who do you think I am, huh? Don’t you think I know that if I was some hotshot businessman from out of town that pulled inside here, we’d be the first one to get a room & we’d be upstairs relaxing right now. But I’m not some hotshot businessman from out of town. I’m a hippie that’s in town to see the Gateful Dead. Rumor has it they’re gonna play Sittin’ on Top of the World for the first time since 5/25/72 – London, but as far as you’re concerned, the Dead can Sit on Top of the World Just As Long As We Don’t Stay in the Columbia Holiday Inn ‘Cause There’s No Hippies Allowed in Here!’ In the end, we loved the place. They had little robes with little initials of the hotel on them and when we left, to atone for their prejudice, Mikey had 4 of them in his bag.” 

When Martin Brest directed (and cameo’d as Beverly Palms Hotel Checkout Clerk) the 1984 comedy Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy really was Sittin’ on Top of the World. 16 months before filming began, Playboy ran an article entitled Eddie Murphy Is on Top of the World. The movie made him even bigger. It’s the 3rd biggest box office R-Rated film ever adjusted for inflation. It was critically acclaimed as well, earning Daniel Petrie Jr. & Danilo Bach an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the 57th Academy Awards. Murphy plays Axel Foley, a Detroit detective, quote-unquote, on vacation in Beverly Hills after his best friend Mikey (James Russo) is murdered executioner style while visiting him. His only clue is that Mikey had a stack of German Bearer Bonds that he lifted while working at a job in L.A. that their old friend Jenny (Lisa Eilbacher) got him. Axel isn’t a big hit with the Beverly Hills P.D., and is soon under surveillance by Officers Taggart (John Ashton) & Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold).  

There have been 3 Beverly Hills Cop features in the franchise, plus a 2013 TV movie and Beverly Hills Cop 4 in development. The 3 features starred Murphy. As you know, movie franchises are very popular today but rarely go beyond 5 or 6. Such was not the case in the early days of movie-making, when live action, character-based franchises dominated the industry. There are 20 movie/short franchises of at least 25 that began before ’38, including: Over 200 for Sherlock Holmes, the most of any character, from 1916 to 2015; almost as many Dracula, the first in 1922; 35 Charlie Chan films; over 100 about Cinderella, the first in 1899; there are 17 Andy Hardy’s; plus Jesse James, Hopalong Cassidy, Frankenstein, Tarzan, and Rin Tin Tin. So watch the trailer below, then put Eddie Murphy in Martin Brest’s original Beverly Hills Cop at the top of your Netflix DVD Queue. “Heh, heh, heh!” 4 Stars!


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