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22 Things You Might Not Know About Mulholland Drive

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1. It started as a TV pilot.

Director David Lynch actually got the name for the film when he was planning to create a different pilot, a Twin Peaks spinoff with Mark Frost. Eventually, Lynch was inspired to create a new Mulholland Drive for ABC. It was very elaborate and many elements were similar to the film; it even had over 50 speaking parts. The show was eventually rejected by ABC, with whom Lynch was already having a rough relationship. Apparently, an executive told Lynch that he almost fell asleep while he was standing up and watching it. Lynch has even claimed that no one even told him that ABC had no interest in airing the pilot. The French company Canal Plus bought the pilot as a film. It was then re-edited with 50 minutes of new footage.

2. Many of the actors were lesser known because it was going to be a TV show.

Had Lynch been planning to make a film for the entire process, Naomi Watts may have not even been considered for the lead role. Because Mulholland Drive was originally going to be a television series, Lynch and his casting directors had to pick actors and actresses who would sign contracts for a long-term television series as opposed to a shorter film job. In Lynch’s words, “You swim in a different pool when you are picking actors or actresses for a TV series that may go on for a long time.” He did go on to emphasize that she was “right for the part.”

3. Most of the ideas for the film came from Lynch’s transcendental meditation.

Lynch practices transcendental meditation, which he describes as a way to “expand consciousness.” When the film version of Mulholland Drive was finally greenlit, he had no ideas and hadn’t even been thinking about it. The day that he needed to put ideas on pages, he meditated and that’s when “all the ideas came, all at once.”

4. Lynch didn’t audition any actors.

Before being cast, Naomi Watts merely had a 30 minute conversation with Lynch, which is similar to how all of the leads were chosen. During a press conference in 2001, Lynch said, “When you meet the person, I don’t know what it is. I never make anyone read a scene because then I want to start rehearsing—no matter who it is. I just get a feeling based on a conversation. It’s something in the eyes. It’s some sort of feeling in the air. And I know that this person can do that role.”

5. Laura Elena Harring got into a car accident on the way to her meeting with Lynch.

Harring was very excited to finally be at a point in her career where someone like Lynch’s casting agent would call her. That excitement distracted her and she rear-ended another car. Luckily for Harring, it was the car of another actor on the way to an audition. So they left the scene of the accident. She learned at the meeting that her character, Rita, gets into a car accident in one of the first scenes.

6. Harring also predicted the Mulholland Drive movie.

Even though Lynch told her that the pilot for ABC was no longer happening, Harring held out hope. She once said, “I kept dreaming about Mulholland Drive becoming a movie. And I kept telling [Lynch] that I was seeing omens: Rita, which is the character name, all over the place, and I just saw ‘Mulholland’ everywhere and I said, ‘You know, I just feel that it’s going to go forward.”

7. Billy Ray Cyrus was cast because of his music.

According to Lynch, “I was listening to Billy Ray Cyrus, even though he wasn’t on the list for this particular role in Mulholland Drive, and I said ‘Hey, that’s Gene the pool man right there.’ So there are beautiful, happy accidents.”

8. The character of the cowboy just appeared to Lynch.

He explained, “Sometimes an idea presents itself to you and you’re just as surprised as anyone else. I remember when I was writing Mulholland Drive, the character of the Cowboy just came walking in one night. I just started talking about this cowboy. That’s what happens—something starts occurring but it wasn’t there a moment ago.”

9. Lafayette Montgomery, the first Cowboy, was the co-producer of Wild at Heart and Twin Peaks.

Strangely, in the other projects, Montgomery is credited as “Monty” whereas he’s “Lafayette Montgomery” in the Mulholland Drive credits. A cowboy shows up again at the later party scene, but it is not Montgomery.

