- I was surprised, for example, that the passengers about to board the plane had to present passports and report to Immigration. I'd forgotten that Hawaii wasn't a state until 1959 and this movie was made in 1954. I'll have to remember to ask Walt if he needed a passport to leave the island (he was raised there, and left in 1955).
- The stewardess for the flight worked at the check-in desk and introduced herself to each passenger as they checked in.
- The plane. Ahhh...the plane. There were (I counted) fifteen passengers on board and there were more empty seats than there were full ones. When is the last time you found even half a dozen empty seats on an airplane.
- There was one flight attendant--they were still called stewardesses back then. Those were the days when they were chosen as much for their youth and appearance as for their competence, I believe.
- She actually seemed to cook meals individually (which is perhaps why there were only 15 passengers!).
- John Wayne's total job seemed to be to stand in the cockpit and look out the window, until Robert Stack (the pilot) began to fall apart, upon which time he slapped Stack and took over the controls.
- Many passengers smoked (and the stewardess even carried matches for a passenger who had forgotten his lighter).
- Everybody in the cockpit had a lighted cigarette in their hands.
- A passenger had a gun in his jacket pocket and actually pulled it out, brandished it, and shot it inside the plane.
- The airplane gave a teeny shudder and everyone fell apart, including one woman who cried "I don't want to die" for the rest of the flight (presumably 6 hours, since they'd said it was a 12 hour flight and that they had "just passed the halfway point).
- After that the plane was not only smooth, but silent as it headed for San Francisco. I've experienced more turbulence on a "smooth" flight than this flight in danger of crashing for 6 hours experienced.
- Everyone dressed up to ride the airplane. Anybody remember when you got dressed up to ride a plane?
- The seatbelts stayed off until the very end.
- The overhead racks had no doors on them.
Ironically, I had seen the movie when it first came out and I only remembered two scenes, but very clearly--the stewardess blowing up the life vest of the sleeping child, so as not to wake him, and Wayne walking away from the airplane, whistling the theme song.
Good movie. Rent it.