12 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Airplane!

Airplane is one of those classic comedy films that are still as funny now as they ever were and even when you’ve seen it a dozen times already, the jokes never get old and it had some fabulous one-liners in it, too!

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[adunit mobile=”RTK_dVa8″] The film is now 38 years old (!) yet still feels fresh, especially when compared to what passes as a comedy now! So let’s look back at Airplane with some facts you probably never knew about the film…

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1. Leslie Nielsen was hired for a very specific reason

Leslie Nielsen became something of a legend of the spoof movie genre with the Naked Gun films, and many more like Dracula Dead and Loving It and Repossessed, but he was actually hired for this film purely because he wasn’t known for comedy and they wanted a serious actor on board!
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2. Nielsen wasn’t the only one

Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges and Peter Graves were all chosen for their roles alongside Leslie Nielsen as they were all known as serious actors, which meant that their straightness in their delivery of lines was perfect for what the producers wanted!

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3. The film didn’t do well in one sector

Unsurprisingly, airlines did not really want Airplane on their list of films for their in-flight entertainment. However, Aeromexico were the one airline who did purchase the film for theirs!

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4. One scene was largely improvised

In the scene with the characters who talk to each other in “Jive”, the Jive was almost all ad-libbed on the spot to make it sound more natural and flow well, and also because the ZAZ team of producers were not sufficiently well-versed in black street language!

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5. The film opened very well

It took just two days of release for Airplane to take enough in its gross takings to cover the production’s entire budget!

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6. One person was deliberately cast

The professional basketball player, Karim Abdul-Jabbar was deliberately cast as a reference to ex-professional footballer Elroy Hirsch who was cast as a pilot in the serious airplane disaster film, Zero Hour!

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7. Abdul-Jabbar asked to sit up front in real life

Following the film, Karim Abdul-Jabbar asked to sit up front in an empty seat in the cockpit on a European flight so that the crew could say they had flown with Roger Murdoch!

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8. One line had to be re-written

One line in the film, where the pilot asks a young boy if he’s ever seen the inside of a cockpit before, was originally set to be “Have you ever seen a grown man’s cock”? but this was deemed far to risque and changed!

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9. The directors had to mislead the studio slightly

At first Paramount weren’t keen on the idea of Airplane until the directors sold it to them as “Animal House on a plane”. This was obviously a little inaccurate but got the point across that it was a zany comedy.

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10. One character is no more!

Sadly, Otto the automatic pilot has passed away as he slowly disintegrated whilst being kept in storage in Jerry Zucker’s garage!

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11. One line has gone down in history

One line in particular was voted as number 79 in The American Film Institute’s list of the greatest movie quotes. The line? “Surely you can’t be serious? I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley”!

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12. The directors gave their mum a cameo

The mother of two of the directors – David and Jerry Zucker – appears in the film as the woman trying to apply her make-up mid-flight! She also had cameos in some of their other films including The Naked Gun.

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That’s the end of our list of facts. “Surely you can’t be serious” I hear you cry, and I’m afraid we are – but don’t call us Shirley! Let us know all your thoughts and memories about Airplane in the comments as always!

 

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