I don't really have an anecdotal explanation for today's Quick 10. It's pretty self explanatory"¦ it's really large creative works. In fact, the largest creative works of their kind. That's all I have for you! Plus, I'm conserving my energy today for all of the Hawkeye-bashing I'm required to do tomorrow. Without further ado"¦
1. The longest musical performance. It began on September 5, 2001, and won't end for another 639 years. It's called, appropriately, As Slow As Possible. This work by John Cage is so slow that the first note of it wasn't actually heard until February 5, 2003. That's when the first chord was played"¦ it lasted until July 5, 2005. The most recent note was played on January 5, 2006, and will last until July 5, 2012. The specific number of 639 years was chosen because the work is played on an organ, and it's estimated that 639 years is about how long an organ will last.
2. If you've ever been to the Bellagio in Las Vegas, you've seen the largest glass sculpture "“ it's the Fiori di Como on the ceiling. It's 2,000 feet. It took more than 100 people to create, about 10,000 pounds of steel, and about 40,000 pounds of hand-blown glass. There are more than 2,000 pieces of individual glass.
3. The Yongle Dadian Encyclopedia is the world's largest encyclopedia. It was commissioned in 1403 by Chinese Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle. Texts of at least 8,000 ancient works were included. It was almost destroyed in 1557 when a fire ravaged the Forbidden City; after such a close call another copy was made. There were only three copies ever made, less than 400 volumes of those three copies still survive. No one knows what happened to the original, although many suspect it is hidden in the Yongling tombs.
4. The longest epic is the Epic of King Gesar.
According to legend, King Gesar ruled the Kingdom of Ling and the epic tells of his various battles and adventures. If all of the volumes were put together, it's estimated that it would be more than 120 volumes, more than 20 million words and more than a million verses.
5. The longest-running T.V. show is Meet the Press. It first aired on November 6, 1947. You can still see it every Sunday morning. The first guest ever was James Farley, who was the former Postmaster General and the former DNC Chair. 6. As our friend Andy Luttrell told us, The Cure for Insomnia is the longest movie ever, clocking in a 87 hours. It consists of the writer reading his poem of the same title, mixed with clips of porn and heavy metal. That would certainly cure any insomnia I had...
7. Speaking of poems, the longest poem (thus far) is the MahÄbhÄrata. It's has more than 74,000 verses and about 1.8 million words. It talks about human goals and likely dates back about the eighth century, B.C.
8. The biggest cork mosaic. I didn't even realize this was an artistic category, but I suppose there's artistry in almost everything, if you want there to be. Just recently "“ September 4, to be exact, an Albanian artist made a 998 square foot mosaic out of 229,675 bottle corks.
9. In June, a painting nearly 663 feet long was created in China. The coolest part? It was a paint-by-number, making it the largest paint-by-number ever. More than 400 artists helped create the painting, and kids from the Dandong Youth and Children Palace painted it. The scene depicted the picturesque view of Yalu River banks.
10. The same guy responsible for the cork mosaic also made the largest-ever toothpick mosaic. It's 86.11 square feet and used 1.5 million toothpicks. Even though he just set the cork mosaic record about a week ago, he's already figuring out what to do next.
John Hughes penned the script for 1983's Mr. Mom, a comedy about a family man named Jack Butler (Micheal Keaton) who loses his job. To ensure their three kids are taken care of, his wife, Caroline (Teri Garr), goes back to work—leaving Jack to fight off a vacuum cleaner and learn why it's never a good idea to feed chili to a baby.
In 1982, Keaton turned in a star-making role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift, but Mr. Mom marked the first time he headlined a movie, and it launched his career. Hughes had written National Lampoon's Vacation, which—oddly enough—was released in theaters the weekend after Mr. Mom. But Hughes himself was still a relative unknown, as it would be another year before he entered the teen flick phase of his career, which would make him iconic.
