15 Things You May Not Have Known About Beverly Hills Cop

Paramount Home Video
Paramount Home Video

Beverly Hills Cop confirmed Eddie Murphy's status as a superstar. The action/comedy was, financially speaking, the number one movie of 1984, and its screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. What ended up becoming one of AFI's Top 100 comedies of all time was very close to becoming a completely different movie featuring Sylvester Stallone, more gunplay, and far less humor. Thirty years after its premiere is as good a time as any to read about the crazy behind-the-scenes journey that got Axel Foley from Detroit to Beverly Hills.

1. THE ORIGINAL IDEA FOR THE MOVIE CAME FROM A SPEEDING TICKET

In 1975, long before he would become the CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner was driving a beat-up station wagon around Hollywood, despite his impressive title of president at Paramount Studios. After he got a speeding ticket from a cop with "an air of superiority and quiet condescension," he bought himself a Mercedes and came up with the germ of an idea to make a movie about a Hollywood police officer. For what it's worth, Paramount executive Don Simpson allegedly claims Eisner was wrong, and that he came up with the idea himself.

2. IT TOOK OVER FIVE YEARS FOR SOMEONE TO GET THE SCRIPT RIGHT

Danillo Bach was hired to write the script, and in 1981 he submitted a draft titled Beverly Drive. In Beverly Drive, a Pittsburgh cop named Elly Axel shows up in Beverly Hills to investigate his friend's death. That loose plot remained throughout the remainder of the creative process. Michael Eisner felt that the draft, and all the others before it from different screenwriters, didn't capture the fish-out-of-water aspect enough.

Daniel Petrie Jr.'s script was the one Eisner, Don Simpson, and his fellow Paramount producer Jerry Bruckheimer liked. Petrie injected comedy into his version after talking to cops and noticing that they told "tremendously funny stories, punctuated by the most gruesome violence." He also nailed the outsider aspect Eisner desired, drawing from his experience as a poor writer walking to his expensive-looking Beverly Hills office past stores full of high-priced clothes and art that he could never afford.

3. MICKEY ROURKE WAS INITIALLY PAID TO PLAY AXEL FOLEY

With the project fast-tracked in 1983, Mickey Rourke was a hot commodity, fresh off his Diner performance as Boogie. Rourke made $400,000 by signing a holding contract, going back and forth with the studio and the writers on ideas for the script, and then walking away when his contract expired to look for work elsewhere.

4. SYLVESTER STALLONE SIGNED ON TO PLAY AXEL AND REWROTE THE MOVIE AS A SYLVESTER STALLONE MOVIE

Stallone reflected that when he first received the action/comedy script in the mail, he thought it was sent to the wrong house. The actor, who by 1983 had already written the first three Rocky movies and First Blood, re-wrote Beverly Hills Cop to better suit his strengths, making it into a pure action flick as it had been before Petrie Jr. took over script duties. In Stallone's ending, Axel drives a stolen Lamborghini towards a freight train being driven by the Big Bad.

5. STALLONE LEFT WEEKS BEFORE SHOOTING BECAUSE OF ORANGE JUICE. MAYBE.

The Hollywood legend is that Sylvester Stallone abandoned the project thanks to failed negotiations over what type of orange juice was to be kept in his trailer. The official explanation was that Stallone's script made the budget skyrocket, and Paramount did not want to spend all the extra money. A majority of Stallone's script went into his 1986 movie Cobra, and as a nod to Stallone's involvement, Judge Reinhold's character Billy Rosewood has posters of both Cobra and Rambo in his room in Beverly Hills Cop II.

6. EDDIE MURPHY IMPROVISED A LOT OF THE MOVIE

Murphy, coming off roles in 48 Hours and Trading Places, was brought in to save the day. Petrie Jr. came back and finished a final version of his script, but both he and director Martin Brest weren't completely satisfied. Brest encouraged Murphy to make up funny stuff on the spot, and Murphy came through on multiple occasions. The former SNL cast member rarely drank caffeine, but after drinking a cup of coffee, he ad-libbed his spirited "supercops" monologue.

7. AN ACTOR HELD THE MOVIE'S SCRIPT IN HIS HANDS WHILE SHOOTING, AND IT WAS KEPT IN THE FILM

With the screenplay reworked constantly, sometimes actors were given their lines right before they were supposed to say them. This was an issue for actor Stephen Elliott, who was caught with his rolled-up script in his hand as he was playing police chief Hubbard. Fortunately for him, his director thought it made him more look the part, and in the film, Elliott is holding those script pages.

