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18 Things You Might Not Know About Wayne’s World

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If Wayne's World's return to theaters this week has made one thing clear, it’s that the world still loves Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. Nearly 30 years after the head-banging duo made their debut on Saturday Night Live—and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their big-screen debut—we’ve uncovered 18 things you might not know about Wayne’s World in both its small- and big-screen incarnations.

1. WAYNE BEGAN LIFE ON A DIFFERENT SERIES ALTOGETHER.

Though it’s Saturday Night Live that made Wayne Campbell a household name, the character—which Mike Myers began working on when he was still a teenager—began his on-screen life on Canadian television, first on the alternative video show City Limits and later on It’s Only Rock & Roll in 1987 in a sketch called “Wayne’s Power Minute.” When Myers joined the cast of SNL in 1989, he brought Wayne with him. "Wayne’s World" made its SNL debut on February 18, 1989.

2. DANA CARVEY BASED GARTH ON HIS BROTHER.

Dana’s older brother, electronic engineer Brad Carvey, was the inspiration for Garth. “We both eat red licorice, and we both like video, and we both play the drums,” the elder Carvey told People Magazine in 1994 of the similarities between him and Garth. Dana paid sartorial tribute to Brad when Garth wore a “Video Toaster” T-shirt in Wayne’s World 2. Video Toaster is a special effects system that Brad helped to develop.

3. MADONNA WAS MIKE MYERS’ FIRST ON-SCREEN SMOOCH.

Celebrity guests became a staple of "Wayne’s World," with Aerosmith and Madonna being two of the most memorable of them. But Madge’s appearance in a 1991 fantasy sequence caused a bit of anxiety for Myers, as it featured his first on-screen kiss. “I was so nervous,” Myers told The Chicago Tribune in 1991. “She was really nice, actually. I was terrified. I had never kissed anybody on screen before, and she was really nice.”

4. RUMORS OF A RIFT BETWEEN MYERS AND CARVEY HAVE LONG CIRCULATED.

From "Wayne’s World"’s SNL inception, rumors of a rift between Myers and Carvey have made the rounds in Hollywood, with many anonymous “insiders”—and a 2000 article in Vanity Fair—claiming that Myers didn’t want to be upstaged by Carvey, whose comedic profile was much higher when the sketch first began. In 2008, both Carvey and Lorne Michaels disputed that there was any bad blood in an Entertainment Weekly article. While Carvey said the claims were “ridiculous,” Michaels described the rumors as “overstated,” then went on to say, “That isn’t to say they’re not both comedians and that occasionally there’s not some disagreement over who should be speaking what.”

5. THERE WAS TENSION BETWEEN MYERS AND PENELOPE SPHEERIS.

Wayne’s World director Penelope Spheeris has been vocal about the many creative differences she and Myers had on the set of the first Wayne’s World movie, which was Myers’ big-screen debut. “You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene: ‘I can’t move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!,’” Spheeris recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 2008.

6. SEEING AUSTIN POWERS PERSUADED SPHEERIS TO FORGIVE MYERS.

Though she blamed Myers for not being invited back to direct Wayne’s World 2, seeing Austin Powers persuaded Spheeris to forget the past. “I hated that bastard for years,” Spheeris told Entertainment Weekly in 2008. ''But when I saw Austin Powers, I went, ‘I forgive you, Mike … You can be moody, you can be a jerk, you can be things that others of us can't be—because you are profoundly talented. And I forgive you.’” Oddly, Austin Powers ignited a new (though always denied) feud between Myers and Carvey, with rumors that Myers’ Dr. Evil was based on Carvey’s Lorne Michaels impression.

7. IN 2013, MYERS, CARVEY AND SPHEERIS REUNITED FOR A WAYNE’S WORLD PANEL.

Before the panel, Spheeris told The Hollywood Reporter, “We're all getting too old to be pissed. Wayne's World has such a beautiful, uplifting spirit about it. Why should there be a dark cloud? This is going to be cathartic. Everyone's going to walk out of there high—sort of like they did when they watched the movie.”

8. WAYNE’S WORLD MARKED CHRIS FARLEY’S MOVIE DEBUT.

Like Myers, Wayne’s World marked the movie debut of fellow SNL-er Chris Farley, who made a cameo as a security guard at an Alice Cooper concert. He also appeared in the movie’s sequel, but this time playing a friend of Wayne and Garth’s named Milton.

9. THE FILM HELPED REVIVE ROB LOWE’S CAREER.

Wayne’s World helped to resurrect Rob Lowe’s career after a slump following a 1988 sex tape scandal. It also helped reinvent him as a comedic actor, a role he continued to play alongside Myers in all three Austin Powers movies (and well beyond).

10. WAYNE’S WORLD WAS ONLY THE SECOND SNL MOVIE TO BE MADE.

When Wayne’s World was released on February 14, 1992, it was only the second movie to be made from a Saturday Night Live sketch. The first was 1980’s The Blues Brothers. But Wayne’s World remains the most financially successful SNL movie to date, earning more than $183 million worldwide.

