In order to make people, and staff, pay more attention to those boring safety films at the start of a flight, Delta Airlines has filled them with references to the famous Leslie Nielsen chef d’oeuvre.
Marquel wondered how the law of unintended consequences might apply to this. He also wondered why one of the best known characters, OJ Simpson is nowhere to be seen. Of course neither is his former wife and her former boyfriend/hairdresser.
Marquel spoke to one of the directors, a Frenchman by the name of Truffle. “Where is OJ?,” I asked.
“In jail, bien sûr,” said Truffle. “Believe me,” answered Truffle, “I wanted him…but Delta took it out.”
“Mais oui. I filmed it in a New Mexico prison. When the film says to fasten safety belts, he looks directly in the camera, says, ‘Don’t need them here,’ with a big American smile, and the camera pans to the bars. I also had him in a scene after it says ‘the nearest exit may be behind you.’ He just says, ‘Nope,’ and looks behind towards the blank wall.”
What else did you have to cut?
“Well you know, we have the scene where the stewardess–I know they’re also flight attendants but I like stewardess and in 1980 they were still stewardess–anyway she hands out a tiny pamphlet on Jewish athletes in the original, but here we use it to show how heavy hand baggage is allowed to be. So I followed that with a guy carrying a huge encyclopedia set. And it’s titled ‘Successful and Unsuccessful Islamic terrorists’ and the stewardess shakes her finger, you know, saying no no.”
“They cut that?” Marquel asked.
“Certainement, but we changed to another tiny,pamphlet like the Jewish Athletes only it’s titled, ‘Arabs for peace,'” said Truffle triumphantly.
Marquel asked whether this is just a trend or would all airlines be doing this soon.
“I think it’s catching on,” said Truffle, “but some people take it too seriously. We had a little girl on a flight that depressurized and she’d seen the video with Alf. She ripped off her oxygen mask and insisted on putting it on her dollie. Lost consciousness, couldn’t be revived until they landed and hospitalized her.”
“My God,” said sensitive Marquel, “is she okay?”
“Bah oui, she is Okay. She lost 40 points off her IQ but they say she was a child genius before but now she’s, like, normal. So that’s good, n’est pas? It’s better to be normal.”
“So you think overall we’ll all be watching funny safety films and crews will be watching funny training films? No problems?”
“Funny, yes, funny you should mention that. We did have an incident just last month. The crew had just seen our navigation film. We did the Roger Roger bit from the original, You know cause the pilots name was Roger. Well this crew started Roger Rogering each other at 30,000 feet and they said they ‘got the giggles’ so bad laughing all the way down to the wrong airport. Amusante, don’t you think?” Asked Truffle.
Marquel was perplexed and asked if there were changes planned.
“No, not really. We have one little girl who’s finally just normal and one busload of passengers who were pissed off, that’s how you say?” Asked Truffle. “The only thing is we had to do the black stereotypes without their Afros. We may film it again now that the new mayor DeBlasio has this son with the famous ‘too big Afro,’ as the Times called it yesterday.”
“Yes, I guess Dante DeBlasio might bring us all back to the good old eighties,” said Marquel.
“Oui,” said Truffle. “Maybe we’ll get our stewardesses back. And we could do some more Shaft movies. Mais oui?”
“Mais oui,” hazarded Marquel, “and arrivederci….”
For other angles, go to http://nyti.ms/1cAWio9.