Like the sound of one hand clapping or a tree that falls in the woods unnoticed, determining the best line from the 1980 yuk-fest 'Airplane!' is an unanswerable riddle, a comedy koan that, 30 years later, continues to inspire endless and heated debate in bars and living rooms the world over.
For writer/directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, the idea of "too many jokes" never existed. Indeed, 'Airplane!' may have the highest gag-to-running time ratio of any movie, and the never-ending onslaught of one-liners inspired everyone from John Landis to Lorne Michaels (who came up with the idea for 'Saturday Night Live' after taking in the trio's live theater troupe, Kentucky Fried Theater, in Los Angeles.)
Pillaging 1957's 'Zero Hour!' and a slew of 1970s disaster movies, ZAZ (as the three filmmakers were collectively billed) enlisted mostly serious actors, such as Robert Stack, Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen, to play the comedic leads. "We thought they were much funnier than the comedians of that time were," David Zucker once said.
It paid off. The film is one of a few that can make the case for funniest movie ever made. Moviefone has already looked at some of the film's funniest quotes, but with the recent passing of Barbara "I speak jive" Billingsley, we figured it was a good time to catch up with the rest of the cast and crew.