8. MARTIN SCORCESE WAS THE FIRST CHOICE TO DIRECT

When Stallone was still signed up to play the lead, Scorcese was offered the director's chair. Scorcese was "bewildered," and dismissed the concept as too similar to the movie Coogan's Bluff. In that film, Clint Eastwood was a deputy sheriff from Arizona who travels to New York City to hand over a fugitive.

9. MARTIN BREST REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO DIRECT THE MOVIE

Martin Brest was fired from his second directing job, WarGames, and the industry thought he was damaged goods. Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer disagreed, and the two Paramount executives continually called Brest and asked him to direct Beverly Hills Cop. He kept declining, before eventually taking his phone off the hook. Simpson took the hint, but Bruckheimer kept trying, and to end the harassment, Brest decided to flip a coin to make his decision. The coin told him to take the job.

10. BRONSON PINCHOT ALMOST DIDN'T DO THE MOVIE BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GO TO ITALY

Pinchot's performance as Serge the gallerist, which led Brest to call Pinchot the "American Peter Sellers," helped him obtain his iconic role of Mypos native Balki Bartokomous on Perfect Strangers for seven seasons. But because of the movie's repeated production delays and his scheduled trip to Florence, Italy, Pinchot grew restless and said that if they didn't start production, he would have to drop out. Pinchot made this ultimatum despite being a virtual unknown.

11. THE REAL DETROIT POLICE WOULDN'T GO PLACES THE DIRECTOR WOULD

Most of the scenes set in Detroit were actually shot there. An off-duty police officer accompanied Martin Brest and his crew during filming, but he refused to go with them when they entered a housing project. Detroit PD was more helpful when producers were researching police procedures, though, when a detective took them to a murder site. Since the incident occurred across the street from Mumford High School, Eddie Murphy wears a Mumford shirt throughout the movie.

12. THREE SYNTHESIZERS WERE NEEDED TO RECORD 'AXEL F'

The classic instrumental theme written and performed by Harold Faltermeyer was made using a Roland Jupiter 8, a Roland JX-3P, and a Yamaha DX-7. The song reached #3 on the Billboard U.S. charts. Faltermeyer also co-wrote the Glenn Frey song "The Heat is On" for the film's soundtrack.

13. THE BEVERLY HILLS POLICE DEPARTMENT SET WAS BASED ON 'WARGAMES'

The Beverly Hills PD did not provide access to their headquarters, so Martin Brest and staff simply built a set that would look like the exact opposite of the Detroit police department, "like private security for all rich people." The set was influenced by Brest's original conceptual designs for the NORAD scenes in WarGames. Like Stallone would do with Cobra, Brest recycled his unused work because he felt that he spent too much time on it to never use it.

14. THE BANANA IN THE TAIL PIPE WAS A LAST SECOND FOOD CHOICE

In the script, Axel stuffs potatoes he stole from the hotel kitchen into the tail pipe of Rosewood and Taggart's car. Due to time constraints, no scene from the kitchen could be shot. Because the hotel lobby was already a location for a few scenes, the script was re-written so Axel takes bananas, with Damon Wayans' approval, from a buffet in the lobby.

15. 'BEVERLY HILLS COP 4' IS SLATED TO PREMIERE IN 2016

Beverly Hills Cop II was released in 1987 to mixed reviews but still made over $135 million, and the third movie only made $42 million in the United States. An updated TV series was pitched to CBS in 2013, but despite Eddie Murphy's participation, the network passed after seeing the pilot. All is not lost, because a primarily Detroit-based Beverly Hills Cop IV is due to arrive in March 2016, with Murphy reprising his role as Axel.

7 Fast Facts About RollerCoaster Tycoon

Amazon
Amazon

For Windows gamers, 1999 was dominated by RollerCoaster Tycoon, a now-classic strategy and building game that tasked users with erecting an amusement park and gauging the popularity of rides while maintaining a profit margin and keeping patrons from barfing all over the landscape. For the game’s 20th anniversary, check out some facts about its origins, its association with pizza, and how it became a pinball machine.

1. The first RollerCoaster Tycoon sold 4 million copies.

RollerCoaster Tycoon was the brainchild of Scottish programmer Chris Sawyer, who had enjoyed success with his line of Transport Tycoon games in the 1990s that allowed players to build and operate their own railroad, truck, and ship lines. Sawyer decided to marry that concept with his love of roller coasters. An independent effort—Sawyer enlisted only two collaborators, artist Simon Foster and musician Allister Brimble—the first Tycoon game that was released in 1999 sold a staggering 4 million copies.

