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Langlade County News

'Airplane' Movie Figures Dine in Antigo On Way To Make Tourism Ad

June 26, 2012

Hollywood director David Zucker and actor Robert Hays paid a visit to Antigo Monday afternoon—by car, not airplane.

Zucker and Hays, along with Deputy Tourism Secretary Dave Fantle, stopped by the Dixie Lunch for a bite to eat on their way from Milwaukee to Eagle River, where they are filming a new commercial for the Department of Tourism.

Fantle explained that his boss, Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett, who was joining them in Eagle River, insisted that a stop at the Dixie was in order if the trio were traveling through Antigo.

The trio, by the way, had two egg salad sandwiches and a hot turkey sandwich.

Zucker, who also produced a winter tourism commercial for the state, asked Hays, who played Ted Striker in the 1980 movie “Airplane!,” to take part in the summer ad.

“Obviously, I said, ‘Surely you can’t be serious?’ Hays said Monday “And he said, ‘I am serious and let’s go see a gladiator movie,’ something like that’.”

He was referring to two famous lines from the movie, including one when Leslie Nielsen asks him if he can fly a plane.

“Surely you can’t be serious,” Hays’ character answers.

“I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley,” Nielsen’s character, Dr. Rumack, answers.

Zucker, who graduated from Shorewood High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is directing the commercial — in which Hays’ is fishing and encounters some problems with his fishing rod — in the Eagle River area starting today. It will air next summer in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa.

Asked if it will have any “Airplane!” homages, Fantle said Hays’ name in the script is “Ted,” though the commercial has no dialogue.

Zucker directed a tourism spot in December, with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra breaking into a snowball fight.

“David made a symphony orchestra look undignified in our winter TV spot, just imagine what he’s going to do when we let him loose on one of our Northwood’s lakes,” Klett said at the media conference. “We’re keeping the storyline of the ad under wraps until next spring’s Governor’s Tourism Conference but it will definitely be keeping with Wisconsin’s brand of fun and David’s trademark slapstick.”

Zucker said he’ll also direct a fall tourism commercial at some point, depending on the schedule for “Scary Movie 5,” which he’s helping write. It’s now set to film after Labor Day.

Fantle said the commercial’s budget is $250,000. Zucker said he plans to donate his reduced fee toward a tree planting organization in Los Angeles, which he did for the winter commercial as well.

Hays said he had a cameo in “Superhero Movie,” which Zucker produced, but they haven’t really worked together since “Airplane!” — his first feature film.

Hays said he jumped at the chance to work with Zucker again because they laughed so much together the first time.

“It was like winning the lottery for me, they were so wonderful to work with. I just love them and we are all still good friends,” he said.

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