11. THE WAYNE’S WORLD SOUNDTRACK WAS A HIT, TOO.

The Wayne’s World soundtrack—which included classic rock tracks like Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”—rose to the top of the Billboard 200 upon its release on February 18, 1992. “Bohemian Rhapsody” experienced a second life; the 1975 Queen classic reached number two on the Billboard chart. Spheeris even shot a new video for the song, which incorporated footage from the movie.

12. “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” ALMOST DIDN’T MAKE IT INTO THE FILM.

In 2014, Myers told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast that using “Bohemian Rhapsody” was one of the things he fought for hardest on Wayne’s World. “They wanted Guns N' Roses. Guns N' Roses were very, very popular, they were a fantastic band,” Myers said. “Queen, at that point—not by me and not by hardcore fans—but the public had sort of forgotten about them. Freddie [Mercury] had gotten sick, the last time we had seen them was on Live Aid and then there were a few albums after where they were sort of straying away from their arena rock roots. But I always loved ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ I thought it was a masterpiece. So I fought really, really hard for it. And at one point I said, ‘Well, I'm out. I don't want to make this movie if it’s not ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’”

13. WAYNE REALLY WAS DENIED THE RIGHT TO PLAY “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN.”

In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Wayne attempts to test drive his dream guitar at a music store by playing “Stairway to Heaven,” only to have the salesman point out a sign that bans customers from playing the Led Zeppelin classic. But Led Zeppelin really did deny Wayne the rights to play the tune following its theatrical release, hence the possible confusion if you watched the film on DVD or cable.

14. YES, CARVEY REALLY DOES PLAY THE DRUMS.

In that same scene, Garth launches into a killer drum solo—and yes, that really is Carvey playing the drums. In addition to his comedic chops, Carvey is an accomplished drummer who wasn’t afraid to prove it to a live audience in 1996 on his short-lived talk show, The Dana Carvey Show.

15. WAYNE’S WORLD’S SUCCESS SPAWNED A SPATE OF NEW SNL MOVIES.

The box office success of Wayne’s World spawned eight more skits-turned-features over the next eight years, beginning with Wayne’s World 2 in 1993, which proved to be a bit of a box office disappointment. Coneheads (1993), It’s Pat: The Movie (1994), Stuart Saves His Family (1995), A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), Superstar (1999), and The Ladies Man (2000) followed. In 2010, SNL tried the movie thing again with MacGruber, which failed to earn back enough to cover its modest $10 million budget.

16. WAYNE’S WORLD 2 DID NOT RECAPTURE THE MAGIC.

It didn’t take long for a sequel to Wayne’s World to go into production. The film fell far short of box expectations, with a domestic gross of less than $48 million.

17. WAYNE AND GARTH NEEDED HELP TO NOT GET LOST IN TRANSLATION.

Though its humor is very American, Wayne’s World’s distributors took a chance on releasing the film internationally. Which brought about its own set of challenges, particularly in translating the movie’s catchphrases in a way that would make sense to international audiences: In the U.K., 200,000 mini mock-dictionaries were printed; in Germany, the editors of a popular teen magazine translated the movie into Deutsch slang; in France, a group of young comedians came up with French equivalents of the duo’s most popular expressions, i.e. “Megateuf!” for “Party on!”

18. GAMERS HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME WAYNE.

In 1993, a video game version of Wayne’s World was released which saw Wayne searching Aurora, Illinois for Garth, who has been sucked into the Zoltar the Gelatinous Cube arcade game.

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The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

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11 Bite-Sized Facts About Cannibal! The Musical
Troma Entertainment
Troma Entertainment

Back in their film school days, the creators of South Park made a twisted tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein. Cannibal! The Musical is (very) loosely based on the life of Alfred "Alferd" Packer, an American prospector who resorted to eating his travel companions in the harsh winter of 1874. Below, you’ll find a buffet of bite-sized facts about this weirdly upbeat black comedy. Bon appétit!

1. IT ALL STARTED WITH A GAG TRAILER.

In 1992, Trey Parker was studying film at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where pretty much everyone knows all about the legend of Alfred "Alferd" Packer. Indeed, when a new restaurant opened up on campus in 1968, the student body chose to name it after this famous man-eater. The restaurant’s slogan? “Have a friend for lunch.” As a joke, Parker rounded up some of his fellow film majors and spent three days shooting a phony trailer for a nonexistent movie called Alferd Packer: The Musical. Included in the ensemble was Matt Stone, with whom Parker would go on to create South Park.

Once the Alferd Packer promo was finished, those who worked on it weren’t sure if they could turn this concept into a feature-length picture. Fortunately, the trailer was a huge hit. “People thought it was really funny,” Parker told The Denver Post, “so we went around … and said, ‘So do you want to invest?’” Thanks (for the most part) to donations from a few CU grads with wealthy parents, Parker and his co-stars amassed a $100,000 budget.

2. LIANE THE HORSE WAS NAMED AFTER TREY PARKER’S EX-FIANCÉE.

At age 21, Parker was all set to marry his high school sweetheart. “We had plane tickets, the dress was bought, the church was paid for,” Parker shared on the DVD commentary. Then, about a month before the wedding, he caught his bride-to-be with another man. Devastated, Parker broke off the engagement and came up with an unusual way to get even. “I really wrote this movie for her,” he said.

