Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane! · Oral History · The A.V. Club

Imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to parody, that’s a bit more hit-or-miss. This is particularly evident within the parody-film genre, which has been watered down by movie studios looking for ways to cash in on the latest pop culture phenomenon without having any particular comedic aspirations, resulting in critically-maligned efforts which have a limited shelf life and rarely rise above the level of lowbrow. But it wasn’t always this way.

In 1980, a trio of gentlemen from Wisconsin – Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker – took a cast of predominantly non-comedic actors, put a parodic spin on the disaster-film genre, and created a film which not only made moviegoers howl with laughter but also earned critical acclaim. Airplane! celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and if you happen to be in Nashville this weekend, you’ll have a chance to catch the film flying high on the big screen once again: The Wild West Comedy Festival will be holding a screening at The Belcourt on Saturday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., after which special guests David and Jerry Zucker will participate in a Q&A.

via Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane! · Oral History · The A.V. Club.

Speaking of culture, this is a long, long, funny, often fascinating look behind the scenes of an all time classic.

The movie is on Netflix, btw.

5 thoughts on “Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane! · Oral History · The A.V. Club”

  1. Funny thing is if one watches the movie “Airplane” was taken from (The High and Mighty w/John Wayne) you see where the comedic shticks are inserted into the older movie. Just saying.

  2. Actually, no. Airplane! was based on the 1957 film Zero Hour!, which was based on a CBC teleplay Flight into Danger. Zucker & company actually bought the rights to the former before filming.

    Fun fact: the Ted Stryker character was named Georges Spencer, and was played by James Doohan.

    I ended up laughing myself silly while reading about Nielsen’s fart machine. Could not stop myself. 🙂

  3. That’s a roger, Roger. What’s the vector Victor?

    “So tell me Billy, have you ever been in a Turkish prison…?”

    I practically died laughing when I saw it in the theater.

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