In a long essay in Friday’s New York Post, Zucker – marking the 40th anniversary of the release of Airplane! – claimed Paramount Pictures actually “discussed withholding the re-release over feared backlash for scenes that today would be deemed “insensitive.”
The scenes include one in which two Black characters speak entirely in a jive dialect so unintelligible that it has to be subtitled. “I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, “You couldn’t do that scene today,” Zucker wrote.
“But I always wonder, why not? Half the gags in that joke were aimed at white people, given that the translation for “s- -t” is “golly” — and the whole gag is topped off by the whitest lady on the planet,