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14 Things You Might Not Know About Ghost

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When Ghost was released over 25 years ago, it was hardly on anyone’s radar, with the exception of critics, who panned it. Somehow this supernatural-romantic-thriller, in which the lead character is an apparition, levitated out of the shadows to not only become the world’s highest-grossing film of 1990, but to win two Oscars. Here are some ghostly facts about a film that explores how even in death, love thrives.

1. WHOOPI GOLDBERG CREDITS HER OSCAR WIN TO PATRICK SWAYZE.

On The View, Goldberg revealed that she only got the role of Oda Mae Brown because Swayze fought for her. The producers resisted casting her, but Swayze told them he wasn’t doing the film unless Whoopi was in it, too, and that she was right for the part—even though at that point she and Swayze had never met. “And I won an Oscar because of Patrick Swayze,” Goldberg said. In her 1991 Oscar speech, she thanked Swayze, calling him “a stand-up guy.”

2. GHOST OUT-GROSSED EVERY MOVIE RELEASED IN 1990.

When a low-budget movie makes an unanticipated large sum of money, it’s considered a “sleeper” hit, which is exactly what happened to Ghost. Produced for a modest $22 million, it ended the year with a worldwide gross of $505,702,588—that’s a lot of “dittos.” According to Box Office Mojo, Home Alone ranks as the highest-grossing domestic film of 1990, with Ghost a close second. But Home Alone didn’t surpass Ghost’s hull until February of 1991. Ghost hit another milestone when it spent 19 consecutive weekends in the top five weekend box office, ranking number five on the all-time weekend list.

3. GHOST TURNED DEMI MOORE INTO THE HIGHEST-PAID ACTRESS AT THE TIME.

By the time Ghost was released, Moore was already famous for her roles in St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night..., but she wasn’t considered a bankable star. After the unexpected $200 million domestic gross of Ghost, she hit box office gold with a trifecta of other huge hits: 1992’s A Few Good Men ($141,340,178), 1993’s Indecent Proposal ($106,614,059), and 1994’s Disclosure ($83,015,089). If you add up all of Demi’s film grosses, it comes out to more than $1 billion. In 1995, she was paid an unprecedented $12.5 million to take her clothes off in Striptease. The film wasn’t a huge hit, and a few years later she traded Hollywood for Idaho.

4. DIRECTOR JERRY ZUCKER SAID HE’D CAST PATRICK SWAYZE “OVER MY DEAD BODY.”

In a video that appears on the Ghost DVD, screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin—who won an Oscar for his script—talks about how Zucker was at first against casting Swayze as Sam. “Jerry wanted to see him on film, so went out and saw the movie Roadhouse, and we walked out of that movie and Jerry said to me, ‘Over my dead body,’” recalls Rubin. Swayze really wanted the role, and because Zucker appreciated Swayze’s gusto, he let Swayze audition. After Swayze read the end of the script aloud, Zucker changed his mind. “We all had tears in our eyes, right there in the office—and we knew how it ends,” Zucker told People in 1990. “I saw a side of Patrick that I never knew existed.”

5. THE MOVIE BREATHED NEW LIFE INTO “UNCHAINED MELODY.”

The Righteous Brothers’s 1965 cover of “Unchained Melody” hit number four on the Billboard charts, but back in 1955 four other versions were also popular. After the Brothers’s 1965 version was used in the movie and featured on the soundtrack, it was re-released. The Brothers decided to re-record the song and then released it as a second single, with both songs concurrently selling well. It was the 1990 version, though, that hit number one on the Billboard U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, surpassing the feat of the 1965 cover. “So I didn’t know what it was going to do to the song, but, boy, when it came out in that movie, that song became a monster,” co-Righteous Brother Bill Medley told Songfacts. “I mean, a monster. I didn’t see that coming, that’s for sure." Medley’s hit song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was featured in another Patrick Swayze movie: Dirty Dancing.