A major character in Cannibal is Liane, Packer’s beloved horse, who leaves him for another rider. The two-timing equine was named after Parker’s former fiancée. Some artistic license was taken here, as there’s no proof that the real Packer ever owned a horse named Liane—or that he ever wistfully sang about being on top of her.

3. AN AVANT-GARDE LEGEND WAS CAST IN A MINOR ROLE.

World-renowned for his experimental filmmaking, the late Stan Brakhage taught off and on at the University of Colorado, where he met Parker and Stone. The two convinced him to appear in Cannibal! as George Noon’s father, who gets about two minutes’ worth of screen time.

4. PARKER’S DAD WAS IN IT, TOO.

Just like Stan Marsh’s dad in South Park, Trey Parker’s father, Randy, is a geologist. In Cannibal! The Musical, he portrays the Breckenridge judge who sentences Packer (played by Trey) to death.

5. “SHPADOINKLE” WAS MEANT AS A FILLER WORD.

In addition to penning the Cannibal! script, Parker also wrote the film’s musical numbers. The first of these is “Shpadoinkle Day,” an offbeat tribute to “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! Parker knew that the first verse had to include a positive, three-syllable word, but couldn’t think of any that fit. So he used the made-up term “Shpadoinkle” to plug the gap until he could come up with an alternative. However, the creative team liked “shpadoinkle” so much that it stayed put and became one of Cannibal’s running jokes.

6. THEY SHOT IN THE COURTROOM IN WHICH PACKER WAS ACTUALLY TRIED.

On April 6, 1883, Packer was put on trial at the Hinsdale County Courthouse in Lake City, Colorado. Over the next few days, he admitted to dining on two of his dead travel companions—one of whom he supposedly killed in self-defense (the other died of natural causes). Packer was found guilty of murder, but avoided the hangman’s noose by fighting for a second trial, which took place 30 miles away in Gunnison. This time, he was charged with five counts of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 40 years in prison. However, while Packer languished behind bars, public opinion slowly turned in the cannibal’s favor. Under near-constant pressure from The Denver Post, Governor Charles S. Thomas pardoned Packer in 1901.

More than 90 years later, Parker filmed the trial scenes of Cannibal! The Musical at the still-standing Hinsdale County Courthouse. About halfway through the movie, the judge delivers a big speech in which he sentences Packer to death. His on-screen monologue was copied word-for-word from the court transcript of that 1883 Lake City trial.

7. AS THE MINERS SING “THAT’S ALL I’M ASKING FOR,” YOU CAN SEE PARKER MOUTH THE WORD “CUT.”

It goes by fast, but you can see Parker call "cut" to end the shot at the 3:06 mark in the clip above.

8. PARKER USED A PSEUDONYM FOR THE OPENING CREDITS.

Parker billed himself as "Juan Schwartz" in the cast of Cannibal because, according to the movie's website, "Trey doesn't like seeing one person's name plastered all over a movie's credits." Since he is properly credited as writer and director, he likely felt the additional acting credit was a bit too much. Incidentally, Packer called himself “John Shwartze” while evading the law before his arrest.

9. A FEW SONGS WERE DELETED.

The original cut of Cannibal! The Musical ran for two and a half hours, but thanks to some major-league editing, the runtime was reduced to a breezy 93 minutes. “There were fights about that from the get-go, but I give credit to Trey for being the toughest critic,” producer Jason McHugh told MovieMaker Magazine. “He had the maturity to know that a musical comedy about cannibals can’t be two and a half hours long.”

In the streamlining process, two musical numbers got the axe. The first was a quick little dirge called “Don’t Be Stupid,” wherein some nameless miners tell Packer’s group to postpone their journey until springtime. The other was “I’m Shatterproof,” a rap/funk song that Packer, hardened by his recent ordeals, delivers during a bar fight. Also deleted was a reprise of “When I Was On Top of You.”

10. COMEDY CENTRAL WOULDN’T BROADCAST IT.

Cannibal! was distributed by Troma Entertainment, an independent production company best known for creating The Toxic Avenger series. When South Park began to emerge as a major player on cable TV, Troma’s co-founder, Lloyd Kaufman, assumed that Comedy Central would jump at the chance to air some of Parker and Stone’s earlier work. Instead, the channel flatly refused to air Cannibal.

Kaufman was sent a rejection letter from Comedy Central, which read: “Thank you for submitting and re-submitting Cannibal! The Musical, but it is simply not up to our standards for broadcasting.” Troma forwarded a copy of this dispatch to Parker. Today, it’s prominently displayed in his office—at Comedy Central!

11. IT HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A STAGE MUSICAL ON MANY OCCASIONS.

Can’t get tickets to The Book of Mormon? Perhaps you can catch a live reenactment of Cannibal! The Musical instead. Since 1998, the movie has been seen more than 60 stage adaptations. There’s no “official” version of the theatrical show. As such, acting troupes that might be interested in performing Cannibal! have to write their own scripts based on the original movie. 

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