Add free shipping to your order with these great books
Surely You Can't Be Serious : The True Story of Airplane! - David Zucker

Surely You Can't Be Serious

The True Story of Airplane!

By: David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker

Hardcover | 3 October 2023

At a Glance


RRP $60.00


or 4 interest-free payments of $14.13 with

Aims to ship in 30 to 35 business days


Surely You Can't Be Serious is an in-depth and hysterical look at the making of 1980's comedy classic Airplane by the legendary writers and directors of the hit film.

Airplane premiered on July 2nd, 1980. With a budget of $3.5 million it went on to make nearly $200 million in sales and has influenced a multitude of comedians on both sides of the camera.

Surely You Can't Be Serious is the first-ever oral history of the making of Airplane by the creators, and of the beginnings of the ZAZ trio (Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker) - charting the rise of their comedy troupe Kentucky Fried Theater in Madison, Wisconsin all the way to premiere night. The directors explain what drew them to filmmaking and in particular, comedy. With anecdotes, behind the scenes trivia, and never-before-revealed factoids - these titans of comedy filmmaking unpack everything from how they persuaded Peter Graves to be in the movie after he thought the script was a piece of garbage, how Lorna Patterson auditioned for the stewardess role in the back seat of Jerry's Volvo, and how Leslie Nielsen's pranks got the entire crew into trouble, to who really wrote the jive talk. The book also features testimonials and personal anecdotes from well-known faces in the film, television, and comedy sphere - proving how influential Airplane has been from day one.

Four decades after its release, Airplane continues to make new generations laugh. Its many one-liners and visual gags have worked their way into the mainstream culture. This fully organic expansion of the ZAZ trio's fan-base, prompted solely by word-of-mouth, comes as no surprise to longtime fans. When all around us is in flux - laughter is priceless.

About the Author

David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker knew one another growing up in Shorewood, Wisconsin. While attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the trio founded a small theater known as The Kentucky Fried Theater in 1971. They moved to Los Angeles in 1972, which led to their first film The Kentucky Fried Movie in 1977. ZAZ's next film was their breakout hit Airplane! in 1980, which remains a revered comedic milestone.
Industry Reviews
"The Zucker brothers and Abrahams debut with a rollicking oral history unpacking how their 1980 comedy Airplane! was made ... This is a must-read for anyone who loves the film." --Publishers Weekly

"This delightful book, like Airplane! and many other ZAZ productions, is multilayered, incisive, and surprising ... A hilarious, well-structured account of and tribute to a significant film." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A]n affectionate oral history ... Fans of the film will likely enjoy this engaging behind-the-scenes look." --Library Journal

"This is a wonderful book, full of laughs, surprises, high drama, low comedy, and that delightful feeling of excitement when the underdog scores big. For fans of the movie, a must-read. Ditto for fans of making-of books." --Booklist

"'Airplane!'" is one of the most beloved and influential comedies to ever hit the silver screen. Surely you want to know more about it. The new book "Surely You Can't Be Serious: The True Story of 'Airplane!, '" is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how the iconic 1980 movie was made ... The book is chock full of fun facts and stories that fans will no doubt find fascinating."

"The book is a gift for anyone remotely interested in the art of comedy .. wonderfully vivid." --Haaretz

More in Film Theory & Criticism

The Legend of Mad Max - Ian Nathan

RRP $50.00


The Legacy of the X-Files : I Want to Believe - James Fenwick

RRP $190.00


The Golden Screen : The Movies That Made Asian America - Jeff Yang
The World According to Star Wars - Cass R. Sunstein

RRP $27.99


Jurassic Park : The Ultimate Visual History - James  Mottram

RRP $99.00


Waxing On : The Karate Kid and Me - Ralph Macchio

RRP $29.99


The Wes Anderson Collection : The Wes Anderson Collection - Matt Zoller Seitz
Tim Burton : The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work - Ian Nathan

RRP $59.99


The Art of Castle in the Sky : The Art of Castle in the Sky - Hayao Miyazaki
The World of Tim Burton - Jenny He
Cast Mates : Australian Actors in Hollywood and at Home - Sam Twyford-Moore


Cinema of the 70s : 101 Iconic Movies - John H. Foote

RRP $49.99


This Was Hollywood : Forgotten Stars and Stories - Carla Valderrama

RRP $49.99


Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates


RRP $24.99



Popular Searches