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Video Rewind: Sky High Singing
"They grab at my sleeves, and I hear whispered 'thank God's!'. I've actually seen fear perspiration dry up at the sight of me walking past!" joked Karen Black whenever she's walking past passengers on a plane.
While passengers old enough to remember Black in Airport '75, the scariest thing wasn't the fact she had to fly the plane, it was Helen Reddy singing "Best Friend" to an ailing Linda Blair.
Reddy, in her acting debut as Sister Ruth, played a kind and compassionate nun, befriends the "sick" actress on a cross country flight after discovering she brought a guitar on board. Yeah, if I were going cross country I'd bring my guitar along for the ride and have a hootenanny.
Fun and hilarity ensue when she asks if she can start plucking the guitar strings and everything seems to cease onboard while she sings her little Catholic heart out to the cherub smiling Blair.
Sappy as it may be, there's nothing more sappier than in Airport '77, when blind Tom Sullivan sings "Beauty Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder" to Kathleen Quinlan.
Once again our passengers stop what they're doing as Quinlan starts to fall in love with our piano playing singer. In the third installment of the Airport franchise, the plane isn't set up like a regular plane, but more like a cocktail lounge with wings (complete with gambling).
And listen to Monica Lewis sing a little ditty (accompanied by Jimmy Walker on saxophone) in Airport '79: The Concorde. Lewis must love punishment since she was also a stewardess in Airport '77.
While disaster songs were introduced in The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, Maureen McGovern parodies herself in the spoof Airplane! (Remember she brought "The Morning After" to cult status and appears as herself in The Towering Inferno as guess what? A singer!).
McGovern played a nun in the spoof singing "Respect" to an ailing black man after he had fish for dinner instead of chicken. But before she parodies Reddy, it's Lorna Patterson, as Randy the stewardess, who raises ailing little Jill Whelan's spirits by singing "River of Jordan" to her. And pulling out her IV at the same time.
Be leery the next time you fly. If someone breaks into song (or you're on a flight with transplants or instruments) you may be in a long overdue Airport movie.