Thursday, May 2, 2019

Sudden "Death"

Take a nice hard look at the collage of faces on the left. They represent a pretty hearty chunk of celebrated and iconic characters from 1960s television. Clockwise from the top left we have Burgess Meredith of Batman, Martin Milner and George Maharis of Route 66, Peter Graves of Mission: Impossible, Doug McClure of The Virginian, Tina Louise of Gilligan's Island, Robert Reed of The Brady Bunch and Lorne Greene of Bonanza. Most of these people could - and in many cases did - carry a movie or TV-movie or at the very least left an impression on countless TV viewers during their series' runs or in syndication (in several cases to this day!) But what if I told you that one telefilm gathered all of them together - along with several other stars of note - to create a virtual "Grand Motel" of the air? It happened, children. Unfortunately, it happened in 1977 when several of these folks' "best if sold by ___" dates had either already come and gone or was just around the corner!

The ABC Friday Night Movie SST: Death Flight (two hours with commercials) tossed all these faces and more into a "gripping," instantly campy disaster flick in which the first New York to Paris flight of a Concorde-style supersonic jet which seats 250 passengers is threatened. The cast is so filled to brimming with familiar people that it's almost jarring to come across one that's unknown while viewing it!

The project was edited into a 93-minute version that contained a brief topless sequence so that it could be marketed as a feature film in foreign markets. That's the rendition I'm featuring today. (Note the bodies flying out of the plane in this violent poster art!) It ought to be a hoot. So off we go into the wild blue yonder...!
Our story begins at the airport where a spanking new supersonic jet is about to make its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The media is there in full force to cover the event and various dignitaries, celebrities and other notables are on hand to board the plane. Here we find ex-football pro Martin Milner, who has since fallen on hard times, and his understanding wife Susan Strasberg. He's on the flight for promotional reasons.

Interviewing him in the airport lobby is a familiar face: one Regis Philbin! At this stage Philbin made several TV and film appear- ances as either himself or another media personality, years before he became a fixture on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He presses Milner about his future career plans (which happen to include a big deal in which he will sell out his image with a shoddy business in return for a fat paycheck, which disturbs his wife.)
The plane has been out for a little test run with only the crew aboard, but it's now headed back to the airport for boarding. At the helm is pilot Robert Reed. (Copilot Tom Stewart is one of the few UNfamiliar faces to grace this movie.) The plane flies above NYC looking about as stunningly realistic as a plastic model put together by a nine year-old and held by dangling piano wire.

On the tarmac, a ghastly tacky display has been somewhat put together in order to mark the occasion. It almost looks like a Fourth of July hot air balloon crashed there and its deflated fabric landed all over the stairway to the plane's door.

TV reporter Barbara Anderson (of Ironside) is on hand to relay all the details to her viewers. As the supersonic (!) jet approaches, she indicates the noise level by briefly putting a hand near her ear and somehow is able to continue her report unfettered by the raging engines!

Likewise, the plane's creator Burgess Meredith and its owner Lorne Greene are off to the side watching its gleaming arrival and the only nod given to the presence of any noise is Greene gently putting a few fingers to his ear for a moment! (Meanwhile, even regular plane ground crew have to wear protective headsets in order to not suffer aural damage...)

Back inside, Anderson is interviewing a young engaged couple who have won seats on the inaugural flight as part of a contest. They are John de Lancie (later of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame) and Season Hubley, who would soon play Priscilla Presley in Elvis and marry its star, Kurt Russell. We also spy a display of the plane, which is accompanied by Miss SST.
Miss SST is portrayed by Hee Haw's Misty Rowe. She's still in her Marilyn Monroe phase, having just starred in Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976) the year before.

Meanwhile we have a fly in the ointment in the form of aircraft engineer George Maharis. He clearly doesn't want this flight to succeed and arranges to have corrosive detergent placed on board in place of the hydraulic liquid that is used to work the controls of the plane!

