Flight into Danger
August 15, 2011 11:17 AM   Subscribe

"Flight into Danger" invented the cliches of the disaster film genre, invigorated the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and changed the life of its author, tractor-trailer company advertising executive Arthur Hailey.
posted by sevenyearlurk (16 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
"Flight into Danger" became "Zero Hour", which became "Airplane!". Now someone needs to do a three-way edit to update this "Zero Hour" vs "Airplane!" shot comparison.
posted by lantius at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just wanted to tell this thread good luck. We're all counting on you.
posted by gimonca at 11:33 AM on August 15, 2011 [15 favorites]

I finally saw "Zero Hour" and it was as awesomely earnest as I'd hoped. So much of the hilarious dialogue from "Airplane!" was verbatim from "Zero Hour!"
posted by rmd1023 at 11:39 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

speaking of movies, do you like movies about gladiators?
posted by k5.user at 11:39 AM on August 15, 2011

He wondered whether someone like him, who'd flown planes for the Royal Air Force but hadn't been in a pilot's seat since the end of the war, could fly and land this four-engine Trans-Canada Air Lines airliner if catastrophe hit...despite having a drinking problem.
posted by DU at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2011

The screenplay for "Flight into Danger" was reproduced in some kind of student compendium of Canadian literature, and I quite vividly remember my grade 5 class reading it out loud (lucky students selected for the choice roles) in about 1972. All that pre-pubescent energy channeled into earnest adult dialogue, conveyed through high pitched voices.
posted by Rumple at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

This is my first attempt to thank anyone for producing a play on TV, one reason being that most plays produced by the CBC are not worth thanking anyone for. They are a little above our heads, but we thought Flight Into Danger was superb.

But... it's set on a plane... in flight! How is that not above your head?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:53 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

The screenplay for "Flight into Danger" was reproduced in some kind of student compendium of Canadian literature

I have the same memory, but it was in grade ten English. We never seemed to have interesting things assigned in that class. I think because it was a logging town and the powers that be assumed we were idiots. I still remember thinking how awful this was when I read it at the time and also how I was completely unaware of it's connection to Airplane when I finally saw it a few years later.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:10 PM on August 15, 2011

God, I was wondering if they were going to get through that whole thing without ever mentioning Airplane.

I can't tell you how worked up I was waiting for them to finally make the connection.

You can tell me. I'm a doctor.
posted by Naberius at 12:22 PM on August 15, 2011

Hailey to his wife: "I thought of a screenplay idea for a TV Play."
Hailey's wife: "A screenplay? What is it?"
Hailey: "It's a script for a film, including instructions for sets and camera work, but that's not important right now."
posted by Chuffy at 12:43 PM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]

Thank you for this post, which clarifies something super embarrassing that I didn't realize I was still confused about.

At a used book sale a couple of weekends ago, I saw a book from the late 50s/early 60s (probably, I realize now reviewing Hailey's bibliography in Wikipedia, The Final Diagnosis or In High Places), and thought, "That's weird. That can't possibly by the same guy who wrote Roots."

Now, obviously, I realize, of course, it wasn't.

I'm not sure why I bring this up here, except that it's the kind of embarrassment for which somebody should be shamed publicly.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:16 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can't believe that no one's mentioned what immediately stood out to me--James Doohan in a starring role! (And with a background similar to his character's, since he did in fact fly planes in WWII.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:11 PM on August 15, 2011

1) I'm still amazed they pulled that thing off live- I saw it reaired on TV once by the CBC, it is awesome.They also did a special on it and other interesting live TV shows.

2) Chalk River isn't a nuclear power station, it is a nuclear research centre. It doesn't have any power reactors on sight --though it does have several nuclear reactors none of them produce power.
posted by Canageek at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2011

Also, how bizarre is it that the article never mentions the Hailey novel that got adapted into a blockbuster movie that itself spawned three sequels?
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:39 PM on August 15, 2011

James Doohan in a starring role!

Not to mention Cec Linder, who played Felix Leiter in Goldfinger.
posted by dhartung at 5:27 PM on August 15, 2011

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