CLOSE
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

16 Illuminating Facts About Sixteen Candles

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Sixteen Candles was the first in John Hughes' series of iconic 1980s teen movies which depicted the unfairness of having to go through puberty while attempting to graduate high school with a bunch of other people experiencing the same exact thing. Hughes may have been a couple of decades past his high school years when he wrote the movie, but he managed to accurately capture the teen experience. Here are 16 things you might not know about the film, which was released 32 years ago today—making it officially twice as old as its protagonist.

1. HUGHES WAS INSPIRED BY MOLLY RINGWALD BEFORE HE EVEN MET HER.

After writing the screenplays for Mr. Mom and National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes' agents at ICM gave him a stack of photos of young actors. "I was in that stack," Ringwald recalled to Entertainment Weekly in January. ''He flipped through and saw one he liked and put it on his bulletin board." Hughes, who was known for writing while chain-smoking and blaring music, wrote the Sixteen Candles script over a single Fourth of July weekend.

2. VIGGO MORTENSEN ALMOST GOT THE ROLE OF JAKE RYAN.

Mortensen and Ringwald kissed during the audition, which made the future The Lord of the Rings star Ringwald's pick to play her love interest. “He made me weak in the knees," she told Access Hollywood. "He really did.” When the two co-starred in the movie Fresh Horses, Mortensen told Ringwald that he always thought he didn’t get the job because of his kissing.

3. JAKE RYAN WAS 23 YEARS OLD.

Michael Schoeffling, who beat Mortensen out for the part of Jake, was 23 years old during filming, unlike Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, who were both 15. Though Sixteen Candles made him one of Hollywood’s most in-demand young stars, Schoeffling left the business completely following 1991’s Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. By most accounts, he moved to Virginia with his wife and kids, where he works as a carpenter. Haviland Morris, who played Jake's girlfriend Caroline, also left the business—sort of. Though she does still act on occasion, she works as a real estate agent in New York City.

4. HUGHES WROTE FARMER TED SPECIFICALLY FOR ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL.

Based on his performance in Vacation, Hughes felt that Hall would be perfect for “The Geek/Farmer Ted” character, so he wrote the role specifically for the young actor.

5. SKOKIE, ILLINOIS WASN’T FUN FOR RINGWALD AND HALL.

The two underage thespians had nothing to do when filming wrapped on weekends and some of their fellow castmates abandoned them to go to bars. At their Skokie hotel however, the two crashed a Bat Mitzvah to help pass the time.

6. LONG DUK DONG WAS PLAYED BY A 28-YEAR-OLD UTAH-BORN ACTOR WHO ONLY SPOKE ENGLISH.

Gedde Watanabe’s Japanese-American parents settled in Ogden, Utah. Watanabe went into his Long Duk Dong audition in character, borrowing the thick accent of his Korean friend. Watanabe eventually admitted to Hughes at the table read that the accent wasn’t real. While he was scared that he would be fired for the deception, Hughes simply laughed.

7. THE GONG NOISE WAS NOT IN THE SCRIPT.

Watanabe claimed that the sound effect was added in post-production, and quipped that “somebody must’ve had a few beers.” He was also surprised that his performance would be deemed racist by several Asian-American groups. "It took me a while to understand that," he told NPR. "In fact, I was working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I was accosted a couple of times by a couple of women who were just really irate and angry. They asked, 'How could you do a role like that?' But it's funny, too, because at the same time I laugh at the character. It's an odd animal."

8. JOHN AND JOAN CUSACK’S ROLES WERE ESSENTIALLY CONSOLATION PRIZES.

The Cusacks were initially prominently cast in The Breakfast Club, with John cast as Bender (eventually played by Judd Nelson) and Joan set to play Allison (Ally Sheedy.) But Universal thought Hughes’ other finished screenplay, Sixteen Candles, was more commercial, and therefore should be made first. With John as Farmer Ted’s buddy Bryce and Joan as Geek Girl #1, a.k.a. the girl in the neck brace, Sixteen Candles was the second of (currently) 10 movies in which the siblings have appeared in together.