Out on the airfield, we meet publicity man Bert Convy, who is convincing Greene to allow a doctor to make the flight with a terribly deadly virus so that it can make it to Paris and be analyzed in the hopes of a vaccine being developed for it. Sounds awesome! LOL He claims it will be terrific goodwill publicity for the company.

We're still meeting new characters. Next up is Doug McClure, an ex-pilot, dethroned from his job over a maverick decision he made about landing a plane on a runway too small for the task in order to get a heart attack victim to a hospital. Now he's an airplane buyer, on board to see if this model will do for the company he works for. He meets up with the chief stewardess who was once his lover.

The stewardess in question is Miss Tina Louise, sporting a cheese-shreddingly sharp feathered 'do. She's happy enough to see him, with some reservation. She also has the task of informing him that the pilot who turned him in and cost him his job, Reed, is the one in the cockpit this very day!

When Meredith takes McClure up front as part of showing him the planes many features, the two frienemies face off for the first time since McClure's "departure" from being a pilot. Meanwhile, all the passengers are now traipsing on to "Maiden One," walking the red carpet and heading up the decorated staircase.
A helicopter drops off Dr. Brock Peters who is carrying a not-too-discreet container marked "DANGER Viral Material." No need to obscure this from all the people getting on the plane... He hands it off to a baggage handler who stows the killer virus in the hold beneath the aircraft.

The SST has barely careened down the runway when the valves on the hydraulic drums have begun to disintegrate and seep! Engineer Maharis sulks in the cockpit while awaiting his destructive plan to come to fruition. It isn't long before the bottom section of the plane has red fluid spurting all over the place!
Rowe needs a place to change out of her Miss SST get-up, so she heads down to the galley where she is intercepted and helped out of the flimsy dress she's just put on by lover Convy. This is the brief topless scene that spiced up foreign releases of the movie. Amid all the cavorting, Rowe is forced to inform Convy that she is more than likely pregnant with his child!

Upstairs, Meredith has sniffed out McClure's troubled past as an ex-pilot. He offers support to him and the two establish a camaraderie with one another. The wily Meredith knows that at his age, his legend as an aircraft designer is about as important as anything else.

Now the plane is up, up and away... at the edge of outer space! It's roaring faster than the speed of sound while below the main floor there is fluid leaking out of practically every hose and joint!

Flight engineer Robert Ito (who some of you may recall as a costar on Quincy, M.E.) begins to notice that something is very wrong with the hydraulic system of the plane.

But there are still more stars to tell you about. In one of those infamous movie coincidences, prize winner Hubley discovers that her old boss Peter Graves is aboard. Her beau de Lancie wants to cozy up to him for some fresh, lucrative business opportunities, but she is reluctant. It turns out that she was more than Graves' employee. The two were May-December lovers as well.

Down in the belly of the plane, Maharis has been fruitlessly trying to undo his own ill-willed work. He informs Reed that there is no way that the plane can make it to Paris and that they must turn around immediately. Reed, who is rigid and stubborn, won't hear of it and insists that Maharis figure a way out of the mess.

Meanwhile, Milner and Strasberg are having a domestic dispute over the cozy job offer he's been given. She would rather be poor that allow him to have his name attached to a sub-par business. When he insists that he needs to take the job to put food in their mouths, she declares that she will leave him if he does.

McClure finds a moment to grab Louise (as she's prepping what look to be vomitous Spam appetizers) and plant one on her. She breaks away, irritated that he thinks he can just waltz back into her life and take up where they were when he left. She does get a pretty good line in, "It's not that I think any less of you. It's just that I think more of me."

By now the plane is in serious jeopardy, unbe- knownst to most, and Maharis is begging on bended knee for Reed to turn around. When he still refuses, claiming that the tanks will surely hold up, Maharis has to confess that he knows they won't because HE is the one who sabotaged them. He only intended for the flight to fail and turn around, not for it to escalate into the disaster it is fast becoming.

