Monday, October 29, 2007
Gotta Love a Good Disaster Movie
Last night we watched The High and the Mighty with John Wayne. It was more story than special effects, and took place when people dressed up to fly. All these women in evening gowns. Can you imagine flying in an evening gown? All the way to San Francisco from Hawaii?! When the kids and I flew back from Hawaii, it took 5 1/2 hours on a jet. It was a LONG 5 1/2 hours. When this movie took place, they were flying on a propeller plane and it was going to take 13 hours and 16 minutes...and that was BEFORE one of the engines caught on fire and punctured one of the fuel tanks and they had to slow down to try and conserve fuel to get them as close to San Francisco as possible before they had to ditch into the ocean.
One of the things they did to save fuel was throw all the unnecessary weight out the door. No one whined one bit about throwing out all their luggage...well one woman was very sad about throwing her mink coat to the mercy of the Pacific, but she sucked it up and did it. Personally, if I were wearing a strapless evening gown and I knew within a few hours I was going to be floating around in a life boat at night (provided all went as planned), I would have hung onto that sucker. I mean, really, how much does a mink coat weigh?
It was so funny to see the difference in air travel in the 50s and our post 9-11 world. It wasn't just the dressing up part, though I imagine if you had asked any of those passengers to remove their shoes and submit to a full body pat down they would have slugged you.
EVERYONE smoked. On the plane, in the cockpit, on the flight line, in the airport... Ever notice in John Wayne movies, one of his signature moves is to light a cigarette, take two puffs then throw it in the dirt? (Bet he wouldn't do that at $5. a pack!) Well, when we started watching this movie, I thought, "He's on a plane...he can't take two puffs and throw it down." (Yeah, my mind goes through all kinds of things when I'm watching movies. I keep this inner dialog going that is highly entertaining to me, but I try not to say anything out loud and annoy my fellow viewers) BUT HE DID! On the PLANE! I actually laughed out loud and had to explain what was funny. The kids thought it was funny...they have noticed the two puff phenomenon too since we watch a LOT of John Wayne around here. The Cowboy just rolled his eyes.
A little boy, flying alone, had a TOY GUN! It didn't even have the little orange cap on the end of the barrel to indicate that it's a toy! He even *gasp* Pointed it at the pilot of the plane and pretended to SHOOT him! No one gave it a second thought.
Even MORE shocking, a passenger had a REAL GUN that he had decided to shoot another passenger with. The other passengers wrestled the gun away from him and told him to go cool off. He did, said he was sorry, and they gave him his gun back. The flight crew wasn't involved at all.
The men flirted shamelessly with the stewardess (not flight attendant) and she took it in stride, and even flirted back a bit. It was all in fun and not crass at all.
I guess one of the things that made it so funny is that I had just read this post from Crazy Aunt Purl about her "Mascara of Mass Destruction" and all the responses to it. Man, flying used to be FUN! Except for that whole evening gown thing. I STILL wouldn't want to fly for 13 hours in a girdle and heels in a cabin full of second-hand smoke.