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RIP Peter Graves

I just saw the news today on Yahoo! that actor Peter Graves has died. Known best for his role as Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible (the series, not the Tom Cruise hack movies) Mr. Graves also worked in notable feature films like Stalag 17 and Airplane!

The Airplane! film is where I remember him most, for it is one of my favorite movies. Mr. Graves played Clarence Oveur, the pilot of Flight 209 to Chicago with some of the most memorable lines of the film:

Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9′er, you are cleared for take-off.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: L.A. departure frequency, 123 point 9′er.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Victor Basta: Request vector, over.
Captain Oveur: What?
Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9′er cleared for vector 324.
Roger Murdock: We have clearance, Clarence.
Captain Oveur: Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?
Tower voice: Tower’s radio clearance, over!
Captain Oveur: That’s Clarence Oveur. Over.
Tower voice: Over.
Captain Oveur: Roger.
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: Roger, over!
Roger Murdock: What?
Captain Oveur: Huh?
Victor Basta: Who?

It was said that actor Leslie Neilsen was having difficulty in finding his character (Dr. Rumack) of the film as the comedy made no real sense. It was Mr. Graves who let him in on the secret: “We’re the comedy, Leslie.” And a cult-classic movie was made.

Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?
Captain Oveur: I can’t tell.
Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Captain Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Clear flying, Mr. Graves. You have clearance, Clarence.

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