25 Fun Facts About A League Of Their Own

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

You know there's no crying in baseball, but here are 25 things you might not know about the 1992 classic, A League of Their Own.

1. THE MOVIE INSPIRED A VERY SHORT-LIVED TV SHOW OF THE SAME NAME.

It ran for one season in 1993 and although none of the marquee names from the movie came back for the small screen edition, Megan Cavanagh and Tracy Reiner reprised their roles as Marla Hooch and "Betty Spaghetti" Horn, respectively; Garry Marshall stayed on as Walter Harvey and even Jon Lovitz came back for one episode.

2. THE REAL LIFE FOUNDER OF THE ALL AMERICAN GIRLS PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL LEAGUE (AAGPBL) MADE HIS FORTUNE SELLING GUM, NOT CHOCOLATE BARS.

In the movie, the league’s owner and founder is a candy bar mogul; the real AAGPBL was started by Philip K. Wrigley, of the chewing gum and the Cubs.

3. THE ORIGINAL FOUR-HOUR CUT OF THE MOVIE GIVES A LOT MORE BACKSTORY FOR ALL THE GIRLS.

For instance, in one cut scene, Kit (Lori Petty) and Dottie (Geena Davis) discuss how after dating for a preposterously-long five years without commitment, Dottie married Bob the night he got drafted.

4. THE MANSION THAT SERVES AS WALTER HARVEY’S HOUSE HAS A SECRET BAR HIDDEN BEHIND A TRICK WALL.

Originally, a scene was made up specifically to incorporate the bar, but it was cut.

5. A SCENE FEATURING SOME VERY RETRO FEELINGS ABOUT PREMARITAL SEX WAS CUT FROM THE FILM.


Columbia Pictures Corporation - © 1992

The slimmed down version of the film lets Madonna's Mae keep her "All the Way" nickname, but a deleted scene shows Dottie advising Kit not to hang around such a bad influence. Dottie isn't sure if going "all the way" is something married women "get to" or "have to" do.

6. THE SCENE AT THE SUDS BUCKET BAR WAS ORIGINALLY MUCH LONGER.

The lengthier version shows Kit striking out a would-be-suitor who bets he can get a hit off her in exchange for little quality time out in his truck. Oh, and Tom Hanks' character, Jimmy Dugan, follows the girls to the bar and gives Kit some timely advice to win the wager.

7. APPROXIMATELY 2000 GIRLS CONVERGED ON UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S CAMPUS FOR THE AUDITIONS.

But none of them got to read for director Penny Marshall until they passed the baseball portion of the audition. Well, except for Geena Davis, who showed off her then-lacking baseball skills in Marshall’s backyard at their first meeting.

8. GARRY MARSHALL, WHO PLAYS WALTER HARVEY, IS PENNY MARSHALL’S BROTHER.

Garry Marshall joined the cast when someone dropped out and they needed a last-minute actor. Marshall, who passed away in 2016, was best known for his own work behind the camera; he directed Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and The Princess Diaries, among many other projects.

9. ROSIE O’DONNELL ORIGINALLY READ FOR THE PART OF MARLA.

When Megan Cavanagh proved to be perfect as Marla, a new part was written for O'Donnell, who was not only hilarious but one of the more talented ballplayers.

10. THE ONLY OTHER PART WRITTEN WITH A SPECIFIC ACTOR IN MIND WAS THE CURMUDGEONLY SCOUT, ERNIE CAPADINO.


Columbia Pictures Corporation - © 1992

It had to be Jon Lovitz.

11. MARLA'S HUSBAND, NELSON, MAKES CHEESE.

It was among the details lost when the Suds Bucket scene was shortened. But I think it really adds something to the movie.

12. BEFORE FILMING EVEN BEGAN, THE ACTRESSES ALL HAD TO HONE THEIR BASEBALL SKILLS.

They spent eight hours a day, six days a week for seven and half months participating in baseball training.