2. RollerCoaster Tycoon came free with frozen pizza.

In the early 2000s, packaged food companies offered products that came with promotional offers for CD-ROMs. In 2003, Pillsbury offered a free copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon to anyone who sent in proof of purchase barcodes from specially-marked boxes of Totino’s Pizza Rolls or Pillsbury Toaster Strudel.

3. There’s a RollerCoaster Tycoon pinball machine.

A pinball machine released to coincide with 2002’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 took the spiraling coasters of the game and put them under glass. Players could try and direct the pinball—a substitute for the park guest—around and through coasters like The Flying Ghost and The Rocket.

4. RollerCoaster Tycoon helped inspire Minecraft.

If you or a loved one has spent countless hours absorbed in the popular world-building game Minecraft, you have RollerCoaster Tycoon to thank. Minecraft creator Markus Persson was a fan of Tycoon for the way it allowed players to construct elaborate designs. He also enjoyed Dungeon Keeper, which had a fantasy element. Together, the two games encouraged him to develop Minecraft. The game debuted in 2009 and went on to become one of the biggest interactive success stories of all time.

5. RollerCoaster Tycoon inspired real roller coaster designers.

The laborious construction undertaken by players of RollerCoaster Tycoon weaned a number of players on the excitement of the amusement industry. Park designers hoping to break into the industry have used screen shots from the game as examples of their design prowess at trade shows.

6. You can get a spooky update of RollerCoaster Tycoon in time for Halloween.

Atari distributes an Android and iOS version of RollerCoaster Tycoon for mobile phone users. For 2019, the company is offering a Six Flags Fright Fest update to the game that adds a Halloween component. Players can add Skull Mountain, an actual Six Flags coaster, as well as a Demon Rock statue.

7. A RollerCoaster Tycoon fan spent 10 years building a park.

In 2017, a Reddit user declared he was finished building out his own custom park on RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. The 34 coasters and 255 attractions were all minutely detailed, offering a sprawling virtual park with themed areas covering everything from Egyptian attractions to a forest. In comparison, it took only four years to build the actual Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

10 Wild Scooby-Doo Fan Theories

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

For 50 years, the hard-working teens (and dog) of Mystery, Inc. have been investigating the paranormal. What began as a single Hanna-Barbera cartoon series—Scooby Doo, Where Are You!—in the 1960s quickly morphed into a franchise with multiple spin-off shows, comic books, and a few questionable movies. That adds up to a lot of spooky stories, which have inspired fans to come up with their own creepy (or just plain crazed) tales about Scooby and the gang. Here are some of their best theories, including one that somehow connects to Patrick Stewart.

1. Scooby is a Soviet space dog.

For all the cases that Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy solved, they never got to the bottom of the show’s most enduring mystery: How and why does Scooby Doo talk? Some fans think he can’t really speak—that it’s just something his buddy Shaggy imagines while he’s high. But one Redditor has a much more complicated and compelling theory based on the show’s 1960s setting. At that time, America and the USSR were locked in the so-called “Space Race,” competing to see who could claim the first achievements in spaceflight. The Russians famously shot Yuri Gagarin into the stratosphere in 1961, but he wasn’t the first Soviet in space. Canine cosmonauts like Laika beat him by several years, and if the USSR was willing to put a dog in a rocket, who’s to say they didn’t experiment on him first?

According to this fan theory, Scooby is a runaway from the Soviets’ classified space dog program, designed to breed pups capable of operating satellites and understanding radio commands. Scooby was the best of the bunch, the rare test subject who could understand and imitate human speech. Naturally, one of the scientists got attached and defected with Scooby to the USA. When that scientist died, Scooby found a new family with a group of friendly teenagers. But the CIA never stopped searching for this Soviet wunderpup, which is why Mystery, Inc. is constantly traveling by van—and why the original show is called Scooby Doo, Where Are You!

2. The show takes place during an economic depression.

A still from 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You!'
Warner Home Video

A classic Scooby-Doo mystery might take place at a theme park, museum, or mine—so long as it’s grimy and deserted. That’s a weird coincidence when you think about it: why are all these places so rundown? Well, that tends to happen when you’re weathering a financial collapse, and many clues indicate that’s just what’s happening in the world of Scooby-Doo. The towns he and his friends visit never seem to be doing well. No one has any money: Not the many scientists posing as monsters for cash, not the operators of every haunted attraction the gang investigates, and certainly not Shaggy and Scooby, who gorge on dog treats and lose their minds whenever they so much as smell a burger.