10. The film intentionally draws parallels between acting and amnesia.

David Lynch - On The Way To Mulholland Drive - 1/3 by kary82

The film features Betty, the actress, and Rita, the amnesia victim. Lynch sees a connection between those two. “Amnesia somehow ties into acting,” Lynch once explained. “A great actor or actress, they give up themselves and they become somebody else. And everybody, myself included, sometimes wants to get lost and to find themselves in a new world and film gives you that chance to get lost completely in another world."

11. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Not only that, but the film’s funders from Canal Plus saw it for the first time there.

12. David Lynch is cryptic about its meaning.

Lynch is notorious for his refusal to discuss interpretations of his films. For example, this is how he described Mulholland Drive: “Part one: she found herself inside the perfect mystery. Part two: a sad illusion. Part three: love.”

13. But he calls it a love story.

Lynch said, “It’s strange how films unfold as they go. There may be a noir element in Mulholland Drive, and a couple of genres swimming around in there together. For me, it’s a love story.”

To many, the film is undoubtedly a mystery. But Roger Ebert denied that idea shortly after the film was released. He believed that “Mulholland Drive isn’t like Memento, where if you watch closely enough you can hope to explain the mystery. There is no explanation. There may not even be a mystery.”

14. Promotion for the film involved clues.

Luckily for Lynch fans, he was asked to create a promotional campaign of 10 clues. Clues included “Notice appearances of the red lampshade,” “Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup,” and “Where is Aunt Ruth?” The rest can be found at Mulholland-Drive.Net.

15. Naomi Watts has her own interpretation.

In an interview with James Lipton, Watts stated that she saw Diane as real and Betty as a figment of Diane’s imagination. She told Lipton, “I saw Diane as being the truth and she imagined this Betty character because she was the one who was the actress and getting all the attention and all the light and, you know, her friendship with Camilla, it was the other way around.”

16. Watts’s tears in the masturbation scene were genuine.

“David wanted utter despair and I was so humiliated by doing the scene that I did cry a lot and I couldn’t stop crying,” Watts said. “He didn’t want me to cry because that would seem that I’d arrived at a place of emotion. What he wanted was that I was reaching, that I was absolutely, desperately trying to connect with something I’d experienced and I wasn’t reaching it. Because I was so mortified by, you know, sitting in front of a film crew with my hands down my pants, I just kept crying. I would say, ‘David, I can’t do this. I can’t do it.’ Crying, crying, crying. And he was like, ‘That’s okay, Naomi, that’s okay.’ And I was thinking, ‘Okay, so he’s going to call cut.’ But he didn’t. And I would keep going. And I—just breaking down, and it was like, I said, ‘Fuck you, David! Fuck you!’”

17. Lynch lives near the actual Mulholland Drive.

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He called it a “beautiful road.” But he also noted, “It’s a mysterious road with many curves in it. It’s really dark at night and, unlike so many other spots in LA, it has remained pretty much the same over the years.”

18. Rebekah Del Rio sang “Crying” four minutes into her meeting with Lynch.

Del Rio singing “Crying” at Club Silencio is one of the most iconic parts of the film, but it was very spontaneous. She showed up to a 10am meeting with Brian Loucks and John Neff, who were working on the music for the film.

Lynch explained, “Rebekah just wanted to come over for a coffee and sing in front of us. She didn’t want to record anything, but she came in and four minutes later—I think before she’d had her coffee—she’s in the booth. And the one take that she sang, four minutes off the street, is the vocal that’s in the film. THE ACTUAL RECORDING!”

19. There are some subtle references to Sunset Boulevard.

Sunset Boulevard is one of Lynch’s favorite films. In Mulholland Drive, a Sunset Boulevard street sign can be seen in addition to a very similar shot of the Paramount Gates that’s in Sunset Boulevard. Lynch even tracked down the same car from Sunset Boulevard to include in the shot of the Paramount Gates.

Plus, Lynch recognized that Norma Desmond and Betty are “both experiencing some of the negative sides of acting.”

