To celebrate Karen's return from Greece:
29 Fascinating Facts About "Grease" (1978)
1. The 1978 film was based on the 1972 Broadway musical of the same name, which originally ran for 3,388 performances and has since been revived twice on Broadway and a live TV version on Fox.
2. Several changes were made for the big-screen adaptation—the "Burger Palace Boys," as the greasers were called in the Broadway show, were changed to the much catchier "T-Birds" in the movie.
3. Originally, producers had the idea to make Grease an animated movie—they settled on a live-action film with animated opening credits instead.
4. Four Grease film stars also appeared in the Broadway production: John Travolta (Doody on Broadway and Danny in the movie), Jeff Conaway (Danny on Broadway and Kenickie in the movie), Barry Pearl (Sonny on Broadway and Doody in the movie) and Jamie Donnelly (Jan on Broadway and in the movie).
5. The majority of the cast hadn’t seen the inside of a high school in quite a while: John Travolta was 23 at the time of filming, Olivia Newton-John was 28 and Stockard Channing was 33.
6. Henry Winkler was considered for the part of Danny but he turned it down because he didn’t want to be typecast after starring on Happy Days.
7. Linda Ronstadt, Marie Osmond, Susan Dey and Deborah Raffin were all considered for the role of Sandy. Marie Osmond said the script she turned down was much raunchier than what was filmed. When Olivia was cast, the character was changed from Sandra Dumbrowski to Sandy Olsen to accommodate the singer's Australian accent.
8. John Travolta was initially star struck by Olivia Newton-John—he went to her house to convince her to co-star in the movie and was very impressed that she had a pool.
9. Elvis Presley was originally offered the role of Teen Angel, but he turned it down. It was played by Frankie Avalon in the movie.
10. Another Elvis connection: In the stage version, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” had a reference to Sal Mineo, but he was murdered in 1976, so the reference was changed to Elvis for the film. Elvis died on August 16, 1977, the same day the scene was filmed.
11. Dinah Manoff, who played Marty, couldn’t dance, so she was conveniently missing from most of the dance scenes.
12. Lucie Arnaz was the studio’s original choice for Rizzo. Reportedly when Allan Carr told Lucille Ball he wanted Lucie to do a screen test, she refused.
13. Gerald Ford’s son Steven was initially cast as Sandy’s jock boyfriend Tom, but even though the part had no lines, he decided he was too nervous. The role went to Lorenzo Lamas instead. Steven went on to star in the Young and the Restless as well as many movies.
14. During the movie’s shoot, the cast reportedly chewed 100,000 pieces of bubble gum.
15. The hickeys on Rizzo’s neck in the diner scene were authentic, given to Stockard Channing by Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie. Talk about method acting!
16. The song “Greased Lighting” was originally supposed to be sung by Jeff Conaway, but John Travolta convinced producers to let him sing it instead.
17. John Travolta was disappointed when the last shot of the song “Sandy” ended with a cartoon hot dog jumping into a bun. “He wanted a close-up [on him],” director Randall Kleiser told The New York Post. “But that hot dog was fantastic. I didn’t want to shoot the close-up because I loved the hot dog. That was a battle, but I won.”
18. Although he was taller than John Travolta, Jeff Conaway slouched when he was filmed with the star so he would appear taller.
19. Most of the dancers had character names like Sauce, Trix, Cee Cee, Woppo and Bubba, even though they were never used in the movie.
20. It was 116 degrees during the filming of the Rydell prom scene, which took two weeks to film in a downtown Los Angeles gymnasium. Several extras were treated for heat-related illnesses.
21. The late Annette Charles (Cha Cha), who had been in the hospital undergoing tests for pain, checked herself out to film the drag race scene. That night, she was rushed into surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.
22. The producers had hoped for a product placement deal with Coke, but it fell through. There are several shots of Coca-Cola products and signs in the scenes taking place in the Frosty Palace that had to be blurred out or digitally removed.
23. After the success of the movie, Paramount had plans for a Grease franchise, featuring three more movies and a TV series. But when Grease 2 flopped in 1982, these plans were put on hold.
24. Randall Kleiser originally wanted to direct the song “It’s Raining on Prom Night” as a Singin’ in the Rain-esque sequence with Sandy, but that was vetoed in favor of a new ballad, “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
25. The actors behaved almost like real high-school students on set. "We were so bad," Susan Buckner, who played Patty Simcox, told People. "Almost everybody would come in two, three hours late. They had to bring us all in and give us a lecture."
26. Jamie Donnelly had prematurely grey hair, so she had to dye it black to play Jan.
27. Jeff Conway (Kenickie), later married Rona Newton-John, Olivia’s sister. They both passed away; Jeff in 2011 and Rona in 2013.
28. Grease only cost $6 million to make, but has taken in $400 million internationally to date, making it the highest-grossing movie musical of all time.29. According to her autobiography, Adrienne Barbeau, the original Rizzo from the Broadway show, didn’t audition for the movie because, at 32, she assumed she was too old to play a high school senior. When 33-year-old Stockard Channing was cast, Adrienne was so disappointed, she couldn’t bring herself to see the movie for decades. She did hear the soundtrack, however, and stated that she didn’t like the jazzy arrangement for “There Are Worse Things I Could Do,” preferring the simpler version from the play. We were lucky to get her on GH in 2010!
This is the blog for Friday. Please feel free to comment on the show and anything else.
PS. This is it for me for awhile. The queen arrives at midnight.
(Sounds like some secret code phrase, doesn't it?)
I am sure she will have something cooked up for Sunday Surgery.
Thanks as always for welcoming me into your backyard!