3. Mystery, Inc. is actually a cult.

Let’s break down the core members of the gang: You have Fred, the handsome and friendly frontman of the group. Then there’s Daphne, the fashionable and pretty one who mostly follows Fred around. Velma has the brains and Shaggy has full-blown conversations with a dog. When you really think about, doesn’t this all sound a bit like a cult? Fred would obviously be the cult leader, who recruits groupies like Daphne to obey his every command. Velma’s intelligence makes her a useful addition, and she could also be seeking acceptance from the “cool” kids. As for Shaggy, well, men who claim dogs can talk to them have a famously disturbing history—much like cult members.

4. They’re all draft dodgers.

Scooby Doo, Where Are You! premiered in 1969. Also happening that year? The Vietnam War. As able-bodied men (seemingly) over 18, Fred and Shaggy would both be eligible for the draft, which begs the obvious question: is Mystery, Inc. just a bunch of draft dodgers? The boys could be driving that van straight to Canada to avoid deployment, along with Fred’s fiancée Daphne and their antiwar activist friend Velma. Scooby’s stance on the war remains unclear, but he’s along for the ride.

5. Scooby Snacks alter your genes.

What if Scooby’s preferred treat is really a steroid capable of editing genetic code? It would explain why Scooby—and other members of his canine family, like Scrappy-Doo and Scooby-Dum—can talk, as well as their ability to perform “completely ridiculous stunts.” (Also, if Scrappy-Doo is on steroids, it would explain why he’s always trying to fight.) But what about its effect on humans? As far as we know, Shaggy is the only person who eats Scooby Snacks, and he seems to have a freakishly high metabolism, considering the mile-high sandwiches he eats and his super skinny frame.

6. Fred drives the Mystery Machine because the real owner is too high.

Whenever the gang piles into the Mystery Machine, there’s only one person behind the wheel: Fred. Mystery, Inc.’s de facto leader is constantly driving his friends from one haunted house to the next, which would imply that the Mystery Machine is his car. But why would a clean-shaven, preppy kid like Fred own a lime green van with flowers plastered over the doors? That car obviously belongs to a hippie, and in this group, that’s Shaggy. His hippie lifestyle, however, may be the reason Shaggy never drives. He’s either lost his license from driving under the influence, or Fred is worried he will, so someone else serves as his designated driver.

7. Shaggy is Captain America’s son.

This theory starts with small coincidences, like the fact that Norville “Shaggy” Rogers and Steve Rogers share a last name. Then it builds to something bigger when you factor in a detail from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While out on a morning run, Sam Wilson (a.k.a. Falcon) claims that Steve can run 13 miles in half an hour, a rate that breaks down to 26 mph. Shaggy, meanwhile, frequently keeps pace with Scooby, a Great Dane. Those dogs run up to 30 mph. Ergo, Shaggy is Steve’s son.

8. Monsters really do exist in the Scooby-Doo universe.

A still from 'Scooby Doo, Where Are You!'
Warner Home Video

Each time the gang catches a new “monster,” it always turns out to be a human in disguise, grumbling about how they “would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” Monsters, the show tells us over and over again, are not real. But this Reddit theory poses an important question: If monsters don’t exist, why is there a business dedicated to catching the fake ones? The fact that Mystery, Inc. keeps getting calls implies that “supernatural fraud” is an entire category of crime, one that wouldn’t make sense or work if people didn’t believe in monsters. Everyone in the Scooby-Doo universe also seems to accept monsters as a normal and everyday occurrence, suggesting that monsters are real—the gang has just never caught one.

9. Shaggy and Scooby are actors.

When danger calls, Shaggy and Scooby tend to run the other way. But what if the group’s most cowardly members were actually actors pretending to be scared of ghosts, monsters, and other paranormal entities? According to this fan theory, Shaggy and Scooby are faking their over-the-top fear in order to draw the monsters out. By posing as easy targets, they know they’ll get spooked first, and thus make it easier for Mystery, Inc. to trap the ghost/witch/pirate. That’s why Fred always pairs Shaggy with Scooby when they split up to investigate, and it’s why after many years of investigating the supernatural, the two of them still don’t seem remotely used to it.

10. Green Room is just a gritty Scooby-Doo reboot.

The 2015 horror movie Green Room is about a band with a van that squares off against an evil old Nazi. The Scooby-Doo franchise is about a team (that was supposed to be a band) with a van that squares off against evil old men (who could also, theoretically, be Nazis). You do the math.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER