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25 Groovy Facts About Austin Powers

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After two Wayne’s World movies and a six-season run on Saturday Night Live, Mike Myers took a break from show business. Almost two years after he left SNL, Myers reemerged on May 2, 1997—20 years ago today—with a feature comedy he had conceived of and written about a time-traveling secret agent with terrible teeth titled Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

Its positive reviews and robust home video sales led to the popular sequel Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which made more than $312 million worldwide at the box office, making more money in its opening weekend than the original film did throughout its entire theatrical run. 2002’s Austin Powers in Goldmember received weaker reviews, but was nearly as huge a moneymaker.

1. MIKE MYERS STARTED THINKING UP THE AUSTIN POWERS CHARACTER DRIVING HOME ONE DAY.

Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love” was playing on the car radio, leading Mike Myers to think about where the “swingers” of the world went off to. This inevitably led to the comedian asking his then-wife Robin Ruzan if she “swung” and if he was "making her horny." Told to stop and to just write this new character down somewhere, Myers wrote the first draft of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in three weeks.

2. IT’S WIDELY BELIEVED THAT DR. EVIL IS BASED ON LORNE MICHAELS.

Anonymous former writers and actors from the legendary sketch show claimed that Dr. Evil did an excellent job of mimicking SNL's head honcho, from his overall control-freak behavior to the physical mannerisms, including the famous upturned pinkie. It was even rumored that Dana Carvey was angry with Myers for more than a decade because he felt that Myers stole his Lorne Michaels impression for Dr. Evil. A few months after The Spy Who Shagged Me came out, Myers appeared in an SNL sketch insisting to Michaels that Dr. Evil was not based on him.

3. MICHAEL CAINE BELIEVES THAT AUSTIN POWERS IS BASED ON A 1965 CHARACTER OF HIS.

Caine portrayed bespectacled government agent Harry Palmer in the British espionage movie The Ipcress File. When he first saw Austin Powers, the actor thought that he was Palmer—but with poor teeth (of which Caine was not a fan). Years later, Caine would play Austin’s father, Nigel, in Goldmember.

4. ELIZABETH HURLEY BELIEVES THAT AUSTIN POWERS IS BASED ON A 1960s BRITISH TALK SHOW HOST.

Simon Dee was the host of the hip and popular BBC celebrity chat show called Dee Time that ran in the late 1960s. It aired twice a week and episodes concluded with Dee driving off in a Jaguar with a blonde model. When he passed away in 2009 of bone cancer, obituaries quoted Hurley—who played International Man of Mystery’s Vanessa Kensington—as saying that Dee’s “sixties grooviness” made him the inspiration for the Powers character. One international news service even used the headline “Original Austin Powers Simon Dee Dies.”

5. OTHERS BELIEVE THE PLOT WAS INFLUENCED BY ANOTHER ENGLISH '60s SHOW.

The BBC's Adam Adamant Lives!, which ran from 1966 to 1967, was about a British man who is frozen by a villain in 1867 and reawakens in 1966 to fight said villain.

6. COLIN QUINN WAS OFFERED THE ROLE OF SCOTT EVIL, BUT TURNED IT DOWN.

The former SNL cast member has said he regrets the decision, but doesn’t begrudge the movie franchise’s success.

7. A ONE-HOUR MTV SPECIAL STARRING AUSTIN POWERS AIRED BEFORE THE MOVIE PREMIERED.

Austin Powers' Electric Pussycat Swingers Club was a Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In-inspired extravaganza which featured some clips from the movie, a Powers-curated “Fab Birds of the ‘90’s” list, and cameos from Julianna Margulies, Bill Bellamy, Kurt Loder, Rosie O’Donnell, Robert Wagner, Steven Weber, and Michael York, who were credited collectively in the closing credits as part of “The Swingers Club.”

8. MUCH OF THE FIRST FILM WAS IMPROVISED.

According to Myers' estimation, "about 30 to 40 percent" of the first movie was improvised. But there are examples of non-scripted scenes running throughout the series, including Basil telling the audience to not think so hard about all of the time travel logistics; Austin pointing out the differences between the English countryside and Southern California; and the shushing scene.