13. MADONNA WORKED AT LEAST AS HARD AS EVERYONE ELSE, BUT STILL STRUGGLED WITH SOME OF THE MORE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE GAME.

Her character, Mae, had to be moved from third base to the outfield because she couldn't master fielding ground balls.

14. SOME OF THE PEOPLE ON PRODUCTION WANTED JIMMY AND DOTTIE TO END UP TOGETHER, AND WHEN THAT IDEA WAS SCRAPPED, SO WERE THE KEY SCENES OF ROMANTIC TENSION.

Their conversation on the bus that stayed in the film may have seemed to hint at something more than friendship, but it's nothing compared to a cut scene in which Dottie watches Jimmy hit batting practice late at night. Jimmy tells Dottie how much he loves watching her play, claiming that she rivals Ty Cobb and Ted Williams. After Dottie admits how much she loves baseball, he kisses her. She runs into the clubhouse and, originally, this is where she starts packing her things and tells Ira Lowenstein, the AAGPBL general manager, that she has to go home.

15. DURING THEIR TRAINING CAMP, THE ACTRESSES LEARNED TO SLIDE ON A SLIP 'N SLIDE.

But that idea was scrapped after three of them ended up with concussions.

16. EACH CHARACTER HAD A “CLEAN” AND “DIRTY” UNIFORM THAT THEY WOULD WEAR DEPENDING ON IF THE SCENE THEY WERE FILMING TOOK PLACE AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF A GAME.

To get the "dirty" uniforms, they just went out and rolled around on the base paths.

17. EVERYTHING WAS AUTHENTIC, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE.

Between the hot wool uniforms, the un-webbed mitts and the lack of batting gloves, the period costumes made the baseball that much more difficult—and dangerous.

18. THE 1700 EXTRAS ALSO HAD TO SUFFER THROUGH THE EXTREME INDIANA HEAT IN PERIOD COSTUME.

To entertain them during down time, Rosie called a comedian friend of hers, who spent 10 weeks with the production. O'Donnell and Hanks also took turns entertaining the “fans.”

19. IN A CUT SCENE, WE SEE POST-MARRIAGE MARLA PLAYING WITH KIT ON THE RACINE BELLES.

She’s pregnant at the time and, although desperate to keep it secret from management, the players on both her team and the other teams agree to accommodate her. During the game, Dottie and Jimmy get into a fight about their relationship and she doesn’t notice Marla playing second base. On a double play ball, Dottie slides hard and takes out Marla who is removed on a stretcher. The other players accuse Dottie of stopping at nothing to win. Later, we learn that both Marla and the baby are fine but, in the original version of the movie, it is guilt over her actions that has Dottie in tears when Bob unexpectedly arrives.

20. O'DONNELL REALLY DOES THROW TWO BALLS TO TWO CATCHERS AT ONCE.

It's a trick she learned on set from one of the actual original members of the AAGPBL.

21. SIMILARLY, GEENA DAVIS REALLY DOES CATCH A POP UP BEHIND HER BACK.

It was supposed to be done by a stunt double, but the double was having trouble. So Davis gave it a go and, well, you've seen the result.

22. A LOT OF ACTUAL BASEBALL WAS PLAYED ON SET.

Marshall had the actresses play real games with multiple cameras running to get extra footage for in-game montages.

23. DURING THE SCENE WHERE THE SCOUT APPROACHES DOTTIE AND KIT IN THE BARN, A CALF WAS ACTUALLY BORN ON SET.

The calf was named "Penny" after the movie's director.

24. MADONNA’S CHARACTER CATCHES A BALL IN HER HAT IN ONE SCENE, BUT TECHNICALLY, THAT WOULDN’T HAVE COUNTED AS AN OUT.

Rules specifically state that for a fly ball to be an out, it has to be caught in the glove or hand.

