Airplane! vs. Zero Hour!

There are probably few of you that didn’t realise this, but 1980’s Airplane! was not just a spoof of Airport-style disaster dramas, but a very specific satirical retelling of 1957’s Zero Hour!

The producers of Airplane! actually bought the rights to Zero Hour! so that scenes and lines of dialogue could be lifted wholesale, then sold the rights once production was finished and the satire was released.

CANADIAN CONTENT WARNING: Interestingly enough, Zero Hour! was itself a retooling of Arthur Hailey’s story Flight into Danger, televised in 1956 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (and starring James Doohan, later to find fame with Star Trek).

The astute viewer will note that Zero Hour‘s main protagonist, Ted Striker, is actually a Canadian, and he is travelling within Canada (from Montréal to Vancouver) aboard a fictional Canadian airline. There are subtle nods to this throughout the film—characters speak about a Toronto Argonauts football game, the air traffic control stations are all Canadian cities, and the DC-4 aircraft even carries an appropriate Canadian registry (beginning with C-F).

Category: Ars Gratia Artis  Tags: ,
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