Fun Facts
Fun Facts

Airplane Trivia

Airplane Picture
It's OK... I know what to do... ?!!?
Trivia, fun facts and more for the 1980 Comedy movie starring Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges et al.
Contributed by: Mike Martin
William Tregoe, who played the commentator in the "Point/Counterpoint" segment played the exact same role in an earlier ZAZ movie, "Kentucky Fried Movie".
Rewind Archive
Lloyd Bridges' character "McCroskey" is a direct spoof of his own "Jim Conrad" character from "San Francisco International Airport" (1970)
Contributed by: John Edward Kilduff
This movie was declared by the American Film Institute to be the 10th funniest movie of all time in their "100 Years...100 Laughs" list.
Contributed by: John Baran
Singer Maureen McGovern, famous for her hit "The Morning After" from "The Poseidon Adventure," appeared in "Airplane;" not as the singing flight attendant, but rather as the nun.
Contributed by: Chuck Farrell
The lady in the movie that "paints" her face with lipstick due to the turbulence of the plane is really one of the director's moms, Charlotte Zucker. In fact, he has included her in all of his movies. In "The Naked Gun", she was the villain's secretary who wore the watch, grabbed the gun from her desk and tried to kill Pap Smear. She also appeared in his movie "Ghost" as a bank teller.
Contributed by: John Baran
The actor seen washing the windows of the plane and taking Capt. Over's credit card payment is none other than Jimmie "Dyn-o-mite!" Walker.
Contributed by: Patrick Fogerty
The rather large pair that come into view during a scene where the plane's passengers are panicking belong to Kitten Natividad, best known for her roles in the 1970s sexploitation movies of Russ Meyer, like "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens."
Contributed by: Mike Martin
Towards the end, the jet knocks down a radio tower for "WZAZ - Where disco lives forever!" That was a reference to Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker, who are frequently called in the industry "ZAZ".
Contributed by: Mike Martin
Ethel Merman's cameo as "Lieutenant Hurwitz" was her last screen role.
Contributed by: Mike Martin
Jill Whelan plays the sick girl, who was more well known as Gavin MacLeod's daughter on "Love Boat". Her mother was played by Joyce Bulifant, who played Gavin MacLeod's wife in "The Mary Tyler More Show".
Contributed by: Dave
The name of the Robert Stack character in Airplane (Rex Kramer) is also the name of the "Danger Seeker" in Kentucky Fried Movie.
Contributed by: Randy Ralston
The passenger who is left in the cab for the whole movie is Howard Jarvis. It's funny because Mr. Jarvis was very outspoken against increased public taxation. Here, the costs in the TAX-i are mounting throughout the entire film!
Contributed by: T. Oliver
The name of the airline featured in the movie is Trans American (written on the side of the plane and, I believe, spoken once or twice). This is a parody of a now defunct airline in the eighties, Pan American. Pan American was often referred to by a shortened version - PanAm. The parody is that when you shorten the fictional airline the same way, it reads TransAm.

One visitor speculates that the inspiration for the airline name "Trans American" may also have come from a mafia associated racing information distribution service known as "Trans-American". You can read more about that here.
Contributed by: Devolution
Airplane, or more importantly "I just want to tell you both 'good luck' we're all counting on you" was recently immortalized in the Star Wars episode of the Family Guy. Leslie Nielsen did his own voice.
Contributed by: evilash
Julie Hagerty plays a somewhat similar ditz in "Just Friends" as Ryan Reynold's character's mom.
Contributed by: Jonathan Lim
The inflatable autopilot, "Otto," was used only for this film and is now in Jerry Zucker's private collection. By 1997 he was considerably deteriorated.
Contributed by: John Baran
One or both of the Zucker brothers can be seen directing the plane on the runway.
Contributed by: Mike Martin
One of the Hare Krishna characters was played by David Leisure. He became more famous later on in the 1980's as the car salesman "Joe Isuzu".
Contributed by: Mike Martin
Arthur Hailey, who wrote "Airport" and "Zero Hour" was not given writing credit.
Contributed by: Anonymous
The little boy in the spinning newspaper with the headline 'Boy Trapped In Refrigerator - Eats Own Foot' is producer Howard Koch's nine year old grandson Billy. He wasn't told his photo was going to be used in the movie and was quite stunned when he first saw it at the premiere.
Contributed by: Chris Wicksteed
An often-missed joke in the film occurs in the scene where a lackey from the airport is sent to pick up Rex Kramer. Kramer comes downstairs (oblivious to the mauling his pet dog is dealing out). We clearly see him straightening his tie in the mirror. There's a brief cut to show the dog-attack before we cut back to Rex Kramer's image in the mirror. The joke is that what *should* be his reflection steps out of the mirror into the hallway. Ingenious visual humour. Watch the scene in question and you'll get a much clearer impression of what I'm trying to describe.
Contributed by: Bas Mulders
The sentence "I just want to wish you both good luck, we're all counting on you", as repeatedly spoken by Leslie Nielsen in "Airplane", is also featured in "Scary Movie 3" in which Nielsen plays the president of the USA.
Rewind Archive
George Zipp (the Zipper) is based on george Gipp (the Gipper) who was an outstanding football player for Nortre dame in the 20's and was later portrayed by Ronald Reagan.
Contributed by: LoverswithCassie
Co-director/writer Jim Abrahams can be seen in the role of Religious Zealot #6.
Contributed by: Sheila Wagner
Julie Bulifant (the mother of the sick girl) appeared on an episode of Three's Company. She was the wife of Lloyd Cross (Dick Sergeant's character) who was having an affair with Chrissy Snow.
Contributed by: Clare
In some parts of the world, the film is known under the title 'Flying High'.
Contributed by: C.T.
2010 was a heartbreaking year for Airplane! fans.

The 30th anniversary of this comic masterpiece has been darkly overshadowed by the passing of three of its stars:

Peter Graves (Capt. Oveur), Barbara Billingsley (Jive Lady), and the most shocking of all, Leslie Nielsen (Dr. Rumack).

I could almost see twenty years from now, when we celebrate the 50th anniversary, the only stars left are Robert Hays (Ted Striker) and Julie Hagerty (Elaine Dickinson).
Contributed by: GoldTransAM
Joyce Bulifant (not Julie) played the mother of the sick girl (Jill Whelan). Joyce was originally cast as Carol Brady but was dropped and Florence Henderson was then cast as Carol.