Wednesday, July 20, 2005

“Surely you can’t be serious.” “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”

The Movie: Airplane!, 1980 (Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker, directors and screenwriters, from a teleplay by Arthur Hailey, and a screenplay by Hailey, Hall Bartlett, and John C. Champion)
Who says it: Robert Hays as shell-shocked former fighter pilot Ted Stryker, and Leslie Neilsen as Dr. Rumack
The context: Dr. Rumack explains that the pilots have succumbed to food poisoning, there’s no one to fly the plane, and they must land as soon as possible.
How to use it: Any time someone uses the word “surely.” It is funny every time.

This may be the most frequently suggested line/exchange I haven't used yet; thanks to Tom Ehrenfeld, Paul Tomme, and anyone else who's sent me this one. 2005 marks the 25th anniversary of Airplane!, and it's just as funny now as it was then.

I may have to break down and buy an air conditioner today -- a window unit, just one, so I can get some work done without having to spend all day at the library. In the meantime, I'm going to spend all morning at the library. Today isn't quite as humid as it was yesterday, but all the paper in my printer is already wavy.

Happy birthday today to the legendary Bill Kelly. Surely we have not known each other more than 20 years already...


Anna said...

How is it that the Shirley line has withstood the test of time? I suspect Susi will think she was your inspiration. Everyone will, for that matter, proving the point. I'll miss the blog, Elle, but look forward to the next chapter.

Jen said...

You are right. This is always funny-even written!

Anonymous said...

God bless you, Anna Banana, OF COURSE that's MY LINE!! At least SOMEONE remembers where the good ones come from.

Anonymous said...

There s a parody song from the movie Airplane! with all the lines straight out of it please tell me if you know about and who did it and how to get it... I've been 20 + years looking for what I taped of the radio so many years ago

seanpkelly1 said...

Hi, Sean P Kelly here... saw your post on answer girls page about the Airplane quote and song. I too have been looking for it to no avail, but if memory stands the test of time it is Surely (or Shirley) you (or U) Can't Be Serious by Ehab. poss E Hab?

Good Luck! If you have better luck finding it than I, shoot me an email.


Sean P Kelly