by Alexandra Jessome

This week, I thought I’d take a look at another great comedy, ‘Airplane!’. This 1980 film was written and directed by Jerry Zucker, David Zucker and Jim Abrahams.

Ted Striker (Robert Hays), an ex-air force pilot is seen trying to get back his now ex-girlfriend Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty), who is a stewardess. Desperate, Striker gets on the plane that Elaine is working on, which is headed to Chicago. He is having a difficult time overcoming a traumatic experience when at war he killed seven soldiers due to an airplane crash. With the pilot, co-pilot and navigator sick, Striker is called on to fill in for the pilots. Can Striker overcome his fears and land the plane safely in Chicago? Will he win Elaine back? Well, you’ll just have to watch ‘Airplane!’ and see.

Often referred to as one of the greatest comedic films of all time, ‘Airplane!’ certainly takes comedy to a new level. It has a distinct sense of humor that plays many of its jokes through satire but also focuses on puns such as Striker saying, “Surely you can’t be serious!” and Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) replies, “Yes, I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley!”. Needless to say, it is Mr. Nielsen who steals the show in this film. Every scene of his will have you dying on the floor of laughter.

You can tell this comedy has had an influence on our culture today. A great example would be Michael Scott from NBC’s ‘The Office’ quoting the aforementioned dialogue between Striker and Dr. Rumack. It has also been referenced in the ‘Toy Story’ films, as well as ‘Garfield’ (1990), ‘Independence Day’ (1996) and ‘Dodgeball’ (2004). It was nominated for a Golden Globe and won a WGA Award.

I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who is a big fan of comedy or any pop culture junkie.

Did You Know?

‘Airplane!’ is a spoof of another film, ‘Zero Hour!’ (1957).

The movie filmed for only 34 days.

David Letterman actually did a screen-test for the character of Ted Striker.

Baseball legend Pete Rose was initially offered Kareem Abdul-Jabaar’s role but could not do it due to the baseball season.