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20 Things You Might Not Know About Ghostbusters

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As Paul Feig's reboot of Ivan Reitman's classic sci-fi-horror-comedy readies to hit theaters, we're looking back at the film that started it all.

1. DAN AYKROYD FOUND INSPIRATION FOR THE MOVIE IN HIS FAMILY'S HISTORY.

Dan Aykroyd grew up surrounded by spiritualists. His great-grandfather, Samuel A. Aykroyd, was a noted nineteenth century psychic investigator who conducted séances at the Aykroyd family farmhouse in eastern Ontario with a medium named Walter Ashurst. This predilection for the paranormal was passed down to Aykroyd’s grandfather, Maurice, who was an engineer for the Bell Telephone Company. Maurice allegedly tried to use his know-how to create a high-vibration crystal radio that could contact the spirit world. Dan's father, Peter, kept a sizeable library of books about spooky subjects (including his great grandfather’s séances), which kept ghosts and ghouls in the back of young Aykroyd’s mind. After he left Saturday Night Live in 1979, he read an article about parapsychology in an American Society of Psychical Research publication, which inspired Ghostbusters.

2. GHOSTBUSTERS COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH DIFFERENT—AND MUCH BIGGER.

Aykroyd found comedic inspiration in films like Bob Hope's The Ghost Breakers, the horror-comedies of Abbott and Costello, and Bowery Boys fare like Spook Busters and Ghost Chasers. He went wild writing his original script, which took place in the future and had a much darker tone. The actors he had in mind for the three main protagonists were himself, John Belushi, and Eddie Murphy. His concept involved dozens of Ghostbuster groups fighting specters across time and different dimensions. The now-iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man—which is in the climax of the finished film—appeared much earlier (on page 20) and was one of 50 large-scale monsters that the Ghostbusters would do battle with. Eventual director Ivan Reitman estimated that the first script would have cost up to $300 million to produce—and that was in 1984.

3. JOHN BELUSHI STILL APPEARS IN THE FINAL FILM, IN SPIRIT.

Part of the reason Aykroyd had to recontextualize and rethink his idea—other than its implausible potential budget—was the tragic death of his fellow former SNL castmate John Belushi, whom he envisioned as the sarcastic Peter Venkman. The role was later immortalized by Bill Murray, another SNL alum, but the writers still wanted to honor Belushi by somehow involving him in the movie. When it came time to think up the design for the first ghost the group is commissioned to bust, Aykroyd conceived of a gross-looking, gluttonous, party-guy persona for the apparition as an ironic homage to his friend Belushi. The ghost made it to the screen and was later christened “Slimer.”

4. THE MOVIE HAD TO BE MADE IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

Once Aykroyd nailed down the general concept and the narrative of the film (but before he'd penned the final draft), he brought on Ivan Reitman, not only to direct, but also to sell the movie to a major motion picture studio. Reitman had previously directed the popular Bill Murray comedies Meatballs and Stripes—both of which had been co-written by another eventual Ghostbuster, Harold Ramis. Since Reitman had a relationship with Columbia Pictures (which produced Stripes), he approached pragmatic studio head Frank Price with Aykroyd’s outrageous one-sentence pitch—“Ghost janitors in New York”in May 1983. While admittedly skeptical, Price was attracted to the project because the tripartite of comedy geniuses who had agreed to play the leads: Aykroyd, Murray, and Ramis.

Price asked Reitman just how much the outrageous-sounding movie would cost, and the director allegedly threw out a random guesstimate of $30 million. Price agreed on the budget and the movie with one stipulation—that it must have a firm release in June 1984, in time for the summer season. This was no small detail, considering this gave them only 12 months to finish the script, shoot the film, and create and finish the special effects. The rushed production schedule immediately forced Aykroyd, Ramis, and Reitman to retreat to rented houses on Martha’s Vineyard for a marathon three-week writing session to complete the final shooting script. Afterward, they immediately began prepping the shoot and scouting locations.

5. SIGOURNEY WEAVER GAVE A UNIQUE AUDITION.

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Despite the fact that the film began production with its three leads already cast, Reitman needed the right actress for another vital part of the film. For the role of Venkman’s headstrong love interest, Dana Barrett, Reitman chose Sigourney Weaver. She was eager to do a comedy after her amazing performance as Ripley in Ridley Scott’s Alien, so she tried something altogether different for her audition. She offered up a wordless scene where she turned into one of the grotesque dogs that do Gozer’s bidding, an act that allegedly involved writhing across the casting couch and loudly snarling at Reitman. The director was impressed—if not a little scared—and she got the part.

