As a child, I didn’t have too many experiences with horror or violence on T.V. and movies. I watched a lot of fluffy stuff. But you never can tell just what can traumatize a little kid, and thus begins the story of how I could not stand the thought of watching AIRPLANE! well through adulthood. Since it wasn’t a movie that would raise the suspicions of my parents, I found myself watching it in my Dad’s living room with the family on T.V. in 1984. The eminent plane crash idea wasn’t bothering me too much and everything was going just peachy until that ridiculous inflatable autopilot showed up.
The horror that seeped into me at that moment was insidious and tricked me into thinking everything was fine, until I went to sleep. You see, I was only five and I had just started being ferried between Texas and Florida as a “child traveling alone” the year before; and obviously, I hadn’t gotten over the whole plane ride thing. The fact that I had nightmares about the inflating autopilot gag is kind of embarrassing and yet I couldn’t shake my acquired revulsion to the thought of ever giving the movie another chance.
I did finally see AIRPLANE! all the way through for the second time in college. I am proud to say that I experienced no fear when watching the autopilot inflate, but I have to confess I still hold a bit of a grudge against them.
AUNT JOHN SEZ: Thanks LeEtta for the great TRAUMAFESSION! Surely, y’all must check out LeEtta‘s super crafty site The LeEMSmachine. Just don’t call her Shirley.
UNKLE LANCIFER SEZ: AIRPLANE!‘s inflatable Otto Pilot as an icon of fright? I can see it…