Airplane!, Mission: Impossible, George Bush and High School Slacking
The passing of Peter Graves brings two things to mind:
One is the deep love of Airplane! that my wife and I have shared since we met and which we’re proud to have passed along to our daughter.
“Roger, roger. What’s our Vector, Victor?”
The second is the late 1980s television revival of Mission: Impossible, which came along when I was a huge James Bond fan. I filled a VHS tape with most of the first season, but I seem to think I lost interest after they killed off IMF agent Casey Randall. I remember Mom & Dad recognizing cast members of the original series making guest appearances on the show, and I know a few years later when I got into Star Trek: The Next Generation, my reaction to seeing Q was – “Hey – it’s the assassin from that one Mission: Impossible episode!” (Spoiler alert: They caught him.)
Weird thing is, my strongest memory of Mission: Impossible really has nothing to do with Peter Graves or the IMF team or the show itself. It’s tied to a bitter cold fall day when Adam and I – being the >ahem!< yearbook and newspaper editors at Lake High – had received Holy-Crap-Can’t-Believe-They’re-Real press credentials to cover a George Bush campaign stop at the Akron-Canton Airport.
It was in the middle of the school day, so we left before lunch, drove over in Adam’s car (having convinced the school principal that my dad’s “expensive” 35mm camera wouldn’t be safe if we rode the bus with the marching band, as the principal had proposed) and made our way through security to the press platform, standing next to the freaking CNN crew and feeling like the biggest scam artists ever.
The event was in a hangar, but it was open at both ends to accommodate the crowd, and it was effing COLD. An hour, maybe 90 minutes later, we’re just frozen to the core, and so we decide to go back to my house, which is about 5 minutes from the airport.
My mom’s there, and she’s got a huge batch of beef stroganoff left over from the night before, and soon, there we are, sitting in my family room on the floor warming up with a hearty home-cooked meal, a fire crackling, and watching themost recent Mission: Impossible from that videocassette.
A mission we accepted most enthusiastically.
I think we got back to school about 20 minutes before the final bell.