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San Francisco International (Airport) is a 1970 television series partially inspired by Airport. Similarly to other airplane-based disaster movies, it concerns the interpersonal interactions between the major staff of the airport. Unusually for an airplane disaster movie/series, the airlines are real, lending a sort of authenticity to the proceedings.
Jim Conrad (Pernell Roberts) is the general manager of the titular airport. Much like in other Disaster Movie entries, he must fight with several challenges, including getting the airport runways expanded, dealing with VIP s, protecting a shipment of cash that figures into a kidnapping caper, and talking down a troubled young man. All of these plot threads intertwine throughout the movie, so much so that each of the main cast gets a chance to interact with one another. Filling out the helpful assistance role would be Bob Hatten (Clu Gulager), the airport's security chief.
The series began with a 90-minute TV-movie, San Francisco International Airport, that served as a pilot. Though critical response was lukewarm, the pilot was picked up for six episodes in the fall of 1970, but was not renewed beyond the initial six. In the series version, the network stipulated that Lloyd Bridges replace Pernell Roberts; only Clu Gulager was retained for the series. Interestingly, it's apparently the same character of Jim Conrad that Lloyd Bridges parodies in Airplane!.
Tropes present in San Francisco International Airport:
- All-Star Cast: Of TV actors anyway.
- Batman Gambit: The plan for the robbers in the TV movie to make off with 3 million dollars.
- Car Chase: This movie probably has more chase scenes than any other Disaster Movie. One is even done with aid of a fire truck!
- Crash-Course Landing: Played with in the Davey subplot, as Davey stole the plane in the first place. The movie explains that the plane is "easy to fly" and earlier establishes Davey as an aviation nut.
- Disaster Movie: Kind of. Ever wonder what a disaster movie without a disaster would be like? Look no further.
- Distressed Damsel: The pilot's wife spends the entire film held hostage. Late in the film, Conrad's secretary is also held hostage by the same group of people, but she is quickly released when she's no longer useful as a hostage. At no point does the secretary use any of numerous opportunities to escape.
- Emergency Services
- Follow the Leader
- I Have Your Wife: Done twice in the scheme to smuggle the stolen cash to Mexico.
- Idiot Ball: The security personnel who fall for Tab Hunter's reverse Paper-Thin Disguise.
- Karma Houdini: Davey.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Tab Hunter, David Hartman, Teddy Eccles and Van Johnson.
- New Age Retro Hippie: William Sturtevant, the Made-For-TV Hippie. He's also good for Narm Charm.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Clifford Evans
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Played in reverse with Tab Hunter's discarding his priest attire.
- Pilot Movie: Pilot Movie?
- Swiss Cheese Security: Admittedly this was many years before 9/11, but it's a bit shocking how easy it is for pretty much anyone to stroll onto the runways.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Conrad's stunts really, really cheese off Evans.