9. A REFERENCE TO PRINCESS DIANA WAS EDITED OUT OF THE THEATRICAL RELEASE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

One of Dr. Evil’s nefarious plans was to make it look like Prince Charles was having an affair to create a shocking royal divorce, without knowing that Charles and Di were no longer married. International Man of Mystery was released in the U.K. on September 5, 1997, five days after Princess Diana’s death, so that part was taken out. It was restored by the time it came out on home video.

10. DR. EVIL’S LINE ABOUT HIPSTERS IS A LENNY BRUCE QUOTE.

The famous comic once said: “There is nothing sadder than an aging hipster.” Dr. Evil attempted to insult Austin with saying, “Really, there's nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster.” Myers has referenced Bruce in various interviews over the years.

11. MR. BIGGLESWORTH’S REAL NAME IS TED NUDE-GENT.

Thanks to Ted, the popularity of sphinx cats skyrocketed after International Man of Mystery came out.

12. IN THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT, AUSTIN DRINKS A ZIMA, NOT A TAB.

Either way, Powers looked out of touch in the scene at the Las Vegas bar when he got laughed at for flashing a peace sign.

13. STARBUCKS PAID NOTHING FOR BEING IN THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME.

The company agreed to take part after producers showed them the script and storyboards.

14. THE WORD "SHAG" IN THE SEQUEL'S SUBTITLE MADE SOME COUNTRIES UNCOMFORTABLE.

Singapore came up with The Spy Who Shioked Me; in English, “shiok” means “treat nicely.” Malaysian censors changed it to The Spy Who Dot-Dot-Dot Me. Some British theater owners simply put Austin Powers II on their marquees.

15. ROB LOWE GOT THE ROLE OF YOUNG NUMBER TWO BY DOING A SPOT-ON ROBERT WAGNER IMPRESSION.

He did the impersonation for Myers one day while the two were golfing. A couple of months later, he was presented with a script with him already cast in the role. Lowe actually appeared in, but was cut out of, the first movie; he played a friend of John Smith, one of Dr. Evil's henchman, who gets "decapitated by an ill-tempered mutated sea bass." Lowe is forced to deliver that news at Smith's bachelor party.

16. 1970s DANCE MUSIC PLAYED BETWEEN TAKES ON THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME SET.

Rob Lowe wrote that to this day, the opening claps of Rose Royce's “Car Wash” remind him of the shoot. He also wrote that he in fact did the Wagner voice, and there were no overdubs by Wagner involved.

17. IT TOOK MYERS SEVEN HOURS TO PUT ON THE FAT BASTARD SUIT.

According to Myers, it smelled like a “sewer filtration plant.”

18. HIS CHAIR ON SET HAD A STRANGE NAME WRITTEN ON IT.

It said: "Sir Stinky Bottom, Viscount of Stinkvania in the Bottom-ic Empire."

19. A BONUS TRACK ON A 1999 ALAN PARSONS SOLO ALBUM FEATURES DR. EVIL.

The title track from The Time Machine received a “Dr. Evil edit.”

20. THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT FOR THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME FEATURED ALTERNATE SUBTITLES THAT PURPOSELY COMMITTED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

Co-written by Myers and former SNL writer Michael McCullers (who collaborated again on Goldmember), the first draft began with a joke that the film was titled Austin Powers 2: The Wrath of Khan, before pressure from lawyers forced them to change it to Austinpussy.

21. MGM ALMOST FORCED THE THIRD MOVIE TO BE TITLED SOMETHING ELSE.

In January 2002, New Line began recalling all promotional materials for Goldmember after MGM sent a cease-and-desist order stating that New Line was attempting to make money off of their James Bond franchise. The lawsuit was settled in April, just three months ahead of the film’s release, with New Line telling CNN that “as part of the agreement to allow use of the ‘Goldmember’ title, all future titles that may be construed as parodies of James Bond will be subject to MGM's approval.”

