Behind The Classics: Tom Hanks’ ‘League’ & Leslie Nielsen’s ‘Airplane’ Stories

Not content with merely showing Hollywood’s classic movies on its cable channel, TCM has been bringing some of those movies back into theaters for special screenings. The program’s been a success, and it will continue in 2020 with a lineup of 14 films. including Annie, Psycho, Fiddler on the Roof, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Close Encounters of the First Kind, and more. Another classic film to be screened next year as part of the series is a comedy that celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, Airplane! Part of the movie’s comedic DNA was its casting of hard-bitten dramatic actors like Robert Stack, Peter Graves, and Lloyd Bridges in roles that had them delivering deadpan jokes. Among that group of old-school actors was Leslie Nielsen, who had his career revitalized by the Zucker Brothers with Airplane and the Naked Gun movies. Before he passed away, Nielsen spoke with us about how and why that classic casting coup worked so well. (Click on the media bar below to hear Leslie Nielsen)

 

Another classic film being screened as part of the series is 1992’s A League of Their Own, which starred Tom Hanks as the manager of a women’s baseball team, with a group of players that included Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Lori Petty, and Madonna. Looking back, Hanks told us the thing that excited him the most about making the movie was getting the chance to play against the “nice guy” persona he’d cultivated in his ’80s movies. (Click on the media bar below to hear Tom Hanks)

For a complete schedule of TCM Big Screen Classics screenings, visit https://www.fathomevents.com/series/tcm-big-screen-classics.

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