This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Byway of yesterday’s TMT, my blogging colleague, Dan of Fogs Movie Review, made a special request for another disaster film (not to be confused with a disastrous movie) to be a featured in a memory download. I was only too happy to comply.
Chief O’Hallorhan: “It’s out of control, and it’s coming your way. You got about fifteen minutes. Now, they wanna try somethin’. They wanna blow those water tanks two floors above you. They think it might kill the fire.”
Doug Roberts: “How’re they gonna get the explosives up here?”
Chief O’Hallorhan: “Oh, they’ll find some dumb son of a bitch to bring it up.”
December, 1974: Even though you’d classify me as a long-time fan of the disaster flick, a case could be made I was both early and late to glom on to the genre. Early since I’d come to enjoy such undervalued fare, like The Last Voyage and The Crowded Sky, prior to the calamitous ilk’s heyday. Both of those B-movies having arrived in theaters during 1960, and only later that decade caught on my grandmother’s TV set. Snagged by me watching ever so intently, way before cataclysm crested in film with the Sexy Seventies.
* I knew it was around this time I saw The Poseidon Adventure on TV, but only nailed down the exact date via searching on the ol’ intertubes (thank you Sen. Ted Stevens) ;-).
They never had it as good as they did here. And I’d admit to being late because, even though I’d see AirPort (1970) first-run at my local drive-in, I just about missed The Poseidon Adventure (1972) entirely. Along with all its fit and peak of catastrophe. Only seeing the film when it premiered on network television, October 27, 1974*. Either way, the hook was set for good that year what with the arrival of Earthquake, Airport 1975 (welcome back, Mr. Heston) and the late-year entrance of this, The Towering Inferno.
As usual, the highly vocal and loyal party of aficionados that held Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the highest esteem, the close-knit contingent known as my aunts, were all aflutter with this cinematic pairing. I think I once overheard a discourse of theirs on whose eyes were bluer. No kidding. My mother may have joined in from a distance, but don’t quote me (or I’ll hear it). Surprisingly, my college girlfriend somehow, reluctantly, acquiesced when asked to join moi at the famed, and women-packed, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre during the last week of ’74. What a trooper.