9. THERE WERE MORE FAMOUS FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE FILM.

When Ginny, Sam’s sister whose pending marriage takes the attention away from Sam’s sixteenth birthday, sits down in the church scene, she does so next to John and Jim Belushi’s mother Agnes. The reverend is played by actor Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill’s older brother.

10. IT WAS ONE HOT SCHOOL DANCE.

The gym in which the school dance was filmed didn't have air conditioning due to a lack of funds, so it was over 100 degrees during the filming. The same goes for Sam’s bedroom, as the set was built inside the high school gymnasium. At least Ringwald got to decorate her character’s room with items from her own dwelling.

11. SOME OF THE LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS WERE EASTER EGGS.

Sam’s grandparents’ license plate read V 58 for “Vacation ‘58,” the National Lampoon Magazine story by John Hughes which led to the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Jake Ryan’s Porsche had the plate number 21850, for John Hughes’ birthday of February 18, 1950. For what it’s worth, Molly Ringwald’s birthday is also February 18th.

12. JAKE’S FATHER’S ROLLS-ROYCE IS WORTH MORE THAN $66,000 TODAY.

The 1974 Corniche, which Farmer Ted uses to drive drunk Caroline Mulford home, was John Hughes’ father’s friend’s car. Naturally.

13. MOLLY RINGWALD’S MOTHER HAD A SAY IN THE SCRIPT.

In the initial script, Sam’s father ends his heart-to-heart with his daughter by flat out asking what happened to her underwear (she gave it to Farmer Ted.) Molly’s mother pointed out that it was weird for a girl’s father to ask that. Hughes agreed that it was creepy and changed the line.

14. A DELETED SCENE IS ONLY IN THE TELEVISED VERSION.

Not in the theatrical cut, the VHS copies, or even as a DVD extra, a scene set in the school cafeteria fills an additional minute of time.

15. THE BIRTHDAY CAKE AT THE END ISN’T WHAT IT SEEMS.

It turns out Jake is a bit of a cheapskate. The cake he gave Sam was made of cardboard.

16. MOLLY RINGWALD WAS INTERESTED IN DOING A SEQUEL.

After rejecting various pitches through the years, Ringwald said in 2005 that she read a 32 Candles script that she liked and had an interest in starring in. For better or worse, we still wait.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
7 Things You Might Not Know About Audrey Hepburn
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Though she’ll always be known as the little-black-dress-wearing big-screen incarnation of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about Audrey Hepburn, who passed away in Switzerland on January 20, 1993.

1. HER FIRST ROLE WAS IN AN EDUCATIONAL FILM.

Though 1948’s Dutch in Seven Lessons is classified as a “documentary” on IMDb, it’s really more of an educational travel film, in which Hepburn appears as an airline attendant. If you don’t speak Dutch, it might not make a whole lot of sense to you, but you can watch it above anyway.

2. GREGORY PECK WAS AFRAID SHE’D MAKE HIM LOOK LIKE A JERK.

Hepburn was an unknown actress when she was handed the starring role of Princess Ann opposite Gregory Peck in 1953’s Roman Holiday. As such, Peck was going to be the only star listed, with Hepburn relegated to a smaller font and an “introducing” credit. But Peck insisted, “You've got to change that because she'll be a big star and I'll look like a big jerk.” Hepburn ended up winning her first and only Oscar for the role (Peck wasn’t even nominated).

3. SHE’S AN EGOT.

In 1954, the same year she won the Oscar for Roman Holiday, Hepburn accepted a Tony Award for her title role in Ondine on Broadway. Hepburn is one of only 12 EGOTs, meaning that she has won all of the four major creative awards: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Unfortunately, the honor came to Hepburn posthumously; her 1994 Grammy for the children’s album Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales and her 1993 Emmy for Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn were both awarded following her passing in early 1993.

