October 5, 2006
Comedy director David Zucker goes to GOP? You can’t be serious!
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"I see great similarities between [Crockett and Zucker]," Hutton said. Both have stayed true to their principles.
He likens Zucker's political change of heart in Hollywood to Crockett opposing President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act on moral grounds, a stand that cost him his House seat in the 1830 elections.
Raised in Milwaukee, Zucker said he grew up in a loving, tight-knit Jewish family. At dinner, brother Jerry Zucker recalled, "getting a good laugh was a value in our home." Their deadpan father became the inspiration for "Airplane's" Rex Kramer, played by Robert Stack. David Zucker said he developed his iconoclastic ways from his mother, who would often talk back to characters on TV.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Zucker, brother Jerry and friend Jim Abrahams moved to Los Angeles in 1972. The trio, later known as "ZAZ," opened the Kentucky Fried Theater, which featured filmed and live sketches of biting satire.
In 1980, the trio co-directed "Airplane," a comedy without comedians that helped create a whole new film genre: the spoof. ZAZ later collaborated on the secret-agent spoof, "Top Secret!" with Val Kilmer and the hit, "Ruthless People," starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito. Despite that film's success, the threesome split amid increasing desires to do independent projects.
After the breakup, David Zucker kept the spoofs coming with "The Naked Gun" and the "Scary Movie" series.
Despite his rightward drift, Zucker said he has lost little of his inner 14-year-old kid.
"On movie sets, including my own, I'm the oldest guy around," he said. "I've had people young enough to be my son say, 'You can't do that.' I say, 'Yes, you can. You've got to go for it.'"
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