Friday, October 9, 2009

"Airport" Filming at MSP in 1969 turned many NWA employees into movie "extras!"

This week the NWA History Centre in Minneapolis was host to a private screening of the movie "Airport," filmed in 1969 and released in 1970-1971. The audience included several retired Northwest Airlines employees who performed as "extras" or were present during filming at MSP airport, as well as history buffs and guests. Among the guests was Marianne Blomquist, shown here behind the skycap (I remember him, too!). Marianne was Donald Nyrop's (former NWA C.E.O) secretary at the time of her movie performance.
The scene of the private screening on Thursday, October 8, 2009 was the Edina Theater in the Twin Cities. The event also marked the 7th anniversary of the NWA History Centre, whose volunteers were honored guests. Before the movie began, all attendees were fortified with complimentary popcorn and sodas and treated to Elbert "Ebb" Sutliff's anecdotes from that long-ago day, including when he had to admonish George Kennedy, who played the "hero" maintenance chief Joe Patroni, for waving his lighted cigar just below the fuel vent of a 707.
It was great to see this old movie again on a big screen with "Dolby Surround Sound," forty years after it was filmed. All agreed that in addition to its historical significance, it was a really good movie, loaded with stars: The afore-mentioned George Kennedy, plus Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, Maureen Stapleton, Van Heflin and the indomitable Helen Hayes as Mrs. Ada Quonsett, the little old lady stowaway.
To those of us in attendance though, the "real" stars were the local people and familiar scenes in and around MSP airport.


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