4. TRUMAN CAPOTE HATED HER AS HOLLY GOLIGHTLY.

Blake Edwards’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s may be one of the most iconic films in Hollywood history, but it’s a miracle that the film ever got made at all. Particularly if you listened to Truman Capote, who wrote the novella upon which it was based, and saw only one actress in the lead: Marilyn Monroe. When asked what he thought was wrong with the film, which downplayed the more tawdry aspects of the fact that Ms. Golightly makes her living as a call girl (Hepburn had told the producers, “I can’t play a hooker”), Capote replied, “Oh, God, just everything. It was the most miscast film I’ve ever seen. It made me want to throw up.”

5. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY’S LITTLE BLACK DRESS SOLD FOR NEARLY $1 MILLION.

Audrey Hepburn in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'
Keystone Features, Getty Images

In 2006, Christie’s auctioned off the iconic Givenchy-designed little black dress that Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s for a whopping $923,187 (pre-auction numbers estimated that it would go for between $98,800 and $138,320). It was a record-setting amount at the time, until Marilyn Monroe’s white “subway dress” from The Seven Year Itch sold for $5.6 million in 2006.

6. SHE SANG “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” TO JFK IN 1963.

One year after Marilyn Monroe’s sultry birthday serenade to John F. Kennedy in 1962, Hepburn paid a musical tribute to the President at a private party in 1963, on what would be his final birthday.

7. THERE’S A RARE TULIP NAMED AFTER HER.

Photo of Audrey Hepburn
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

In 1990, a rare white tulip hybrid was named after the actress and humanitarian, and dedicated to her at her family’s former estate in Holland.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
entertainment
Why the Film You're Watching on HBO Might Not Be the Whole Movie
iStock
iStock

In the days before widescreen televisions, most of the movies you watched on VHS or on cable looked a little different than their big-screen versions. The sides of the image had to be cropped out so that you could watch a movie made for a rectangular screen on the small screen. Today, those little black bars on the top and bottom of the screen that allow you to watch the same movie scaled to any shape of screen are everywhere. But it turns out, cropping for aspect ratios is alive and well—on HBO, as YouTube film vlogger Patrick Willems explains.

In his latest video, which we spotted on Digg, Willems explains why aspect ratios matter, and how the commonly used aspect ratios can fundamentally change a movie.

Most old-school televisions have 4:3 aspect ratios, meaning movies had to be significantly cropped to fit wide-screen films on the small screen. Now, most computers and televisions use 16:9 aspect ratios, which is approximately the same as the one used for movies, typically 1.85:1, so many movies expand to fit TV screens perfectly. The catch: Some Hollywood movies are shot with even wider angles to show even more of an image at once. And even though viewers are familiar with the sight of those black bars, it seems the streaming sites are determined to limit their use, even for movies that don’t fit on a normal screen. As a result, you may only be seeing the central part of the image, not the whole thing. You could be missing characters, action, and landscape that’s happening on the far sides of the screen.

Since 1993, the Motion Picture Association of America has mandated that any film that’s been altered in a way that changes the original vision of its creators—say, to edit out swear words, adjust the run time, or to make it fit a certain screen—run with a disclaimer that says as much. That’s why before movies run on TV, they usually show a note that says something like “This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen.” But this doesn’t seem to apply to streaming.

In 2013, Netflix was accused of cropping films, too, showing wide-angle movies to fit the standard 16:9 screen instead of running the original version with black bars. The streaming giant claimed it was a mistake due to distributors sending them the cropped version, and those films would be replaced with the originals. However, as of 2015, users were still complaining of the problem. According to Willems, it’s a problem that still plagues not just HBO, but Starz and Hulu, too, and there isn’t any clear rationale for it other than that perhaps people don’t like looking at black bars. But frankly, that seems better than seeing a version of a film that the director never intended.

You can get all the details in the video below:

[h/t Digg]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios