Roger, Roger: New Wisconsin tourism ad spoofs ‘Airplane!’

In this still frame taken from a video on YouTube, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left, and Robert Hays star in an ad for the Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism.
In this still frame taken from a video on YouTube, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left, and Robert Hays star in an ad for the Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism. (YouTube)

MADISON – Surely you can’t be serious: a new ad touting Wisconsin tourism is a spoof of the 1980 comedy hit “Airplane!”

Wisconsin natives David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, who wrote and directed the movie, reunited to create the TV spot. The commercial fearures original stars of the movie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Hays reprising their roles as Roger Murdock and Ted Striker.

The commercial features the characters flying low over a Wisconsin shoreline, praising the state’s summer recreational opportunities.

Abdul-Jabbar began his legendary pro basketball career with the Milwaukee Bucks before requesting a trade away from the Midwest in 1975. In the commercial, he pokes fun at those events with the line, “I can’t believe I ever left this place.”

Watch the ad:

State tourism officials say the ad will run on television and in movie theaters in Wisconsin, along with the Chicago, Twin Cities and Cedar Rapids areas, between May 12 and July 24. It is also scheduled to air at Milwaukee Bucks games in March.

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