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25 Fun Facts About A League Of Their Own

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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, which hit theaters 25 years ago today.

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.

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16 Fun Facts About The Carol Burnett Show
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CBS

After a short stint in the New York theater world, comedienne Carol Burnett landed a job as a regular on The Garry Moore Show in 1959. She caught the attention of CBS executives, who offered her her own series in 1967. With her husband Joe Hamilton at the helm, Burnett broke new ground as the first female host of a TV variety show. The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 seasons and earned a handful of Emmy Awards in the process. To celebrate the legendary comedienne's 85th birthday, here are some fun facts about the show and the folks who made it so side-splittingly hilarious.

1. CAROL BURNETT’S MOTHER WANTED HER TO BE A WRITER.

As Carol Burnett painfully recalled later in life, whenever she’d expressed an interest in a career in the theater as a teen, her mother would always dissuade her and recommend that she would have better luck studying to become a writer. “You can always write, no matter what you look like,” she would add.

2. A TOTAL STRANGER HELPED TO LAUNCH BURNETT’S CAREER.

As she was nearing graduation from UCLA, Burnett and several fellow drama students were invited to a departing professor’s house to perform at his bon voyage party. She performed a scene from the musical Annie Get Your Gun and later that evening, while she was standing in the buffet line, a man she’d never seen before approached her and complimented her performance. He then inquired what she planned to do with her life. She confessed that she dreamed of going to New York one day for a career on the stage, but seeing that she barely had enough gas money to drive back to Los Angeles that evening, it would be a very long time before she’d make it to Broadway. The man told her he’d be happy to lend her $1000 to get her started, with three conditions: that she repay him without interest in five years, that she was never to reveal his identity, and that once she was successful she must pass a similar kindness along to another person in need. (After pondering the offer over the weekend and consulting her mother and grandmother—who advised her to steer clear of the strange man who was probably involved in human trafficking or something worse—she took a chance and accepted his check.)

3. VICKI LAWRENCE CAUGHT BURNETT’S ATTENTION BY WRITING HER A FAN LETTER.


CBS Television - eBay, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

When Vicki Lawrence cut her hair in a short “pixie” cut as a high school senior, many of her classmates commented on her resemblance to Carol Burnett. Lawrence’s somewhat overbearing stage mother encouraged her to write Burnett a letter, which she did, enclosing a photo and a newspaper article that mentioned her upcoming appearance in the Inglewood, California Miss Fireball Contest. To her surprise, a seven-months-pregnant Burnett showed up at the pageant to cheer her on. When Burnett had her baby, Lawrence took some flowers to the hospital, thinking she’d just drop them off. But when the nurse on duty saw her, she immediately mistook her for Burnett’s real-life half-sister Chrissie and exclaimed, “Wait until you see the baby!” and ushered her into Carol’s room.

4. LAWRENCE ENDED UP PLAYING BURNETT’S SISTER ON THE SHOW.

When they were casting The Carol Burnett Show, the star remembered the teen and hired her despite her lack of experience. At first her only role was in the recurring “Carol and Sis” sketch, in which Lawrence played “Chrissie,” Burnett’s younger sister. Lawrence recalled in her 1995 autobiography that Burnett was very nurturing to all her co-stars, making sure everyone got their share of the best jokes, but it was Harvey Korman who took her under his wing in the beginning and taught her about timing, dialects, and working with props.

5. THE Q&A AT THE BEGINNING WAS BURNETT’S HUSBAND’S IDEA.


By CBS Television - eBay, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Joe Hamilton was not only Carol Burnett’s husband, he was also the show’s executive producer. It was traditional at the time (and still is, in some cases) to have a stand-up comic step onstage before a show to tell some jokes and “warm up” the audience. Hamilton was wary of going that route, however; as Burnett later recalled, “He worried, ‘What if the guy is funnier than the rest of you?’” He thought it would be a good ice-breaker if Burnett herself went out front before the proceedings to welcome the audience and answer a couple of questions. Over the next 11 seasons, the question that she was asked the most was “Can you do your Tarzan yell?”

6. BURNETT ONCE USED HER TARZAN YELL AS A FORM OF IDENTIFICATION.

While shopping for nylon stockings at New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman one day, the saleswoman recognized Burnett and asked for her autograph for her grandchildren. When it came time to check out, Burnett realized that she didn’t have her credit card or driver’s license in her wallet. She inquired if she could write a check. “I’ll have to see some ID,” replied the woman who’d requested an autograph just moments before. The floor manager intervened and told Burnett that she’d accept her check if Burnett would do her Tarzan yell. Burnett complied, prompting a security guard to kick open a nearby door, burst in and point his gun at her.

