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Based on the life of Kitty O'Neil, a young girl who overcame her deafness to become one of the top stuntwomen in Hollywood, and the holder of the women's land-speed record for driving a rocket-powered racing car.
The ultimate disaster film parody. A nuclear powered bus is going Non-stop from New York to Denver and is plagued by disasters due to the machinations of a mysterious group allied with the Oil lobby. When the driver is injured a washed up, down on his luck, but used to be great type, who as it happens, used to be engaged to the inventor's daughter is brought in to drive the giant bus which includes a one lane swimming pool and a one lane bowling alley. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This bus is supposed to be departing from midtown Manhattan and traveling to Denver by way of regular highways. This bus appears to be 20 feet tall. It would not fit under any of the many overhead clearances along the roads, especially those of any of the Hudson River crossings from Manhattan to New Jersey. See more »
Voice in barfight:
Look out! He's got a broken milk carton!
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Paramount Pictures thanks Trailways for their help and technical assistance in making this impossible picture possible. See more »
It would really be something to be a passenger on the bus.
Obviously, with all the disaster films of the early '70s, someone had to make a spoof. And they did just that with "The Big Bus". It portrays the world's first nuclear-powered bus driving nonstop from New York to Denver. Naturally, the oil industry is worried that this novelty will ruin their business, and they seek to destroy it. That's the main plot, but the movie is mostly an excuse to have a bunch of silly things happen, as the more famous disaster spoof ("Airplane!") would do four years later.
Another aspect is of course the cast. Joseph Bologna and Stockard Channing get top billing as driver Dan Torrance and inventor Kitty Baxter, but there's even more. John Beck plays narcoleptic co-driver Shoulders O'Brien; Harold Gould plays Kitty's father who gets injured in an explosion; Jose Ferrer plays the diabolical Ironman, who seeks to blow up the bus; Ned Beatty plays Shorty Scotty, guiding the bus along its journey; Rene Auberjonois plays an awkward priest; Ruth Gordon plays an old woman; Sally Kellerman and Richard Mulligan play a couple who may or may not be getting a divorce; Lynn Redgrave plays a woman who has nothing to do but come onto men; and Larry Hagman plays the parking lot doctor.
Like I said, the whole thing was meant to be goofy, and it does not disappoint. Whether it's Shoulders falling asleep at inconvenient times, a truck full of hicks crashing into the bus and getting stuck, or some of the one-liners, the whole thing is a laugh riot.
By the way, although Richard Mulligan and Larry Hagman didn't share any scenes in this movie, this was the second time that they co-starred: Richard Mulligan once guest-starred on "I Dream of Jeannie". This was also the second time that Ruth Gordon co-starred with an "I Dream of Jeannie" cast member: Emmaline Henry (who played Amanda Bellows on "IDOJ") appeared in "Rosemary's Baby".
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