In the meantime, Mr. Mom hit home for a lot of viewers, as the economy was on the downturn and more and more women were entering (or reentering) the workforce. But some people think that the movie's ending—which sees the couple revert to traditional gender roles—sidelined the movie's message. Still, on the 35th anniversary of its release, Mr. Mom remains an ahead-of-its-time comedy classic.
1. IT'S BASED ON A TRUE STORY.
Mr. Mom producer Lauren Shuler Donner came across a funny article John Hughes had written for National Lampoon. Based on that, she contacted him and the two became friends. “One day, he was telling me that his wife had gone down to Arizona and he was in charge of the two boys and he didn’t know what he was doing,” Donner told IGN. “It was hilarious! I was on the floor laughing. He said, ‘Do you think this would make a good movie?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, this is really funny.’ So he said, ‘Well, I have about 80 pages in a drawer. Would you look at it?’ So I looked at it and I said, ‘This is great! Let’s do it!’ We kind of developed it ourselves.” In the book Movie Moguls Speak, Donner mentioned how Hughes “had never been to a grocery store, he had never operated a vacuum cleaner. John was so ignorant, that in his ignorance, he was hilarious.”
The players involved with the movie told Donner and Hughes they thought it should be a TV movie. Hughes had a TV deal with Aaron Spelling, who came aboard to executive produce. “Then the players involved were upset because John was writing out of Chicago instead of L.A.,” Donner said in Movie Moguls Speak. “They fired John and brought in a group of TV writers. In the end, John and I were muscled out. It was a good movie, but if you ever read John’s original script for Mr. Mom, it’s far better.”
2. JOHN HUGHES REJECTED THE IDEA OF DIRECTING MR. MOM.
Stan Dragoti ended up directing the film, but only after Hughes turned it down, because he preferred to make his movies in Chicago, not Hollywood. “I don’t like being around the people in the movie business,” Hughes told Roger Ebert. “In Hollywood, you spend all of your time having lunch and making deals. Everybody is trying to shoot you down. I like to get my actors out here where we can make our movies in privacy.” Hughes remained in Chicago and filmed his directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, there.
3. MICHAEL KEATON GOT THE ROLE BECAUSE OF NIGHT SHIFT.
In 1982’s Night Shift, Keaton’s character works at a morgue and starts a prostitution ring with co-worker Henry Winkler. Donner had an agent friend, Laurie Perlman, who represented the not-yet-famous actor. She contacted Donner and pitched Keaton to her. “’Look, I represent this guy who is really funny. Would you meet with him?’" Donner recalled of the conversation. "So I met with him. Usually I don’t like to do this unless we’re casting, but I met with him because she was my friend. And then she said, ‘You have to see this movie Night Shift that he’s in.’ So I went to see Night Shift, and midway through I couldn’t wait to get out of that theater to give Mr. Mom to Michael Keaton. Fortunately, he liked it."
Keaton told Grantland that he turned down one of the main roles in Splash to play Jack Butler. “I just remember at the time thinking I wanted to get away from what I’d just done on Night Shift,” he said. “I thought if I do it again, I might get myself stuck. So then Mr. Mom came along. So I said no [to Splash] so I could set up this framework right away where I could do different things.”
4. THE FILM BROKE NEW GROUND.
In 1983, more women stayed at home than worked, so it was a novelty for a man to be a stay-at-home dad. Today, an estimated 1.4 million men are stay-at-home dads, and 7 million men are their children's primary caregiver. “Mr. Mom became part of the vernacular,” Donner toldNewsweek. “Mr. Mom represented a segment of men who were at home dealing with the kids who, up until then, really hadn’t been heard from. That’s what really told me about the power of film, because it spoke for a lot of men. It also helped women, because I think that women sometimes, if you’re a housewife, you’re not really appreciated for what you do. This sort of made women feel better about what they did because they knew that men were understanding it.”
