I saw Airplane in a packed theater when it was initially released. The laughter was non-stop. Airplane is a film that benefits from a crowd. I’ve watched it several times since and the bigger the crowd the bigger the laughs. Airplane is still worth a watch either alone or with others.
Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present 31 Things We Learned from the ‘Airplane!’ Commentary. Before you click over, here are three of my favorite comments…
These early drafts (of the script) were initially titled The Late Show as they intended to include their commercial gags as well with the spoof movie itself being filler. They brought it to Lloyd Schwartz who suggested that the airplane story was “funnier and more interesting” than the commercial spoofs.
(I think that they were wise to drop the commercial gags. Playing it straight made for a much funnier film. – Craig)
Lloyd Bridges had a lot of questions trying to understand his character, his motivation, and his dialogue, and Robert Stack pointed out that the visual gags were so frequent and nonsensical that no one in the audience was going to care. “Lloyd, we are the joke,” said Stack to Lloyd.
(Can you imagine you’re the director prepping the scene and Bridges wants to discuss background and motivation for his, “I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue” line? – Craig)
Stack was apparently offered a percentage of the film or an extra $20k, and he chose poorly.
($20K in the hand or a percentage on a risky film with Hollywood bookkeeping? Not an easy choice. – Craig)