20. Lynch had specific directions for theater projectors.

When the Mulholland Drive film was sent to theaters, Lynch included a personal note for projectors. It read “I understand this is an unusual request yet I do need your help.” Among the requests are for volume to be 3db hotter than usual as well as a smaller amount of headroom (the black strip above the screen) than normal.

21. The nude scene is blurred for the DVD release.

The scene has been digitally altered and blurred from what moviegoers saw in theaters. On his website, Lynch explained, “We did that blurring for the DVD on purpose as we knew that pictures of Laura would be everywhere if we didn’t ... If the shot is timed correctly you should not be able to tell one bit if Laura’s pubic hair has been blurred—this probably means some viewers are experimenting to see Laura’s pubic hair and more ... This is why the picture was blurred—I promised Laura that I would try to protect her as much as possible.”

22. It has inspired a nightclub.

Silencio

In 2011, Club Silencio opened in Paris’ Grands Boulevards District. Lynch himself designed the club, which is obvious when you browse through the pictures on its website. The club contains a 24-seat movie theater, an art library, and a reflective dancefloor. You can become a member at Silencio for €840 a year. It has a 3.5 star Yelp review average.

All images courtesy of Getty Images unless otherwise noted.

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15 Fun Facts About Yo Gabba Gabba!
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Since its debut on August 20, 2007 on Nick Jr., Yo Gabba Gabba!—a kids’ show featuring a red cyclops, a magic robot, a pink flower girl, a green-striped guy, a blue cat-dragon, and a host wearing orange spandex and a fluffy hat—became one of the biggest draws for the preschool crowd. But thanks to the show's hipster-friendly musical performances and celebrity guest stars, Yo Gabba Gabba! managed to transcend its kiddie roots to become a hit with fans of all ages. On the 10th anniversary of its debut, let's go behind the scenes of the beloved series.

1. THE CREATOR OF NAPOLEON DYNAMITE HAD A HAND IN GETTING YO GABBA GABBA! ON THE AIR.

Longtime friends Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz got the idea for Yo Gabba Gabba! when, as two dads in their mid-30s, they were less-than-enthusiastic about the television shows their kids were watching. It wasn't that the other shows were bad; they were just boring and sanitized.

With their experience as musicians and videographers, Jacobs and Schultz thought they could do something different. So they scraped together about $150,000 and began writing, animating, and shooting demo episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba! in their garage. They posted these videos online and Jared Hess, director of Napoleon Dynamite, happened to see them. Impressed, Hess passed the link onto Brown Johnson, an executive at Nickelodeon, who said, “Lordy. Nothing else looks like this on television.” She quickly contacted the duo and, in a risky move that obviously paid off, gave them complete creative control of their own show on Nick Jr.

2. THE TITLE IS MEANT TO BE MIMIC BABY TALK.

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According to Jacobs, the name of the show is a nonsense phrase meant to be reminiscent of the first words spoken by a baby. However, that doesn't mean Jacobs and Schultz aren't happy the name also pays homage to The Ramones, who used the phrase “Gabba Gabba Hey!” in their song “Pinhead.” But that actually makes it an homage of an homage, as The Ramones were paying tribute to the original source of the phrase, the 1932 cult classic film Freaks. In the film, “Gabba Gabba Hey!” is part of a chant uttered by a group of circus freaks as they welcome a new member into the fold.

3. ITS THEME SONG IS REMINISCENT OF PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE.

The show's intro music seems suspiciously like the intro music from another kinetic kids' show, Pee-wee's Playhouse. Pay close attention to when the trees part on Pee-wee's intro and you'll hear a lot of similarities between the two.

4. THE SHOW BECAME A WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON.

Yo Gabba Gabba! became a worldwide phenomenon, and was broadcast all over the world, including in Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada.

