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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14797/surely-you-cant-be-serious/

Surely, You Can’t Be Serious

November 29, 2010 by

The late Leslie Nielsen first gained comic notoriety for the 1980 film Airplane!, which is often portrayed as a parody of 1970s-era disaster films like Airport. In fact Airplane! was a satirical remake of the little-known 1957 film Zero Hour! Filmmakers Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahms were taping late-night television commercials, looking for material to spoof, when they realized the movie that was airing “around” the commercials — Zero Hour! — provided a riper target.

A number of scenes and dialogue in Airplane! are lifted directly from Zero Hour!, as this montage demonstrates:

The Zucker-Abrahms group acquired the legal rights to Zero Hour! to avoid any problems. But the point here is that far from devaluing the original film or “pirating” anyone’s “intellectual property,” the Airplane! creators took an otherwise forgettable movie and reworked it into a modern comedy classic. Sure, the initial idea wasn’t original. But artistic success isn’t about “originality” so much as it’s about having the talent to execute — or re-execute — an idea in such a way as to create value in the minds of consumers.


Phinn November 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm

There’s another video out there that includes an interview with the two actors who played the men who relied on the elderly white woman to translate their conversation because she could “speak jive.”

For a screwball comedy, a lot of careful thought and consideration went into their scenes.

Capt Mike November 30, 2010 at 12:06 am

That elderly white woman was June Cleaver. Beaver’s Mom!!!!

No relation to Eldridge……

Of course her REAL name was Barbara Billingsley.

mpolzkill November 30, 2010 at 2:53 am
Capt Mike November 30, 2010 at 12:03 am

Off subject, kinda….

I just remember the Johnny Carson Show just before the release of AIRPLANE!!. Leslie Nielson was still known as an ultra stiff straight man.

Well, he had secreted upon his person a whoopie cushion. No one had warned Carson. So as the interview progressed, the flatulent explosions would emanate from Nielson’s person. Carson tried to hold it together but after a while he just lost it! As did I. It took me weeks to recover. Literally side splitting humour!

I’ll miss ol’ Leslie.

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