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18 Things You Might Not Know About Just One of the Guys

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Columbia Pictures via foodandlacquertoo

Poor Terry Griffith. The girl just cannot catch a break. Sure, she’s young and gorgeous and adored by her college boyfriend. But none of that’s going to help the budding reporter land an internship at the local newspaper. In fact, in Terry’s mind, being female is part of the problem. To prove that she is merely a victim of sexism, Terry decides to do what all teenage girls would do in that same situation: transfer to a new school and pretend to be a teenage boy. So goes the plot of Just One of the Guys. We caught up with the film’s director, Lisa Gottlieb, who helped us uncover 18 fun facts about the 1985 gender-bending teen comedy.

1. THE FILM MADE A BIG IMPACT ON MANY GAY AND TRANSGENDER WOMEN.

“I would say the most interesting and surprising thing I learned about Just One of the Guys is the huge influence it had on young gay and transgender women,” says Gottlieb. “I learned this when we did a live chat on Jezebel a few years ago. For hours, women posted their stories and I was genuinely moved.”

2. ITS ORIGINS ARE SHAKESPEAREAN.

Just One of the Guys is loosely based on The Bard’s Twelfth Night, with Terry playing the role of Viola/Cesario.

3. LISA GOTTLIEB AND MITCH GIANNUNZIO WROTE SEVERAL DRAFTS OF THE SCRIPT, BUT YOU’D NEVER KNOW IT FROM THE CREDITS.

“I wrote six drafts of the screenplay with my writing partner, Mitch Giannunzio,” says Gottlieb. “We got the project green lit. We were denied writing credit and the producers did not invite Mitch to the wrap party. I brought him to the party.” 

4. “GUY” TERRY WAS BASED ON RALPH MACCHIO.

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“Dresses like Elvis Costello, looks like the Karate Kid... I'm gonna get him,” was the declaration made by Sherilyn Fenn, as high school vixen Sandy, when she caught a glimpse of Terry. Which was no coincidence. “We based Terry the guy on Ralph Macchio, a.k.a. The Karate Kid,” says Gottlieb. “We saw the physical resemblance and went with it. Remember that Columbia [the studio that released Just One of the Guys] was the studio that made The Karate Kid movies and the first one was a giant hit as we were prepping.”

5. SPEAKING OF THE KARATE KID

Terry’s resemblance to Ralph Macchio must have made playing the role of Greg, the school bully, much easier for William Zabka. He also played the leg-sweeping nemesis to Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid.

6. SHERILYN FENN REALLY DID THINK TERRY WAS CUTE.

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“I thought Joyce made a really cute boy,” Fenn told The A.V. Club earlier this year. “I did! I was like, ‘She’s actually cute!’ It was sweet. Instead of making Friday The 13th, Part VIII or whatever, I was making the girl-meets-boy, girl-meets-girl-dressed-as-boy movie.”

7. JENNIFER JASON LEIGH WAS UP FOR THE LEAD.

Though she played a teenager in the film, “I think I was 26 when we made the movie and I had to screen test for it,” actress Joyce Hyser, who played Terry, recalled to the Kickin’ It Old School blog in 2010. “There were three women who tested and one of them was Jennifer Jason Leigh. Going into it I was a little nervous about Jennifer because she got a part over me once before, but once the test was over I felt pretty confident. I did not think that anyone could play that part as well as I could.”

8. JOYCE HYSER WAS A VIDEO VIXEN.

A year prior to Just One of the Guys, Hyser starred in Dan Hartman’s video for “I Can Dream About You,” which was featured on the soundtrack for Streets of Fire. Ten years later, she was featured in ZZ Top’s video for “Pincushion.”

9. ACTOR PAUL LIEBER WAS HYSER’S “MANLY MAN” COACH.

“In early rehearsals in L.A., the production hired a friend of mine named Paul Lieber,” says Gottlieb. “Paul is a gifted actor. He gives off an ultra-macho manly man air, even though he loves and respects women. He’s definitely not an a**hole but can play one on TV. Joyce Hyser and I hung out with him for a week or so to hone in on his behavior, his movements, his line delivery, his sense of himself in relation to the world around him, etc. It was great!”

10. TERRY’S BOYFRIEND ONCE LIVED WITH KELSEY GRAMMER.

Leigh McCloskey, who plays Terry’s boyfriend Kevin, was a classmate—and roommate—of Kelsey Grammer’s at Juilliard.