The unsus- pecting passengers are enjoying all the elegant taupe and Lucite finery in their seats and in the lounge. I will note at this time that the film was directed by David Lowell Rich, who was the man behind The Concorde...Airport '79 (1979), making this a sort of rehearsal for that, and the score was done by John Cacavas, who was in charge of the music for both Airport 1975 (1974) and Airport '77 (1977), so there were familiar hands behind the scenes as well.

When Meredith is informed of Maharis' selfish duplicity, he is livid. The plane is now high in the sky, too far out to turn back, and without the controls to correct itself situationally in the air. Meanwhile, Convy and Rowe are having a discussion about her pregnancy. She wants to get married and have it and, while he isn't 100% against that notion, he's also leaving the door open for a visit to a "clinic." She asks Dr. Peters about it and he wisely begs off the subject with an ear-to-ear grin.
Reed, noticing that they cannot correct their down-turned position in the air, asks all the passengers in the first two rows to vacate their seats and go all the way to the rear lounge. This mysterious request enrages de Lancie, who gets up and tries to bully diminutive steward Billy Crystal (yes!) He finally calls Crystal, who is gay in the film, a pansy and aims to continue until Graves gets up and intervenes.

Unfortunately, Graves gets laid out and receives a bloody nose for his trouble. He heads to the lounge where a horrified Hubley looks after him. All along de Lancie has been making cringe-inducing remarks about Graves' age as if he's Burgess Meredith or something! Hubley is beginning to see the light.

Greene has a plan. He's on the ground with a duplicate plane and has some of his crew working out a way to work around the destruction that Maharis' misdeeds have wrought.

Greene's crew goes through all the steps of the repair in their duplicate plane while a now-recalcitrant Maharis, Ito and Stewart listen to the instructions and follow along in their SST.

Ito is furious with Maharis still, but Stewart encourages him to let the man help since they're all in the same boat now. Ito has difficulty finding a certain circuit in a grid, so Maharis tells him where it is and to be careful... Unfortunately, that warning isn't good enough and the result is a fiery explosion that rips up into the cockpit!

It also manages to knock a hole in the skin of the airliner (note the $1.83 special effect of the outer shell, with the silver paper wholly visible over the charge!) The passengers are knocked around and those ever-present oxygen masks fall from above.
I had to laugh as this man, in the planet's most flared leisure suit pants evah, goes tumbling ass over tit onto a plush seat while the man in front is attempting not to lose his much-needed drink! Then you have Bartender Barbie hurled over the counter, but maintaining the curls in her hair.

Crystal, who could use all the oxygen he can get his lungs on, does his best to help the passengers adjust to the change in cabin pressure while Meredith and Reed attempt to put out the fire. The velocity of the airflow during this explosion and aftermath achieves the impossible in that it causes Reed's hair to move!
Milner rises to the occasion by rescuing Louise from suffocation when she collapses. Then he sets out to help get everyone settled in when they have to congregate in the back of the plane, due to balance issues, and buddy breathe on the masks.

Once-secure Anderson devolves into a bit of a basket case while Strasberg retains her composure pretty well. But you know when a producer is paying this many name brand actors to appear in a telefilm, these masks aren't going to be on for long. We need to see their faces!

Meredith and Reed are both passed out, so McClure puts them on oxygen, too, and takes over the plane! He decides to lower the altitude so that the stars passengers can breathe without the aid of oxygen masks.

Convy and Rowe bond a bit further when they must help Peters back into his seat and onto a mask of his own.

Finally low enough to allow for breathable air, the plane is now being flown together by McClure and his antagonist Reed while Meredith wonders where it all went wrong (with the plane, not his career...!)

Freaked-out Anderson won't give up her mask until Strasberg collects all her Method Acting tools to talk her back down off the ledge. Anderson tearfully reveals that it's a lot easier to report on disasters than it is to live them.