7. LYLE WAGONNER WAS THE FIRST CENTERFOLD IN PLAYGIRL MAGAZINE.

Joe Hamilton was looking for a handsome, “Rock Hudson-type” when casting the announcer for his wife’s show. Former encyclopedia salesman Lyle Waggoner landed the job not only due to his devastating good looks, but also because he had a good sense of humor about how pretty he was. He was even good-natured about the teasing he got from his castmates after posing for the centerfold of Playgirl magazine’s premiere issue in 1973.

8. HARVEY KORMAN WAS THE FIRST CAST MEMBER HIRED.

The producers wanted a “Harvey Korman-type” for Burnett’s second banana, but didn’t bother to actually ask Korman if he was interested in the job because he was already a regular on The Danny Kaye Show, and most likely he wouldn’t leave a steady job for an unproven new show. Burnett herself spotted Korman in the CBS parking lot one day and “practically threw him over the hood of a car” begging him to join her show. Unbeknownst to her, Kaye’s show was about to get the axe after a four-year run, so Korman cheerfully accepted her offer shortly after that first meeting.

9. TIM CONWAY RARELY FOLLOWED HIS SCRIPT.

Conway had been a frequent guest star on the show, and when Lyle Waggoner decided to leave the show in 1974 (he felt that he was being “underused”), Conway was hired to replace him the following year. Conway was legendary for veering off-script and ad-libbing for lengthy stretches, to the amusement of some of his co-stars (Korman) and annoyance of others (Lawrence, who sometimes resented Conway’s disruptions and spotlight-hogging). Lawrence finally slipped her own ad-lib in on one memorable occasion, as Conway rambled on and on about an elephant during a “Family” sketch. Her NSFW remark brought the rest of the cast to their knees and was said to be Dick Clark’s favorite all-time outtake on his Bloopers and Practical Jokes TV show.

10. MRS. WIGGINS WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AS AN ELDERLY WOMAN.

Conway created the Mr. Tudball/Mrs. Wiggins characters and wrote (or ad-libbed) many of their sketches. His original concept had Mrs. Wiggins being ancient, slow, and forgetful. But costume designer Bob Mackie decided that Burnett had played too many “old lady” characters on the show and designed a very voluptuous look for her instead. He explained at the time that he had certain “ditzy” CBS secretaries in mind when he stitched the curvy costume together.

11. THE SHOW THAT BECAME MAMA’S FAMILY STARTED OUT AS A MUCH DARKER ONE-OFF SKETCH.

A sketch called “The Reunion,” which originally aired in March of 1974, featured the characters that eventually became known as “The Family.” In this initial installment, Roddy McDowall played Phillip Harper, the successful younger brother of Eunice, returning home for a visit after winning a Pulitzer Prize. The family members were far crankier and more argumentative (and perhaps more representative of actual family life as they talked over one another and changed topics as soon as a thought occurred to them) than the cartoonish characters they eventually came to be on the syndicated series Mama’s Family. The piece proved to be so popular that 30 more “Family” sketches appeared over the next four seasons, with such guest stars as Alan Alda and Betty White turning up as members of the extended Harper family.

12. IT WAS BURNETT’S IDEA TO MAKE EUNICE AND HER FAMILY SOUTHERN.

The creators of "The Family" sketch were The Carol Burnett Show staff writers Jenna McMahon and Dick Clair. McMahon hailed from Kansas City, Missouri, and envisioned the Harpers to be of typical Midwestern stock, but as Burnett read the initial script she heard her own Texan and Arkansan family members speaking. She started speaking the lines with a pronounced Southern drawl, and Vicki Lawrence soon followed suit.

13. DICK VAN DYKE WAS A REGULAR FOR A SHORT TIME.

Harvey Korman left The Carol Burnett Show at the end of season 10 to star in his own sitcom on ABC.  (The Harvey Korman Show was cancelled after five episodes.) Dick Van Dyke was brought in as a replacement, but he was never a very good fit. As Burnett commented after the fact, “When Harvey put on a wig and a dress, he became a woman; when Dick Van Dyke did it, he was Dick Van Dyke in a wig and a dress.” Van Dyke wasn’t overjoyed with the job, either; he lived in Arizona at the time and the monthly 4000-mile commute was exhausting. He was released from his contract in November 1977.