11. HYSER WAS ATTRACTED TO THE FILM BECAUSE OF ITS TAKE ON GENDER IDENTITY.

“Although it may be cloaked in a silly teenage romp I was absolutely drawn to this project because of its subversive gender identity messages (for both young women and young men),” Hyser told Kickin’ It Old School. “The film actually operates on so many different levels and deals with so many teenage issues from homophobia to the pressure that is put on kids to conform to a certain ideal, that it always surprised me that at the time of its release it was not really judged for the sum of all its parts.”

12. BUT SHE HADN’T INTENDED TO BARE IT ALL.

In order to prove to the guy she’s been pretending to be a guy around that she is in fact a girl (got that?), Hyser rips open her shirt toward the end of the movie. While it seems like the most logical way to get the point across, Hyser was not sold on doing a topless scene. (She even had a no nudity clause in her contract.) It was Gottlieb who finally persuaded Hyser to reconsider. “I added in the boobage,” the director told Jezebel in 2010. “I went to Joyce and I said, ‘I keep rewriting these scenes… Honestly, I think you’ve gotta show ‘em.”

13. ROSANNA ARQUETTE WARNED HYSER TO KEEP HER TOP ON.

“At the time, one of Joyce's best friends was Rosanna Arquette,” Gottlieb told Jezebel. “Rosanna said, ‘I would say you shouldn't do it because no one will ever look into your eyes again as long as you'll live. On the other hand, people will look at you and see those breasts forever, even when you're an old lady.’ And I said, ‘Wow, I'll strip myself after hearing that reason.’”

14. JAMES BROWN HELPED CLAYTON ROHNER PERFECT HIS MOVES.

The Godfather of Soul spent three days on the set to help Clayton Rohner, who plays Terry’s social experiment-turned-love interest Rick, perfect his dance moves.

15. ROHNER BEAT OUT JAMES LE GROS FOR THE ROLE.

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Just One of the Guys marked Rohner’s movie debut. But he had some stiff competition from fellow up-and-comer James Le Gros. “We had these dueling auditions back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for the part,” Rohner told MisenPOPic in 2009. “Then I ended up getting it, although James had gone on to do great things.”

16. SEXISM SPILLED OVER ONTO THE SET.

“Terry” wasn’t the only one faced to deal with a bit of sexism on the set. “I fired our first cinematographer because he refused to shoot my shot list during screen tests and kept declaring, ‘Don't worry sweetie, I'll make your film look good,’” recalls Gottlieb. “I said, ‘Have you read the script?’ He said, ‘Don't waste my time, honey.’ So I fired his ass. I did not wish to waste anymore of his time.”

17. THE STUDIO DISAPPEARED DURING POST-PRODUCTION.

“While we were shooting on location, Coca Cola bought Columbia Pictures,” Gottlieb recalls of the studio that produced the film. “This was the early days of massive corporations buying and selling the studios. We returned and were editing on the lot in Burbank. I met with the music, publicity, and post executives to plan, inform, collaborate on marketing strategies, etc. All the things filmmakers need to muck about in so they are done well. One day, weeks later, I showed up in the executive building and they were all gone. Offices empty, security guards checking ID and barring entry. It was truly weird.”

18. A SEQUEL COULD VERY WELL HAPPEN.

“Joyce Hyser and I had lunch a while back and she pitched me a hilarious idea for a sequel,” says Gottlieb. “So far we haven't sold it, but we also haven't tried that hard. We need a producer. But we would love to do it. It's a hoot!”

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Karrah Kobus/NPG Records via Getty Images
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5 Killer Pieces of Rock History Up for Auction Now (Including Prince’s Guitar)
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Karrah Kobus/NPG Records via Getty Images

If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of rock history, now is the time. A whole host of cool music memorabilia from the 20th century is going up for sale through Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles as part of its “Icons and Idols” sale. If you’ve got the dough, you can nab everything from leather chairs from Graceland to a shirt worn by Jimi Hendrix to never-before-available prints that Joni Mitchell signed and gave to her friends. Here are five highlights from the auction:

1. ELVIS’S NUNCHUCKS

Elvis’s nunchucks
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

Elvis’s karate skills sometimes get a bad rap, but the King earned his first black belt in 1960, and went on to become a seventh-degree black belt before opening his own studio in 1974. You can cherish a piece of his martial arts legacy in the form of his nunchaku. One was broken during his training, but the other is still in ready-to-use shape. (But please don’t use it.) It seems Elvis wasn’t super convinced of his own karate skills, though, because he also supposedly carried a police baton (which you can also buy) for his personal protection.

