Airport 1970,

Minute 013: This isn’t Alaska

August 17, 2016


Mel and Vern are standing on opposite sides of Vern’s car, parked in front of the entrance to the terminal.

“Besides everything else, now you’re an authority on snow clearance?” asks Mel.

“I call ’em as I see ’em,” replies Vern, opening the trunk of his car.

“Then you’re due for an eye check,” says Mel, following Vern to the rear of the car. “For your information, clearing those runways is the equivalent of seven hundred miles of two-lane highway.”

Vern shakes his head as he removes his luggage from the trunk. “Well, what do you know? And I bet you measured every little foot of it all by yourself.”

“We’ve also had ten inches of snow in the last twenty-four hours,” says Mel.

Vern replies, “Anchorage had twice that, and they’re clean.”

“They’ve got twice the equipment,” says Mel, his voice rising.

Vern replies, “Well, then get some more!”

“This isn’t Alaska,” says Mel. “You don’t spend two million dollars on machinery you might use once in ten years. You buy for the average snowfall, and when an emergency hits, you use what you have, and work around the clock.”

Vern shakes his head again. “Sitting behind that desk made you think like a bookkeeper.”

“I didn’t always fly a desk!” says Mel.

Vern leans in and says, “Well, alright Daddy – – you tell me all about when you were a war hero. You flew those pursuit jobs you could land in a parking lot. When I’m setting down over two hundred thousand pounds of 707, I want something under my wheels that’s mighty long, and mighty dry.”

“It’ll be dry tonight,” replies Mel, “but not too long.”


In This Minute

Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld
Barbara Hale as Sarah Demerest
Dean Martin as Vernon Demerest



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