« One and one and one makes three* (And a POLL!) | Main | listomatic: loud cheese »

This Week on the Year That Was:
1980: Have you ever been to a Turkish prison?

25 years ago this week, I graduated from high school. That's TWENTY-FIVE. A classmate had a baby right after graduation. That "baby" is an adult now, and a mother. That's how long it's been. I have a classmate who is a grandmother.

1980. Stamps were 15 cents. Gas was a $1.25. Jimmy Carter was president. I was rocking out to Van Halen and Pink Floyd (how weird is it that 25 years later, my own kid is rocking out to those very bands?), having near death experiences and wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life.

Ah, but I'm not going to muse about how old I feel or how life moves pretty fast, or what graduation means. No, I'm here to discuss another significant, historical, life-altering thing that happened in 1980:

Airplane! was released.

ariplaneguy.jpgThat's right. The most significant event to occur in 1980 was not my high school graduation, the Iran hostage crisis, the Miracle on Ice, the death of John Bonham, the invention of the 7-11 Big Gulp™, the bulky, cumbersome home video recorders hitting the market. The earth shattering moment in 1980 came when Jim Abrams and the Zucker Brothers released the most quoted movie of my life. And, quite possibly, the funniest.

While gas prices rise and fall and Olympic hockey teams come and go, Airplane! has remained a constant, a stalwart fixture that has become an intrinsic part of my world from my vocabulary to my dance moves.

There is no other movie, not Star Wars, not Caddyshack, not Big Lebowski, that has offered the world so many repeatable lines; lines that aren't just thrown out there in conversation for comedy sake, but phrases that fit into the tapestry of every day life.

How many times have you pulled up at an airport and said Look Betty, don't start up with your white zone shit again?

I can't tell you the number of times someone in my family has reached for a second cup of coffee and we race to be the first to say "He never has a second cup of coffee at home," which leads to "I take it black, like my men."

And: "I've got to concentrate...concentrate...concentrate..."

You know what I'm talking about, because you're always saying things like "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?" or "Do you like movies about gladiators?" And I KNOW you have said at least once in the last 25 years "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines/smoking/sniffing glue."

What do you say when someone mentions the word hospital?

What is it?
It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.

On the occasion when someone says to me "Are you ready to go?" and I respond "We have clearance, Clarence," I know I have a soulmate in that person when they answer with "Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?"

And this one is so handy, I've used it (or a variation) about twenty times on this blog alone: They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.

I don't know about you, but if any member of my family is at a party where the DJ plays "Stayin' Alive," we're up on the dance floor doing the knife-in-the-back thing.

On the occasion of having a shitty day: Do you know what it's like to fall in the mud and get kicked... in the head... with an iron boot?

My favorite character in the movie: Johnny. He's the one I definitely imitate the most. The tower, the tower, Rapunzel.

Airplane! will live forever because its comedy is timeless (and it was the start of a long-running genre of parody movies). Bad puns (ham on five, hold the mayo), cheap shots and campy one-liners never go out of style. Millions of parents will pass the love of this movie down to their children. I know that one day in the future I will be lying on my death bed, my children and grandchildren gathered around me, waiting to pull the plug and a doctor will say "She's alive, but unconscious," and someone in my family will respond "Just like Gerald Ford." There will be big laughs right as I die. Thank you, Zucker brothers!

Surely, Airplane! must be the most quoted movie of all time.

And don't call me Shirley.

(You saw that coming, didn't you?)

Update: I meant to add - aside from the quotes, what's your favorite moment in the movie? (Which someone in the comments answered before I even asked!)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference This Week on the Year That Was:
1980: Have you ever been to a Turkish prison?

» Me on Keys from The World Wide Rant - v3.0
Yeah, so there's another 100 words posted for your reading pleasure (or displeasure, depending on whether you like this stuff or not). Today we deal with the happy topic of genocide, probably in the Balkans, although with only 100 words... [Read More]

» Watch Your Vector Victor! from Jeff the Baptist
Michele is pontificating on the importance of Airplane! to western civilization on the 25th anniversary of it's release. She's right too... [Read More]


I'm all for quotes, but the religious cultists gauntlet remains my favourite moment of the movie.

