Surely You Can't Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane! (HC)

Type: Books


An in-depth and hysterical look at the making of 1980's comedy cult classic Airplane! by the legendary writers and directors of the hit film.

premiered on July 2nd, 1980. With a budget of $3.5 million it went on to make nearly $200 million in sales and has influenced a multitude of comedians on both sides of the camera.

Surely You Can’t Be Serious is an oral history of the making of Airplane! by the creators, as well as the humble origins of the ZAZ (Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker) trio – charting the rise of their comedy troupe Kentucky Fried Theater in L.A. all the way to premiere day. The directors explain what drew them to filmmaking and in particular, comedy. With anecdotes, behind the scenes trivia and never-before-known factoids – these titans of comedy filmmaking unpack everything from how they got Peter Graves to play his first comedy role after a career of “straight” roles, casting Leslie Nielsen, who was the prankster on set, to that jive talk scene! The book also features testimonies and personal anecdotes from well-known faces in the film, television, and comedy sphere – proving how influential Airplane! has been from day one.

Today, four decades after release, the film has had another resurgence, reaching a whole new generation through social media. This fully organic expansion of the ZAZ trio’s fan-base, prompted solely by word-of-mouth and one-liners, comes as no surprise to longtime fans. When all around us is in flux – laughter is priceless.