To commemorate the 30th anniversary of ABC’s cult-hit cop spoof Sledge Hammer!, the San Francisco comedy festival SF Sketchfest had planned to throw a “Hammerversary” party on Jan. 17 with series creator Alan Spencer and star David Rasche. In recent days, though, the event has ballooned into something more special: a full cast reunion that will also include Anne-Marie Martin (who played Hammer’s partner, Dori Doreau) and Harrison Page (Capt. Trunk, Hammer’s perpetually irate supervisor). Since the show’s cancellation in 1988, this is the first and—according to an email to The A.V. Club from Spencer—perhaps the last time that all three members of the main Sledge Hammer! cast will take the stage together.
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, Sledge Hammer! was conceived as a sendup of Reagan-era jingoism and “tough on crime” mythos—Rasche’s Inspector Hammer was essentially an over-the-top Dirty Harry, at least at first. But in short order, Spencer expanded the concept of Sledge to parody a wider swath of pop culture, from Alfred Hitchcock to Elvis Presley to Humphrey Bogart. The show’s mix of broad humor and pointed satire earned it a loyal fan base that followed it through numerous time slot changes wrought by capricious executives at ABC.
Aside from its brilliant title sequence, seen above—with theme by Danny Elfman—Sledge Hammer! is probably best known for its first season finale, in which Hammer mistakenly detonates a nuclear bomb and obliterates an entire city. The explosive cliffhanger implicitly dared ABC executives to renew the underwatched series with a tagline that read, “TO BE CONTINUED…NEXT SEASON?” (The network called Spencer’s bluff and gave Sledge a second year.)
Rasche and Spencer both spoke with The A.V. Club recently for a pair of interviews that will be published soon. In the meantime, tickets to the Hammerversary event, which takes place Jan. 17 at 2 p.m., are available on the SF Sketchfest website.