Airport 1970,

Minute 023: Hand Him a Shovel

August 31, 2016

Guest Host: Chuck Goldstone

Chuck Goldstone is an author, humorist and is assumed to have written THIS BOOK IS NOT A TOY: FRIENDLY ADVICE ON HOW TO AVOID DEATH AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES, which the prestigious St. Martin’s Press claims sold at least a few boxes of books. As a commentator and radio pundit, he was heard nationally on Marketplace for a decade and has appeared regularly as a guest on CBS Radio Boston. His humor-stuffed websites include and In the real world, he has helped organizations from global giants to scraping startups tell their stories more persuasively. He recalls seeing Airport the first time on an airplane. But maybe it was On Golden Pond.


Captain Demerest climbs down a stepladder from the forward cabin door of the stuck 707. He turns to Mel.

“I’ve got an idea that will make you Aviation Man of the Year,” says Vern, “and Captain Benson agrees with me.  We put pneumatic jacks under the jacking plates and we lift her. Then, when you get her high enough, you just fill in, plank over, and roll her off on the flat.”

“Yeah,” says Mel, “and if every jack isn’t absolutely level, she’ll slide off — and you’ll have a hole in the wing and the fuel tank. I’ll stick with Patroni’s judgement.”

“Okay,” says Vern, “you do it the hard way, but you better get this thing out of here because I’m not taking off on Two-Two.”

“You’ll use what’s available!” shouts Mel.

“Well, if it’s Two-Two,” says Vern, “I’m not using noise abatement and I’m not cutting back on power over those houses – – so, unless you want a big, fat bill for cracked plaster and broken dishes, you’d better move this thing!” Vern storms off.

Mel turns to Jack after Vern leaves. “Keep digging,” says Mel. “Another pilot comes up with an idea like that, hand him a shovel.”

Meanwhile, Tanya is dozing in the Trans Global Executive Lounge.  There’s a knock at the door. It’s Peter Coakley, Tanya’s assistant.

“Yes, Peter?” says Tanya.

“Uh,” says Peter, “Mrs. Livingston, I’ve got that stowaway that Mr. Miller told you about?”

Tanya smiles and nods her head. “Bring him in,” says Tanya.

Peter opens the door wider, to reveal a smiling, diminutive older woman wearing a tweed coat.

In This Minute

Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld
Jean Seberg as Tanya Livingston
William Boyett as Jack Ingram
Dean Martin as Vernon Demerest
Peter Findlater as Peter Coakley
Helen Hayes as Ada Quonset



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