Olympus69
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Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 1:03 pm

Seeing the topic about 'Airplane' reminded me that I was planning to start a topic about which movie created the now tired cliche of an airliner having to be landed by a non-pilot because the flight crew has been disabled in some way.

This probably goes back way too far for most people, but my candidate is a CBC TV play (nowadays it would be called a TV Movie) made in the mid 1950s, called (I think) 'Flight into Danger'. It may have even originated as a radio play. It concerned a planeload of football fans flying in a Canadair DC-4M 'North Star' to Vancouver for the annual Grey Cup game. The flight crew suffer from food poisoning and become incapacitated. The only pilot among the passengers is a former WW2 fighter pilot who hasn't flown a plane in many years and has lost confidence in his flying ability.

There were two interesting things about this story. One, the author of the play was Arthur Hailey who, many years later, wrote 'Airport'. I may be wrong here, but I think the fighter pilot was a former BBC actor named Barry Morse, who later went on to portray the police officer (I forget his name) who chased Guy Kimball (?) for a few years in 'The Fugitive'.

The story was later made into a quickly-forgotten Hollywood movie under a different title.

Anybody remember any of this?

 
Guest

RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 1:23 pm

Your memory serves you well.

Years ago as a high school teacher, I taught "Flight into Danger" which was published in school literature anthologies in the 60s and 70s.

I had remembered seeing it as child on the Philco Television Playhouse which came on NBC Sunday nights.

Don't know about the movie though.

 
airman99o
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:02 pm

Oh wow. I remember learing this book back in Grade 10 in Newfoundland. I wonder if they are still teaching it there. LOL

Airman99o
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LoneStarMike
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:09 pm

I remember that movie. I think Lois Nettleton played the flight attendant in the movie. The book had a different title in the U.S. It was called Runway Zero Eight.

LoneStarMike

 
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zippyjet
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:14 pm

I remember a black and white moldy oldie called "Zero Hour." This cinematic tour de force was made in 1957 in beautiful black and white. This was the flick that Airplane was patterned after.

There was another airline disaster movie from like around 1961 also in beautiful black and white. I forgot its name but, it dealt with a bomb planted aboard a get this: "797!" It was an altitude explosive. If the bird got below a certain altitude, kaboom! They diverted to Denver's then new Stapleton Airport because it was at a high altitude. Throw in melodramatic 1950's style music and cliches and here was another cinematic tour de force. This one made me laugh because:
1. A "797?"
2. The plane's cabin was of a propliner; probably a DC-7.
3. And when they evacuated sliding out of the door aft cabin I spotted the signature DC-7 rear windows close together and of course the rounded prop
plane tail.  Laugh out loud  Laugh out loud  Laugh out loud  Laugh out loud  Laugh out loud
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Photo © Bob Holland



[Edited 2004-01-07 06:28:29]
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CVGpilot
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 3:15 pm

What was the name of the movie about that flight that went to Hawiie and half the top fusalage broke off, I belive it was a 737???
 
Guest

RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:10 pm

Airman,

That specific anthology was Themes in Literature published by (now defunct) Scott-Foresman. And yes, it was a level 10 text. Geez, what a memory.  Smile

 
YOW4NOW
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:16 pm

I remember reading that book back in grade 10 as well. Runway Zero Eight!

I suppose the writers to "Airplane" took their script from this book. Pilots get ill from food poisoning, only person to fly the plane ex wwII fighter pilot (the age difference leaves something to be desired, though)

Just another note about Airplane, the movie. Anyone else ever notice that the sound heard throughout the airplane scenes had the sound of a prop airplane? They were on a jet, apparently!

Regards
 
whauet
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:24 pm

YOW4NOW... Yes, the prop sound for a jet was intentional -- quite a bit of the movie had some subtle (and not so subtle) facets that only those who have an aviation knowledge would pick up on....
 
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N202PA
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:31 pm

According to the Zuckers' DVD commentary for Airplane!, Zero Hour was the film that most of Airplane! was based upon, including several scenes of dialogue taken directly from the first movie.
 
LoneStarMike
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:35 pm

What was the name of the movie about that flight that went to Hawiie and half the top fusalage broke off, I belive it was a 737???

That was Miracle Landing based on the true story of Aloha Flight 243.

LoneStarMike

 
YOW4NOW
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:41 pm

YOW4NOW... Yes, the prop sound for a jet was intentional -- quite a bit of the movie had some subtle (and not so subtle) facets that only those who have an aviation knowledge would pick up on....

I remember mentioning this annoomility to a friend of mine. He looked at me in astonishment. After working for Transport Canada for so long, having watched the movie for so long, he never noticed! I felt so special!
 
