If you have been watching as the press follows Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who went a little wacko on a flight from Pittsburgh to New York, you may have noticed his resemblance to the character Johnny in the film Airplane!. Maybe I'm crazy, but when he talks this Slater reminds me of the late actor Stephen Stucker, who had many memorably funny lines in that film.
In a movie with big stars who turned out to be surprisingly funny, including Robert Stack, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, and Lloyd Bridges, Stucker stood out in his scenes as an office worker at the airport who was more than a little wacky himself. If you want to refresh your memory, take a look at some of Johnny's best scenes:
If they ever make a new Airplane! movie, Slater (who seems particularly poised and ready for his fifteen minutes of infamy) would be an ideal new Johnny. Now, finding people to replace the other actors in this film will not be that difficult. Perhaps Jeff Bridges could play McCroskey, the role his father seemed born to play; Steve Carell probably would be a good fit in Robert Stack's Rex Kramer part, and wouldn't John O'Hurley be an excellent guy to fill Peter Graves's role as Captain Oveur?
This is a tale of Steven and Stephen. One reminds me of the other. Oddly enough, both were involved with airplanes in an insanely strange way. Oh, and please stop calling me Shirley.