Burn, Baby, Burn

"They just oughta leave it the way it is. Kind of a shrine to all the bullshit in the world."

The Towering Inferno was on cable last night. I have thoughts:

  1. How could I have seen this movie if I was eight the year it opened? I’m sure my parents watched it on TV. Which means that I did, too.
  2. Disaster movies: I remember a lot of them. Earthquake was a standout, and not in a good way.
  3. It’s amazing that I can even leave my flat.
  4. All the people-running-on-fire scenes: could this be why we kids spent a decade of nights in stiff, smelly, itchy, flame-retardant PJs?
  5. Because the 70’s were like, “Go ahead and die on your skateboard if you want, but I’ll be damned if you burst into flames in your sleep.”
  6. A tower 135 floors high? You’d be have to be nuts to design something like that, Paul Newman.
  7. After September 11, so many of the exterior shots of the building are just creepy to watch.
  8. But the thing doesn’t collapse. And why would it?
  9. Thanks to that scene near the end with Jennifer Jones, I have been afraid of high-rises for as long as I’ve known what they are.
  10. I also must have believed that public-servant heroics (the little helicopter gondola! The million gallons of water!) were possible in a disaster such as “skyscraper on fire”.
  11. And that they’d work.
  12. This would be why, when I spoke to my sister-in-law early on September 11, 2001, I asked her, “What happened to the people on the planes?”
  13. “This is one building that I figured wouldn’t burn.” TITANIC MUCH?
  14. The scene with William Holden loading people into the elevators in the burning building: “ Just 12 at a time, please”? That’s hysterical.
  15. This might be the only movie ever made with not one (O.J. Simpson), but two (Robert Wagner) actors who probably killed their wives.
  16. If someone put all the actors in that stinker New Year’s Day into a movie skyscraper, and set it on movie fire, I might go see it.

Want more disaster? You do.


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