There's a new, bigger problem now, though. Peters insists that he MUST speak to the Captain. It seems that the smell of formal- dehyde has seeped up into the cabin and that suggests one thing... that perhaps the virus' container has been compromised in the explosion. He convinces the crew that he's got to go below and check it out.

What he finds when he goes downstairs is horrifying to say the least. The virus he brought on board, which has a fast incubation period and a 30% mortality rate, has had it protective container rendered open and some of the vials are shattered!

The plane is almost to Paris, despite all the many and varied problems, but Peters declares to Reed that he MUST inform the air traffic controller of the disease that's been unleashed on board because they'll all have to be quarantined!

After all this drama, McClure and Louise have decided that they want to reunite as a couple no matter what. They share a moment of connection before the aircraft prepares for landing.
Only, surprise! The French officials will not allow the plane to land there now that there is a mysterious and deadly virus aboard! As the plane is nearing the runway, the airport turns out the lights on them, forcing them to stay airborne (and airborne in a viral way, too!)
Mover and shaker Greene swears he will find someplace that will let them land. He gets to rok on London, England as a potential site. Meredith can only watch as his dreams of glory seem to be going down the drain, perhaps literally.

Now Graves has come down with a searing sore throat and fever. It's beginning! De Lancie cannot believe that Hubley would rather see to a sick old man than be with him. (His character is truly grating and obnoxious in this movie.) She at last gives him the old heave ho.
She settles in with a weary, sweaty Graves and declares that she is his for whatever time they have left. (He was fifty-one for Christ's sake! I'm that age right now...) It is true, though, that Hubley was twenty-five years his junior.

Now Reed has gotten yet another punch in the gut from Peters. He has now decided that the plane shouldn't land in England, even if they allow it to, because of the risk of widespread infection and death. He wants them to head for Senegal, where the disease originated and where many people have already risked exposure to it and survived!

Milner polls the passengers to see what they want to do... save themselves at the risk of another nation or risk running out of fuel on the way to Senegal. In a move that the Zucker brothers would be proud of, he stands and pontificates into a microphone to a crowd of onlookers who are maybe 2-1/2 to 3 feet away from him!

Those who unselfishly vote for Senegal raise their hands. The grey-haired lady in the second row is uncon- vinced... Her pal in the seat in front of her seems equally discouraged from doing "the right thing." Ha ha!

No matter what, Convy and Rowe are resigned to the fact that they are going to do it together. But even though the passengers have voted by majority for Senegal as the touch-down spot, Reed isn't interested. He and McClure have a raging spat in the cockpit
Just then Meredith decides that, at age seventy and facing death, he's never gone down on a man before and he asks McClure if he'd be willing to step up to the plate as his first specimen. Okay, I made that up...! LOL I just wanted to see if you're still with me after all this typing! Meredith actually heads down into the hold so that he can effect a one-time fix to allow them to maneuver the plane and land it.

Knowing that they are nowhere near the airport in Senegal and with fuel running out, McClure asks Louise to prepare for an emergency landing. The passengers all fasten their seat-belts and place a pillow on their lap in order to help protect them during impact.

Meredith gets in position to switch water into the hydraulic mechanisms so that they can have one last shot at survival as McClure and Reed struggle to find anyplace they can put the place down that looks smooth and bare.

No such luck! In, for once, a movie that lives up to its name of Death Flight, there is true and actual disaster and destruction at the end and a fair amount of demise. The plane is totally destroyed upon impact!
I won't go into who lives or dies. You may actually want to watch this sometime. But one thing I can share that I thought was a screaming hoot is this Senegalese medic. A supersonic jet has crashed into the desert, splaying metal and bodies everywhere, and she is on the scene with not one hair out of place, elegant makeup and, get this, fingernails painted in the exact same shade as her red cross emblem!!

Because there are countless stars in this made-for-television movie, I'm going to attempt to keep the recaps of each one brief. Many of these folks have been described here before anyway. We'll begin with McClure, who has inadvertently become a rather prolific subject here what with his ever-tight pants on The Virginian and his starring role in Warlords of Atlantis (1978.) He continued to mix low-budget movies with frequent TV appearances up to his death in 1995 of lung cancer at only age fifty-nine.