25. THE EXTRAS IN THE HALL OF FAME SCENE ARE THE ACTUAL PLAYERS FROM THE AAGPBL.

As for Dottie and the rest of the Peaches, it's older actresses you're seeing, but the dialogue is dubbed with the younger actresses' voices.

15 Fascinating Facts About Schindler’s List

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List brought to the screen a story that had gone untold since the tragic events of the Holocaust. Oskar Schindler, a Nazi party member, used his pull within the party to save the lives of more than 1000 Jewish individuals by recruiting them to work in his Polish factory. Here are some facts about Spielberg’s groundbreaking film on its 25th anniversary.

1. The story was relayed to author Thomas Keneally in a Beverly Hills leather goods shop.

In October 1980, Australian novelist Thomas Keneally had stopped into a leather goods shop off of Rodeo Drive after a book tour stopover from a film festival in Sorrento, Italy, where one of his books was adapted into a movie. When the owner of the shop, Leopold Page, learned that Keneally was a writer, he began telling him “the greatest story of humanity man to man.” That story was how Page, his wife, and thousands of other Jews were saved by a Nazi factory owner named Oskar Schindler during World War II.

Page gave Keneally photocopies of documents related to Schindler, including speeches, firsthand accounts, testimonies, and the actual list of names of the people he saved. It inspired Keneally to write the book Schindler’s Ark, on which the movie is based. Page (whose real name was Poldek Pfefferberg) ended up becoming a consultant on the film.

2. Keneally wasn't the first person Leopold Page told about Oskar Schindler.

The film rights to Page’s story were actually first purchased by MGM for $50,000 in the 1960s after Page had similarly ambushed the wife of film producer Marvin Gosch at his leather shop. Mrs. Gosch told the story to her husband, who agreed to produce a film version, even going so far as hiring Casablanca co-screenwriter Howard Koch to write the script. Koch and Gosch began interviewing Schindler Jews in and around the Los Angeles area, and even Schindler himself, before the project stalled, leaving the story unknown to the public at large.

3. Schindler made more than one list.

Liam Neeson, Agnieszka Krukówna, Krzysztof Luft, Friedrich von Thun, and Marta Bizon in Schindler's List (1993)
Universal Pictures

Seven lists in all were made by Oskar Schindler and his associates during the war, while four are known to still exist. Two are at the Yad Vashem in Israel, one is at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and one privately owned list was unsuccessfully auctioned off via eBay in 2013.

The movie refers to the first two lists created in 1944, otherwise known as “The Lists of Life.” The five subsequent lists were updates to the first two versions, which included the names of more than 1000 Jews who Schindler saved by recruiting them to work in his factory.

4. Steven Spielberg first learned of Schindler in the early 1980s.

Former MCA/Universal president Sid Sheinberg, a father figure to Spielberg, gave the director Keneally’s book when it was first published in 1982, to which Spielberg allegedly replied, “It’ll make a helluva story. Is it true?”

Eventually the studio bought the rights to the book, and when Page met with Spielberg to discuss the story, the director promised the Holocaust survivor that he would make the film adaptation within 10 years. The project languished for over a decade because Spielberg was reluctant to take on such serious subject matter. Spielberg’s hesitation actually stopped Hollywood veteran Billy Wilder from making Schindler’s List his final film. Wilder tried to buy the rights to Keneally’s book, but Spielberg and MCA/Universal scooped them up before he could.

5. Spielberg refused to accept a salary for making the movie.

Though Spielberg is already an extremely wealthy man as a result of the many big-budget movies that have made him one of Hollywood’s most successful directors, he decided that a story as important as Schindler’s List shouldn’t be made with an eye toward financial reward. The director relinquished his salary for the movie and any proceeds he would stand to make in perpetuity, calling any such personal gains “blood money.” Instead, Spielberg used the film’s profits to found the USC Shoah Foundation, which was established in 1994 to honor and remember the survivors of the Holocaust by collecting personal recollections and audio visual interviews.