22. THE FIRST CUT OF GOLDMEMBER CLOCKED IN AT OVER THREE HOURS.

It was actually three-and-a-half hours. In order to trim the running time down to a more manageable 95 minutes, several scenes were left on the cutting room floor, including the return of both Heather Graham’s Felicity Shagwell and Will Ferrell’s Mustafa.

23. NIGEL POWERS’ RANDOM HATRED OF THE DUTCH WAS INSPIRED BY MYERS’ FATHER.

"That idea came from my actual father, who was English, and who had an ax to grind with the Hawaiians because 'they bloody murdered Captain Cook in his sleep,'" Myers told USA Today in 2002. "We couldn't even have a pineapple in the house. So I thought it would be funny if Austin's father, Nigel, had a problem with the Dutch—who nobody has a grudge with."

24. THE GOLDMEMBER CHARACTER CAME ABOUT THANKS TO HBO’S REAL SEX.

A gentleman with a Dutch accent appeared on the late-night program Myers was watching while writing one night, talking about his sex farm near Rotterdam.

25. HBO ORDERED 13 EPISODES OF AN ANIMATED AUSTIN POWERS SERIES IN 1999.

New Line Television shopped it as having less of a Saturday morning cartoon feel and more of a King of the Hill sensibility. But it mysteriously never came to be.

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18 Things You Might Not Know About Frasier
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The character of psychiatrist Frasier Crane was added to Cheers during the series’ third season as a temporary release for some of the Sam and Diane relationship tension. Dr. Crane was only supposed to be around for a few episodes, but thanks to a combination of good writing and Kelsey Grammer’s performance, Frasier became a series regular by Cheers's fifth season. He was so popular that he was eventually spun off into his own series, which premiered on September 16, 1993—and lasted an amazing 11 years. Here are some fun behind-the-scenes facts for all you Frasier fans.

1. THE ORIGINAL IDEA FOR THE SHOW HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH FRASIER.

Kelsey Grammer and the creative team behind Frasier (David Lee, David Angell, and Peter Casey) originally thought that any use of the Dr. Crane character would encourage unfair comparisons to Cheers, so their initial ideas involved Kelsey playing a paralyzed media mogul cared for by a street-smart nurse in a Manhattan penthouse. Paramount hated the idea and convinced all concerned that it would be unwise not to capitalize on the built-in Cheers audience.

2. THEY WANTED TO SET THE SHOW AS FAR AWAY FROM BOSTON AS POSSIBLE.

Once it was agreed that Grammer would continue as Dr. Crane, the creators still wanted to distance themselves from Boston and the whole "crossover syndrome." They knew that the network would insist on having former Cheers characters make guest appearances if the show was set anywhere in Massachusetts, so they moved Frasier across the country to Seattle. The gourmet coffee scene was just taking root in that area, which provided a central meeting place for the characters. The creators didn't want Frasier Crane to work in private practice, since that had already been done on The Bob Newhart Show. Grammer's resonant voice seemed natural for radio, so the concept of a call-in psychiatry show seemed natural.

3. LISA KUDROW COULD HAVE PLAYED ROZ ...

Future Friends star Lisa Kudrow originally won the role of Frasier’s producer, Roz Doyle. But during the third day of rehearsals prior to filming the pilot, the producers realized that while Kudrow was certainly funny enough, she just wasn’t forceful enough to match Grammer when he went all out. They needed a female “alpha dog” to play the part, so Kudrow was out and second choice Peri Gilpin was in. The character was named after Roz Doyle, one of the producers of Wings who died of breast cancer in 1991 at age 49.

4. ... AND ROSIE PEREZ WAS ALMOST DAPHNE.

Rosie Perez was this close to being psychic home health care worker Daphne. Grammer was pushing for the character to be a Latina, while the producers had their eye on Jane Leeves. Grammer’s main objection to the British Leeves was that the show might too closely resemble Nanny and the Professor, a warm and fuzzy family sitcom of the 1970s that starred Juliet Mills as an English nanny with psychic abilities. Grammer agreed to Leeves as the choice when his initial table reading with the actress went exceptionally well.

