Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

15 Fun Facts About Caddyshack

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

You may already know your favorite moments from Caddyshack by heart but after reading this list, you’ll be a lock for membership at Bushwood Country Club.

1. The film had a simple premise.

Following their success with Animal House, screenwriters Doug Kenney and Harold Ramis pitched a handful of ideas for new movies to Orion Pictures. Every idea got rejected. When the duo teamed up with Brian Doyle-Murray to pitch the concept of “Animal House on a golf course,” the idea received an immediate green light.

2. Harold Ramis wasn’t a golfer.

Before directing Caddyshack, he’d never played a round in his life.

3. Bill Murray didn’t just inspire Carl Spackler.

Danny Noonan’s dozens of family members were inspired by Brian Doyle-Murray’s real-life family, which includes nine siblings (three sisters and six brothers, including Bill Murray, who plays Carl Spackler in Caddyshack ).

4. There really are caddy scholarships.

The eldest Murray brother, Ed, had actually won a golf caddie tournament scholarship called the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. He used his winnings to help put himself through Northwestern University.

5. And there was a real Bushwood Country Club.

The upscale Bushwood Country Club is based on the Indian Hill Club where Brian Doyle-Murray and his brothers worked during childhood summers in Winnetka, Illinois. Bill Murray ran the hot dog stand at the club when he was a teenager.

6. The film helped Rodney Dangerfield earn Hollywood’s respect.

Caddyshack was Dangerfield’s first big-time movie appearance, but the comedian allegedly had a tough time on-set early on—he thought he was unfunny because no one was laughing at his jokes. Scott Colomby (who plays Tony D’Annunzio) had to assure the newbie that any audible laughs would ruin the take.

7. Carl Spackler exaggerated his personal connections.

Despite Carl’s priceless story about caddying for the religious leader, earlier this year the Dalai Lama revealed that not only had he never played golf – he’d never seen Caddyshack .

8. According to Ramis, Caddyshack functions as a Marx Brothers film.

Dangerfield is Groucho, Murray is Harpo, and Chevy Chase is Chico.

9. The Murray brothers knew how to use a Baby Ruth.

The “candy bar in the pool” scene was based on an actual prank that the Murray brothers played in their high school’s swimming pool.

10. The gopher’s appearances were an afterthought.

The shots of the gopher puppet were inserted into existing scenes after principal photography to add a narrative through-line to the film. The puppet and the shots were created by Oscar-winning Star Wars visual effects supervisor John Dykstra.

11. You’ve heard the gopher before.

The sound effects for the gopher were reused from the TV series Flipper .

12. The theme song could have been very different.

Kenny Loggins was the filmmakers’ second choice to create original music for the opening and closing credits. Ramis originally wanted Pink Floyd, but the band declined because they were too busy touring to support The Wall .

13. The director’s cut was truly epic.

The original rough cut of the movie was four and a half hours long. It was packed with so many good jokes that Ramis didn’t want to edit any of them out.

14. Murray and Chase did some brilliant improv work.

The original script didn’t include a scene where Carl and Ty meet, so following a note from the studio, Chase, Murray, and Ramis brainstormed an outline of a scene over lunch and later improvised the entire scene while cameras rolled.

15. The finale was an actual caper.

The climactic scene featured real explosions on a fake green built at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Davie, Florida, where the film was shot. Initially the production wasn’t allowed to use real explosives, but the filmmakers took the club’s unsuspecting owners out to lunch so they could blow up the green anyway.

How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?

Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

TAKWest, Youtube
Watch Boris Karloff's 1966 Coffee Commercial
TAKWest, Youtube
TAKWest, Youtube

Horror legend Boris Karloff is famous for playing mummies, mad scientists, and of course, Frankenstein’s creation. In 1930, Karloff cemented the modern image of the monster—with its rectangular forehead, bolted neck, and enormous boots (allegedly weighing in at 11 pounds each)—in the minds of audiences.

But the horror icon, who was born 130 years ago today, also had a sense of humor. The actor appeared in numerous comedies, and even famously played a Boris Karloff look-alike (who’s offended when he’s mistaken for Karloff) in the original Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace

In the ’60s, Karloff also put his comedic chops to work in a commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. The strange commercial, set in a spooky mansion, plays out like a movie scene, in which Karloff and the viewer are co-stars. Subtitles on the bottom of the screen feed the viewer lines, and Karloff responds accordingly. 

Watch the commercial below to see the British star selling coffee—and read your lines aloud to feel like you’re “acting” alongside Karloff. 

[h/t: Retroist]


More from mental floss studios