5. TODAY, “MR. MOM” IS CONSIDERED A PEJORATIVE TERM.
More than 30 years after the film’s release, stay-at-home dads feel the term “Mr. Mom” should die. The National At-Home Dad Network launched a campaign to terminate the phrase and instead have people refer to men as “Dad.” In 2014 Lake Superior State University voted to banish “Mr. Mom” from the lexicon.
“At least, the pop-culture image of the inept dad who wouldn’t know a diaper genie from a garbage disposal has begun to fade,” wroteThe Wall Street Journal, after declaring “Mr. Mom is dead.”
6. TERI GARR DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS A MESSAGE MOVIE.
The movie redefined gender roles, but when the producers pitched the premise to Garr, they hid the plot reversal. “They just told me it was about a guy who does the work that a woman does, because it’s so easy,” she told The A.V. Club. “And I went, ‘Oh, yeah. Ha ha.’ It’s so easy. All the women I know who stay home and take care of their kids, they go, ‘Oh yeah, this is easy.’ Hmm.”
7. MARTIN MULL IMPROVISED THE “220, 221” LINE.
The quote everyone remembers from the movie comes from Jack, holding a chainsaw, standing next to Ron Richardson (Martin Mull) and discussing what kind of wiring Jack will use in renovating the house: “220, 221, whatever it takes,” Jack says.
“We’re doing the scene and it was okay,” Keaton toldEsquire. “And I remember saying to the prop guy, ‘Go find me a chainsaw.’ When he comes back with it, he says, ‘You wanna wear these?’ And he holds up some goggles. I go, ‘Yeah.’ You know, they make me look crazy. And when Martin shows up, I know I should look under control, I’m not sweating it. I’m a dude. So we’re standing there, Martin pulls me aside and says, ‘You know what you ought to say? When I ask about the wiring, you oughta just deadpan: ‘220, 221.’ I died. It was perfect. I may have added ‘whatever it takes.’ But it was his.”
“That was a little ad-lib that we just threw in, but every carpenter or construction person I’ve ever worked with, they’re always quoting that line from Mr. Mom,” Mull told The A.V. Club.
8. MR. MOM OUTGROSSED HUGHES’S OTHER 1983 SUMMER MOVIE—VACATION.
Mr. Mom only opened on 126 screens on July 22, 1983, but managed to gross $947,197 during its opening weekend. Once the film went wide a month later to 1235 screens, it hit number one at the box office and spent five weeks at the top. By the end of its run, the film had grossed just shy of $65 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 1983 (just between Staying Alive and Risky Business). National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes’s other film that summer, came out July 29 and ended its theatrical run with $61,399,552 (at its height, it showed on 1248 screens). Vacation finished the year in 11th place.
9. THE MOVIE LED TO HUGHES BEING CALLED “A PURVEYOR OF HORNY SEX COMEDIES.”
During a 1986 interview with Seventeen magazine, Molly Ringwald asked the writer-director why he never showed teen sex in Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club. “In Sixteen Candles, I figured it would only be gratuitous to show Samantha and Jake in anything more than a kiss,” he said. “The kiss is the most beautiful moment. I was really amused when someone once called me a ‘purveyor of horny sex comedies.’ He listed The Breakfast Club and Mr. Mom in parentheses. I thought, ‘What kind of sex?’ Yes, in Mr. Mom there’s a baby in a bathtub and you see its bare butt.”
10. MR. MOM WAS MADE INTO A TV MOVIE AFTER ALL.
In the beginning, producers wanted Mr. Mom to be a TV movie, not a feature film. But a year after the film came out in theaters, ABC produced a TV movie called Mr. Mom, with the same characters and premise. Barry Van Dyke played Jack and Rebecca York played Caroline. A People magazine review of the movie stated: “They and their three kids are immediately likable … But it goes downhill from there as the script lobotomizes all its characters. Here’s a textbook case in how TV takes a cute idea—and a script that does have some good lines—and leeches the wit out of it.”