In the late 80's, a couple visited from New York. I knew the girl but her fiancee was a stranger. When they were together, this fellow, in a sappy way bent over backwards to agree with his future wifey. In private, I expected him to be more vibrant. Instead, he was quietly quite dull. He wasn't a nerd but nevertheless, Mr. Excitement wasn't my kind of guy.
I sternly believe, the gentleman in question has been left in the most unenviable position. He not only was a 34-year old bachelor but he also gave the impression that he had infrequently enjoyed the company of the fairer sex. My position was not taken strictly by the fact that they met through a dating service...rather it was realized by the sense that the weasel was going to jump through flaming hoops to avoid blowing his love-connection at ALL costs. Trust me, shivers ran up my spine when he let himself get overwhelmed by her every whim.
During their stay, the future Mrs. Humdrum proudly mentioned their three mutual hobbies. I honestly feel that while "opposites attract" the long-term success of a relationship is supported mightily by ACTUAL shared interests. So even though I recognized this man as weak, I had my own ulterior motive to perhaps learn a positive lesson from him. Egad, I was wrong.
The first of their three hobbies...while not interesting to me was still something somewhat tolerable. The second was idiotic and the third was so ridiculous...that twenty years later, I can't help but laugh at the visual. ( Please note: they had major marriage problems within the first year of their matrimonial bliss AND I haven't seen them (by design) in ten-plus years AND I don't know or care if they are together now).
This couple's most mainstream hobby (remember they were both 33-34 at the time) was collecting miniature cups and saucers from different states, National Parks etc. I knew I should have kicked them both out when he asked, "How far are we from the Delaware border?"
In keeping with the miniature theme, their second hobby was a natural off-shoot of the cups and saucers...collecting miniaturized household items. Now I truly understand that in this woman, the guy was possibly getting his first taste of sex, romance or female companionship...EVER! But still to get excited in telling me where and how he found a half-inch lawn jockey or describing how he repaired and shellacked their latest printer's type drawer...made me nauseous.
YAWN ! A PRINTER'S TYPE DRAWER WHEN COVERED BY A GLASS OR PLASTIC WINDOW CAN BE HUNG ON A WALL TO DISPLAY A MINIATURE COLLECTION.
Yes, on paper this pitiful man's life was already over. But we haven't even touched on hobby number three. To "unwind" after a long day of searching, flea markets, yard sales, Goodwill Centers and curio shops for a tiny Heinz ketchup bottle, he liked to sit with her and do macrame. That's KNITTING! Geez, it's mind boggling to what length some people will go for "quality" time with their mate.
To be supportive of the couple's eccentricities, we suggested a visit to nearby Smithville. Smithville is a picturesque, outdoor tourist trap with about 100 specialty shops...many of which cater to collectors (oddballs).
I remained a champ for over an hour despite being dragged through more stores whose name's started with "Ye Olde" than you could ever imagine. They bought-up skeins of yarn, a little SMITHVILLE NJ cup and saucer set and dozens of itsy-bitsy items like; pots, pans, a Tabasco bottle, an old-fashion train conductor's hat, New Jersey state flag, frogs, penguins, a waffle iron, the thimble from an antique Monopoly game and so much more.
At the forty minute mark, I experienced my first taste of bile from the on-set of full-blown boredom. To rescue him and get the awful taste out of my mouth I suggested, "Let's go for a beer." He said with wide-eyed enthusiasm, "Wait till later. If the girls don't mind, we can get drinks at lunch. First, let's see what kinds of minis they have in, Ye Olde Coffee Outlet."
Later, with the salvation of eating a meal at least one more quaint store away, I nudged him as we passed, "Ye Olde Sports Memorabilia Outlet." I knew he was a lost cause when he answered, "What could we POSSIBLY want in there?"
While inside Ye Olde Yarn Outlet, I was actually appreciating the subtle color difference between burnt sienna yarn and regular sienna. Suddenly a bolt of lucidity spasmed through my body as the fear of being lured into a less manly lifestyle occurred to me. Scared straight, I snapped out of my funk when Mr. Desperate's lady held up a spool of beige yarn and said, "Hun, do you think we need more ecru?" I felt like the wolf who eats through its own arm to free itself from a bear trap. I disregarded accountability to the women as well as the physical and mental health hazards associated with them and took the direct path to normalcy. I grabbed this poor unfortunate bastard's elbow and lead him out to the bright shining freedom of the great outdoors. Randomly I said, "C'mon, you gotta check this out."
Fate was accidentally on my side. Just when my bum's rush was losing its momentum, he stopped. Not to go back in, but in reverence to the one thing he cherished for himself. To this day, I'll swear I heard holy music as he seemingly levitated and floated diagonally across the mall. When his feet came back to earth, he urged me through the open door of, Ye Olde Video Store Outlet. Inside, he found a treasure trove of vintage posters, Hollywood photos, replica props and obscure VHS movies for sale.