6. THE PART OF LOUIS TULLY WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR ANOTHER SECOND CITY ALUM.

For the loveable loser-turned whacked-out demon “Keymaster of Gozer” Louis Tully, Aykroyd thought of actor John Candy. The Canadian comedian had previously worked with him in 1941 and The Blues Brothers; with Reitman, Ramis, and Murray in Stripes; and for Ramis again in National Lampoon’s Vacation. But Candy envisioned Louis as a stern German man with a thick accent who kept dozens of dogs in his apartment. He also wanted the character rewritten and made into a starring role. Filmmakers preferred the original character that Aykroyd and Reitman had developed, so they gave the role to another member of the Second City troupe, Rick Moranis. The soft-spoken, bespectacled comic brought his own brand of misfit comedy and improv styles to the now-classic character—and he also provided his own wardrobe.

7. "EGON SPENGLER" WAS INSPIRED BY A FRIEND, AN INTELLECTUAL, AND AN UNKNOWN.

When trying to come up with the perfect name for his character—who was the brains of the Ghostbusters—co-writer Harold Ramis combined both personal and academic inspirations. “Egon” was the first name of Egon Donsbeck, a Hungarian exchange student at Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School who was Ramis' classmate when he grew up in Chicago. “Spengler” came from German historian and philosopher Oswald Spengler. For the "look" of his character, Ramis copied the style of an unknown guy he'd seen on the cover of an abstract architectural journal. He thought the man’s old three-piece tweed suit, wire-rim glasses, and puffed-up hair were perfect for his geeky parapsychologist.

8. GHOSTBUSTERS IS THOUGHT OF AS A NEW YORK MOVIE, BUT SOME SIMPLE MOVIE MAGIC WENT INTO MAKING ITS VARIOUS LOCATIONS.

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Come to New York and you can visit some key Ghostbusters locations. The exterior of the fully functioning FDNY Hook & Ladder #8 building at 14 North Moore Street in TriBeCa served as the Ghostbusters’ base of operations—definitely not a “demilitarized zone,” as Egon said. The building at 55 Central Park West housed the apartments of Dana Barrett and Louis Tully. The main branch of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is recognizable for the lions guarding its entrance, and Columbia University’s Havemeyer Hall served as the Weaver Hall Department of Psychology building that the guys are kicked out of at the beginning of the movie. Then there’s the legendary restaurant Tavern on the Green, where Louis was attacked by one of Gozer’s dogs.

But none of these places appear exactly as they do onscreen. The interior of the Ghostbusters' firehouse was actually an abandoned fire station in Los Angeles, and the rooftop temple scenes at Dana’s apartment were filmed at a huge set built on Stage 16 at Columbia Pictures (large-scale matte paintings were used for long shots). The early library scene where Egon is introduced was in fact filmed at the New York Public Library, but the scene where the three Ghostbusters come across the old librarian ghost in the stacks was actually shot across the country at the Los Angeles Public Library. Similarly, the Sedgewick Hotel—where the guys bust Slimer—wasn’t in New York at all; the exterior and interior shots were taken at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

9. THE ECTOMOBILE WAS ONE A KIND—AND THEN IT BROKE DOWN.

Out of the handful of iconic details from Ghostbusters is the Ectomobile, a 1959 Cadillac ambulance outfitted with gadgets and gizmos to help the guys bag pesky poltergeists. In a typical movie production, several similarly-adorned vehicles are used for stylistic and insurance purposes. (The production of Back to the Future, for instance, used three different DeLoreans.) Because the filming of Ghostbusters was so rushed, only one Ectomobile was put together. Naturally, everyone on set was very cautious around the then-25-year-old jalopy. While they handled the ambulance with care, the car broke down at the end of a shot of the Ecto driving across the Manhattan Bridge. Luckily, this didn't happen until after main production wrapped in New York City, but still, the car was DOA and wasn’t available for use again.

10. ONE VISUAL EFFECT SHOT OF SLIMER INVOLVED SOME SPRAY PAINT AND A PEANUT.

Visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund and his team—who also worked on such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, the original Star Wars trilogy, and Poltergeist—were given only 10 months to design, storyboard, build, and shoot every special effect in the film. The quick turnaround forced workers like animation supervisor Terry Windell to have to think on their feet, especially when the deadline got very tight. When a wide shot that featured Slimer quickly floating around a chandelier in the Sedgewick Hotel scene wasn’t coming out right, and time was running out, Windell spraypainted a small peanut green in order to mimic the green ghoul. The seconds-long shot depicted Slimer blurred and spinning, so detail wasn’t a factor, and the shot was used in the final print of the film. Windell revealed that the extreme tactics taken for certain shots proved that the effects team was “totally serious about making it stupid.”