Milner had the distinction of appearing in the all-time campfest Valley of the Dolls (1967) and by this time was doing many TV disaster movies including Runaway! (1973), Hurricane (1974) and Flood! (1976.) He continued to work on television up through the mid-1990s when he retired. Milner passed away in 2015 at eighty-three after a long period of illness. He was paid tribute by law enforcement officers at that time due to his influential role on the long-running Adam-12.

Reed's face has been seen by millions and millions of viewers thanks to decades of The Brady Bunch reruns. After that series, he strove diligently to break away from that image with many villainous or controversial roles, but even with that he will always be Mike Brady to many people. (In fact, he was doing the infamous The Brady Bunch Variety Hour just before this movie!) Reed worked up until 1992, the same year he was claimed by AIDS at only fifty-nine.

Meredith had been working steadily in films since the mid-1930s, but had recently enjoyed a resurgence with back to back Oscar nods for Day of the Locust (1975) and Rocky (1976) - these went to George Burns in The Sunshine Boys and Jason Robards in All the President's Men. Meredith also appeared in the disaster movie The Hindenburg (1975) and worked almost to the end when he died at eighty-nine of melanoma and Alzheimer's disease in 1997.

Having starred on the hugely successful Bonanza for fourteen seasons, Greene was about to go into the less-successful, but fondly-remembered, Battlestar Galactica. He infamously played Ava Gardner's father (only seven years her senior) in Earthquake (1974) after having been shoehorned into a Japanese disaster movie called Tidal Wave (1973.) Greene worked steadily up till his death at seventy-nine following heart surgery in 1987.

Like some of her costars in this, Louise found herself eternally identified with one role that made up only three years of her sixty-five year career, that of Ginger on Gilligan's Island. Like Reed, she strenuously tried to escape it and, unlike Reed, would not revisit it the way he did so many times. Ironically, she was never at all close with Dawn Wells, her Island costar with whom she shared the bulk of her scenes. Hard as it may be to imagine, Louise is still alive and working today at age eighty-five!

Graves is one of our favorites and has his own profile here. After toiling in films for fifteen years, he landed Mission: Impossible and became a household name. Like some of his straight-faced TV cohorts, he turned his image on its ear by playing the pedophilic captain in the riotous Airplane! (1980.) Later he granted his assuring voice to many A&E's Biography programs, passing away in 2010 at age eighty-three from a heart attack.

Peters debuted on film in 1954's Carmen Jones (and later did Porgy and Bess, 1959, as well) before making an impression in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962.) Just before this, he'd had a role in one of our guilty favorites, Two-Minute Warning (1976) and he continued to work steadily right up until his death in 2005 at age seventy-eight of pancreatic cancer.

Strasberg, the daughter of famed acting instructor Lee Strasberg, won acclaim on stage for her role as the title figure in The Diary of Anne Frank and continued working in the theatre thereafter. She also worked on films such as The Cobweb (1955) and Picnic (1956) and was wed for a few years to cinematic bad boy Christopher Jones. The same year as SST, she made Rollercoaster, followed by the screamingly bad The Manitou (1978.) Ms. Strasberg was taken by breast cancer in 1999 at only age sixty.

Convy had begun screen work in 1957, appearing in the hooty Susan Slade (1961) and then made a mark on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof. Though he continued to act, often on shows like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island, he found his best calling as a charming game show host on hits like Tattletales and Super Password. Like several folks in this movie, he was dead before age sixty (he was fifty-seven) from a brain tumor, which claimed him in 1991.

Anderson, of the striking blue eyes and thick blonde mane, entered the scene as a TV guest in 1966 and within a year landed the successful Ironside series (for which she won an Emmy) opposite Raymond Burr. She was a fill-in for several episodes of Mission: Impossible with Graves as well. Content to give it all up except for the occasional project (such as 1993's The Return of Ironside), she quit regular acting in the mid-'80s. She is still with us today at age seventy-three.