Mrs Cleaver: Excuse me, I speak jive.

I have a favorite from Airplane II:

Jimmy Wilson: Yes, his name is Scraps, and he's going to the moon with us.

Porter: Oh no. No dogs are allowed in the shuttle son. I'm affraid Scraps will have to be shot.

True -

One of our family 'Airplane!' lines is 'Don't be naive, Arthur - each of us faces a clear moral choice'.

And, back in my USAF days as a cryptologic translator- 'Over Macho Grande?' was a pretty common question asked during missions when asked where certain activities were taking place.


Jiveman #1: Sheeeet, man, that honkey mus' be messin' my old lady got to be runnin' col' upsihd down his head!

--- Golly, that white fellow should stay away from my wife or I will punch him.

Jiveman #2: Hey Holm, I can dig it! You know he ain't gonna lay no mo' big rap upon you man!

--- Yes, he is wrong for doing that.

Jiveman #1: I say hey sky, s'other say I won say I pray to J I get the same ol' same ol.

-- I knew a man in a similar predicament, and he ended up being sorry.

Jiveman #2: Knock yourself a pro slick. Gray matter back got perform' us' down I take TCBin, man'.

--- Don't be naive Arthur. Each of us faces a clear moral choice.

Jiveman #1: You know wha' they say: See a broad to get that bodiac lay'er down an' smack 'em yack 'em.

--- Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Together: Col' got to be! Yo!

-- How true!

Together: Sh010039et!

--- Golly!

Don't know why, but Striker's "drinking problem" always cracks me up. That and the entire "you're Kareem Abdul-Jabbar" scene.

Flight 2-0-9 now arriving gate 8- gate 9, gate 10

Gate 13, gate 14, gate 15 . . .

There is no single line or scene: the entire movie is perfect!

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit reading blogs.

I liked the drinking problem as well, since I'm the same way -- not in my eye, but sometimes I'll overbalance the glass or bottle and get it all in my beard. Which then makes me look stupid.

Since I first saw Airplane! as an immature teenager, the scene that (naturally) sticks with me is when Julie Hagerty inflates the autopilot. Not just because it looks like she's... well... you know... but because I always thought that that's what an autopilot SHOULD be.

I live for people handing me a memo or any piece of paper and asking "what can you make of this?"

"I can make a brooch,or a pterydacyl.."

I've never seen it, but now some strange conversations I've overheard make a lot more sense.

Re-inflating the autopilot.

(only because mbruce beat me to the pterydactyl thing. And it was 'I can make a hat, or a brooch or...)

Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It's a twister!

"The fog's getting thicker!"

"And Lleeoonnn's getting lllaaaarrger!"

For some reason I always crack up when the guy unplugs the runway lights.

Oh, and I graduated 25 years ago too. Then I went to Florida and stayed drunk for a week. No one gave me any quaaludes, but this girl bought me a quart of Jim Beam cause she wanted to see me pass out. She was pissed when I finished it a couple of hours later and was still walking around.

"Stryker?.... Stryker, Stryker, Stryker, Stryker, Stryker!"



OK, a couple more...

The reporters "getting some pictures"...

and this exchange

D: "How soon can we land?"

S: "I can't tell"

D: "You can tell me. I'm a doctor"

S: "I mean I don't know"

D: "Can you make a guess?"

S: "Not for another hour"

D: "You can't make a guess for another hour?"

'Turn on the lights!'

'No -- no, that's what they're EXPECTING us to do.'

Two scenes with similar themes crack me up every time:

1. Everyone lining up to beat the shit out of the histerical woman

2. Everyone lining up to make it with the girl who doesn't want to die a virgin (including the horse)


And I still say, let 'em crash (they knew what they were getting into).

My favorite moment is:

"Well, I'll give him another twenty minutes, but that's it."

I liked the "all right we might as well just shut everything down, just shut it down" scene in Airplane II. William Schatner is never better than when he is making fun of himself.

Jeez, why don't you just quote the whole movie? ;)

Seriously, I would argue that Monty Python and the Holy Grail is quoted more often, although, my personal favorite is the predecessor to Airplane!, Kentucky Fried Movie -- "It is also important to know what to do you when you die. 1) Don't try to drive a car. 2) Do not operate heavy machinery. 3) Do not talk."