11. DIRECTOR IVAN REITMAN MADE A COUPLE OF UNORTHODOX APPEARANCES IN THE MOVIE.

You won't see Reitman in Ghostbusters, but still, he does have a presence: For the noises of Slimer pigging out on a pile of food before he famously slimes Peter Venkman, Reitman stepped in to provide the gross-out grub-gorging sounds. Reitman’s naturally deep voice also proved perfect for the moment when Dana becomes possessed and says “There is no Dana, only Zuul,” which was later enhanced with special effects for a truly spooky result.

12. BILL MURRAY'S CADDYSHACK CHARACTER, CARL SPACKLER, APPEARED IN ONE SCENE THAT WAS CUT.

It isn’t specified, but the voice and mannerisms of the character that Murray plays opposite Dan Aykroyd in this deleted scene is eerily similar to Carl Spackler, the lowly groundskeeper he portrayed in the 1980 comedy masterpiece Caddyshack (which was directed and co-written by Harold Ramis). The scene was cut for time, mostly to get to the scene where Louis Tully is attacked by the demon dog chasing him, but one doesn’t have to wonder what it would have been like if the worlds of Caddyshack and Ghostbusters had collided in such a fashion.  

13. ONE OF THE FILM'S PRODUCERS CREATED THAT ICONIC LOGO.

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The most indelible icon from Ghostbusters is the famous “no-ghost” logo that appeared on the guys' car, their uniforms, and widely among advertisements and promotions for the movie. Associate producer Michael C. Gross, a bit of a renaissance man, designed the image. Prior to getting into the movie business as a producer, Gross served as an art consultant for The Muppets, John Lennon, and The Rolling Stones. He also served as art director for National Lampoon and Esquire in the 1970s.  

14. PRODUCTION SHUT DOWN CENTRAL PARK WEST, AND ISAAC ASIMOV WASN'T PLEASED.

While shooting exteriors in front of Dana’s apartment building, the production had permission to temporarily shut down traffic in the area surrounding West 65th Street and Central Park West. What they didn’t know was that it would disrupt traffic throughout Manhattan. During rush hour, cars backed up to Columbus Circle, eventually going all the way downtown. In fact, Aykroyd was concerned that they had inadvertently pushed the traffic jam all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. After receiving complaints, cast and crew members jokingly told others that the delay was caused by Francis Ford Coppola’s production of The Cotton Club, which was shooting in New York at the same time. One particularly ornery Upper West Side resident who complained was author Isaac Asimov, who stumbled on to the set and told Aykroyd that they were “inconveniencing” him. Aykroyd, a lifelong fan of the writer, smoothed things over by using the opportunity to lavish praise on the irritated Asimov.

15. “CROSSING THE STREAMS” WAS MADE UP ON THE SPOT.

The deus ex machina of the Ghostbusters crossing the streams of the proton packs helped them to—spoiler alert—defeat the Marshmallow Man and the evil demon Gozer at the end of the film. According to Ramis, this activity didn't appear in script. He and Aykroyd were unsure how to get the Ghostbusters out of the final scene alive, and because the nuclear technology behind the proton packs was “explained” with humorous techno-babble and mostly left up to the audience’s imagination, they came up with the idea of crossing the streams—an act which would somehow cause a cataclysmic shift in our dimension. After this decision was made, they added in some foreshadowing of the event to an earlier scene, only to revisit the concept in the climactic standoff at the end.

16. ON SET, THE MARSHMALLOW WAS REALLY SHAVING CREAM.

Once the Ghostbusters cross the streams, the rift between the two dimensions causes the Marshmallow Man to explode, raining down marshmallow on the unsuspecting New Yorkers below. But getting that amount of actual marshmallows to dump on the film’s extras was implausible. Instead, Edlund’s team collected 500-gallon batches of shaving cream to substitute for the remnants of Mr. Stay-Puft. William Atherton, who played EPA villain Walter Peck, was skeptical about having such a large amount of heavy cream dropped on him, so they tested the idea on a stuntman using only 75 pounds, and it knocked him to the ground. The stuntman was okay, and another smaller batch was collected to dump on Atherton for the final take in the film.

