In the 1980 comedy movie Airplane! Are there some jokes that only pilots would get? I always thought there was sight gag with the runway when they are taking off. The runway look likes it has exit ramp like an interstate highway.

  • $\begingroup$ "Airplane!" (1980) includes jokes that only James Hong gets. That film is such a dense farce that even if you see something in it that is not funny, you can be confident that somebody somewhere is laughing at it. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Mar 2 '19 at 3:05
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    $\begingroup$ I always wondered how many non-pilots got the piston-engine-sound-effect-in-a-jet gag $\endgroup$ – John K Mar 2 '19 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ That one was done as a big f**k you to the Paramount Execs by the Zucker Bros. who originally wanted to movie to take place on a propeller powered airplane as was in the movie Zero Hour which Airplane! satirized. The executives demanded the film take place aboard a jet, but the directors got the final laugh adding in the propeller sound effects. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Mar 2 '19 at 5:17

Not really. That movie had more gags associated with everyday objects eg Capt. Oveur initiates taxiing the 707 by shifting it into gear, like a car, etc. I don’t really recall any aviation specific elements - aside from that it took place on a commercial airline flight - that only pilots or someone with a deep knowledge of aviation would get. One aviation item which gets a little overlooked was names of the flight crew - Captain Clarence Oveur (Clearance, Over), FO Roger Murdoch, and FE Victor Boston, being plays on common radio terms “Roger, Roger. What’s out vector, Victor?” Another one I recall was a minor scene between Lloyd Bridges and Robert Stack where they argue the pros and cons of letting Stryker do a normal landing vs foaming the runway and letting him land wheels up. Of course what made that scene funny was the slapstick use of a water cooler. Bridges had another scene with Stack where Stack remarks “That’s impossible! They’re on instruments!” which cuts to a scene with Stryker, Elaine, and Dr Rumak playing jazz using musical instruments in the cockpit. Most of the film’s jokes had to be more relatable to the man on the street’s concept of air travel eg “the White Zone, Red Zone” recordings they used to play, being pestered by religious irritants for money in terminals, etc. I don’t think Airplane! would’ve have had nearly the appeal if it’s humor was based on a deep knowledge of aviation.

  • $\begingroup$ bravo, carlo!!! $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Mar 2 '19 at 6:25

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