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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 28, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Stop calling me Shirley: “Airplane!” turns 30

Fun story in the New York Times yesterday about “Airplane!,” a movie that always makes me giggle (“A hospital? What is it?” “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.”) — and that celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer. I enjoyed learning that Leslie Nielsen kept the cast alert by interrupting their lines with a “hand-held toy simulating flatulence” (“He played that thing like a maestro,” recalled co-star Robert Hays), that “Airplane!” held the title of highest-grossing comedy of all time for four years (until “Ghostbusters” in 1984), and that “Airplane!” was at heart a riff on the 1957 suspense drama “Zero Hour,” which I have not seen and which I think I could not see now without snickering. Here, from YouTube, are a collection of clips from “Airplane!” and “Zero Hour”; I was surprised how close — and yet how different — they are. Oh, and we have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. And what’s our vector, Victor?

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