17. THE MOVIE ALMOST HAD TO CHANGE ITS NAME.

Once production wrapped, Reitman faced a situation that would possibly have derailed the whole movie. In the 1970s, Universal Studios had produced a live-action TV series titled The Ghost Busters, and their lawyers threatened legal action if the name of the movie wasn’t changed. Reitman, who had shot footage of the leads referring to themselves as the Ghostbusters and of massive crowds shouting “Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters!” was in deep trouble.

Luckily, Frank Pricethe head of Columbia Pictures and the man who originally green-lit the moviewas moving to Universal Studios to become the new studio head there, and allowed Reitman to keep the name for the film. But the legal snafu reared its head again when a TV cartoon was made out of the movie. To satisfy Universal, the Saturday- morning fare was labeled The Real Ghostbusters, so as to not legally confuse the two properties.

18. HUEY LEWIS WAS NOT A FAN OF THE THEME SONG.

Because his song "Holiday Road" was featured prominently in National Lampoon's Vacation (directed by Harold Ramis), Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was allegedly approached about a theme song for the film, but he passed on the project. Reitman hoped that Huey Lewis & The News would take the job, and even used their hit “I Want a New Drug” as a temporary filler song while cutting the film. Lewis declined as well, because he had already agreed to contribute the song “Back in Time” to Back to the Future and didn’t want to do any more soundtrack work. The filmmakers then approached Ray Parker Jr., who had sung hits with Raydio ("Jack and Jill") and was finding success as a solo artist as well. Unfortunately, the titular tune—with the often quoted “Who you gonna call?” and “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”—bore a striking resemblance to Lewis' "I Want a New Drug," so much so that the song's publishers sued for plagiarism. The suit was settled out of court, but you can decide for yourself with the mashup of the two songs above.

19. ELMER BERNSTEIN EXPERIMENTED WITH NEW INSTRUMENTS ON THE SOUNDTRACK.

Composer Elmer Bernstein wanted to go beyond a conventional orchestra for Ghostbusters, so he used both new and old technology. He included the then-cutting-edge Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer to create weird sounds that orchestral instruments couldn’t conjure up, and even employed an Ondes Martenot—a relatively obscure early electronic instrument created in 1928 by inventor Maurice Martenot—for additional otherworldly tones. You can hear it in the beginning and middle of the song above.

20. IVAN REITMAN WAS PETRIFIED DURING THE FILM'S FIRST TEST SCREENING.

On paper and out of context, Ghostbusters was an admittedly outrageous prospect for a feature film. During the movie’s first test screening, held for 200 random people at Columbia Pictures Studio only three weeks after principal photography wrapped, Reitman was utterly terrified. He was not only uncertain about the fundamental plot of the film, he was also concerned that perhaps-too-absurd major details (like the Marshmallow Man) might take audiences "out" of the movie. In addition, only one fully-completed effect shot was available for the test screening—one of the film's opening scenes, where an old librarian ghost transforms into a frightening ghoul. Reitman waited in the wings during the scene, and when audiences burst out laughing one second and hid their eyes the next, he knew that his fears were unfounded. And Reitman knew he had a major hit on his hands while walking around New York City during the second week of the film’s release, where he saw street vendors selling bootleg Ghostbusters T-shirts.

Additional Sources:
Ghostbusters Blu-ray special features
Esquire's Oral History
Peter Aykroyd's A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters

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18 Things You Might Not Know About Frasier
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The character of psychiatrist Frasier Crane was added to Cheers during the series’ third season as a temporary release for some of the Sam and Diane relationship tension. Dr. Crane was only supposed to be around for a few episodes, but thanks to a combination of good writing and Kelsey Grammer’s performance, Frasier became a series regular by Cheers's fifth season. He was so popular that he was eventually spun off into his own series, which premiered on September 16, 1993—and lasted an amazing 11 years. Here are some fun behind-the-scenes facts for all you Frasier fans.

1. THE ORIGINAL IDEA FOR THE SHOW HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH FRASIER.

Kelsey Grammer and the creative team behind Frasier (David Lee, David Angell, and Peter Casey) originally thought that any use of the Dr. Crane character would encourage unfair comparisons to Cheers, so their initial ideas involved Kelsey playing a paralyzed media mogul cared for by a street-smart nurse in a Manhattan penthouse. Paramount hated the idea and convinced all concerned that it would be unwise not to capitalize on the built-in Cheers audience.