Somehow he only came out with two items; a porcelain, two-foot Charlie Chaplin figurine and a 1957 movie I never heard of. When we were all re-united, he announced to the girls, "Steve never heard of, "ZERO HOUR!" Looking at his statue, I thought of the song Charlie Chaplin wrote called, "SMILE." That's the one with the lyric; Smile though your heart is breaking. Nat King Cole made it a smash hit in the 50's and Michael Jackson once said that it was his favorite song.
Maybe that figurine was a subliminal cry for help. Once you get beyond that stupid grin on his face, Mr. Whipped, with all his personality flaws must have been really dying on the inside.
When Mr. Hardup saw the girl's empty expressions, he went into damage control and added, "This is the film that 'AIRPLANE!' is a parody of."
A SERIOUS DRAMA, "ZERO HOUR!" IS ABOUT A WORLD WAR II FLIER WHO IS DISGRACED BY AN UNAVOIDABLE WAR-TIME ACCIDENT AND IS HAUNTED SO BAD THAT 12 YEARS LATER HE STILL WON'T FLY, EVEN AS A PASSENGER.
When he mentioned Airplane! I understood, (click on the link below for Zero Hour's original theatrical movie trailer).
I was vaguely familiar with Zero Hour! In it, the pilot and co-pilot are knocked out of commission by eating, tainted fish. I knew I hadn't seen the movie in centuries and despite how hilarious Airplane! was (and still is), I had no interest in investing another unnecessary 90 minutes with this clown by watching his new toy. Maybe he was a nerd after all.
IN ZERO HOUR! NFL HALL-OF-FAMER ELROY "CRAZY-LEGS" HIRSCH (RIGHT) PLAYS THE PILOT. IN AIRPLANE! PETER GRAVES PLAYS THE PARALLEL ROLE.
This past week, I stumbled across "Zero Hour" on TURNER CLASSICS MOVIES (TCM). I bet I haven't seen it in 30 years. A two-two and a half star movie, I thought it was pretty bad and in the middle, fell asleep for thirty minutes. Aside from a lot of silly and dated dialog, the acting was decent and the ending...even though I knew the outcome was exciting.
STERLING HAYDEN AS TRELEAVEN, A NO-NONSENSE CONTROL TOWER LEADER TALKS SHATTERED EX-FIGHTER PILOT (DANA ANDREWS) DOWN.
The real reason I would recommend Zero Hour! is because of the much more famous 1980 spoof movie Airplane! While Airplane! is a take-off of all disaster movies, it concentrated its material from Zero Hour! Usually its best to see the original first. In this case, I think if you see the parody first, then Zero Hour!, the results will be better...because it'll be funny too.
IN AIRPLANE! LLOYD BRIDGES HAS THE STERLING HAYDEN ROLE. IT IS BRIDGES WHO SAYS, "WHAT A WEEK I PICKED TO STOP SNIFFING GLUE." (among other abusive habits)." IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IN THE ORIGINAL STERLING HAYDEN DOES IN FACT SAY, "WHAT A WEEK I PICKED TO STOP SMOKING CIGARETTES."
More interesting tidbits; the use of an exclamation point at the end of the title (Airplane!) Was taken from Zero Hour! Airplane's title in Germany was; The Incredible Trip in a Crazy Airplane. At first Peter Graves turned down the role because he thought the script was insulting. In Argentina, the title was translated to; And Where's the Pilot? SURELY YOU KNOW LESLIE'S NIELSEN'S CAREER AS A SERIOUS ACTOR WAS AT A STANDSTILL WHEN AIRPLANE! MADE HIM A COMIC SENSATION...YES, I DID KNOW THAT BUT STOP CALLING ME SHIRLEY !
Another funny bit of trivia in Airplane! was when the doctor says, "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner!" What makes that more hilarious is that the line is taken...word-for-word from the ultra-serious original.
IN AIRPLANE! ROBERT HAYS IS THE RELUCTANT PILOT...THAT'S RIGHT, THERE WOULDN'T BE MUCH OF A PLOT IF HE DIDN'T EAT THE LAMB CHOPS.
The laughs in Airplane! are fast and furious...even if a gag bombs, there's always another right behind it. So if you still need an extra push to see it, click on the link below. Its the movie trailer. I guarantee it'll make you laugh and want to see the whole movie.
Well, I can't speak for that other couple because every relationship is different. But I think its a good gauge to see how buried you might be...especially if you are considering getting serious with someone new...to at least find out if they think Airplane! is funny. Otherwise you won't get your vector from Victor or clearance from Clarence...do you roger that Roger?