An episode of “Barney Miller” revolves around Det. Harris coming up with casting ideas for a movie to be based on his novel “Blood on the Badge.” Old Barn suggests Roy Scheider should play Harris, noting that the actor has extensive experience playing a cop. Harris responds by invoking another famous role assayed by Scheider when he suggests that Roy won’t be sliding across the dirty floor of the old one-two. If you aren’t familiar with the reference, you need to watch more movies — or more old TV shows. That way you can get the allusion when anyone refers to these memorable movie slides by famous actors.
Roy Scheider: “All That Jazz”
“All That Jazz” is Bob Fosse’s multi-million dollar testament to his own talent. In the hands of a Robert Downey Jr., that would be a put-down, but Fosse possessed a talent worthy of spending millions thinly fictionalizing. The entire post-modern musical drives toward the final show-stopping number, and that show-stopping number drives toward Roy Scheider sliding across the stage. Keep in mind that up until “All That Jazz” Scheider was known by 99 percent of moviegoers for playing Sheriff Brody in “Jaws.” That fact alone makes this slide both unexpected and memorable.
Burt Lancaster: “Elmer Gantry”
In this age of insipid pastors giving a career boost to homophobic members of their congregation, it becomes easier than ever to actually miss the days of the fake revivalist minister who was preaching against sin at 7:00 and sleeping with the daughters of his biggest contributors by midnight. “Elmer Gantry” did not seem like a movie that would ever become dated, but the fiery evangelical performance art that culminates with Burt Lancaster actually sliding UP a ramp and landing fully on two feet already seems like a fiction from a time that never was.
Lou Costello: “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy”
The amazing thing about this memorable movie slide by a famous actor is that it really was done by Lou Costello. The scene takes place in an excavated room that once apparently housed Egyptian royalty. I don’t care how good a homemaker you are; you can only wish your floor was this waxed. In attempting to make an escape from the Egyptian mummy in question, Costello loses his footing and slides across what seems like about 50 feet of floor. The funniest slide in movie history, no doubt, occurs in “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy.”
Tom Cruise: “Risky Business”
Well, I figured I should include at least one memorable movie slide by a famous actor that was famous enough (read recent enough) that the majority of readers would be familiar with it. Actually, I do think “Risky Business” should made it into this list anyway because it may well be the most iconic slide in movie history. Not to mention the fact that this is probably the most replicated slide in movie history. C’mon, admit it: you’ve simulated Tom Cruise’s underwear lip-synching slide. C’mon!