Olympus69
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Thu Jan 08, 2004 12:49 pm

I just checked 'Zero Hour' in Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. Made in 1957, starring Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell and Sterling Hayden. Based on Arthur Hailey teleplay about potential airplane disaster when pilots are felled by ptomaine poisining. Remade for TV in 1971 as 'Terror in the Sky' and then spoofed in 1980 as 'Airplane!'

I guess 'Runway zero eight' was the US title for the original play.

Thanks, guys.
 
TNboy
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:40 pm

There was a movie based on the Neville Shute (or Ernest K Gann??) book "No Highway in the Sky" and I think starred James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. It was about an airliner that had metal fatigue problems. I think it was early fifties, and in black and white. But that is really stretching my memory, and I may have it wrong.
Cheers
Bill
"...every aircraft is subtly different.."
 
txagkuwait
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Thu Jan 08, 2004 2:03 pm

The Jimmy Stewart movie sounds like "Fate is the Hunter"

Dana Andrews was also in the classic "The Crowded Sky" which was made, as I recall, in either '55 or '56. It also had, if I remember correctly, Robert Stack (or maybe it was Efrem Zimbalist Jr), Troy Donahue, and Rhonda Fleming.

The crash landing scene which supposedly took place just outside Abilene, TX (Dyess AFB) was noteworthy for the mountains in the background. Special effects??? well, a plastic DC-7 model sliding along a sidewalk covered with shaving cream describes it.

And as far back as '54 we had John Wayne in "The High and The Mighty". Excellent movie in every respect.
 
iflyatldl
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:19 am

I remember all the movies mentioned- I remember one movie had the spinning prop come off the engine(DC-7 I'm guessing) and tore into the fuselage and had the passenger sucked out; which one was that?  Smile
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
 
Azmi
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:26 am


I always thought the crash scene in "castaway" starring Tom Hanks to be
the closest possible to the real thing.
fly all airlines,visit all countries
 
Olympus69
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:59 am

Let's straighten some of these movies out.

'No Highway in the Sky', starring Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich is a British film, made in 1951, and was based on a novel by Nevil Shute. It was about metal fatigue.

'Fate is the Hunter', made in 1964, starred Glenn Ford, Nancy Kwan, Rod Taylor and Susanne Plechette. It was based on a very small part of Ernest K. Gann's wonderful autobiography, with the same name.

'The Crowded Sky', 1960, Starred Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, Ephram Zimbalist Jr., John Kerr, Troy Donahue and Keenan Wynn. It featured a collision between an airliner and a US Navy 2-seat fighter.

The one with the prop coming off - could that have been 1954's 'The High and the Mighty'? It's been so long since I saw that John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day, Robert Stack, film, that I've forgotten some of the details. It was based on an Ernest K. Gann novel, and it's been tied up in litigation for so long that it's never appeared on video.

 
wideman
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1952: Phone Call From A Stranger

Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:10 am

There's an amazing movie called Phone Call from a Stranger that featured not 1, but 2 airplane mishaps, both with the same plane. A plane takes off, runs into some sort of bad weather and miraculously lands in some out of the way place where, equally miraculously, there's a coffee shop. The passengers all get to chat with each other for several hours while the pilot repairs the damaged aircraft. The flight resumes, runs into more bad weather, and crashes, killing everyone aboard except for 1 passenger, who remarkably escapes unscathed. He then contacts the relatives of the other passengers, telling them of how wonderful their (dead) loved ones are.

The graphics were laughable, but the movie had a great cast. Gary Merrill was the guy who survived, and other people in the movie were (a very young) Shelley Winters, Keenan Wynn, and a few other notables.
 
quetzalcoatl
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:31 am

There was a Mexican movie made in 1947 called "A volar Joven!" (sorry, have no adequate translation for that tittle), featuring Mario Moreno "Cantinflas" as a student in a flight academy, who mistakenly takes another student (Angel Garaza) on a plane, each thinking each other is the instructor. They are landed by one of the instructors on the airport, via radio instructions.

Both actors were fine comedians, so the climactic scene (both of them in the plane, trying to land) took many days to complete , because they couldn't stop laughing at each other, or so they say.

Quetzalcoatl
I dream, therefore, I fly
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:42 am

A couple of notes..

Zippyjet:

The movie you're thinking of with the bomb aboard set to go off at a certain altitude (and why they diverted to Denver) was "The Doomsday Flight" from 1966. See the particulars at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060333/

Olympus69:

I don't recall whether a prop came off in "The High and the Mighty" or not (about the only thing I recall is the navigator's wind/groundspeed error and its effect on their fuel usage, and them barely making the airport), but I know "The Crowded Sky" had a scene with one. After Zimbalist collided with Andrew's aircraft, the #2 engine threw its prop, which went into the fuselage, and tore a hole which sucked out the F/E. They made an emergency landing at Dyess AFB in Texas.

