12 Surprising Facts About Riverdale

The CW
The CW

Based on the classic Archie Comics, the CW’s Riverdale takes a darker, Twin Peaks-like twist on characters Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, and Jughead Jones. For one, this show has a whole lot of murder.

Trying to figure out who the unknown “Black Hood” murderer is has been an addicting draw for fans since the series first aired in 2016. And while the real lives of Riverdale's stars and the production of the show isn’t nearly as dramatic as the series, that doesn't make them any less fascinating. Just ahead of the series' return, we've gathered up some things you might not know about Riverdale.

Warning: Spoilers for all aired episodes ahead.

1. RIVERDALE WAS ORIGINALLY PITCHED AS A TIME-TRAVELING MOVIE.

Before Riverdale came to its current iteration, there were a few other out-there ideas for what it could be. One pitch from someone at Warner Bros. saw Archie as a time-traveler, in a movie where the redhead protagonist would be played by Louis CK. (Yep, this happened.)

"We spent about a month trying to figure out how to do a high-concept Archie movie and that’s kind of the exact opposite of what we wanted to do,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained during the CW’s 2017 Winter Television Critics Association panel. Eventually, they went against what was pitched and decided Riverdale would be a TV show … minus any time travel.

2. JUGHEAD ONLY HAS ONE BEANIE.

Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart in 'Riverdale'
The CW

Jughead Jones’ beanie in Riverdale is extremely important to the character, similar to his iconic crown in the comics. Given this, it’s surprising to learn Cole Sprouse only has one beanie that he wears every single day during filming. Apart from the obvious fact that it probably smells, it’s a little peculiar to only have one copy of a staple piece of costume.

While appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Sprouse allowed Fallon to try on the beanie, but warned him not to smell it. "Same one, still smells like Mane and Tail," Sprouse explained. "We did get another one at the end of last season, but it was stolen when I placed it on a lunch table in the scene where Cheryl slapped Jughead."

3. THE POP’S DINER SET LOOKS SO REAL, PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS.

Not only is Pop’s Diner the place to go for the characters on Riverdale, people in real life have actually been enamored by it and tried to eat there, as they thought the set was real. While doing a Reddit AMA, Sprouse revealed that because their onset location is near an “industrial thoroughfare,” it isn’t uncommon for “hungry 18-wheelers” to pull into the filming lot thinking they could get a quick bite to eat at Pop’s.

However, the Pop’s used in the Riverdale pilot actually is a real restaurant, called Rocko’s Diner in Mission, British Columbia.

4. KJ APA BROKE HIS HAND DURING THE SEASON ONE FINALE.

Cole Sprouse and K.J. Apa in 'Riverdale'
The CW

In the season one finale of Riverdale, Archie Andrews heroically saves Cheryl Blossom from drowning in a frozen lake, and in real life, KJ Apa might’ve gone a bit too far with the Method acting. In the scene, Archie smashes through thick ice with his bare hand, and although Apa wasn’t actually punching real ice, he did do some real damage.

"That was a gnarly day of shooting, I'll tell you that much," Apa told TV Line. "I wasn't really punching the ice, but I got a little bit too excited. I was punching a foam mat … [that was] sitting on the ice … It was cold, so I didn't really feel it. It wasn't until 20 minutes after that I realized I broke my hand. I didn't tell anyone."

5. COLE SPROUSE AND CAMILA MENDES WENT TO COLLEGE TOGETHER.

Though they weren’t as close in circles as Jughead and Veronica, Riverdale co-stars Cole Sprouse and Camila Mendes attended New York University together. Though Mendes told Office Magazine that the two were not friends while at school, she did say that the actor was a familiar face on campus.

"There was a time when we had class in the same building so I would always see him outside, Mendes shared, before calling Sprouse a “weirdo” then. They’ve clearly come a long way since their NYU days.

6. EVERY RIVERDALE EPISODE IS BASED ON A MOVIE.

Cole Sprouse, Ashleigh Murray, Lili Reinhart, Asha Bromfield, K.J. Apa, and Hayley Law in 'Riverdale'
The CW

While it might be obvious to some die-hard fans, many viewers may not realize the significance of every episode title of Riverdale. All the episodes are the names of, or a variation of the names of, old movies. And it’s not just for aesthetic purposes, as they literally tell fans what the episode will be about.

Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Teen Vogue how much the episode titles reveal: "We usually work on the episode, and then, as we're going to the end of the breaking of the story, we're like, 'What's the title of this episode?'" he shared. "And then we have a list of provocative titles. Often the stories guide us."

If you’re keen on spoilers, just check out the upcoming episode titles for Riverdale, and you’ll probably figure quite a few things out.