Maharis had made a splash on Route 66 with Milner (and many viewers of this film have bemoaned the fact that they shared no scenes together in it) before segueing into film leads. He was in Murder on Flight 502 (1975) before this and in Crash (1978) soon after! He kept quite busy on TV up through the mid-1980s. Unlike many of his costars here, Maharis is still alive today at age ninety.

Hubley was a popular TV guest and telefilm performer in the 1970s. After Elvis (1979), she graduated to roles in features such as Hardcore (1979) with George C. Scott and Escape from New York (1981) opposite her then-husband Kurt Russell. She exited the biz in 1999 and is currently sixty-eight. Top Gun (1986) fans may be interested to know that hunky Whip Hubley is her younger brother!

Curvaceous Rowe was a fixture on Hee Haw for twenty years, but also played Maid Marian in the short-lived Mel Brooks show When Things Were Rotten opposite Dick Gautier. Always on display, she posed for Playboy the year prior to SST and was rarely shown outside her (country-fried) bombshell comfort zone (despite being from California!) She has not acted on screen since 1991 and is currently sixty-eight.

De Lancie amassed swarms of fans when he assayed the role of Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation despite only appearing eight times on the series. Prior to that, he'd enjoyed a popular run on Days of Our Lives as quirky Eugene. Never out of work, the versatile character actor is still busy now at age seventy.

Longtime talk show fixture Philbin played many roles close to himself (or sometimes himself, as in the paralyzing 1977 Mae West film Sextette!) Following the already high-profile gig Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee (and later Kelly), he made another big splash with the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Now eighty-seven, the amusingly curmudgeonly Philbin still pops up occasionally on TV.

Apart from a very brief show called Keep on Truckin' and a guest shot on All in the Family, this was one of Crystal's earliest acting roles. Though his gay character does contain small amounts of camp, it's generally positive. He immediately followed up with another gay role, more famously, on Soap. Later, of course, he became a highly successful big screen actor and one of the Oscar broadcast's best hosts. He is seventy-one at present and remains busy.

Lastly, this credit sort of cracked me up. I mean, we have almost Night of 100 Stars going on and then there's "And Introducing Chrystie Jenner." .....WHO??? So of course I had to look into that whole thing, and I figured that somehow one Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner was going to be a part of it.

As one of the stewardesses on board (and with the acting charisma of a sand flea), Jenner was the wife of stellar 1976 Olympian Bruce Jenner and the mother of two of his children (the far less publicity hungry Casey Jenner and Burt Jenner, who have made infrequent appearances on this or that reality show connected with the Kardashian/Jenner media onslaught.) This was her only appearance on screen as an actress and she and Jenner divorced early in 1981. She did resurface a bit in 2015 when her former husband suddenly became her ex-wife (or something like that.) She and their two children together were publicly very supportive of the gender transition. And with that... this epic post is finished!
Ummm... Bye, Girl!

9 comments:

DJWildBill said...

OMG! What a train wreck you've described!

Why hasn't this film become a cult classic with a huge fan base? It would certainly appeal to Rocky Horror's audience and after a few repeated viewings audience participation and verbal retorts would flow naturally. Plus, I do want to see that scene where Meredith offers his services to McClure... It really sucks that West probably declined any such offerings from the Penguin.

Gingerguy said...

The last shot cracked me up, but back to the beginning, why does the title make me thinks of Nazi's?
Grand Motel is very funny as this is the lower rungs of disaster. Imagine your image of American culture in a country that had this as a theatrical release? Maybe Senegal?
Susan Stasberg should stay away from planes,
Robert Reed was in his perm phase here. Great point you make about him playing villains to get away from an iconic role. That Brady Bunch variety hour was a huge step back in so many ways.
Who wouldn't want to fly with a deadly virus on board a plane? although today that could be the unvaccinated person sitting next to you.
Hilarious photo of Maharis looking resigned to being evil and I instantly thought blowjob about Meredith and Doug.
Season Hubley's name always bothered me, I will have to look up her other siblings. Whip is too good to be true. LOVED this

Dan said...