2. THEY WANTED TO SET THE SHOW AS FAR AWAY FROM BOSTON AS POSSIBLE.

Once it was agreed that Grammer would continue as Dr. Crane, the creators still wanted to distance themselves from Boston and the whole "crossover syndrome." They knew that the network would insist on having former Cheers characters make guest appearances if the show was set anywhere in Massachusetts, so they moved Frasier across the country to Seattle. The gourmet coffee scene was just taking root in that area, which provided a central meeting place for the characters. The creators didn't want Frasier Crane to work in private practice, since that had already been done on The Bob Newhart Show. Grammer's resonant voice seemed natural for radio, so the concept of a call-in psychiatry show seemed natural.

3. LISA KUDROW COULD HAVE PLAYED ROZ ...

Future Friends star Lisa Kudrow originally won the role of Frasier’s producer, Roz Doyle. But during the third day of rehearsals prior to filming the pilot, the producers realized that while Kudrow was certainly funny enough, she just wasn’t forceful enough to match Grammer when he went all out. They needed a female “alpha dog” to play the part, so Kudrow was out and second choice Peri Gilpin was in. The character was named after Roz Doyle, one of the producers of Wings who died of breast cancer in 1991 at age 49.

4. ... AND ROSIE PEREZ WAS ALMOST DAPHNE.

Rosie Perez was this close to being psychic home health care worker Daphne. Grammer was pushing for the character to be a Latina, while the producers had their eye on Jane Leeves. Grammer’s main objection to the British Leeves was that the show might too closely resemble Nanny and the Professor, a warm and fuzzy family sitcom of the 1970s that starred Juliet Mills as an English nanny with psychic abilities. Grammer agreed to Leeves as the choice when his initial table reading with the actress went exceptionally well.

5. KELSEY GRAMMER SANG THE SHOW'S THEME SONG.

Composer Bruce Miller was given the challenging assignment of writing a theme song for the series that didn’t specifically mention psychiatry, radio, or the name “Frasier.” Lyricist Darryl Phinnesse came up with the cryptic phrase “tossed salad and scrambled eggs” as a metaphor for the “mixed up” patients that Dr. Crane saw regularly. Miller originally envisioned Mel Tormé singing the theme over the closing credits, but the producers preferred to employ Grammer’s golden throat.

6. THE SHOW'S DESIGNERS SPENT MAJOR MONEY FURNISHING FRASIER'S APARTMENT.

“So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place?” Frasier asked his father, Martin, in the pilot episode. “You know, every item here was carefully selected. The lamp by Corbu, this chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.” The show’s set designers spent almost half a million dollars to give Frasier’s apartment its “eclectic” look. The Coco Chanel replica sofa was covered with 24 yards of Italian suede for an estimated cost of about $15,000. The Eames chair was rented, but the Pastoe curved sideboard was purchased for $3,200 and the Wassily chair had a $1,395 price tag. Martin’s eyesore of a recliner was also on the pricey side, since the prop department couldn’t find an appropriately ugly chair at any second-hand store. The chair was eventually covered with tape and covered with fabric purchased from an exclusive shop that specialized in deliberately tacky 1970s-era textiles.

7. THE FIRST CUT OF THE PILOT WAS SIX MINUTES TOO LONG.

After seven passes, it still came in sixty seconds more than it should and the creative team decided they couldn’t cut any more. NBC agreed and said they would find the extra time—not by cutting a commercial, but by taking 15 seconds from the other 4 shows on that night.

8. JANE LEEVES WORKED WITH AN ACCENT COACH.

Leeves grew up just north of London, England, but since her character was from Manchester she used an affected Mancunian accent (which received a lot of criticism from fans when Frasier aired in the U.K.). Leeves worked with a voice coach to ensure that her accent would be understood by American viewers. John Mahoney, on the other hand, grew up in Manchester but emigrated to the U.S. when he was 19 years old. He concentrated on losing his accent shortly after settling in Illinois so that he would “blend in.”

9. THE CAST MEMBER WHO RECEIVED THE MOST FAN MAIL ISN'T THE ONE YOU MIGHT EXPECT.

When Frasier first started topping the Nielsen ratings every week, which cast member received the most fan mail? Eddie the dog. Leeves once wryly observed that when Entertainment Weekly used Frasier as a lead story in 1993, Eddie was the only cast member to appear on the cover. Eddie was portrayed by a Jack Russell Terrier named Moose, who'd originally been adopted by a family that wasn't aware of the breed's rambunctious nature. Moose had relentless energy—he dug holes in the back yard, chased anything in his path, chewed furniture and even climbed trees to escape his enclosure. His family gave him up to a rescue organization, which is where professional trainer Mathilde de Cagny discovered him. She decided he would be a good working dog because of his boundless energy and desire to always be doing something. Moose turned out to be an apt pupil, and learned to follow commands immediately. During the doggie auditions for the show, the producers were looking for a pooch that could stare endlessly at Kelsey Grammer (a running joke on the series), and Moose performed flawlessly, staring at Mathilde's outstretched index finger offstage until he was "released."

