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15 Fun Facts About City Slickers

Many filmgoers would rather forget the sequel to Ron Underwood's 1991 hit City Slickers, and instead consider Jack Palance’s memorable Oscar acceptance speech as the real denouement of the film. Palance finally won an Academy Award at 73 years old, and used his time on the stage to prove that age is just a number by performing some one-armed push-ups, much to the delight of the ceremony’s host (and Palance's City Slickers co-star) Billy Crystal—and millions of at-home viewers. It was a moment 39 years in the making. Now, a near quarter-century after the film's original release on June 7, 1991, we've rounded up 15 things you might not know about City Slickers.

1. JACK PALANCE WAS BILLY CRYSTAL’S ORIGINAL CHOICE TO PLAY CURLY.

When Crystal first came up with the seed of the idea for City Slickers, he immediately thought of Jack Palance as the crusty bad guy with the heart of gold. He thought of him because the first movie he had ever seen was the 1953 movie Shane, where Palance played the bad guy. The actor left a lasting impression on Crystal, who was seven years old at the time of his first movie-going experience. Because his father produced jazz concerts, Billy saw Shane seated on Billie Holiday’s lap.

2. CRYSTAL GOT THE IDEA FOR THE MOVIE WATCHING A SHOW ABOUT FANTASY VACATIONS.

Crystal was at home watching TV when he stumbled upon a show about a group of middle-aged friends raving about their trip to a scuba diving resort, and how it changed them. Shortly thereafter he plotted out the movie and handed off screenwriting duties to Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel.

3. GANZ AND MANDEL DID ALL OF THEIR RESEARCH VIA TELEPHONE.

While producers wanted the Oscar-nominated screenwriters—who have written or co-written nearly 20 produced feature screenplays together, including Splash, Parenthood, and A League of Their Own—to go out to Montana to look into cattle drives, they wrote the first draft of the script first, then called the person who ran the cattle drive there to ask if what they had written could conceivably happen. The person said yes, and that was enough for the writers.

4. RICK MORANIS WAS SET TO PLAY PHIL.

Daniel Stern was a last-minute replacement for Moranis, who had to drop out after his wife was diagnosed with liver cancer. (She passed away the following year.)

5. CHARLES BRONSON WAS ANGRY OVER BEING ASKED TO PLAY CURLY.

Jack Palance initially turned down the role of Curly, as he was committed to another project. So Crystal offered the part to Charles Bronson, who was not pleased. He cursed Crystal out because "I'm dead on page 64!" Palance, of course, ended up taking the role (and the rest is history).

6. PALANCE GOT INTO AN ARGUMENT WITH THE DIRECTOR ON THE FIRST DAY OF SHOOTING.

The veteran actor yelled at Ron Underwood over his first direction, but everything went smoothly after that. When Crystal asked what had happened, Palance explained that he always gets nervous on his first day of shooting. Sure enough, Tim Burton told a similar story about Palance snapping at him on his first day of shooting on Batman over how he was told to walk out of a bathroom, with Burton admitting that the incident scared him "to death—I literally saw white and left my body.”

7. PALANCE READ POETRY DURING THE ACTORS' DOWNTIME.

It was his own work. Daniel Stern remembers listening to him for half an hour. Palance also inspired Stern to begin sculpting again.

8. DANIEL STERN BOUGHT HIS OWN CATTLE RANCH.

Stern enjoyed the City Slickers experience so much that he bought a 500-acre cattle ranch. "I loved the life so much that I kind of bought into it," Stern told The A.V. Club. "I have 70 herd of cattle myself now, and horses and tractors and ATVs. I’ve got my own small cattle operation. That’s how much I was inspired by that movie. I bought into the whole thing." Stern wasn't the only one inspired by the film; the movie led to a boom in the dude ranch business in 1991.

9. THE FILM MARKED JAKE GYLLENHAAL’S FILM DEBUT.

Jake Gyllenhaal was just 10 years old when he was cast as Crystal’s son, Danny Robbins. Crystal remembered Gyllenhaal singing showtunes from South Pacific on the set.

10. BRUNO KIRBY WAS ALLERGIC TO HORSES.

Whenever Kirby was facing a day of shooting with a horse, he took an injection of allergy medication.

11. CRYSTAL TOOK HIS HORSE HOME WITH HIM.

Crystal and his horse, Beechnut, hit it off on the New Mexico set. So much so that Crystal's agent bought Beechnut for Crystal as a gift once production wrapped. The horse lived to be 27 years old.

12. THE DIRECTOR WAS NEVER HAPPY WITH HOW THE RANCH LOOKED.

Underwood had a very specific vision of what he wanted the ranch in the film to look like, but never managed to achieve it. So he and his crew made matte paintings of mountains and scenery and combined it with footage from a Colorado ranch.

