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Did the Creators of “Airplane!” Know That Lee Bryant Was the Woman From the Original Yuban Coffee Commercial?

If you have seen the 1970 parody of Zero Hour you’ll know the scene where Lee Bryant says “Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home.” But did the creators know she was the same lady from the original commercial?

When the creators of “Airplane!” hired Lee Bryant for the role, they had no idea that she was the same woman from the original Yuban Coffee commercial that said the line the iconic line.

How Did The Creators Cast Lee Bryant?

Lee Bryant plays the role of the wife on the plane who thinks out loud about her husband’s second cup of coffee. The scene was a parody from the Yuban Coffee commercial which was popular at the time.

When Bryant auditioned for the role, the directors had no idea that she was the actual lady in the commercial. In an interview, she mentions, that the commercial was never brought up. (Source: IMDB)

Watch the iconic commercial here and the actual scene from the film here.

Where is Lee Bryant Today?

Lee Bryant has been acting since 1977. She stared in various commercials, and landed a few supporting roles over the past few decades. The most recent film she has made was a full feature drama in 2015 called No Letting Go.

She is 75 years old and currently living in New York. (Source: New York Times)

How Did the Directors Hire the Rest of the Cast?

Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker (collectively known as ZAZ), took a cast of non-comedic actors to play in their parody film based on the 1957 drama, Zero Hour.

The directors were determined to hire actors that have never done comedy. They even had a pro-basketball player play a part in the film!

We thought they were much funnier than the comedians of that time.

David Zucker

How Much Did the Film Earn?

The film was a big hit when it was released. In fact, it had been regarded as one of the best films in 1980. The producers spent an estimated $3.5 Million and earn about $83.5 Million in worldwide sales. (Source: IMDB)

What Was the Plot of the Film?

An ex-Navy pilot; Ted Striker had a fear of flying ever since a traumatic incident during the war. His long-time girlfriend; Elaine Dickson, is a flight attendant at Trans American Airlines. She dumps him and boards the plane for work. To win her back, he follows her on board in spite of his fear of flying. Everything started to go wrong, after dinner when everyone including the flight staff get sick of food poisoning. (Source: IMDB)

Watch the trailer of the film here.

Was There a Sequel for the Film?

Airplane II: The Sequel was released in December 10, 1982. The cast reunited for the film, but the directors and writers of the original movie chose not to be involved. In a DVD commentary, ZAZ claimed to have never seen the sequel or even plan of seeing it at all.

The directors initially agreed to creating a sequel with the original film’s warm reception, but backed out on the idea later on. The sequel was still produced in spite of their protests and without their permission.

The sequel had an estimated budget of $15 Million, but did not earn as much as the original film. It grossed about $27.1 Million worldwide. (Source: IMDB)

Watch the trailer of the sequel here.

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