Airport 1970,

Minute 047: The Colors in the Ladies’ Lounge

October 04, 2016

Guest Host: James O’Kane

James is an industrial design engineer living in Portland, Oregon. He claims to be the son of one of the co-hosts of the show, although Mark has hired an army of attorneys to refute the paternity. James grew up watching Airport almost weekly, and says that the film has shaped his frequent-flying career in seeking out fireplaces in Delta Sky Clubs. There’s apparently one in Memphis, for example.


Commissioner Ackerman and Mel Bakersfeld are meeting in an conference room. Several dozen chairs sit empty in the room, next to a large map and model of a proposed, future airport. Mel is telling Ackerman what he and the other commissioners have been doing wrong.

“When Congress cut airport appropriations, you never even sent in a letter of protest,” says Mel. “And where were you when the airlines and the pilots and the rest of us were pleading for more airports and better traffic control? You were picking out the colors in the ladies’ lounge! So now, you’ve got your consequences: congested air traffic, where Sunday pilots hold up airliners with thousand of people aboard, and force us to stack up planes bound for New York as far away as Denver.”

“When it comes to politics,” says Ackerman, “you’re a child. Two of our councilmen live in Meadow Wood. Think what they could do to us downtown!”

“I’m thinking of those pilots upstairs,” says Mel, “Waiting to land, flying blind in that muck and circling in holding patterns, and praying to God that some tired, overworked, underpaid controller in the tower doesn’t have another plane on the same course. Now, you can call it pig-headed, call it anything you want — but as long as we’re not below FAA minimums, we’re not closing down.” Mel stubs out his cigarette in an ashtray.

“Alright,” says Ackerman, “If that’s the way you want it. I’m calling the other commissioners and I’ll let you know what our decision is, within an hour.”

“That’s your privilege,” asks Mel “You hired me, and -”


In this minute

Burt Lancaster as Mel Bakersfeld
Larry Gates as Commissioner Ackerman



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