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Surely, and truly: New book shares backstory of 'Airplane!'

Associated Press Monday, 8 May 2023, 07:18 Last update: about 2 years ago

"Surely You Can't Be Serious: The True Story of Airplane!" will be published Oct. 3 by St. Martin's Press, the publisher announced Wednesday. The oral history of the 1980 comedy classic includes memories from the writing-directing team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, along with comments from surviving cast members and such famous admirers as David Letterman, Maya Rudolph and Jeff Bridges.

The blockbuster spoof starred Leslie Nielsen, who died in 2010, and a cast ranging from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julie Hagerty to Robert Stack and Barbara Billingsley. The Library of Congress has formally endorsed the movie, with such catchphrases as "And don't call me Surely/Shirley," adding it to the National Film Registry as a "significant" work.

"The directors explain what drew them to filmmaking and in particular, comedy," according to St. Martin's. "With anecdotes, behind-the-scenes trivia and never-before-known factoids, these titans of comedy filmmaking unpack everything from how they got Leslie Nielsen to play his first comedy role after a career of 'straight' roles, who was the prankster on set, to that jive talk scene."

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