The Big Bus

This week, I saw The Big Bus for the first time since I were a lad. It was every bit as fantastically ludicrous as I remember it, except now I could truly appreciates its kitsch 70s retro glory. In short: awesome. God bless mail-order DVD rental.

The film centres on the maiden voyage of `Cylops’, a colossal nuclear powered bus embarking on the first ever non-stop voyage from New York to Denver (clearly an important niche market in the late 70s). Big Oil interests are sabotaging the project, and a bomb-blast has put the pilot and co-pilot out of action. The project designer’s daughter (played by Rizzo – so sexy in her two-tone brown jumpsuit) goes in search of her ex-lover, the legendary Dan Torrance (played by the improbably monikered Joseph Bologna), the only man who can learn to drive such a complicated rig in the two weeks remaining before launch day. But wait! Torrence has a dark past, as we learn in a (to my mind classic) fight scene set in a smoky bus-driver’s dive bar – he was the sole survivor of the disaster of `Mount Diablo’, and is now haunted by accusations that he ate all 110 passengers.

Basically, it goes downhill from there, in glory.

Apparently it was a big influence on the Airplane! movies, Police Squad! and the Naked Gun movies. It was certainly a big influence on the comedy stylings of the Gimblett family. I still have an almost irresistible urge to go “Look out! He’s got a broken milk carton!” every time I see a fight scene. I’m also pleased to report Bash seemed to quite like it too, and I’m fairly sure she wasn’t just humouring me.

You eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal. What a world!

Dan Torrence