Some casting director had a sense of irony and cast Zimbalist and Andrews in another midair collision scenario, namely "Airport 1975" in which Andrews' Beech Baron collides with Zimbalist's 747...

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
iflyatldl
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:07 am

It's a bummer that none of these movies are on video. If they were, I'd find those suckers! Big grin
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
 
Tom in NO
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:25 am

The actual movie title of the movie with the fighter pilot who landed the airplance was "Terror in the Sky". Doug McClure played the part of the pilot, Lois Nettleton was the stewardess, and Roddy McDowell played the doctor. Here's a link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067844.

Tom at MSY

Note: my mom went to school with Doug McClure (Occidental College in Glendale, CA); Jim Mora, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Mandan (Soap), and Frank Zappa were all there at the same time (another story)
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
iflyatldl
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:31 am

OPNLguy:
"The Crowded Sky" was the one with the mid-air colision with the fighter and the prop being thrown and landing at the air base in Texas. Just had my memory jogged! Big grin
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:14 am

Like I said, The "High and the Mighty" might have had one also (something had to cause their initial problem) but I knew for sure "The Crowded Sky" did.

And for anyone interested, I heard a rumor recently that said (supposedly) that the Wayne family has agreed to release "The High and the Mighty" on video sometime this year, so as to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its theatrical release. I emphasize that's just a rumor, so don't run out and demand that your local video place order you one...  Big grin
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
AvObserver
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 10:45 am

"...Barry Morse, who later went on to portray the police officer (I forget his name) who chased Guy Kimball (?) for a few years in 'The Fugitive'."

Sorry to nitpick but Barry Morse's character in 'The Fugitive' was Lieutenant Gerard. He pursued Doctor Richard Kimble, who was suspected of murdering his wife (actually done by a one-armed man who wasn't cornered by Kimble and killed by Gerard until the final episode in 1967, which I believe garnered the highest yet ratings for a TV drama). More of you will recall this was remade as a movie in 1993 with Harrison Ford as Kimble and Tommy Lee Jones as Gerard. I had a great chat with Morse at the last grand Space:1999 convention in Sept. of '99 in L.A. (he'd played Moonbase Alpha's resident scientist Dr. Victor Bergman in that series) who was still quite spry and boisterous, despite being well into his 80s. Amazing guy. Just a little trivia, sorry to be off-topic.
 
Olympus69
Topic Author
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:01 am

The actual movie title of the movie with the fighter pilot who landed the airplance was "Terror in the Sky"

Tom,

That was the 1971 remake for TV of the original movie. See reply #12 in this topic.
 
Olympus69
Topic Author
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:13 am

AvObserver,

Thanks for that correction. I put a '?' after the name Guy Kimball because I wasn't sure of the name. I wish I had been able to chat with Barry Morse. My memories of him go back to 1947 when he played the part of a James Bond type character on a BBC radio series.
 
Olympus69
Topic Author
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:19 am

OPNLguy,

I guess I was wrong about losing a prop in 'The High and the Mighty', though I can't remember what did cause the original problem.

That's great news about the release of that movie this year on video - if true.
There was a similar rumor about 5 years ago but nothing came of it.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:24 am

>>>I guess I was wrong about losing a prop in 'The High and the Mighty', though I can't remember what did cause the original problem.

Oh, you may well not have been--I just can't recall what caused their problem. It'll keep me up now....  Big grin
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Olympus69
Topic Author
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:50 am

There was another Ernie K. Gann movie in the early 1950s that also starred John Wayne - 'Island in the Sky'. This one was about the search for a USAAF C-47 transport that goes down in either northern Quebec or Labrador during WW2. LLoyd Nolan, James Arness and Andy Devine were also in the cast.
 
AvObserver
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RE: Original Airline Disaster Movie?

Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:51 am

"...Barry Morse. My memories of him go back to 1947 when he played the part of a James Bond type character on a BBC radio series."

Olympus69...
Yes, he has a long and distinguished resume, obviously a Shakespherian caliber actor. I met him 2 or 3 times over the years by going to those 'Space:1999' conventions, along with Martin Landau, Barbara Bain and good old Aussie, Nick Tate. Don't know if Barry still makes any appearances, he's way up there, now but it's only a bit over 4 years since I last saw him and he was in good shape and also very critical of producer Gerry Anderson who was scheduled but had to back due to an alleged serious back ailment. Martin Landau also bowed out to the consternation of the fans, supposedly due to a production conflict. Barry thought it was B.S. in both cases and said so. But he did a wonderful play reading with Barbara Bain who also still looked good (due in no small measure to the fact she was long divorced from Martin).
By the way, I forgot to mention that the late David Janssen played Kimble in 'The Fugitive' series. That's enough off-topic trivia, I must be boring everyone to tears. Sorry.

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