6. Before Spielberg agreed to make the movie, he tried to get other directors to make it.

Part of Spielberg’s reluctance to make Schindler's List was that he didn’t feel that he was prepared or mature enough to tackle a film about the Holocaust. So he tried to recruit other directors to make the film. He first approached director Roman Polanski, a Holocaust survivor whose own mother was killed in Auschwitz. Polanski declined, but would go on to make his own film about the Holocaust, The Pianist, which earned him a Best Director Oscar in 2003. Spielberg then offered the movie to director Sydney Pollack, who also passed.

The job was then offered to legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who accepted. Scorsese was set to put the film into production when Spielberg had an epiphany on the set of the revisionist Peter Pan story Hook and realized that he was finally prepared to make Schindler’s List. To make up for the change of heart, Spielberg traded Scorsese the rights to a movie he’d been developing that Scorsese would make into his next film: the remake of Cape Fear.

7. The movie was a gamble for Universal, so they made Spielberg a dino-sized deal.

When Spielberg finally decided to make Schindler’s List, it had taken him so long that Sheinberg and Universal balked. The relatively low-budget $23 million three-hour black-and-white Holocaust movie was too much of a risk, so they asked Spielberg to make another project that had been brewing at the studio: Jurassic Park. Make the lucrative summer movie first, they said, and then he could go and make his passion project. Spielberg agreed, and both movies were released in 1993; Jurassic Park in June and Schindler’s List in December.

8. Spielberg didn't want a movie star with Hollywood clout to portray Schindler.

Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson auditioned for the role of Oskar Schindler, and actor Warren Beatty was far enough along in the process that he even made it as far as a script reading. But according to Spielberg, Beatty was dropped because, “Warren would have played it like Oskar Schindler through Warren Beatty.”

For the role, Spielberg cast then relatively unknown Irish actor Liam Neeson, whom the director had seen in a Broadway play called Anna Christie. “Liam was the closest in my experience of what Schindler was like,” Spielberg told The New York Times. “His charm, the way women love him, his strength. He actually looks a little bit like Schindler, the same height, although Schindler was a rotund man,” he said. “If I had made the movie in 1964, I would have cast Gert Frobe, the late German actor. That’s what he looked like.”

Besides having Neeson listen to recordings of Schindler, the director also told him to study the gestures of former Time Warner chairman Steven J. Ross, another of Spielberg’s mentors, and the man to whom he dedicated the film.

9. Spielberg did his own research.

In order to gain a more personal perspective on the film, Spielberg traveled to Poland before principal photography began to interview Holocaust survivors and visit the real-life locations that he planned to portray in the movie. While there, he visited the former Gestapo headquarters on Pomorska Street, Schindler’s actual apartment, and Amon Goeth’s villa.

Eventually the film shot on location for 92 days in Poland by recreating the Płaszów camp in a nearby abandoned rock quarry. The production was also allowed to shoot scenes outside the gates of Auschwitz.

10. The little girl in the red coat was real.

Promotional image for 25th anniversary rerelease of Schindler's List.
Universal Pictures

A symbol of innocence in the movie, the little girl in the red coat who appears during the liquidation of the ghetto in the movie was based on a real person. In the film, the little girl is played by actress Oliwia Dabrowska, who—at the age of three—promised Spielberg that she would not watch the film until she was 18 years old. She allegedly watched the movie when she was 11, breaking her promise, and spent years rejecting the experience. Later, she told the Daily Mail, “I realized I had been part of something I could be proud of. Spielberg was right: I had to grow up to watch the film.”

The actual girl in the red coat was named Roma Ligocka; a survivor of the Krakow ghetto, she was known amongst the Jews living there by her red winter coat. Ligocka, now a painter who lives in Germany, later wrote a biography about surviving the Holocaust called The Girl in the Red Coat.