5. KELSEY GRAMMER SANG THE SHOW'S THEME SONG.

Composer Bruce Miller was given the challenging assignment of writing a theme song for the series that didn’t specifically mention psychiatry, radio, or the name “Frasier.” Lyricist Darryl Phinnesse came up with the cryptic phrase “tossed salad and scrambled eggs” as a metaphor for the “mixed up” patients that Dr. Crane saw regularly. Miller originally envisioned Mel Tormé singing the theme over the closing credits, but the producers preferred to employ Grammer’s golden throat.

6. THE SHOW'S DESIGNERS SPENT MAJOR MONEY FURNISHING FRASIER'S APARTMENT.

“So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place?” Frasier asked his father, Martin, in the pilot episode. “You know, every item here was carefully selected. The lamp by Corbu, this chair by Eames, and this couch is an exact replica of the one Coco Chanel had in her Paris atelier.” The show’s set designers spent almost half a million dollars to give Frasier’s apartment its “eclectic” look. The Coco Chanel replica sofa was covered with 24 yards of Italian suede for an estimated cost of about $15,000. The Eames chair was rented, but the Pastoe curved sideboard was purchased for $3,200 and the Wassily chair had a $1,395 price tag. Martin’s eyesore of a recliner was also on the pricey side, since the prop department couldn’t find an appropriately ugly chair at any second-hand store. The chair was eventually covered with tape and covered with fabric purchased from an exclusive shop that specialized in deliberately tacky 1970s-era textiles.

7. THE FIRST CUT OF THE PILOT WAS SIX MINUTES TOO LONG.

After seven passes, it still came in sixty seconds more than it should and the creative team decided they couldn’t cut any more. NBC agreed and said they would find the extra time—not by cutting a commercial, but by taking 15 seconds from the other 4 shows on that night.

8. JANE LEEVES WORKED WITH AN ACCENT COACH.

Leeves grew up just north of London, England, but since her character was from Manchester she used an affected Mancunian accent (which received a lot of criticism from fans when Frasier aired in the U.K.). Leeves worked with a voice coach to ensure that her accent would be understood by American viewers. John Mahoney, on the other hand, grew up in Manchester but emigrated to the U.S. when he was 19 years old. He concentrated on losing his accent shortly after settling in Illinois so that he would “blend in.”

9. THE CAST MEMBER WHO RECEIVED THE MOST FAN MAIL ISN'T THE ONE YOU MIGHT EXPECT.

When Frasier first started topping the Nielsen ratings every week, which cast member received the most fan mail? Eddie the dog. Leeves once wryly observed that when Entertainment Weekly used Frasier as a lead story in 1993, Eddie was the only cast member to appear on the cover. Eddie was portrayed by a Jack Russell Terrier named Moose, who'd originally been adopted by a family that wasn't aware of the breed's rambunctious nature. Moose had relentless energy—he dug holes in the back yard, chased anything in his path, chewed furniture and even climbed trees to escape his enclosure. His family gave him up to a rescue organization, which is where professional trainer Mathilde de Cagny discovered him. She decided he would be a good working dog because of his boundless energy and desire to always be doing something. Moose turned out to be an apt pupil, and learned to follow commands immediately. During the doggie auditions for the show, the producers were looking for a pooch that could stare endlessly at Kelsey Grammer (a running joke on the series), and Moose performed flawlessly, staring at Mathilde's outstretched index finger offstage until he was "released."

10. WHEN HE RETIRED, MOOSE WAS REPLACED BY HIS SON.

Moose retired at the age of 10 (after the end of Season 7) and his son Enzo took over the role of Eddie. Moose had been bred with the idea of achieving a look-alike replacement when it became obvious that Frasier would have a long run. Enzo had two siblings, a sister named Miko who was too small to play Eddie, and Moosie, who had noticeably different markings. Peri Gilpin, who played Roz, fell in love with Moosie and adopted him.

11. THE FRASIER WRITERS SOMETIMES WORKED SUBTLE HOMAGES TO CHEERS INTO THE SCRIPTS.

One famous example was the recreation of a scene where Sam and Diane were embroiled in a vicious argument that almost ended up in fisticuffs but instead resulted in a passionate embrace. Of course, when Frasier used the same tactic during a shouting match with financial analyst Julia Wilcox, he ended up being accused of sexual harassment.