5. DJ LANCE ROCK REALLY IS A DJ.

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DJ Lance Rock is actually Lance Robertson—and he really is a DJ. Robertson grew up in St. Louis, where he started spinning records in the early '90s before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 29. While in L.A., he played with a band, The Ray Makers, who played a few gigs with a group called Majestic, which counted future Yo Gabba Gabba! co-creator Scott Schultz as a member. When the Yo Gabba Gabba! guys were looking for a host, Schultz thought of Robertson. After Robertson signed on, one of the first things he did was suggest they change DJ Lance's look to the now-iconic orange jumpsuit and fuzzy hat. The original costume included a waistcoat similar to the one worn by Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.

6. MUNO AND BROBEE EXISTED BEFORE YO GABBA GABBA!.

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While the other characters were created exclusively for Yo Gabba Gabba!, Muno and Brobee were already around as part of the live show for Christian Jacobs's kid-friendly ska/punk band, The Aquabats. Since shortly after their founding in 1994, The Aquabats have dressed in matching superhero costumes, fighting evil under aliases like The MC Bat Commander (Jacobs), Crash McLarson, Jimmy the Robot, Ricky Fitness, and Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk. The lineup has changed frequently over the years (Travis Barker of Blink-182 was briefly their drummer under the name “The Baron von Tito”), but the band still performs live and releases the occasional studio album. Naturally, they made a handful of appearances on Yo Gabba Gabba!, as well.

7. THE SHOW HAS A CONNECTION TO DEVO.

While most kids only know him as the kookie art teacher on the show, Mark Mothersbaugh was one of the founding members and lead singer of the New Wave band Devo. Even when he’s not wearing a red terraced “Energy Dome” hat, Mothersbaugh’s career has been prolific as a composer for dozens of TV shows, films, video games, and commercials, including Apple’s famous “I’m a Mac” ads starring Justin Long and John Hodgman.

8. BIZ MARKIE WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO DANCE ON THE SHOW.

Yo Gabba Gabba! fans learned how to beatbox thanks to rapper Biz Markie (born Marcel Theo Hall) and his “Beat of the Day” segment. Biz was initially asked to do a Dancey Dance routine for the show, but he has a bad back, so he offered to teach the kids how to do a beat instead. The producers loved it and it became a staple on the show. Parents knew Biz best from his 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” which featured his unique brand of rapping and “singing.” 

9. SUPER MARTIAN ROBOT GIRL IS THE PRODUCT OF TWO GROUNDBREAKING COMIC BOOK ARTISTS.

The comic book the Gabba gang often reads, Super Martian Robot Girl, is the creation of married underground comic book celebrities Sarah Dyer and Evan Dorkin. Dorkin is the genius behind the small press comic Milk and Cheese about “dairy products gone bad”—a milk carton and a wedge of cheese who love to drink gin and beat people up. Dyer was an influential creator in the '90s zine scene, where she was one of the few people giving female zinesters a voice with her Action Girl Newsletter, which later paved the way for the similarly-themed Action Girl Comics.

10. IT WAS NOMINATED FOR SEVEN EMMYS, BUT NEVER WON.

Yo Gabba Gabba!  received numerous Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Costume Design, as well as for Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series, but a win eluded the show. In addition, the series was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Programming by the Television Critics Association Awards five times (and won twice). Internationally, the show was awarded a BAFTA in 2008. And DJ Lance received two NAACP Image Award nominations.      

11. THE SHOW GOT ITS OWN LINE OF SNEAKERS.

Ever wanted to see Foofa pop a wheelie? How about Toodee ride a surfboard? In 2011, the Gabba gang shot a series of videos to promote their line of Vans shoe, a brand popular among the extreme sports crowd. The characters shared the screen with some of the biggest names in the X Games, including surfers Alex Knost and Jared Mell, skateboarders Bucky Lasek and Christian Hosoi, BMXers Alistair Whitton and Coco Zurita, and motocross stars Dean Wilson and Ryan Villopoto. You can check out the videos at Yo Gabba Gabba's official YouTube channel.

12. THEY PLAYED COACHELLA.

The gang invaded the Coachella Music Festival in 2010, where they performed, hung out with celebrity fans backstage, and even showed up to dance with the audience at other musical performances.

