With Zero Hour coming out on DVD, I wonder: does anyone else find it kind of shabby that Airplane! didn't give any credit to the writers of Zero Hour?
It's often said that Airplane! is a parody of the 1957 film, but it's actually a remake, and a very faithful remake at that: Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker followed Zero Hour almost scene for scene, and a majority of the dialogue comes directly from the three writers of the original script. (Zero Hour was based on a CBC television drama written by Arthur Hailey, Flight Into Danger; the movie script is credited to Hailey and the film's producer and director.) Airplane! is, in essence, a longer, more expensive version of an old staple from live comedy, which is taking the script of a "serious" movie or play and playing it for laughs. But as Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker have acknowledged, it also helped them because they didn't have any experience with story structure; by using the story and dialogue of Zero Hour, they had a decently-structured plot that they could pump full of jokes. When they had to actually create a story and characters from scratch, in Top Secret!, it was a huge flop (I love Top Secret!, but I'm not surprised it failed, because there's no story for the audience to hang onto). I think, on that basis, that Paramount should have given credit to Arthur Hailey and the other writers, because their work isn't just being spoofed in Airplane! -- their work helped make it successful.
Here are side-by-side comparisons of a few bits from Zero Hour with their remakes in Airplane!