It slays me!

I saw Kentucky Fried Movie (on a double bill with Groove Tube) back in the day at the drive in. I watched it again recently and it just hasn't held up well.

Airplane will always hold up.

I love the scene where Julie Hagerty smokes the cigarette after blowing up the autopilot.

I also regularly say "Roger Roger" and "What's the vector, Victor?"

There is one thing from Airplane II that I also love. The doors. Every time I walk up to those automatic sliding doors, I say "shhht".

Has anyone ever noticed the autopilot looks like a grown-up Bobby Hill (or maybe that should be Bobby Hill looks like a young autopilot)?

Wow. I can't believe it's been 25 years since the word "surely" was last used in a non-humorous conversation.

Gripology ... Pete Papanickolas

Generally in charge of a lot of things ... Mike Finnell

Author of A Tale of Two Cities ... Charles Dickens

Foreez ... A Jolly Good Fellow

Worst Boy ... Adolf Hitler

In case of tornado ... Southwest corner of basement


Thirteenth President of the United States ...... Millard Filmore

This motion picture is protected under the laws of the United States and other countries. Unauthorized duplication, distribution, or exhibition may result in civil liability or criminal prosecution. So there.

The Nun... sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me.

I'm weird in that I remember Airplane II more than Airplane.

"A bah--"
"No, a bomb."

This also reminds me about Police Squad!, a show I loved.

"Yes, I know."

Personally I think both the Wizard of Oz and the Godfather are more quoted (there was a time when Casablanca was the most quoted movie by far, but not so much anymore). But Airplane! was definitely groundbreaking, and still cracks me up every single time.

Probably my favorites are the jive sections, particularly this ...

Randy: Can I get you something?
Second Jive Dude: 'S'mofo butter layin' me to da' BONE! Jackin' me up... tight me!
Randy: I'm sorry, I don't understand.
First Jive Dude: Cutty say 'e can't HANG!
Jive Lady: Oh stewardess! I speak jive.
Randy: Oh, good.
Jive Lady: He said that he's in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him.
Randy: All right. Would you tell him to just relax and I'll be back as soon as I can with some medicine?
Jive Lady: Jus' hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da' rebound on da' med side.
Second Jive Dude: What it is, big mama? My mama no raise no dummies. I dug her rap!
Jive Lady: Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don' want no help, chump don't GET da' help!
First Jive Dude: Say 'e can't hang, say seven up!
Jive Lady: Jive ass dude don't got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!

"Now the shit's REALLY gonna hit the fan."

(cut to scene of poo being flung at a desk fan)

I graduated on June 13 (Friday the 13th), 1980.

Airplane isn't the most quoted around here. Holy Grail beats it in a photo finish (followed closely by Young Frankenstein).

Since it hasn't been mentioned, I still rotflmao at the little girl with the pulled IV.

Well, almost everything has been mentioned, but I'll add a few:

Captain Oveur, please pick up a white courtesy phone. [picks up black phone]

voice in phone: no, the white phone.


little kid offering coffee to little girl: cream?

little girl: no thanks, I take mine black. Like my men.

That little girl with the IV is the soon to be daughter of Captain Stubbing on the Love Boat (Jill Whelan).

We often use roger Roger and you've got clearance Clarence.

And I often mimic the old lady who hung herself. When I'm on the phone with a really long call, I'll mock a noose around my neck.

The white zone is for unloading only.

How can you not LOVE Airplane!??

"Johnny, I want you to pour every light you've got onto that field!"

dumptruck dumps a load of table lamps onto the runway

Best. Movie. Ever. (After Blazing Saddles, of course.)

There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Joey:Wait a minute. I know you. You're Kareem Abdul-Jabar. You play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Roger Murdock: I'm sorry son, but you must have me confused with someone else. My name is Roger Murdock. I'm the co-pilot.
Joey: You are Kareem. I've seen you play. My dad's got season tickets.
Roger Murdock: I think you should go back to your seat now Joey. Right Clarence?
Captain Oveur: Nahhhhhh, he's not bothering anyone, let him stay here.
Roger Murdock: But just remember, my name is ROGER MURDOCK. I'm an airline pilot.
Joey: I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense. And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs.
Roger Murdock: The hell I don't. LISTEN KID. I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

Thank you, thank you for this post Michele.

tears shining in her eyes

I know so few people who are...like me.

