The April A to Z Challenge begins today.
For the letter A, I have chosen the Zucker Brothers’ Airplane!
Fun fact: when my family got a VCR, Airplane! was the first movie we ever rented!
Jim Abrahams and the Zucker Brothers took the plot of 1950s B movie, Zero Hour and plundered it for comic treasure.
I hadn’t watched Airplane! in more than 30 years. A lot of it still holds up, and I think it’s a comedy that succeeds because the jokes come so fast that the groaners slip by, quickly replaced by another sight gag or ‘don’t call me Shirley’ pun.
It’s gloriously politically incorrect, with jokes that wouldn’t pass muster today, but its sense of humour is so juvenile and basically harmless that it manages to get away with it.
I was surprised by how much of it I remembered – perhaps that’s because the film is a classic that has cemented its place in pop culture. I found myself uttering punchlines before the characters did, and I applauded and had a huge grin on my face when Leslie Nielsen appeared.
Actually, there are a lot of familiar faces in Airplane! As well as Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves and Robert Stack, you can also see Better Call Saul‘s Jonathan Banks, as well as James Hong and of course, Ethel Merman.
My favourite Airplane! moments.
I speak Jive
Have you ever seen a grown man naked?
The bar at Daiquiri
The River of Jordan