Mercy! Now we know why they put those hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere - you never know when a deadly mystery virus will run amok! Really, why didn't they go completely bonkers and have the survivors attacked by rabid Senegalese baboons?

Amazing how that plane appears to have 14 foot ceilings and a hold to rival the Queen Mary.

This is definitely a two pints of mint chip ice cream spectacle.

F. Nomen said...

Forget the plane crash, the real disaster here is Susan Strasberg’s hat.

Poseidon3 said...

DJWildBill, I neglected to mention that this film was actually selected as one of those infamous "Mystery Science Theater 3000" flicks with the popcorn gallery in front commenting...! I haven't seen it that way myself, but now I'm curious as to some of the things they may have said!! I wonder if we had any similar reflections/reactions.

Gingerguy, I guess "SST" associates a bit with the ominous "SS" of Nazi Germany! I have to admit I was a bit proud of "Grand Motel!" Ha ha! Some critics described "Airport" as a "'Grand Hotel' of the air" so it follows. Someone recently shared on FB a positively ghastly clip from the Brady variety show with Maureen McCormick as Dorothy, Barry Williams as Scarecrow, Chris Knight as the Tin Man and Rip Taylor as the Lion, all "singing" the song "Car Wash" in the Emerald City!!!!!

Dan, hilarious about the ceilings... I love your ice cream idea! ;-) BTW, I do hope you've seen "Sands of the Kalahari?"

F. Nomen....! LOL She loved those!!! And that pukey sort of rusty peach color. I swear she wears it in "Rollercoaster" and "The Manitou" too (tou!) :-)

SonofaBuck said...

Oh Poseidon, my sister and I would always try to watch the movie of the week and “SST: Death Flight” was one of our absolute favorites! While we always enjoyed a disaster film, it was the endless cast of (familiar) stars that drew us to it. Most significantly, Season Hubley had recently portrayed the terminally ill girlfriend of Paul Michael Glaser’s Starsky on “Starsky & Hutch” and we adored her. And, in strictly least-of-all-evils terms, the storyline with her and Peter Graves (another favorite of ours) was endearing. I’ve searched high and low to view this movie through an adult (and hopefully wiser) lens, but to no avail.

All that said, your post was not only on the money, but a hoot to read. (The Burgess Meredith/Doug McClure bit was priceless!) Further, the commentary the post inspired was equally enjoyable. As always, I am enormously grateful for the Underworld! Many thanks!

Poseidon3 said...

SonofaBuck, I loved reading your comments! Think about all the shows and movies that are on now (much of it even worse drek thank this in all truthfulness, just with a fresh coat of paint).... We had basically three channels at our disposal and made-for-tv movies were often something of an event! It's crazy how many names were shoehorned into this one. I'm so glad it could remind you of the initial airing and give you some humorous touchpoints regarding it as well. Thanks!!

Gregory Moore said...

Epic post is RIGHT! You were on fire with this movie--clearly, a subject that inspired you to HILARITY! I cackled my way through it...especially the photo/caption of Burgess Meredith on his knees! I've been following your site for years now...and this is one of your best! Major bonus points for extracting from the crypt this TOTALLY obscure film I never knew existed! I must see it immediately!! Thank you, as always!

Poseidon3 said...

Gregory, I'm thrilled that you liked this so much! It was a bit of a doozy, but , you know, I have to pay proper tribute to all the flotsam and jetsam I can! LOL What kills me is that I made it to age 51 without having seen it since I am such a disaster nut, especially airplane ones! I guess since I was ten when it aired I must have been tuned into something else or else my mother insisted on another program on an opposing channel! I still haven't see the MST3K version but my curiosity remains. Thanks so much!