2. PRINCE’S GUITAR

A blue guitar used by Prince
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

Prince’s blue Cloud guitar, estimated to be worth between $60,000 and $80,000, appeared on stage with him in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The custom guitar was made just for Prince by Cloud’s luthier (as in, guitar maker) Andy Beech. The artist first sold it at a 1994 auction to benefit relief efforts for the L.A. area’s devastating Northridge earthquake.

3. KURT COBAIN’S CHEERLEADER OUTFIT

Kurt Cobain wearing a cheerleader outfit in the pages of Rolling Stone
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

The Nirvana frontman wore the bright-yellow cheerleader’s uniform from his alma mater, J.M. Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, Washington, during a photo shoot for a January 1994 issue of Rolling Stone, released just a few months before his death.

4. MICHAEL JACKSON’S WHITE GLOVE

A white glove covered in rhinestones
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

A young Michael Jackson wore this bejeweled right-hand glove on his 1981 Triumph Tour, one of the first of many single gloves he would don over the course of his career. Unlike later incarnations, this one isn’t a custom-made glove with hand-sewn crystals, but a regular glove topped with a layer of rhinestones cut into the shape of the glove and sewn on top.

The auction house is also selling a pair of jeans the star wore to his 2003 birthday party, as well as other clothes he wore for music videos and performances.

5. WOOD FROM ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS

A piece of wood in a frame under a picture of The Beatles
Courtesy Julien's Auctions

You can’t walk the halls of Abbey Road Studios, but you can pretend. First sold in 1986, the piece of wood in this frame reportedly came from Studio Two, a recording space that hosted not only The Beatles (pictured), but Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and others.

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5 Dubious Historical Antidotes for Poison (and What Actually Works)
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An artificial bezoar stone from Goa, India
Wellcome Images // CC BY 4.0

When it comes to their health, humans will believe just about anything. In this extract from the new book Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, authors Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen discuss some of the more questionable ways people once tried to protect themselves from poison—whether or not the methods actually worked.

Poison is everywhere. Naturally or unnaturally, it can be in the soil (arsenic), in the air (carbon monoxide), in your drinks (lead), and in your food (cyanide). With so much danger around, it’s no wonder humans have obsessed over finding a universal antidote—the one thing that could save us from all toxins. Imagine you’re a medieval prince about to inherit the throne. Chances are, there are a lot of power-hungry wannabes waiting in the wings. A little arsenic or hemlock might be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Just in case, best have an antidote on standby.

For millennia, a certain amount of magical thinking was employed when arming oneself against poison because science was inconveniently slow to catch up. So grab your handy unicorn horn and a bezoar, and let’s take a look.

1. BEZOARS

Bezoars have been used for centuries as antidotes to poisons. A bezoar is solid mass of undigested food, plant fibers, or hair found in the digestive tracts of animals, including deer, porcupines, fish, and, yes, humans. Anyone with a cat is familiar with the less-cool feline version: hairballs.

Bezoars and other stone-like items created by animals often had a good story behind them. Legends told of deer that would eat poisonous snakes and become immune or cry tears that solidified into poison-curing stones. First-century Arabic author al-Birumi claimed bezoars could protect against one poison called “the snot of Satan,” which we hope never ever to encounter. By the 12th century, when Europe became plagued with, uh, plagues, the bezoar crept into pharmacopeias as panaceas and alexipharmics (poison antidotes).

Bezoars were a seductive notion for the rich and royal, who were at risk of assassination. The stones were often enclosed in bejeweled gold for display or worn as amulets. Indian bezoars, in particular, were sought for life-threatening fevers, poisonous bites, bleeding, jaundice, and melancholy. Consumers were also known to scrape off a bit of bezoar and add it to their drinks for heart health and kidney stones. These tonics were sometimes adulterated with toxic mercury or antimony, which caused vomiting and diarrhea, making buyers think they were effective.

But were they? One team of researchers soaked bezoars in an arsenic-laced solution and found that the stones absorbed the arsenic or that the poison was neutralized. Hard to say if it worked well enough to cure a fatal dose. Ambroise Paré, one of the preeminent French physicians of the 16th century, was also a doubter. The king’s cook, who’d been stealing silver, was given the choice between hanging or being Paré’s lab rat. He chose the latter. After the cook consumed poison, Paré looked on as a bezoar was stuffed down his throat. Six hours later, he died wracked with pain. Perhaps he chose ... poorly?