6. THE NOW-INFAMOUS POTTERY WHEEL SCENE HAS BEEN PARODIED MULTIPLE TIMES.

Sam and Molly’s sensual pottery making formed such an indelible impression that for over two decades a score of homages have been filmed. In 1991, Jerry Zucker’s brother David directed The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, which featured stars Priscilla Presley and Leslie Nielsen reenacting the scene in a comedic matter. A 2010 episode of Community contains a pottery class instructor who admonishes the class with, “I will tolerate no re-creating, whether it’s ironic or sincere, of the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore pottery scene in Ghost. I’ve had to adopt a zero Ghost tolerance policy. If you so much as hum three notes from that Righteous Brothers song, with god as my witness I will come at you with everything I’ve got.” And a 2014 episode of Two and a Half Men, starring Moore’s ex-husband Ashton Kutcher, shows him and Jon Cryer creating lovely pottery together.

7. THE FILM’S SUCCESS MADE ROMANTIC FILMS MORE VIABLE.

Summer tentpoles Die Hard 2 (starring Moore’s then-hubby Bruce Willis), Total Recall, and Dick Tracy failed to claim a slot in the top five year-end box office, but romantic comedy Pretty Woman did. Like Ghost, Pretty Woman was yet another female-loved film that made a lot of money ($178 million domestic). “The success of Ghost and Pretty Woman has revitalized the romantic comedy, a genre that in recent years had become less appealing to Hollywood studios intent on making blockbuster action-adventure films,” read a 1990 article in The New York Times. In Ghost’s wake, The Bodyguard, Jerry Maguire, and Titanic all became huge hits for the romantic drama genre.

8. IN 2010, JAPAN REMADE THE FILM.

Ghost grossed a healthy $48,449,689 in Japan, so it’s no surprise the Japanese decided to remake the movie, except with a woman being the ghost. The studio that released the original Ghost, Paramount, and a slew of other companies were involved in the film’s production and release. In Japan the film is called Ghost: Mouichido Dakishimetai, which in English roughly translates to “Ghost: In Your Arms Again.”

9. TONY GOLDWYN GOT THE ROLE OF CARL WITH HELP FROM HIS WIFE.

Before he was President Fitz on Scandal, Goldwyn was a struggling actor, and then a film director. When it came time to cast of the role of Sam’s friend and murderer, Carl, Goldwyn got a leg up not because of his pedigree (his grandfather was Samuel Goldwyn), but because of his wife. “I fought my way into an audition on Ghost,” Goldwyn told The AV Club. “My wife was the production designer on that movie. At that time, she was much more successful than me and was doing all these big movies, and she kept saying, ‘They haven’t cast that part! You should bug your agents!’ And I kept harassing my agent, who would never return my phone calls, and I managed to get an audition. And, by a fluke, they stumbled on my audition tape and said, ‘That guy was really good.’” Jerry Zucker told Entertainment Weekly in 1990 that he was skeptical of Tony. “We saw his tape and were immediately struck by how good he was, but I wasn’t sure he was right for the part. He seemed too nice.”

10. DEMI MOORE THOUGHT THE PLOT WAS “A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.”

At a 2013 AFI Night at the Movies screening of Ghost, Moore told the audience her initial feelings on the film. “It’s a love story, and it’s a guy—a dead guy—trying to save his wife, and there is a comedy part, but really, really it’s a love story,” Moore said. “And I thought, ‘Wow, this is really a recipe for disaster.’ It’s either going to be something really special, really amazing, or really an absolute bust.” She went on to talk about what made the film special. “I think the beauty in this film is that none of us knew, and the alchemy that came together with Whoopi and Patrick, and our film editor, Walter Murch, and Adam Greenberg, our DP, it just had a magic.”

11. JERRY ZUCKER SPRUCED THE SCRIPT UP AND GAVE IT SOME LEVITY.

Zucker established himself as a comedy writer-director with Airplane!, so he was an unusual choice to direct a drama. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bruce Joel Rubin was skeptical of Zucker directing his script. “I wanted Milos Forman or Stanley Kubrick [to direct the movie],” Rubin said. “When I was told that the guy who made Airplane! was going to direct Ghost, I cried.” Zucker and Rubin “went through 19 drafts of the screenplay together,” and Zucker gave the script more structure. “I felt it needed more twists and turns,” Zucker said. “It needed to keep moving. All those zany comedies have instilled a sense of pace in me. And, yes, I added more humor. Actually, a lot of the work I did was take things in Bruce’s head, which weren’t clear in the script, and help translate that into something a mainstream audience could grasp and digest.”

