Study Guide

Airplane! Scene 9

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Scene 9

Scene 9

  • Elaine radios for help and reaches Steve McCroskey, the control tower supervisor in Chicago.
  • McCroskey tells Elaine to report the plane's altitude, and realizing the gravity of the situation, laments that he picked the wrong week to quit smoking—kicking off another of the film's running gags.
  • "Get me Rex Kramer," he tells his crew, while Elaine struggles to keep Otto adequately inflated. (How did this film get a G rating??)
  • Dr. Rumack tells Elaine that they must get to a hospital, asking if there's anyone on board who could land the plane.
  • We cut to Ted and his drinking problem. The stakes are high: they need someone who can not only fly a plane, but who also didn't have fish for dinner.
  • Elaine tries to placate the passengers over the intercom. "By the way," she asks, after the cabin has mellowed, "is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?" Chaos ensues.
  • We cut to Rex Kramer's house. He's gruff and rough, but he's an experienced pilot who will do whatever's necessary to get that plane on the ground. He speeds off for the airport.
  • Back on the plane, Ted's new seatmate is dousing himself in gasoline, no doubt another victim of story time.
  • Fortunately, Randy intervenes, asking if Ted knows anything about planes. Ted reluctantly makes his way to the cockpit.
  • When he reaches the cockpit, he's shocked to discover that both pilots are conspicuously absent. Dr. Rumack asks a bewildered Ted if he can land the plane.
  • "Surely you can't be serious," Ted asks. "I am serious," Dr. Rumack famously responds, in perhaps the great Leslie Nielsen's most famous movie line: "And don't call me Shirley."
  • Ted explains that he only flew single-engine planes in the war, and that flying a commercial jet is "an entirely different kind of flying. Altogether."
  • Dr. Rumack and Randy respond "all together" in a classic, overly literal Airplane! way: "It's an entirely different kind of flying."
  • "You're the only chance we've got," Dr. Rumack asserts, as a woozy Ted looks at the many knobs and controls on the dash of the plane.
  • Meanwhile, back in Ted's waiting taxi, that unfortunate passenger is racking up quite the fare.

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