7. SHOWRUNNERS WANTED SPROUSE TO PLAY ARCHIE.

Unlike most of the Riverdale stars, when Sprouse was initially approached about a role in the series, he wasn't interested. "At first ... I was immediately turned off," he told WWD. "But in more recent years, Archie comics have tried to stray away from the 'golly, shucks Arch, let’s go to the sock hop' thing."

When he agreed to audition, Sprouse was first asked to read for the role of Archie. However, the actor fell in love with Jughead and almost immediately knew he wanted that part. “He’s very much an outsider," Sprouse told WWD. "He has a pretty unique perspective because he’s seeing the town and the friendship and the friendships that are forming from a more objective point of view."

8. MADELAINE PETSCH’S FEAR OF WATER MADE FILMING DIFFICULT.

K.J. Apa and Madelaine Petsch in 'Riverdale'
The CW

In season one of Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom has many scenes by a large body of water. While viewers probably didn’t think twice about it, the actress behind the redheaded River Vixen had a seriously tough time shooting the parts.

"I'm afraid of open bodies of water. I was in a glass-bottomed boat that broke a long time ago, so I've always been kind of freaked out," Madelaine Petsch told Glamour. The actress originally thought she could have a stunt double for her opening boat scene, and had a panic attack prior to having to do it herself. However, she confirmed that the fear was only temporary. "Once we started shooting, I was fine," Petsch said.

9. COLE SPROUSE FOUGHT FOR JUGHEAD TO BE ASEXUAL.

Fans of the Archie Comics might find it weird that in Riverdale, Jughead has a love interest. Fans of just the show, and not the comics, probably have no idea why that would be strange. In the more recent comic book versions, Jughead is actually asexual, something that was revealed once Riverdale had already started production. "The day I was cast was actually the same day he was announced as canonically asexual," Sprouse told Glamour. "It wasn't in the Digest—it was in [Chip] Zdarsky's universe, so it was in one of the newer comics that was written."

“I think, in this show, he’s not a romantic and not asexual,” Sprouse continued. “I argued in the beginning, creatively, that he should be both, but in this show, he’s kind of a tortured youth that ends up finding a comfort and a resonance with another person who’s going through a lot of trauma.”

Though Jughead has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Betty, Sprouse is still open to the representation of asexuality. “If it ends up finding a place in Riverdale and in future seasons, then hopefully we'll do it with tact and in a way that respects what it is and how it resonates,” Sprouse said.

10. VANESSA MORGAN GOT DEATH THREATS WHEN SHE JOINED THE SHOW.

Vanessa Morgan in 'Riverdale'
The CW

Before Jughead and Toni Topaz kissed or began their mini-fling, viewers were already enraged about the possibility of the character breaking up Jughead and Betty (a.k.a. Bughead). In the end, Vanessa Morgan—the actress who plays Toni—was put on the receiving end of much of this fan anger.

Morgan revealed to Glamour that fans were sending her some pretty awful messages upon her introduction. "She's a Southside Serpent, a gang member, and Jughead's first friend," Morgan teased at the time. "So I might stir up the pot a bit with the Bughead relationship. There might be a little love triangle."

"I’ve already had some death threats," Morgan added. "But the thing is, it's half death threats because they don't want that [actually] happening, and there's half that's just all love.” Luckily, the actress didn’t take the fandom to heart.

11. SPROUSE IS IN TALKS TO WRITE RIVERDALE COMIC SPIN-OFFS.

Not only is Sprouse a fan of Riverdale and the Archie Comics the show is based on, but he actually wants to try writing comics based on the world, and seemingly will do so sometime in the future.

When asked if he’s ever reached out to the comic book writers about collaborating, Sprouse told Vulture: “Not so much with the comics creators. Now there’s a Riverdale universe that’s gonna take off in print form now, too. Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] has talked to me about writing a couple of those, which would be awesome. I’d love to try my hand at that.”

12. 13 REASONS WHY STAR KATHERINE LANGFORD AUDITIONED FOR BETTY COOPER.

Katherine Langford in '13 Reasons Why'
Beth Dubber, Netflix

The leading lady in another favorite teen series had her shot at playing Betty Cooper, according to Camila Mendes. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Mendes revealed she auditioned with Katherine Langford, before Langford was cast in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. “I remember we went out and we got falafel with a guy who was auditioning for Archie,” Mendes said of the day.

The role of Betty eventually went to Lili Reinhart, which clearly worked out for the best. Although Langford is done with the Netflix series, she gained major attention from her role as Hannah Baker, and Reinhart fits the Riverdale role perfectly.