12. THE SOHO LOFT WHERE MOLLY AND SAM LIVED CAN BE YOURS FOR A COOL $10 MILLION.

Currently on the market is the spacious 4,341-square-foot loft at 102 Prince Street, where Sam and Molly got clay all over themselves, and where they said their final goodbyes. The loft was originally listed for $10.5 million but was recently lowered to a more budget-friendly $10 million. It has three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator! Relive the magic … if you can afford the 10 percent down payment, that is.

13. GHOST ALMOST GOT ADAPTED INTO A TV SHOW.

In 2013 it was reported that Paramount TV had tapped writer-producer Akiva Goldsman and showrunner Jeff Pinkner to write a pilot based on the movie. Since then, no info has been released as to whether the pilot actually came to fruition. Honestly, some things are best left in the grave.

14. PATRICK SWAYZE’S SPECTER INFLUENCED HIP-HOP MUSIC.

Because Patrick Swayze’s surname rhymes with “crazy,” there’s been an influx of rappers rhyming the two words together. Marley Marl’s “The Symphony Part II” features the line, “Reach for the pistol and you’re crazy / Try to blast and I’ll be spinnin’ that ass like Patrick Swayze.” Eventually the word “Swayze” became associated with his Ghost character and became slang for “gone” or “leaving”. On 2Pac’s “Runnin’ (Dying to Live)”, Notorious B.I.G. raps: “That’s why I bust back, it don’t faze me / When he drop, take his glock, and I’m Swayze,” and in 2005’s SNL Digital Short “Lazy Sunday,” Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell sing, “Throw the snacks into the bag and I’m a ghost like Swayze.”

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17 Electric Facts About MTV Unplugged
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Michael Stipe of R.E.M. goes Unplugged.
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Making its debut in 1989, MTV Unplugged—in which famous musicians perform stripped-down arrangements of their biggest hits—was a hit for both the cable network and the music industry, particularly in the early- to mid-'90s. Though it lost its regular time slot in 1999, in the near-20 years since, a handful of artists have popped in for brief revivals. But now it looks as if Unplugged is ready for a reboot; MTV has announced that the series will be back beginning on September 8, 2017, with Shawn Mendes as its first guest. In the meantime, here's a look behind the scenes of the music series that became a phenomenon.

1. OPINIONS VARY ON WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA.

Singer/songwriter Jules Shear has said that he came up with the concept for MTV Unplugged to promote his acoustic album, The Third Party. In 1992, The New York Times wrote that Shear was inspired by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora's two-song acoustic set at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.

That's all well and good, but producers Jim Burns and Bob Small claim they got the idea for MTV Unplugged after Bruce Springsteen treated the two—and the thousands of other fans at one of his concerts—to a final encore featuring just himself and his acoustic guitar. (Springsteen would find his way onto Unplugged in 1992.)

Executive producer Joel Gallen has referred to Unplugged as his "baby" as well and, like Shear, was inspired by Bon Jovi and Sambora's VMA set, which he called a "jumping off point." In I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, Small said: “Please do not credit Bon Jovi for creating Unplugged. Jon Bon Jovi thinks he was the inspiration for it. He wouldn’t even do the f***ing show until almost 20 years later.”

2. BOTH HBO AND PBS SAID NO.

HBO passed on Unplugged when Shear proposed the concept to the pay channel. Burns and Small pitched the series to PBS after MTV initially said no. PBS simply echoed MTV and HBO. It was only when Burns and Small ally Judy McGrath got a promotion at MTV that a pilot got a greenlight.

3. IT WAS A CHEAP PILOT TO SHOOT.

Bob Small said he had just four hours to set up for the Unplugged pilot, with another four hours to film it—and all on a budget of $18,000. "I couldn't get money to hire a director," Small said. "They said, 'You direct it.'"

