The Conversation: "Airplane!" Turns 30!

Pop commentator Hal Sparks talks to ABC's John Berman about Airplane!'s effect.

ByABC News
July 2, 2010, 9:57 AM

July 2, 2010— -- "Roger, Rodger. What's our vector, Victor?"

For thirty years, the comedy "Airplane!" has kept the jokes coming and audiences laughing, whether in a theater or on a TV at home. The spoof of '70s-era airplane disaster films stars Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Hayes, and even features Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"If "Airplane!" comes on, it's like a comfort film," said Hal Sparks, the comedian and pop culture commentator. "You can always guarantee a laugh watching that movie."

With their script full of puns and non sequiturs, the makers of "Airplane!" set the stage for decades of comedy films. The movie launched an entire genre of films and inspired young writers and directors like the Farrelly brothers, creators of movies like "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary."

"I am serious... and don't call me Shirley."

The movie quickly became the highest-grossing comedy in history when it was released in 1980, and "Airplane" has since been recognized by many critics and media outlets for its enduring humor and influence.

Today on the Conversation, Sparks talks with ABC's John Berman about his first experience watching "Airplane!" and how it's affected him.

"I've never been in a Turkish prison, though I wouldn't rule it out as a life experience," said Sparks. "I've actually added it to my bucket list just because of "Airplane!"

We hope you'll watch today's Conversation.

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