13. THE SHOW HAD A LOT OF CELEBRITY FANS.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

For Halloween 2009, Brad Pitt donned DJ Lance's orange jumpsuit and fuzzy hat when he took his kids trick-or-treating. Lance was later quoted as saying that Pitt looked “Awesome.”

14. IT FEATURED A LOT OF GUEST STARS.

While most celebrities only come on the show to do a Dancey Dance or Cool Tricks segment, there have been a handful of guests that played a bigger role in an episode. The first was Jack Black, who had an entire episode dedicated to his adventures in Gabbaland after his flying motorbike ran out of gas. He got the gig after his wife emailed the show and practically begged them to let Jack come on because he was such a big fan. Other celebrities who popped in: Angela Kinsey from The Office played a teacher, the Tooth Fairy was played by Amy Sedaris, Mos Def saved the day as Super Mr. Superhero, Anthony Bourdain cameoed as a doctor, Jason Bateman played an evil spy, Lost’s Josh Holloway played a helpful farmer, and Weird Al Yankovic guested as a circus ringmaster.

15. A YO GABBA GABBA! DOLL WILL COST YOU A PRETTY PENNY.

The Gabba action figures that DJ Lance brought to life at the beginning of each episode were produced by Kidrobot, one of the leading names in the vinyl toy movement. The figures are no longer produced, so when one pops up on eBay, it often commands a high price. But if you’re not willing to spend that kind of money on an action figure, there are plenty of other Gabba-themed toys, books, DVDs, comics, smartphone apps, and clothes to keep your kids happy.

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10 Witty Facts About The Marx Brothers
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Talented as individuals and magnificent as a team, the Marx Brothers conquered every medium from the vaudeville stage to the silver screen. Today, we’re tipping our hats (and tooting our horns) to Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo—on the 50th anniversary of Groucho's passing.

1. A RUNAWAY MULE INSPIRED THEM TO TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.

Julius, Milton, and Arthur Marx originally aspired to be professional singers. In 1907, the boys joined a group called “The Three Nightingales.” Managed by their mother, Minnie, the ensemble performed covers of popular songs in theaters all over the country. As Nightingales, the brothers enjoyed some moderate success, but they might never have found their true calling if it weren’t for an unruly equid. During a 1907 gig at the Nacogdoches Opera House in East Texas, someone interrupted the performance by barging in and shouting “Mule’s loose!” Immediately, the crowd raced out to watch the newly-liberated animal. Back inside, Julius seethed. Furious at having lost the spotlight, he skewered his audience upon their return. “The jackass is the finest flower of Tex-ass!” he shouted, among many other ad-libbed jabs. Rather than boo, the patrons roared with laughter. Word of his wit soon spread and demand for these Marx brothers grew.

2. THEY RECEIVED THEIR STAGE NAMES DURING A POKER GAME.

In May of 1914, the five Marxes were playing cards with standup comedian Art Fisher. Inspired by a popular comic strip character known as “Sherlocko the Monk,” he decided that the boys could use some new nicknames. Leonard’s was a no-brainer. Given his girl-crazy, “chick-chasing” lifestyle, Fisher dubbed him “Chicko” (later, this was shortened to “Chico”). Arthur loved playing the harp and thus became “Harpo.” An affinity for soft gumshoes earned Milton the alias “Gummo.” Finally, Julius was both cynical and often seen wearing a “grouch bag”—wherein he’d store small objects like marbles and candy—around his neck. Thus, “Groucho” was born. For the record, nobody knows how Herbert Marx came to be known as “Zeppo.”

3. GROUCHO WORE HIS TRADEMARK GREASEPAINT MUSTACHE BECAUSE HE HATED MORE REALISTIC MODELS.

Michael Ochs Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Phony, glue-on facial hair can be a pain to remove and reapply, so Groucho would simply paint a ‘stache and some exaggerated eyebrows onto his face. However, the mustache he later rocked as the host of his famous quiz show You Bet Your Life was 100 percent real.

