We learned today from The NY Times that Peter Graves, known to us best as Captain Oveur in 1980’s Airplane, has died at the age of 83.

I loved Airplane and its shuttle-based sequel and I’ll be joining the rest of the movie-blogging world in telling random people that ‘We have clearance, Clarence’, and talking Turkish Prisons and Gladiator movies today.

Recalling this film and its cast under such a sad spotlight it’s hard not to miss the outlandish spoof of the Zuckers in today’s movie world, which rarely asks itself ‘Why so serious?’.

Airplane was one of those films Gary and I would watch endlessly when we were growing up, though we didn’t get all of the jokes and many of the references flew over our heads we would still love the disaster spoof and Peter Graves as the morally dubious pilot always made us laugh. His deadpan was cut from a different cloth than that of Leslie Nielsen and it was a great play on the cool, charming good guy he was known to play.

Famous also for his role as Jim Phelps in the TV series Mission:Impossible in the late seventies, Graves had a solid filmography and though his last film was the lamentable Men in Black sequel Graves will be recalled fondly today.