12. MOST OF THE CHEERS CAST MADE APPEARANCES ON THE SHOW.

Most of the main Boston tavern regulars made appearances on Frasier. Lilith, logically, visited the most since she was Frasier’s ex and Frederick’s mom. Sam, Diane, and Woody all found themselves in Seattle for varying reasons, and a business trip to Boston in Season 9 enabled the Crane family to see the rest of the Cheers gang in one fell swoop. Noticeably absent, however, was Rebecca Howe, played by Kirstie Alley. Alley had contacted co-creator David Lee when Frasier was in the planning stages and informed him that as a Scientologist she did not believe in psychiatry and as a result would not be able to make an appearance on the series. Lee responded simply, “I don’t recall asking.”

13. THE EPISODE WHERE NILES CO-HOSTED HIS BROTHER'S SHOW WAS RE-WRITTEN WHEN GRAMMER WENT TO REHAB.

On the evening of September 21, 1996, Kelsey Grammer flipped his Dodge Viper (a gift from NBC) not far from his driveway in Agoura Hills, California. He wasn’t severely injured, but the resulting DUI arrest spurred him to check in at the Betty Ford Clinic. Frasier was on hiatus for the following three weeks due to the Major League Baseball playoffs, and the episode 4.05 (“Head Games”) was quickly rewritten to feature Niles hosting his brother’s radio program while Frasier was away at a convention. Grammer filmed his bit for the intro at a later date and it was tacked on to the show before broadcast.

14. THE PRODUCERS CREATED NILES SPECIFICALLY FOR DAVID HYDE PIERCE.

There wasn’t any particular plan in place to give Frasier a brother until the assistant casting director approached the creators with a photo of David Hyde Pierce in hand and asked, “Doesn’t he look like Kelsey did 10 years ago?” Startled by the physical resemblance, the creative team dug up some tapes of a short-lived Norman Lear-produced political sitcom called The Powers That Be, on which Pierce portrayed a shy, suicidal Congressman. A meeting was arranged with the actor and he was offered the newly created role of Niles Crane after a brief interview.

15. THE WRITERS EXPLAINED AWAY JANE LEEVES' PREGNANCY IN AN INTERESTING WAY.

Leeves was expecting in real life during Season 7, and her burgeoning baby bump was explained on the show as weight gain from Daphne’s sudden compulsive overeating as a method of dealing with her relationship with Niles. She was sent away to a spa for a few episodes and returned svelte (after daughter Isabella was born).

Roz’s pregnancy in Season 5, however, was strictly a plot device—an attempt by the writers to give the character a story arc of her own. Gilpin wasn’t with child, and she had a lot of explaining to do to friends and family members who thought she’d neglected to tell them about her impending motherhood. The entire Roz’s baby storyline was a misstep in retrospect, Gilpin and the producers agreed, and the infant remained behind the scenes for the most part because Grammer didn’t want the hassle of the tightly restricted work schedule of child actors.

16. EVEN THOUGH HE WAS RETIRED, MOOSE HAD ONE LAST CURTAIN CALL.

Moose was 14 when Frasier came to an end. The dog's fur had turned snow white and he was almost completely deaf, but his trainer carried him out onstage after the final episode taped so that the pooch could take his bows with the rest of the cast. David Hyde Pierce commented that it was one of the most moving moments of the evening, watching Moose recognize and react to the applause one last time.

17. KELSEY GRAMMER PLAYED FRASIER FOR A VERY, VERY LONG TIME ...

Counting the time he spent on Cheers, Kelsey Grammer played the character of Frasier Crane in prime time for 20 consecutive years, a record TV-land hadn’t seen since James Arness played Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke for the same length of time. Grammer's publicist invited Arness to join Kelsey on The Today Show in 2004, but according to Grammer, Arness rejected the idea with a brief expletive that rhymes with “duck shoe.”

