‘Airplane!’ which a lot of people consider the greatest movie comedy of all time, premiered on July 2, 1980. I heard Quentin Tarantino explain how, back then, studios half onto a few throwaway films, typically comedies, to throw at audiences later in the summer after all the big budget blockbusters had already Been released. “Airplane!” was one of them. And it changed movie comedies forever.
Directed by the trio of Jim Abrahams and David & Jerry Zucker, it was something that had never been tried before. They casted all serious actors and told them to play it straight. To ignore the ridiculous lines they were being given and act like they were in a drama. I heard Robert Hayes and Julie Haggerty on Gilbert Gottfried’s podcast say it was harder for some than for others because they didn’t all get the joke. But the more serious they were while delivering lines like “Ever seen a grown man naked?” and “I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue,” the funnier it is.
Many have tried to duplicate the magic since. I’ll argue that only Abraham’s, Zucker & Zucker have succeeded, with “The Naked Gun” series. And no one else will ever come close again. Because “Airplane!” is exactly the kind of humor you’d never be allowed fo