Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Those Marvelous Men and Their Flying Machines

Today marks a significant anniversary in airplane travel. The first crash that took the life of a passenger occurred 100 years ago today, on September 17, 1908. At the controls on that fateful day? None other than Orville Wright, who took a plane up over Fort Myer, Virginia, with Lt. Thomas Selfridge aboard. After a few revolutions, one of the propellers split and cut into the fabric wing and the plane crashed to the ground. Wright was badly hurt but Selfridge was killed.

The New York Times article of September 18, 1908 is available on the web and here is a contemporary article about the crash that mentions the 1908 crash and draws parallels to air travel today.

To honor this "special" day in history, here's a quiz about plane crash / disaster movies. For we all know what a sucker I am for the disaster genre. Answers next week.
  1. This film, while not about an airplane crash, makes for really good imagery, primarily due to the contents of the airship. And its based on a true story!
  2. This film, released in 1970, set the benchmark for airplane disaster movies and involved a bomb on a plane that cripples the jet.
  3. Surely I can't be serious to imply this film can be considered as a disaster film. I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.
  4. This was a TV movie based on the events of January 13, 1982 in Washington, DC.
  5. This film, which came out in 1974, tried to capitalize on the success of its predecessor, but even the appearance of Gloria Swanson, in her final film, couldn't save it from being inducted into the Razzies Awards Hall of Fame in 1983.
  6. While this plane is this film does not crash until the very end, it does have people falling out of it periodically, most dramatically after someone tells someone else to "Get Off MY Plane!"
  7. In the third film after numbers 2 and 5, this time the plane crashes in the Bermuda Triangle, while people on board try and devise a way to steal the art in the cargo hold.
  8. This sequel film has planes everywhere and it takes place at an airport. It also featured a former Senator and future presidential candidate, who utters the memorable line, "OK, people, stack 'em, rack 'em, and pack 'em."
  9. OK, so it's not a disaster flick, but it does have a plane crash and featured the final performance by Audrey Hepburn.
  10. Another action film, this movie is not so much about the plane crash as it is about the aftermath and the, oh, let's say, dwindling food supply, and how the survivors deal with that issue.
  11. Not originally planned as a comedy, this was the final chapter in the series of movies noted at numbers 2, 5, and 7. When it was screened to derisive laughter, it was re-tagged as a comedy.
  12. This film, released in 1965 and remade in 2004, deals with surviving a plane crash in the desert and how the survivors manage to get out of their predicament.


ScottE. said... memory...I know a few of them...but I can't actually remember the titles...too old.

3-Airplane-Mrs. Cleaver: Oh Stewardess, I speak of the funniest movies!
6-Air Force One
10-the crash in the Andes and a soccer team?

Archivalist said...

Just guessing, w/o using imdb:
1. Hindenburg. Saw this in the theaters...bad, really bad.
2, 5, 7, and 11. The Airport series, the subtitles of which escape me.
3. Airplane. Coffee, Johnny? No thanks!
4. ergh...forget the title, but remember the event.
10. yeah, the Andes film.

That's it for me, lol.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm only familiar with a couple of these, myself. Somewhat surprised not to see "The English Patient" in there.