The Movie That Inspired ‘Airplane!’

Yeah, yeah, the airplane-themed disaster flicks of the '70s certainly influenced 1980's hilarious parody Airplane! — but as many similarities as one can find between Airport '75 (1975) and Airplane! pales in comparison to the scenes in another movie that match the knock-off!

(Image via Paramount)

Zero Hour! was a histrionic suspenser from 1957 starring top talent like Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell and Sterling Hayden. The makers of Airplane! sent up the film on an almost scene-by-scene basis, including such situations as the pilot's tragic war record and the necessity that he fly and land a commercial aircraft, the presence of food poisoning and a remarkable number of identical lines — albeit read satirically.

Watch the following video and prepare to have your mind blown. Surely, I should have known about this before now — and stop calling me Shirley:

Here are the creators of Airplane! discussing how Zero Hour! influenced them:

I also had no idea that David Letterman was supposed to play Ted!

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