Disney's Most Magical Destinations Have Been Reimagined as Vintage Travel Posters

UpgradedPoints.com
UpgradedPoints.com

Many of the iconic settings of animated Disney movies were modeled after real places around the world. Ussé Castle in France’s Loire Valley, for example, is widely rumored to have been the inspiration behind the original Sleeping Beauty story. (Although the castle in the movie more closely resembles Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle.) Likewise, the fictional island in Moana was made to look like Samoa, and the Sultan’s palace in Aladdin shares some similarities with India's Taj Mahal.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring Agrabah or Neverland, then you’ll probably enjoy getting lost in these Disney-inspired travel posters from the designers at UpgradedPoints.com, an online resource that helps individuals maximize their credit card travel rewards. Only one of the posters features a real destination ("Beautiful France"), but these illustrations let you get one step closer to scaling Pride Rock or plumbing the depths of Atlantica.

All of the images are rendered in a vintage style with enticing slogans attached—much like the exotic travel posters that were prevalent in the 1930s.

“A few of our designers wanted to capture that longing to experience the true locations of these fantastic films, and the inner child in all of us couldn’t resist seeing how they interpreted the locations of their favorite films,” UpgradedPoints.com writes. “The results are breathtaking and make us wish we could fall into our favorite Disney movies.”

Keep scrolling to see the posters, and for more travel inspiration, read up on eight real-life locations that inspired Disney places (plus one that didn't).

A Disney-inspired poster of France
UpgradedPoints.com

An Atlantica travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Disney-inspired poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Lion King travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

A Neverland travel poster
UpgradedPoints.com

11 Memorable Facts About Cats the Musical

Mike Clarke/Getty Images
Mike Clarke/Getty Images

“It was better than Cats!” Decades after Andrew Lloyd Webber's famed musical opened on Broadway on October 7, 1982, this tongue-in-cheek idiom remains a part of our lexicon (thanks to Saturday Night Live). Although the feline extravaganza divided the critics, it won over audiences of all ages and became an industry juggernaut—one that single-handedly generated more than $3 billion for New York City's economy—and that was before it made a return to the Great White Way in 2016. In honor of Andrew Lloyd Webber's birthday on March 22, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

1. The work that Cats the musical is based on was originally going to include dogs.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, published in 1939, is a collection of feline-themed poems written by the great T. S. Eliot. A whimsical, lighthearted effort, the volume has been delighting cat fanciers for generations—and it could have become just as big of a hit with dog lovers, too. At first, Eliot envisioned the book as an assemblage of canine- and tabby-related poems. However, he came to believe that “dogs don’t seem to lend themselves to verse quite so well, collectively, as cats.” (Spoken like a true ailurophile.) According to his publisher, Eliot decided that “it would be improper to wrap [felines] up with dogs” and barely even mentioned them in the finished product.

For his part, Andrew Lloyd Webber has described his attitude towards cats as “quite neutral.” Still, the composer felt that Eliot’s rhymes could form the basis of a daring, West End-worthy soundtrack. It seemed like an irresistible challenge. “I wanted to set that exciting verse to music,” he explained. “When I [had] written with lyricists in the past … the lyrics have been written to the music. So I was intrigued to see whether I could write a complete piece the other way ‘round.”

2. "Memory" was inspired by a poem that T.S. Eliot never finished.

In 1980, Webber approached T.S. Eliot’s widow, Valerie, to ask for her blessing on the project. She not only said “yes,” but provided the songwriter with some helpful notes and letters that her husband had written about Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats—including a half-finished, eight-line poem called “Grizabella, the Glamour Cat.” Feeling that it was too melancholy for children, Eliot decided to omit the piece from Practical Cats. But the dramatic power of the poem made it irresistible for Webber and Trevor Nunn, the show’s original director. By combining lines from “Grizabella, the Glamour Cat” with those of another Eliot poem, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night,” they laid the foundation for what became the powerful ballad “Memory.” A smash hit within a smash hit, this showstopper has been covered by such icons as Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow.

3. Dame Judi Dench left the cast of Cats when her Achilles tendon snapped.

One of Britain’s most esteemed actresses, Dench was brought in to play Grizabella for Cats’s original run on the West End. Then, about three weeks into rehearsals, she was going through a scene with co-star Wayne Sleep (Mr. Mistoffelees) when disaster struck. “She went, ‘You kicked me!’” Sleep recalls in the above video. “And I said, ‘I didn’t, actually, are you alright?’” She wasn’t. Somehow, Dench had managed to tear her Achilles tendon. As a last-minute replacement, Elaine Paige of Evita fame was brought aboard. In an eerie coincidence, Paige had heard a recorded version of “Memory” on a local radio station less than 24 hours before she was asked to play Grizabella. Also, an actual black cat had crossed her path that day. Spooky.