11. The movie wasn't supposed to be in English.

For a better sense of reality, Spielberg originally wanted to shoot the movie completely in Polish and German using subtitles, but he eventually decided against it because he felt that it would take away from the urgency and importance of the images onscreen. According to Spielberg, “I wanted people to watch the images, not read the subtitles. There’s too much safety in reading. It would have been an excuse to take their eyes off the screen and watch something else.”

12. The studio didn't want the movie to be in black and white.

The only person at MCA/Universal who agreed with Spielberg and director of cinematography Janusz Kaminski’s decision to shoot the movie in black and white was Sheinberg. Everyone else lobbied against the idea, saying that it would stylize the Holocaust. Spielberg and Kaminski chose to shoot the film in a grimy, unstylish fashion and format inspired by German Expressionist and Italian Neorealist films. Also, according to Spielberg, “It’s entirely appropriate because I’ve only experienced the Holocaust through other people’s testimonies and through archival footage which is, of course, all in black and white.”

13. Spielberg's passion project paid off in Oscars.

Schindler’s List was the big winner at the 66th Academy Awards. The film won a total of seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director awards for Spielberg. Neeson and Ralph Fiennes were both nominated for their performances, and the film also received nods for Costume Design, Makeup, and Sound.

14. Schindler's List is technically a student film.

Steven Spielberg gives a speech
Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images

Thirty-three years after dropping out of college, Spielberg finally received a BA in Film and Video Production from his newly minted alma mater, Cal State Long Beach, in 2002. The director re-enrolled in secret, and gained his remaining credits by writing essays and submitting projects under a pseudonym. In order to pass a film course, he submitted Schindler’s List as his student project. Spielberg describes the time gap between leaving school and earning his degree as his “longest post-production schedule.”

15. Spielberg thinks the film may be even more important to watch today.

In honor of the film's 25th anniversary, it's currently back in theaters. But Spielberg believes that the film may be even more important for today's audiences to see. "I think this is maybe the most important time to re-release this film," the director said in a recent interview with Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News. Citing the spike in hate crimes targeting religious minorities since
2016, he said, "Hate's less parenthetical today, it's more a headline."

Additional Sources:
The Making of Schindler’s List: Behind the Scenes of an Epic Film, by Franciszek Palowski

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2015.

The Most-Searched Holiday Movie in Every State, Mapped

iStock.com/chrispecoraro
iStock.com/chrispecoraro

Do you live in a Gremlins state or a Home Alone state? StreamingObserver is here to tell you. The streaming-industry site recently used Rotten Tomatoes and other public data sources to figure out the most popular Christmas movies in each state. Spoiler: It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t quite the Christmas classic you thought it was.

The list takes some liberties with what might be considered a “Christmas” movie. Die Hard (a favorite in Missouri and Wisconsin) made the list, as did Batman Returns (California’s most-searched movie) and Edward Scissorhands (popular in Nevada and Arizona). They aren’t quite the traditional Hallmark holiday fare, but they each include at least some nod to the Christmas season.

Then there’s the more standard Yuletide entertainment, like A Christmas Carol (Tennessee’s favorite) and Frosty the Snowman (South Dakota's pick). Christmas in Connecticut, oddly enough, is Montana’s favorite (unclear whether that’s the 1945 film or the 1992 TV movie), while Connecticut’s favorite is the 1983 Eddie Murphy film Trading Places. The Apartment, The Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street, and The Best Man Holiday also make an appearance. Seven states list Gremlins as their favorite, while six chose Home Alone and three chose Scrooged.

The data is based on Google searches, rather than surveys, so it's possible that the movie at the top of each state's list isn't so much beloved as it is curiosity-inspiring. It's possible that all these people are Googling Gremlins, then deciding not to watch it. But we feel fairly confident saying a lot of people will be watching Die Hard this Christmas season. (Tip: You can't stream it on Netflix right now, but you can rent it on Amazon.)

The 2018 results are fairly different from StreamingObserver's 2016 data, which you can compare here. Do you agree with your state's preferences?

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