14. BURNETT’S “WENT WITH THE WIND” CURTAIN ROD DRESS WAS BOB MACKIE’S BRAINSTORM.

Burnett’s Gone with the Wind parody has made many “funniest shows of all time” lists over the years, and one of the defining moments of the sketch was when Carol (as "Starlett O’Hara”) descends the stairs at Tara wearing the green velvet drapes with the curtain rod still in them and admits, “I saw it in a window and I couldn’t resist.” The original script called for Burnett to have the curtains tossed haphazardly over her shoulders, but Mackie decided that it would be funnier to create an actual dress and leave the hanger intact across her shoulders. He is slightly bitter all these years later that of all his magnificent creations, that “joke” dress has become his signature piece; of all the memorable glamorous gowns he’s created for celebrities over the decades, that curtain rod dress is the one that hangs in the Smithsonian.

15. CONWAY’S FAMOUS “DENTIST” SKIT WAS BASED ON AN ACTUAL INCIDENT.

When Conway was in the Army having some work done on his teeth, the dentist accidentally injected his own thumb with Novocain. Conway exaggerated the experience to hilarious effect in a classic skit that left Harvey Korman struggling to contain his laughter. During a 2013 interview, Conway told Conan O’Brien that Korman actually wet himself from laughing so hard.

16. THERE WAS ONLY ONE CELEBRITY GUEST THAT BURNETT WAS NEVER ABLE TO BOOK.

Over the 11 seasons the show ran, a veritable “Who’s Who” of the entertainment industry did a guest turn, from Steve Martin to Julie Andrews to then-governor Ronald Reagan to Robin Williams to Ethel Merman. The only guest who Burnett dearly wanted to have but never did get was Bette Davis. Davis was willing to appear but demanded more money that the show had budgeted. Joe Hamilton advised his wife that if they gave in to Davis’s demand, it would set an unpleasant precedent.

Additional Sources:
Vicki!: The True-Life Adventures of Miss Fireball, by Vicki Lawrence
This Time Together, by Carol Burnett
Let’s Bump Up the Lights (The Carol Burnett Show DVD extra)

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The 1988 BBC Report That Spelled the End for Doctor Who
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BBC

Given the amount of excitement, and press, surrounding the July 2017 announcement that Jodie Whittaker would be taking the keys to the TARDIS from Peter Capaldi to become Doctor Who's Thirteenth Doctor (and its first female Doctor), it’s hard to imagine that audiences could ever tire of the iconic sci-fi series. But, as Den of Geek reports, television-watchers in 1988 had a rather different opinion of the regularly-regenerating Time Lord.

A "not for publication" Television Audience Reaction Report discovered in the BBC Archive, compiled shortly after Sylvester McCoy made his debut as the Seventh Doctor, revealed that Whovians weren't buying what McCoy was selling. While viewership was up a tick (.1 million over the previous year's average), the show's Appreciation Index—which measured a series' popularity on a scale of one to 100—was a 60 which, according to the report, was "much lower than the average of 69 for the 1986 series. It is also considerably lower than the average of 75 for UK Originated Drama: Other Series and Serials between BARB Weeks 37 and 50."

Though the series' core fan base was mostly sticking around, "their number seems to be decreasing with each successive series," with a mere 46 percent of the sample audience saying that they'd want to see another season of Doctor Who (which, at that time, was in the 24th season of its initial run):

"Under half the sample audience (47%) agreed with the statement that Doctor Who was an entertaining program. Just over a quarter (28%) agreed that the stories this series had been good, while 49% disagreed with this statement. The stories' attention holding qualities received a similarly poor rating."

Ouch!

As for McCoy, the report stated that he "was not proving to be a popular Doctor. He received a personal summary index figure of 46 at the end of the series … Sylvester McCoy's predecessor in the role—Colin Baker—although only moderately popular himself, received much better ratings than these, as his personal index figure of 66 shows. A popular character, such as Jim Bergerac played by John Nettles, can receive a personal index rating of around 90."

But The Doctor wasn't even the biggest problem: His companion, Mel, was even less popular with viewers:

"Bonnie Langford, who played the Doctor's assistant Mel can only be described as unpopular with respondents. Indeed 56% of respondents who answered a questionnaire on the 'Paradise Towers' story wished she had been eaten—as seemed likely at one point during the course of this adventure. Her summary index rating of 34 compares unfavourably with the 47 she received at the end of the 1986 series. Both figures, it should be noted, are extremely low."

It should hardly be surprising that the memo (which you can read in full here) spelled the beginning of the end of Doctor Who's original incarnation. The series came to a conclusion in December 1989, with McCoy still in place as The Doctor. Fortunately, the BBC didn't hold a grudge.

In 1996, they attempted to revive interest in the series with a TV movie/backdoor pilot that featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. It didn't work. Nearly 10 years later, after lots of rallying, longtime series fan Russell T. Davies was given the greenlight to bring Doctor Who back with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in 2005. Though Eccleston's tenure was short-lived—David Tennant took over the very next season—audiences have not looked back since.

[h/t Den of Geek]

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