2. MITHRIDATES

This antidote was named after Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus and Armenia Minor. Born in 134 BCE, he pretty much invented the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” by consuming poisons daily to prevent his own assassination. His royal home was stocked with stingray spines, toxic mushrooms, scorpions, mineral poisons, and a poisonous plant–filled garden. He was so unpoisonable that after his son took over his kingdom and he faced execution, he couldn’t even commit suicide by poison! He begged a guard to stab him to death. (It worked.)

Though the king’s actual recipe for the antidote is nowhere to be found, versions began to circulate after his death, and they became synonymous with the king himself. Compounds with lengthy and expensive ingredient lists prevailed, including iris, cardamom, anise, frankincense, myrrh, ginger, and saffron. In the first century, Pliny the Elder snarkily remarked, “The Mithridatic antidote is composed of fifty-four ingredients ... Which of the gods, in the name of Truth, fixed these absurd proportions? ... It is plainly a showy parade of the art, and a colossal boast of science.”

Showy or not, people would take the extensive mix of herbs, pound them together with honey, and eat a nut-sized portion to cure themselves. At least it endowed them with expensive-smelling breath.

3. HORNS

An apothecary shop sign in the shape of a unicorn
An ivory pharmacy sign in the shape of a unicorn's head
Wellcome Images // CC BY 4.0

Unicorn horns have been considered a part of antidote legend since the mythical beast galloped into literature around 300 BCE. For centuries afterward, real earthly beasts would sacrifice their lives and their horns to slake our thirst for the miraculous, nonexistent animal, including rhinoceroses, narwhals, and oryx. Even fossilized ammonites were used. It was believed that drinking vessels made of such horns might neutralize poisons, and wounds could be cured by holding them close by. In the 16th century, Mary, Queen of Scots reportedly used a unicorn horn to protect her from poisoning. Too bad it didn’t prevent her beheading.

4. PEARLS

Pearls have long been thought to be powerful antidotes. A beautiful, rare gem created by the homely oyster, a pearl is born out of annoyance (the mollusk secretes iridescent nacre to cover an irritant, like a parasite or grain of sand). Pretty as they are, they’re about as useful as the chalky antacid tablets on your bedside table; both are chiefly made of calcium carbonate. Good for a stomachache after some spicy food, but not exactly miraculous.

Pearl powder has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases, and Ayurvedic physicians used it as an antidote in the Middle Ages. It was also reported to make people immortal. An old Taoist recipe recommended taking a long pearl and soaking it in malt, “serpent’s gall,” honeycomb, and pumice stone. When softened, it would be pulled like taffy and cut into bite-sized pieces to eat, and voilà! You would suddenly no longer need food to stay alive. Cleopatra famously drank down a large and costly pearl dissolved in wine vinegar, though in that case she wasn’t avoiding poison. She didn’t want to lose a bet with Antony—which might have fatally injured her pride.

5. THERIAC

Albarello vase for theriac, Italy, 1641
A vase for theriac, Italy, 1641
Wellcome Images // CC BY 4.0

Theriac was an herbal concoction created in the first century by Emperor Nero’s physician, Andromachus, who was reported to have Mithridates’s secret notes. It was a mashed formula of about 70 ingredients, including cinnamon, opium, rose, iris, lavender, and acacia in a honey base. In the 12th century, theriac made in Venice was branded as particularly special, and Venetian treacle (derived from a Middle English translation of theriac) became a hot commodity. Its public, dramatic production often attracted curious crowds.

By the 18th century, cheaper golden syrup was substituted for honey. As treacle began to lose its luster as a treatment, its definition as an herbal remedy disappeared from common vernacular. But the sweet syrup remained. Which is why when we think of treacle, we think of treacle tarts, not a fancy means of saving ourselves from a deathly poisoning.

BONUS: WHAT ACTUALLY WORKS

Thankfully, science has brought us a wide range of antidotes for many items we shouldn’t be exposed to in dangerous quantities, if at all. N-acetylcysteine, fondly referred to as NAC by doctors, saves us from acetaminophen overdoses. Ethanol can treat antifreeze poisoning. Atropine, ironically one of the main components of plants in the toxic nightshade family (such as mandrake), can treat poisoning from some dangerous fertilizers and chemical nerve agents used as weapons. For years, poisonings were treated with emetics, though it turns out that plain old carbon—in the form of activated charcoal—can adsorb poisons (the poisons stick to the surface of the charcoal) in the digestive system before they’re dissolved and digested by the body.

As long as the natural world and its humans keep making things to kill us off, we’ll keep developing methods to not die untimely deaths.

We’ll just leave the fancy hairballs off the list.

The cover of the book Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
Workman Publishing

Excerpt from Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, MD and Nate Pedersen/Workman Publishing. Used with permission.

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