10. WHEN HE RETIRED, MOOSE WAS REPLACED BY HIS SON.

Moose retired at the age of 10 (after the end of Season 7) and his son Enzo took over the role of Eddie. Moose had been bred with the idea of achieving a look-alike replacement when it became obvious that Frasier would have a long run. Enzo had two siblings, a sister named Miko who was too small to play Eddie, and Moosie, who had noticeably different markings. Peri Gilpin, who played Roz, fell in love with Moosie and adopted him.

11. THE FRASIER WRITERS SOMETIMES WORKED SUBTLE HOMAGES TO CHEERS INTO THE SCRIPTS.

One famous example was the recreation of a scene where Sam and Diane were embroiled in a vicious argument that almost ended up in fisticuffs but instead resulted in a passionate embrace. Of course, when Frasier used the same tactic during a shouting match with financial analyst Julia Wilcox, he ended up being accused of sexual harassment.

12. MOST OF THE CHEERS CAST MADE APPEARANCES ON THE SHOW.

Most of the main Boston tavern regulars made appearances on Frasier. Lilith, logically, visited the most since she was Frasier’s ex and Frederick’s mom. Sam, Diane, and Woody all found themselves in Seattle for varying reasons, and a business trip to Boston in Season 9 enabled the Crane family to see the rest of the Cheers gang in one fell swoop. Noticeably absent, however, was Rebecca Howe, played by Kirstie Alley. Alley had contacted co-creator David Lee when Frasier was in the planning stages and informed him that as a Scientologist she did not believe in psychiatry and as a result would not be able to make an appearance on the series. Lee responded simply, “I don’t recall asking.”

13. THE EPISODE WHERE NILES CO-HOSTED HIS BROTHER'S SHOW WAS RE-WRITTEN WHEN GRAMMER WENT TO REHAB.

On the evening of September 21, 1996, Kelsey Grammer flipped his Dodge Viper (a gift from NBC) not far from his driveway in Agoura Hills, California. He wasn’t severely injured, but the resulting DUI arrest spurred him to check in at the Betty Ford Clinic. Frasier was on hiatus for the following three weeks due to the Major League Baseball playoffs, and the episode 4.05 (“Head Games”) was quickly rewritten to feature Niles hosting his brother’s radio program while Frasier was away at a convention. Grammer filmed his bit for the intro at a later date and it was tacked on to the show before broadcast.

14. THE PRODUCERS CREATED NILES SPECIFICALLY FOR DAVID HYDE PIERCE.

There wasn’t any particular plan in place to give Frasier a brother until the assistant casting director approached the creators with a photo of David Hyde Pierce in hand and asked, “Doesn’t he look like Kelsey did 10 years ago?” Startled by the physical resemblance, the creative team dug up some tapes of a short-lived Norman Lear-produced political sitcom called The Powers That Be, on which Pierce portrayed a shy, suicidal Congressman. A meeting was arranged with the actor and he was offered the newly created role of Niles Crane after a brief interview.

15. THE WRITERS EXPLAINED AWAY JANE LEEVES' PREGNANCY IN AN INTERESTING WAY.

Leeves was expecting in real life during Season 7, and her burgeoning baby bump was explained on the show as weight gain from Daphne’s sudden compulsive overeating as a method of dealing with her relationship with Niles. She was sent away to a spa for a few episodes and returned svelte (after daughter Isabella was born).

Roz’s pregnancy in Season 5, however, was strictly a plot device—an attempt by the writers to give the character a story arc of her own. Gilpin wasn’t with child, and she had a lot of explaining to do to friends and family members who thought she’d neglected to tell them about her impending motherhood. The entire Roz’s baby storyline was a misstep in retrospect, Gilpin and the producers agreed, and the infant remained behind the scenes for the most part because Grammer didn’t want the hassle of the tightly restricted work schedule of child actors.