I have a lot of personal trouble with "We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?" and "Knock yourself a pro, slick." They just pop out at the most inopportune times.

And the Shirley joke never gets old.

"Full, pouting breasts. Firm thighs."

Three more often-quoted movies around my space, anyway:

Spaceballs: "Your Schwartz is almost as big as mine! Let's see if you know how to use it!" That flick is funnier to quote than it is to watch!

Buckaroo Banzai: "Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy!" One of my all-time faves.

So I Married an Axe Murderer, with any scene involving Mike Meyers playing his father and that Scottish accent. "HEAD! MUUUVE!"

Also, one that's fast growing in popularity among the quotable: Dude, Where's My Car? !

Two scenes from Airplane II that crack me up:

William Shatner walking through the door that you thought was a viewscreen because you could only see his face previously, and Chuck Connors throwing his cigarette in the general direction of some fuel barrels, and they explode immediately.

Well, if we are talkng Airplane II I like thee whole Shatner door thing - SSSH...SSSH

But we are NOT talking Airplane II. Sheesh, you people.

What I want to know is, when is Stephen Stucker going to get his Oscar for this movie?

I mean, seriously, people.

Don't forget Ghostbusters.

"Good idea, we can do more damage that way."

Doctor: "I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself all of these years. I was in the war, Medical Corps. One night they brought in a badly wounded pilot from one of the raids. He looked at me and said, "Doc, the odds were against us up there, but we went in anyway. I'm glad. Captain made the right decision." The pilot's name was George Zip. "

Ted : "George Zip said that? "

Doctor: "Yes, he looked at me and said, "Doc," he said, "Some time, when the crew is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell 'em to get out there and give it all they've got. And win just one for the Zipper. I don't know where I'll be then Doc, he said. But I won't smell too good, that's for sure.""

I LMAO everytime I see that scene... well actually the whole movie.

Anything done by Abrhams/Zucker is hilarious (Police Squad/NakedGun/Top Secret/Etc)

Oh yeah, also I tend to use this one alot when watching MLB.

"Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon... Manny Mota... Mota... Mota..."

Definately one of the funniest movies ever. It's too bad Robert Hatch followed this up with that TV show "Angie" and Julie Haggerty followed it up with... um... well "Lost in America" was pretty funny, if five years later.

Greatest scenes in the movie? Too many to count, including:

1. The bouncing heart at the mayo clinic.
2. The reaction of the guy sitting next to Robert Hatch in the "I had to ask the guy next to me to pinch me to make sure I wasn't dreaming" scene.
3. "It's an entirely diffrent kind of flying -- altogether!" "It's an entirely different kind of flying."
4. "I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA!"

I better stop now, and get back to work.

Every "I sure picked a bad day..." scenes.

When the reporters all run for the phone booth, and the whole row of the five attached booths falls over.

"Start from the beginning."

"Well, in the beginning, the earth cooled. Then the dinosaurs came, but they all got too big and fat, and they so died and turned into oil. And then the Arabs came and drove Mercedes-Benzes. And then Prince Charles started wearing all of Lady Di's clothes. It was HORRIBLE."

Nobody's mentioned the scene with the young kid driving Rex Kramer to the airport? Hitting the guy on the bike. . . being chased by Indians. . .

Oh, and the "It's an entirely different kind of flying altogether" scene. I remember when I first saw Airplane! in the theatre there was a long pause while everybody tried to figure out what they missed. About five seconds later it hit me and I yelled outloud, "Altogether, people!" Then there was an explosion of laughter. Classic.

"I saw Kentucky Fried Movie (on a double bill with Groove Tube) back in the day at the drive in. I watched it again recently and it just hasn't held up well."

Michele, we may have been at the same theatre. I was a sprout and can't quite remember the theatre(Westbury Drive-in?) that I conned my mom into taking my friends and me (we were 15 or so). She was pretty cool about it, although "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble" was a bit much :)

Small f-in world.