4. To finance the show, Andrew Lloyd Webber ended up mortgaging his house.

Although Andrew Lloyd Webber had previously won great acclaim as one of the creative minds behind Jesus Christ Superstar and other hit shows, Cats had a hard time finding investors. According to choreographer Gillian Lynne, “[it] was very, very difficult to finance because everyone said ‘A show about cats? You must be raving mad.’” In fact, the musical fell so far short of its fundraising goals that Webber ended up taking out a second mortgage on his home to help get Cats the musical off the ground.

5. When Cats the musical came to Broadway, its venue got a huge makeover.

Cats made its West End debut on May 11, 1981. Seventeen months later, a Broadway production of the musical launched what was to become an 18-year run at the Winter Garden Theatre. But before the show could open, some major adjustments had to be made to the venue. Cats came with an enormous, sprawling set which was far too large for the theatre’s available performing space. To make some more room, the stage had to be expanded. Consequently, several rows of orchestra seats were removed, along with the Winter Garden’s proscenium arch. And that was just the beginning. For Grizabella’s climactic ascent into the Heaviside Layer on a giant, levitating tire, the crew installed a hydraulic lift in the orchestra pit and carved a massive hole through the auditorium ceiling. Finally, the theater’s walls were painted black to set the proper mood. After Cats closed in 2000, the original look of the Winter Garden was painstakingly restored—at a cost of $8 million.

6. Cats the musical set longevity records on both sides of the Atlantic.

The original London production took its final bow on May 11, 2002, exactly 21 years after the show had opened—which, at the time, made Cats the longest-running musical in the West End’s history. (It would lose that title to Les Miserables in 2006.) Across the pond, the show was performed at the Winter Garden for the 6138th time on June 19, 1997, putting Cats ahead of A Chorus Line as the longest-running show on Broadway. To celebrate, a massive outdoor celebration was held between 50th and 51st streets, complete with a laser light show and an exclusive after-party for Cats alums.

7. One theatergoer sued the show for $6 million.

Like Hair, Cats involves a lot of performer-audience interaction. See it live, and you might just spot a leotard-clad actor licking himself near your seat before the curtain goes up. In some productions, the character Rum Tum Tugger even rushes out into the crowd and finds an unsuspecting patron to dance with. At a Broadway performance on January 30, 1996, Tugger was played by stage veteran David Hibbard. That night, he singled out one Evelyn Amato as his would-be dance partner. Mildly put, she did not appreciate his antics. Alleging that Hibbard had gyrated his pelvis in her face, Amato sued the musical and its creative team for $6 million.

8. Thanks to Cats the musical, T.S. Eliot received a posthumous Tony.

Because most of the songs in Cats are almost verbatim recitations of Eliot’s poems, he’s regarded as its primary lyricist—even though he died in 1965, long before the show was conceived. Still, Eliot’s contributions earned him a 1983 Tony for Best Book of a Musical. A visibly moved Valerie Eliot took the stage to accept this prize on her late spouse’s behalf. “Tonight’s honor would have given my husband particular pleasure because he loved the theatre,” she told the crowd. Eliot also shared the Best Original Score Tony with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

9. The original Broadway production used more than 3000 pounds of yak hair.

Major productions of Cats use meticulously crafted yak hair wigs, which currently cost around $2300 apiece and can take 40 hours or more to produce. Adding to the expense is the fact that costumers can’t just recycle an old wig after some performer gets recast. “Each wig is made specifically for the actor,” explains wigmaker Hannah McGregor in the above video. Since people tend to have differently shaped heads, precise measurements are taken of every cast member’s skull before he or she is fitted with a new head of hair. “[Their wigs] have to fit them perfectly,” McGregor adds, “because of the amount of jumping and skipping they do as cats.” Perhaps it should come as no surprise that, over its 18-year run, the first Broadway production used 3247 pounds of yak hair. (In comparison, the heaviest actual yaks only weigh around 2200 pounds.)

10. A recent revival included hip hop.

In December 2014, Cats returned to the West End with an all-new cast and music. “The Rum Tum Tugger,” a popular Act I song, was reimagined as a hip hop number. “I’ve come to the conclusion, having read [Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats] again, that maybe Eliot was the inventor of rap,” Webber told the press.

11. Another revival featured an internet-famous feline for one night only.

On September 30, Grumpy Cat made her Broadway debut in Cats, briefly taking the stage with the cast. Despite being named Honorary Jellicle Cat, she hated every minute of it.

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