16. EVEN THOUGH HE WAS RETIRED, MOOSE HAD ONE LAST CURTAIN CALL.

Moose was 14 when Frasier came to an end. The dog's fur had turned snow white and he was almost completely deaf, but his trainer carried him out onstage after the final episode taped so that the pooch could take his bows with the rest of the cast. David Hyde Pierce commented that it was one of the most moving moments of the evening, watching Moose recognize and react to the applause one last time.

17. KELSEY GRAMMER PLAYED FRASIER FOR A VERY, VERY LONG TIME ...

Counting the time he spent on Cheers, Kelsey Grammer played the character of Frasier Crane in prime time for 20 consecutive years, a record TV-land hadn’t seen since James Arness played Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke for the same length of time. Grammer's publicist invited Arness to join Kelsey on The Today Show in 2004, but according to Grammer, Arness rejected the idea with a brief expletive that rhymes with “duck shoe.”

18. GRAMMER IS THE FIRST AMERICAN ACTOR TO BE NOMINATED FOR THE SAME CHARACTER ON THREE DIFFERENT SERIES.

Cheers and Frasier are obvious, but Frasier Crane also made an Emmy-nominated guest appearance on Wings.

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20 Fun Facts About The Golden Girls
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Though The Golden Girls made its debut on September 14, 1985—exactly 32 years ago today—the series still remains fresh for generations of new viewers thanks to great writing and syndicated reruns. Here are 20 things you might not have known about Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia.

1. LEE GRANT WAS SERIES CREATOR SUSAN HARRIS'S FIRST CHOICE FOR DOROTHY.

Grant had starred in Harris's short-lived 1978 sitcom, Fay. Grant, however, was unenthusiastic about playing a grandmother, so the part was eventually offered to Bea Arthur. Though not immediately.

2. NBC WAS AGAINST CASTING BEA ARTHUR.

Harris actually wrote the role of Dorothy with Arthur in mind, having worked with the actress on several episodes of Maude. But then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff was against the idea, stating that Arthur’s “Q” score (a rating system of a performer’s audience appeal) was too low—she was recognizable, but not “loveable,” thanks to Maude’s liberal leanings. Broadway legend Elaine Stritch was a contender for the part, but she alienated the producers by improvising her dialogue and dropping an “F” bomb during her audition.

3. RUE MCCLANAHAN PUSHED BEA ARTHUR TO PURSUE THE PART.

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Rue McClanahan gave her reluctant Maude co-star the final push to convince her to give The Golden Girls a try. According to McClanahan, she phoned Arthur and asked her incredulously, “Why are you going to turn down the best script that’s ever going to come across your desk as long as you live?”

4. BETTY WHITE AND RUE MCCLANAHAN PASSED THE TIME WITH WORD GAMES.

Betty White had always been a fierce competitor when she appeared on Password back in the day, and she found a kindred spirit in Rue McClanahan when it came to word games. The two ladies frequently played alphabet games in between takes throughout the entire day of taping.

5. ESTELLE GETTY WAS ONE YEAR YOUNGER THAN HER TV DAUGHTER.

During the show's first season, it took the makeup department 45 minutes to transform Getty into Sophia Petrillo. That aging process became even more complex when Getty turned up looking even younger when season two began (she’d had a facelift during the summer hiatus).

6. GETTY SUFFERED FROM EXTREME STAGE FRIGHT.

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McClanahan recalled that Getty would seem to have a “black cloud” hanging over her head beginning Thursdays during dress rehearsal. During Friday tapings she would often freeze on camera. She was the least experienced actress of the four, and it intimidated her. In a 1988 interview she stated that working every week with talent like Arthur and White scared her out of her wits. She felt like a fraud and worried that the fans would “find out” that she wasn’t as good as her co-stars.

7. MCCLANAHAN'S FAVORITE EPISODE WAS "JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF ATTENTION."

It's the season seven episode in which Dorothy uncharacteristically becomes popular at The Rusty Anchor, Blanche’s favorite place for meeting men. At McClanahan's request, the producers hired choreographer Gregory Scott Young to carefully stage the scene where Blanche seductively sings “I Want to Be Loved by You” on top of a grand piano while encountering one mishap after another.

8. QUEEN ELIZABETH IS A HUGE GOLDEN GIRLS FAN.

The Queen invited the stars of the show to perform live at 1988’s Royal Variety Performance in London. The Girls reenacted two of their kitchen table scenes (with a bit of censoring, so as not to offend any royal sensibilities). One line that was surprisingly left intact was Sophia’s interjection to Dorothy’s question to Blanche about how long she had waited to have sex again after her husband had died. The then-88-year-old Queen Mum was spotted in the Royal Box chuckling heartily at Sophia’s risqué response: “Until the paramedics came.”

