Zero hour

I had to get up early this morning because I’m headed to a lay speaking course in Murfreesboro. I turned on the TV and saw the last minute or two of “Zero Hour!” I’ve never seen it before, and if I’d known it was going to be on I’d have taped it.

What is “Zero Hour!”, you ask?

While the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker farce “Airplane!” was, in one sense, a parody of every disaster movie, it was, in another sense, a parody of “Zero Hour.” In fact, it was an official remake of “Zero Hour!”, to which ZAZ had to buy the rights. “Zero Hour!” has the plot about the entire cabin crew getting food poisoning.

I was amazed at how much of the last minute was similar to “Airplane.” I saw the airliner skid down the runway, with the passenger-turned-pilot and his formerly-estranged wife in the cockpit. After the landing, Sterling Hayden (the equivalent of the Robert Stack character in “Airplane!”) says “That was the worst landing I’ve ever seen, and some of us, particularly me, would like to buy you a drink.” That’s almost word-for-word from a line in “Airplane!”

In fact, according to IMDb, Dana Andrews’ character name is even Ted Stryker, just as in “Airplane.”