AIRPLANE! (1980)

Dir. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Step into the cockpit for the deadpan comedy that laid to rest one of the 1970s' biggest genres—the disaster film. The whole thing started as an accident. Writer-directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, who are in attendance at this screening, accidentally taped the 1957 aviation drama Zero Hour! while searching for commercials to spoof at their Kentucky Fried Theater. They borrowed the plot about an airplane crew stricken with food poisoning, but used it as an excuse for a non-stop string of parodies, in-jokes and sight gags. Newcomers Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty won the romantic leads, but the film's heart lay in veteran leading men Peter Graves, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen, who, after years of stolid heroics, turned out to be comic pros with their straight delivery of lines like "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?" The film launched the trend for feature-length parodies (like the creative team's The Naked Gun films) that is still going strong and turned Nielsen into one of the screen's top comic stars.

In attendance: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Robert Hays.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we regret that Jerry Zucker will be unable to attend this presentation as previously announced.

AIRPLANE!
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