18. GRAMMER IS THE FIRST AMERICAN ACTOR TO BE NOMINATED FOR THE SAME CHARACTER ON THREE DIFFERENT SERIES.

Cheers and Frasier are obvious, but Frasier Crane also made an Emmy-nominated guest appearance on Wings.

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20 Fun Facts About The Golden Girls
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Though The Golden Girls made its debut on September 14, 1985—exactly 32 years ago today—the series still remains fresh for generations of new viewers thanks to great writing and syndicated reruns. Here are 20 things you might not have known about Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia.

1. LEE GRANT WAS SERIES CREATOR SUSAN HARRIS'S FIRST CHOICE FOR DOROTHY.

Grant had starred in Harris's short-lived 1978 sitcom, Fay. Grant, however, was unenthusiastic about playing a grandmother, so the part was eventually offered to Bea Arthur. Though not immediately.

2. NBC WAS AGAINST CASTING BEA ARTHUR.

Harris actually wrote the role of Dorothy with Arthur in mind, having worked with the actress on several episodes of Maude. But then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff was against the idea, stating that Arthur’s “Q” score (a rating system of a performer’s audience appeal) was too low—she was recognizable, but not “loveable,” thanks to Maude’s liberal leanings. Broadway legend Elaine Stritch was a contender for the part, but she alienated the producers by improvising her dialogue and dropping an “F” bomb during her audition.

3. RUE MCCLANAHAN PUSHED BEA ARTHUR TO PURSUE THE PART.

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Rue McClanahan gave her reluctant Maude co-star the final push to convince her to give The Golden Girls a try. According to McClanahan, she phoned Arthur and asked her incredulously, “Why are you going to turn down the best script that’s ever going to come across your desk as long as you live?”

4. BETTY WHITE AND RUE MCCLANAHAN PASSED THE TIME WITH WORD GAMES.

Betty White had always been a fierce competitor when she appeared on Password back in the day, and she found a kindred spirit in Rue McClanahan when it came to word games. The two ladies frequently played alphabet games in between takes throughout the entire day of taping.

5. ESTELLE GETTY WAS ONE YEAR YOUNGER THAN HER TV DAUGHTER.

During the show's first season, it took the makeup department 45 minutes to transform Getty into Sophia Petrillo. That aging process became even more complex when Getty turned up looking even younger when season two began (she’d had a facelift during the summer hiatus).

6. GETTY SUFFERED FROM EXTREME STAGE FRIGHT.

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McClanahan recalled that Getty would seem to have a “black cloud” hanging over her head beginning Thursdays during dress rehearsal. During Friday tapings she would often freeze on camera. She was the least experienced actress of the four, and it intimidated her. In a 1988 interview she stated that working every week with talent like Arthur and White scared her out of her wits. She felt like a fraud and worried that the fans would “find out” that she wasn’t as good as her co-stars.

7. MCCLANAHAN'S FAVORITE EPISODE WAS "JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF ATTENTION."

It's the season seven episode in which Dorothy uncharacteristically becomes popular at The Rusty Anchor, Blanche’s favorite place for meeting men. At McClanahan's request, the producers hired choreographer Gregory Scott Young to carefully stage the scene where Blanche seductively sings “I Want to Be Loved by You” on top of a grand piano while encountering one mishap after another.

8. QUEEN ELIZABETH IS A HUGE GOLDEN GIRLS FAN.

The Queen invited the stars of the show to perform live at 1988’s Royal Variety Performance in London. The Girls reenacted two of their kitchen table scenes (with a bit of censoring, so as not to offend any royal sensibilities). One line that was surprisingly left intact was Sophia’s interjection to Dorothy’s question to Blanche about how long she had waited to have sex again after her husband had died. The then-88-year-old Queen Mum was spotted in the Royal Box chuckling heartily at Sophia’s risqué response: “Until the paramedics came.”

9. THERE WERE ONLY THREE CHAIRS AT THE KITCHEN TABLE.

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Eagle-eyed fans have noticed over the years that although there were four women living in the Miami house, there were always only three chairs around that famous kitchen table. That was strictly due to the limitations of filming—to avoid either squeezing all four shoulder-to-shoulder or having one actress with her back to the camera. Bea was always given the center chair, both because of her height and also in order to catch her priceless facial expressions.

