Oral History: Surely you can’t be serious: An oral history of Airplane!

Imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to parody, that’s a bit more hit-or-miss. This is particularly evident within the parody-film genre, which has been watered down by movie studios looking for ways to cash in on the latest pop culture phenomenon without having any particular comedic aspirations, resulting in critically-maligned efforts which have a limited shelf life and rarely rise above the level of lowbrow. But it wasn’t always this way.

In 1980, a trio of gentlemen from Wisconsin – Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker – took a cast of predominantly non-comedic actors, put a parodic spin on the disaster-film genre, and created a film which not only made moviegoers howl with laughter but also earned critical acclaim. Airplane! celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and if you happen to be in Nashville this weekend, you’ll have a chance to …

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