Landing on a fiasco

Teri Fitsell

THERE'S one good thing to be said for all these Airport movies, at least they kept old George Kennedy gainfully employed. He pops up in just about all of them, so it's poetic justice that he later found greater fame sending up this sort of movie in The Naked Gun films.

Airport 1975 (World 9.30pm, Original Running Time 106 mins) is just about worth watching for the laughs. This is the one that provided most of the material for the Airplane spoofs and boy does it deserve being ridiculed.

It boasts the obligatory Mega-Name cast - many of them well past their sell-by date - as a variety of cardboard characters. Charlton Heston, Gloria Swanson, Myrna Loy and Dana Andrews have all been roped in, and somehow Helen Reddy is cast as a singing nun, while Linda Blair's the ubiquitous lass awaiting a life-saving operation.

Dana Andrews plays a private pilot whose plane crashes into a 747 wiping out its flight crew and leaving a rather nasty hole. It's up to our heroine Karen Black to fly the plane, until boyfriend Heston (whose on the ground) thinks of a better idea.

According to the film-makers' blurb: ''The rescue attempt . . . brings Airport 1975 to a heart-battering peak of excitement and suspense''. Doesn't sound like the Airport 1975 this viewer sat through.

HAVEN'T seen Hi Honey, I'm Dead (Pearl 9.30pm, ORT 100 mins) and the name does little to inspire, but the synopsis describes it as a made-for-TV fantasy-comedy starring Curtis Armstrong (the little guy from the TV series Moonlighting ).

The story centres on an arrogant and wealthy, rugged type who dies and is reincarnated as the more aesthetically challenged Armstrong ordered to make up for his abrasive past.

Loud echoes of Ghost and Switch are coming through.

FANS of old-time musicals and all-round entertainers should tune into STAR Plus for two programmes, Liza Minneli in Acapulco (8.30pm) and The Magic of Musicals (midnight).

Judy Garland's daughter and Oscar-winning star of the hit movie Cabaret, Minneli proves she can still belt out those big numbers in this hour-long special filmed in Mexico.

At midnight it's the turn of Marti Webb and Mark Rattray to wobble the vocals with a selection of songs from old musicals like Porgy and Bess and new ones such as Five Guys Named Mo.

TWO new weekly entertainment series start today. First E!TV Behind The Scenes (STAR Plus 7pm) offers glimpses of how films, TV programmes and music videos are put together.

The pilot episode rather unfortunately concentrates on the making of The Last Action Hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger's big budget vehicle which failed to live up to box-office expectations this summer.

This show was made during filming, when hopes were still high. Given the film's poor performance, perhaps they should rename this episode ''The Building of the Bomb''.

The second is E!TV Extreme Close-Up (STAR Plus 7.30pm) which comprises in-depth interviews with selected celebrities.

The first to reveal his inner thoughts is Tom Cruise, whose boyish grin helped shoot him to fame in Top Gun and Rain Man. Then he proved he could act in The Fourth of July, and established his position as one of America's top male leads with A Few Good Men last year and The Firm this year.

ACTOR Michael Crawford had a huge success playing circus great P.T. Barnum in the musical in the West End. Now Barnum is coming to Hong Kong - not with Crawford, alas, but with a highly respectable replacement in talented singer/actor Paul Nicholas. He's the guy who had a couple of pop hits in the 1970s, including classics like Dancing with the Captain . . . but the less said about that the better.

All will be forgiven if he puts on a good show, and on Eye On Hong Kong (Pearl 7.20pm) Gloria Wu looks at preparations for the November opening.