9. THERE WERE ONLY THREE CHAIRS AT THE KITCHEN TABLE.

NBC

Eagle-eyed fans have noticed over the years that although there were four women living in the Miami house, there were always only three chairs around that famous kitchen table. That was strictly due to the limitations of filming—to avoid either squeezing all four shoulder-to-shoulder or having one actress with her back to the camera. Bea was always given the center chair, both because of her height and also in order to catch her priceless facial expressions.

10. THE OTHER CHARACTERS' PLACEMENT AT THE TABLE WAS SITUATION-DEPENDENT.

The placement of the other characters around the table depended upon the particular situation, and which character might need to exit the kitchen. On those occasions when all four characters had to be seated, a tall stool was scooted up to the outskirt of the conclave.

11. THE KITCHEN SET WAS A HAND-ME-DOWN.

Speaking of that iconic kitchen: the main reason for its particular design was that it was a set left over from another short-lived Harris sitcom called It Takes Two. It starred Richard Crenna and Patty Duke Astin as a dual-career couple—he was a doctor, she was a lawyer—with two teenaged children.

12. DOROTHY BORROWED HER LAST NAME FROM THE SHOW'S STAGE MANAGER.

Dorothy’s last name was lifted from Kent Zbornak, who worked as the stage manager for the show for the entire run of the series. Susan Harris had worked with Kent on Soap in 1977 and fell in love with his surname.

13. WHITE'S FAVORITE EPISODE WAS "A LITTLE ROMANCE."

In this first season episode, Rose is reluctant to introduce the ladies to her new boyfriend, psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Newman, because he is a little person. White said that despite the fact that “every ‘short’ joke in the book” was used, none of the humor was truly hurtful.

14. ARTHUR DID NOT HAVE PIERCED EARS.

All of those “crazy earrings” (Arthur's words) that Golden Girls stylist Judy Evans gave Dorothy were clip-ons. Arthur loved the dramatic effect of the jewelry, but hated that her ears were numb with pain by the end of the day.

15. GETTY HAD A PHOBIA ABOUT DEATH.

Which was a definite handicap when starring in a show about four senior women. It was a tribute to Getty's acting skills that Sophia always seemed very nonchalant and effortlessly tossed off quips in funeral home scenes.

16. MCCLANAHAN GOT TO KEEP BLANCHE'S CLOTHES.

McClanahan had a clause written into her contract that allowed her to keep all of Blanche’s custom-made clothing. She reportedly had 13 closets full of the designer duds.

17. ONE EPISODE WAS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FOR SUSAN HARRIS.

The two-part episode entitled “Sick and Tired” was based on Susan Harris’ real-life struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, and Dorothy’s struggle to find a doctor who would take her symptoms seriously is still relevant for many women. A 2011 study showed that 62 percent of doctors referred men to cardiologists when they complained of chest pain and shortness of breath, while less than 30 percent did the same for their female patients—instead, they counseled those women to “take it easy” and prescribed them anti-anxiety medications.

18. BLANCHE'S MIAMI HOME WAS LOCATED IN LOS ANGELES.

Even though the Girls’ official address was 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, Florida, the original exterior shots of Blanche’s house were of a home located at 245 North Saltair Avenue in Los Angeles, California. According to real estate records, that 2901-square-foot house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms and is valued at a little over $3 million. The house is still there, but is now surrounded by high walls and foliage to discourage curious fans.

19. DOROTHY'S FLAT SHOES WERE A NOD TO ARTHUR'S PERSONAL STYLE.

The nearly 5-foot-10-inch actress once stated in an interview that when she was younger she wished she could wear heels, but that would have meant towering over most of her dates in high school, then later over the actors she worked with in the theater. By the time “heightism” was no longer a concern, Arthur found that she couldn’t balance properly or walk elegantly in even one-inch heels.

20. THE SHOW INTRODUCED A NEW WORD TO TELEVISION VIEWERS.

The Golden Girls introduced a new word to non-Floridian viewers: lanai. Architecturally speaking, a lanai is a porch or veranda with a cement floor and an awning and is sometimes also enclosed by screens. Of course, we can always count on Sophia to simplify matters:

Dorothy: We are throwing a surprise birthday party for Blanche. I want you to go out to the lanai and mingle with the other guests.
Sophia: Check! ...What's a lanai?
Dorothy: The porch!
Sophia: Excuse me, Krystle Carrington!

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