4. HARPO WAS A SELF-TAUGHT HARPIST.

Without any formal training (or the ability to read sheet music), the second-oldest Marx brother developed a unique style that he never stopped improving upon. “Dad really loved playing the harp, and he did it constantly,” his son, Bill Marx, wrote. “Maybe the first multi-tasker ever, he even had a harp in the bathroom so he could play when he sat on the toilet!”

5. THE VERY FIRST MARX BROTHERS MOVIE WAS NEVER RELEASED.

Financed by Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and a handful of other investors, Humor Risk was filmed in 1921. Accounts differ, but most scholars agree that the silent picture—which would have served as the family’s cinematic debut—never saw completion. Despite this, an early screening of the work-in-progress was reportedly held in the Bronx. When Humor Risk failed to impress there, production halted. By Marx Brothers standards, it would’ve been an unusual flick, with Harpo playing a heroic detective opposite a villainous Groucho character.

6. GUMMO AND ZEPPO BECAME TALENT AGENTS.

World War I forced Gummo to quit the stage. Following his return, the veteran decided that performing was no longer for him and instead started a raincoat business. Zeppo—the youngest brother—then assumed Gummo’s role as the troupe’s straight-talking foil. A brilliant businessman, Zeppo eventually broke away to found the talent agency Zeppo Marx Inc., which grew into Hollywood’s third-largest, representing superstars like Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, and—of course—the other three Marx Brothers. Gummo, who joined the company in 1935, was charged with handling Groucho, Harpo, and Chico’s needs.

7. CHICO ONCE LAUNCHED A BIG BAND GROUP.

Chico took advantage of an extended break between Marx brothers movies to realize a lifelong dream. A few months before The Big Store hit cinemas in 1941, he co-founded the Chico Marx Orchestra: a swinging jazz band that lasted until July of 1943. Short-lived as the group was, however, it still managed to recruit some amazing talent—including singer/composer Mel Tormé, who would go on to help write “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” in 1945.

8. THEY TESTED OUT NEW MATERIAL FOR A NIGHT AT THE OPERA IN FRONT OF LIVE AUDIENCES.

With the script still being drafted, MGM made the inspired choice to let the brothers perform key scenes in such places as Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. Once a given joke was made, the Marxes meticulously timed the ensuing laughter, which let them know exactly how much silence to leave after repeating the gag on film. According to Harpo, this had the added benefit of shortening A Night at the Opera’s production period. “We didn’t have to rehearse,” he explained. “[We just] got onto the set and let the cameras roll.”

9. GROUCHO TEMPORARILY HOSTED THE TONIGHT SHOW.

Jack Paar bid the job farewell on March 29, 1962. Months before their star’s departure, NBC offered Paar’s Tonight Show seat to Groucho, who had established himself as a razor-sharp, well-liked host during You Bet Your Life’s 14-year run. Though Marx turned the network down, he later served as a guest host for two weeks while Johnny Carson prepared to take over the gig. When Carson finally made his Tonight Show debut on October 1, it was Groucho who introduced him.

10. SPY MAGAZINE USED A MARX BROTHERS MOVIE TO PRANK U.S. CONGRESSMEN.

Duck Soup takes place in Freedonia, a fictional country over which the eccentric Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) presides. In 1993, 60 years after the movie’s release, this imaginary nation made headlines by embarrassing some real-life politicians. Staffers from Spy got in touch with around 20 freshmen in the House of Representatives, asking some variation on the question “Do you approve of what we’re doing to stop ethnic cleansing in Freedonia?” A few lawmakers took the bait. Representative Corrine Brown (D-Florida) professed to approve of America’s presence in Freedonia, saying, “I think all of those situations are very, very sad, and I just think we need to take action to assist the people.” Across the aisle, Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) concurred. “Yeah,” he said, “it’s a different situation than the Middle East.”

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