The Eighties wouldn’t have been the same without these two’s contributions to contemporary movies.
Kershner is a name revered by nerds because he directed the best Star Wars movie…The Empire Strikes Back. I too had mixed feelings after seeing it 30 years ago. Being 11, I was hoping for another triumphant ending and not the ambivalent one saying I had to wait three more years to see how it would pan out. The rest of his resume was a bit iffy: Robocop 2 isn’t very memorable.
Nielsen’s career was more obvious and it was awesome to see him get a second act through comedy after a lifetime of being the heavy: captain of the ill-fated Poseidon, …And Millions Die and every cop show in the Seventies (nowadays, I don’t think programs cast the same actor several times as different characters); or the square boyfriend: How to Commit Marriage (pretty hard to outdo Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason). My parents understood the underlying humor of casting him in Airplane. To us kids, he was the goofy white-haired guy with a deadpan delivery. When I got older, I saw that he also starred in Forbidden Planet which had the greatest special effects for a Sci-Fi flick until TV’s Star Trek.