13. MITCH ROBBINS WAS A METS FAN BECAUSE THE YANKEES WOULDN'T PLAY BALL.

Though Crystal is well-known to be a diehard Yankees fan, his character was a Mets fan in the movie because the latter team had been more accommodating over the years. First, the Yankees declined Crystal’s request to hold a promotional day at Yankee Stadium for Comic Relief; the Mets, on the other hand, were happy to host it. On the first day of shooting in Spain (for the Running of the Bulls segment), the Mets agreed to waive the $40,000 licensing fee; the Yankees did not.

14. MITCH’S YANKEES STORY ABOUT MICKEY MANTLE WAS FROM CRYSTAL’S LIFE.

Even though he's a Mets fan, Mitch’s story about his “best day” was of going to Yankee Stadium and getting Mickey Mantle to sign his program—which is a tale from Crystal’s own life. Another true story Crystal mined for the film is his mother calling him every year on his birthday at the time he was born to tell the story of his birth.

15. NORMAN THE CALF WAS ALREADY A COUPLE OF DAYS OLD WHEN HE WAS "BORN."

Norman was bathed in ”realistic bloody jelly” and taken out of a birth canal constructed by special effects in order to shoot the scene in which Crystal "makes a cow." Norman (which is indeed his real name) played a steer, a female cow, and a bull throughout his show business career, making up to $750 a day.

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8 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
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[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next year of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. While the show hasn't been officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix yet, new details have already begun to trickle out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Talking to Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

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20 Random Facts About Shopping
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Shopping on Black Friday—or, really, any time during the holiday season—is a good news/bad news kind of endeavor. The good news? The deals are killer! The bad news? So are the lines. If you find yourself standing behind 200 other people who braved the crowds and sacrificed sleep in order to hit the stores early today, here's one way to pass the time: check out these fascinating facts about shopping through the ages.

1. The oldest customer service complaint was written on a clay cuneiform tablet in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago. (In it, a customer named Nanni complains that he was sold inferior copper ingots.)

2. Before battles, some Roman gladiators read product endorsements. The makers of the film Gladiator planned to show this, but they nixed the idea out of fear that audiences wouldn’t believe it.

3. Like casinos, shopping malls are intentionally designed to make people lose track of time, removing clocks and windows to prevent views of the outside world. This kind of “scripted disorientation” has a name: It’s called the Gruen Transfer.

4. According to a study in Social Influence, people who shopped at or stood near luxury stores were less likely to help people in need.

5. A shopper who first purchases something on his or her shopping list is more likely to buy unrelated items later as a kind of reward.

6. On the Pacific island of Vanuatu, some villages still use pigs and seashells as currency. In fact, the indigenous bank there uses a unit of currency called the Livatu. Its value is equivalent to a boar’s tusk. 

7. Sears used to sell build-your-own homes in its mail order catalogs.

8. The first shopping catalog appeared way back in the 1400s, when an Italian publisher named Aldus Manutius compiled a handprinted catalog of the books that he produced for sale and passed it out at town fairs.

9. The first product ever sold by mail order? Welsh flannel.

10. The first shopping cart was a folding chair with a basket on the seat and wheels on the legs.

11. In the late 1800s in Corinne, Utah, you could buy legal divorce papers from a vending machine for $2.50.

12. Some of the oldest known writing in the world includes a 5000-year-old receipt inscribed on a clay tablet. (It was for clothing that was sent by boat from Ancient Mesopotamia to Dilmun, or current day Bahrain.)

13. Beginning in 112 CE, Emperor Trajan began construction on the largest of Rome's imperial forums, which housed a variety of shops and services and two libraries. Today, Trajan’s Market is regarded as the oldest shopping mall in the world.

14. The Chinese invented paper money. For a time, there was a warning written right on the currency that all counterfeiters would be decapitated.

15. Halle Berry was named after Cleveland, Ohio's Halle Building, which was home to the Halle Brothers department store.

16. At Boston University, students can sign up for a class on the history of shopping. (Technically, it’s called “The Modern American Consumer”)

17. Barbra Streisand had a mini-mall installed in her basement. “Instead of just storing my things in the basement, I can make a street of shops and display them,” she told Harper's Bazaar. (There are photos of it here.)

18. Shopping online is not necessarily greener. A 2016 study at the University of Delaware concluded that “home shopping has a greater impact on the transportation sector than the public might suspect.”

19. Don’t want to waste too much money shopping? Go to the mall in high heels. A 2013 Brigham Young University study discovered that shoppers in high heels made more balanced buying decisions while balancing in pumps.

20. Cyber Monday is not the biggest day for online shopping. The title belongs to November 11, or Singles Day, a holiday in China that encourages singles to send themselves gifts. According to Fortune, this year's event smashed all previous records with more than $38 million in sales.

A heaping handful of these facts came from John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harkin's delightful book, 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.

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