AIRPORT - The Movie

and the Movie Star that came to work for Qantas


Boeing 707-349C N324F as it appeared in the original 1969 Airport movie in Trans Global Airlines colours wearing its real registration N324F. The aircraft was even referred to in dialogue as "324". During 1970/71 the aircraft operated on lease to Qantas as VH-EBZ City of Swan Hill.

"Shove an undamaged aeroplane with snowplows? Mel are you outta your mind?"

A black and white publicity still from the original 1969 Airport movie. Manager of Lincoln International Airport, Mel Bakersfeld (left, played by Burt Lancaster) has just told Joe Patroni (George Kennedy playing a trouble-shooter on loan from TWA) that he intends to move the bogged Boeing 707 N324F using snowplows. And yes, Patroni does say aeroplane not airplane.


George Harris Kennedy Jr. aka Joe Patroni
(18 February 1925 - 28 February 2016)



Vern Demerest Dean Martin Captain, Trans Global Airlines.
Gwen Meighen Jacqueline Bisset Senior Flight Attendant & love interest of Captain Demerest
Tanya Livingston Jean Seberg Trans Global Airlines PRO & love interest of Mel Bakersfeld
Mel Bakersfeld Burt Lancaster General Manager, Lincoln International Airport
Harry Standish Lloyd Nolan Chief Customs Agent
Inez Guerrero Maureen Stapleton Wife of bomber
Ada Quonsett Helen Hayes Stowaway passenger for which role she won an Academy Award
D.O. Guerrero Van Heflin Bomber
Cindy Bakersfeld Dana Wynter Wife of Airport Manager
Anson Harris Barry Nelson Captain, Trans Global Airlines being checked by Capt Demerest
Sarah Demerest Barbara Hale Wife of Captain Demerest and sister of Mel Bakersfeld
Joe Patroni George Kennedy Trouble-shooter engineer on loan from TWA.
  George Seaton Director and Screenwriter
  Ross Hunter Producer


This photo was probably taken in a studio mockup of the cabin of N324F. It is suspected that some absent cast members were represented by "cardboard cutouts" in those pre-Photoshop days!

Not included in the photo, but who should have been, was the film's Technical Adviser, Captain Lee Danielson, who it is believed was a TWA Captain.

Airport scenes were filmed at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.



A no good irresponsible louse who can't pass up the opportunity to knife me.

(Referring to his brother-in-law Capt Demerest)
Mel Bakersfeld
They don't call 'em emergencies any more. They call 'em Patronis. Joe Patroni

Due to a Cetcil wind, Dystor's vectored us into a 360-tarson of slow air traffic. Now we'll maintain this Borden hold until we get the Forta Magnus clearance from Melnics.

(To a precocious kid who had noticed that the aircraft had turned back. Capt Demerest had earlier left the flight deck for a walk-through, declaring that if any passenger noticed that they were turning back he would give them some "double talk")

Capt Demerest
That's one nice thing about the 707. It can do everything but read.

(On being informed by the junior engineer in the right hand seat that the manual said it was impossible for Patroni to have driven the 707 out of the snow)
Joe Patroni
Nice goin' sweetheart.

(Tapping the belly of the safely landed 707 with the box of cigars he had won in a bet with Mel Bakersfeld)
Joe Patroni
Remind me to send a thank-you note to Mr Boeing.

(Surveying the bomb damage to the 707)
Capt Harris


Images: Universal Pictures



Original issue.