10. THE OTHER CHARACTERS' PLACEMENT AT THE TABLE WAS SITUATION-DEPENDENT.

The placement of the other characters around the table depended upon the particular situation, and which character might need to exit the kitchen. On those occasions when all four characters had to be seated, a tall stool was scooted up to the outskirt of the conclave.

11. THE KITCHEN SET WAS A HAND-ME-DOWN.

Speaking of that iconic kitchen: the main reason for its particular design was that it was a set left over from another short-lived Harris sitcom called It Takes Two. It starred Richard Crenna and Patty Duke Astin as a dual-career couple—he was a doctor, she was a lawyer—with two teenaged children.

12. DOROTHY BORROWED HER LAST NAME FROM THE SHOW'S STAGE MANAGER.

Dorothy’s last name was lifted from Kent Zbornak, who worked as the stage manager for the show for the entire run of the series. Susan Harris had worked with Kent on Soap in 1977 and fell in love with his surname.

13. WHITE'S FAVORITE EPISODE WAS "A LITTLE ROMANCE."

In this first season episode, Rose is reluctant to introduce the ladies to her new boyfriend, psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Newman, because he is a little person. White said that despite the fact that “every ‘short’ joke in the book” was used, none of the humor was truly hurtful.

14. ARTHUR DID NOT HAVE PIERCED EARS.

All of those “crazy earrings” (Arthur's words) that Golden Girls stylist Judy Evans gave Dorothy were clip-ons. Arthur loved the dramatic effect of the jewelry, but hated that her ears were numb with pain by the end of the day.

15. GETTY HAD A PHOBIA ABOUT DEATH.

Which was a definite handicap when starring in a show about four senior women. It was a tribute to Getty's acting skills that Sophia always seemed very nonchalant and effortlessly tossed off quips in funeral home scenes.

16. MCCLANAHAN GOT TO KEEP BLANCHE'S CLOTHES.

McClanahan had a clause written into her contract that allowed her to keep all of Blanche’s custom-made clothing. She reportedly had 13 closets full of the designer duds.

17. ONE EPISODE WAS AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FOR SUSAN HARRIS.

The two-part episode entitled “Sick and Tired” was based on Susan Harris’ real-life struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, and Dorothy’s struggle to find a doctor who would take her symptoms seriously is still relevant for many women. A 2011 study showed that 62 percent of doctors referred men to cardiologists when they complained of chest pain and shortness of breath, while less than 30 percent did the same for their female patients—instead, they counseled those women to “take it easy” and prescribed them anti-anxiety medications.

18. BLANCHE'S MIAMI HOME WAS LOCATED IN LOS ANGELES.

Even though the Girls’ official address was 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, Florida, the original exterior shots of Blanche’s house were of a home located at 245 North Saltair Avenue in Los Angeles, California. According to real estate records, that 2901-square-foot house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms and is valued at a little over $3 million. The house is still there, but is now surrounded by high walls and foliage to discourage curious fans.

19. DOROTHY'S FLAT SHOES WERE A NOD TO ARTHUR'S PERSONAL STYLE.

The nearly 5-foot-10-inch actress once stated in an interview that when she was younger she wished she could wear heels, but that would have meant towering over most of her dates in high school, then later over the actors she worked with in the theater. By the time “heightism” was no longer a concern, Arthur found that she couldn’t balance properly or walk elegantly in even one-inch heels.

20. THE SHOW INTRODUCED A NEW WORD TO TELEVISION VIEWERS.

The Golden Girls introduced a new word to non-Floridian viewers: lanai. Architecturally speaking, a lanai is a porch or veranda with a cement floor and an awning and is sometimes also enclosed by screens. Of course, we can always count on Sophia to simplify matters:

Dorothy: We are throwing a surprise birthday party for Blanche. I want you to go out to the lanai and mingle with the other guests.
Sophia: Check! ...What's a lanai?
Dorothy: The porch!
Sophia: Excuse me, Krystle Carrington!

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