4. THERE WAS A HOST FOR THE FIRST 13 EPISODES.

None other than Jules Shear was the undisputed master of ceremonies for the first season. He also joined in on some songs.

5. THE FIRST GUESTS DIDN'T QUITE GRASP THE CONCEPT OF UNPLUGGED.

Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze were the stars of the first episode, which aired on November 26, 1989. But they were unprepared. "Chris and Glenn showed up for rehearsal with electric guitars," Alex Coletti, who would end up producing the show through 2001, recalled. "I said: 'Very funny, guys. Where are the acoustics? It’s Unplugged.' They looked at each other and went, 'Riiight… Make a phone call, quick!'"

6. PRODUCERS SCRAMBLED TO GIVE JOE WALSH ACTUAL FRIENDS.

"The fifth episode was billed as Joe Walsh and Friends, and Joe showed up with only one friend—Ricky, his bass player," Coletti remembered. "We thought it meant his famous friends, but apparently that got lost in translation." Walsh had been a member of The Eagles, who had an infamous falling-out, but Walsh's claim of buddies gave MTV employees false hope. Producer Bruce Leddy found Dr. John recording at a neighboring studio and convinced him to come on and be Walsh's "friend."

7. DON HENLEY WAS NOT HAPPY THAT WALSH PLAYED "DESPERADO."

Walsh's former Eagles bandmate wrote "Desperado," as well as a three-page fax explaining to MTV that he didn't want Walsh to play it and he was refusing permission to air the performance. It was after the fax that the network invited Henley to come on the show himself to perform it. Henley was the first artist to get an entire half-hour on his own as the only artist, which quickly became the status quo for Unplugged. In 1994, when The Eagles reunited, they appeared on an MTV Unplugged special.

8. LL COOL J HAD NEVER WORKED WITH A LIVE BAND BEFORE.

The first Unplugged featuring rap artists took place in 1991. Pop's Cool Love backed LL Cool J, MC Lyte, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. “[It’s like] you drink milk for 10 years and then [you have to] drink fruit punch,” Quest's Q-Tip said about performing with the band. “It’s not that the fruit is bad, but you have to get used to it.”

But LL seemed able to adapt. "We rehearsed the night before and LL Cool J had never worked with a live band," Coletti said. "Before long, he was calling the shots like he'd been doing it his whole life."

9. LL COOL J KNOWS YOU SAW HIS DEODORANT.

"People have teased me about the deodorant for years, but I love it," he said. "It was raw! It was nasty! At least you know I wasn’t stinking.”

10. PAUL MCCARTNEY WAS THE FIRST ARTIST TO OFFICIALLY RELEASE HIS UNPLUGGED SET.

Before Paul McCartney, no other Unplugged artist body had thought to release their acoustic set as an album. But after he performed in 1991, the former Beatle was worried about it getting out to the masses illegally. “I figured that as Unplugged would be screened around the world there was every chance that some bright spark would tape the show and turn it into a bootleg, so we decided to bootleg the show ourselves," he admitted. "We heard the tapes in the car driving back. By the time we got home, we’d decided we’d got an album—albeit one of the fastest I’ve ever made.” He even titled the live performance collection Unplugged (The Official Bootleg).

11. ERIC CLAPTON WAS HESITANT TO RELEASE HIS SHOW AS AN ALBUM.

"Slowhand" performed to acclaim in 1992, but he initially didn't think it was good enough to be released officially as a CD. So naturally, his live album Unplugged won the Grammy for Album of the Year. His "Tears in Heaven" performance in particular won Song and Record of the Year. Two years later, Tony Bennett followed suit, winning the 1994 Album of the Year prize for his time on the show.

12. NEIL YOUNG WALKED OUT ON HIMSELF.

Neil Young's Unplugged was supposed to have been taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on December 12, 1992. Instead, on that night—at that venue—the audience saw something they would probably never forget: Neil Young walking out the door after numerous mistakes. The "stunned" crew members managed to get him to come back to try again that night. Young opted to junk the performance entirely, and tried again two months later—this time with a band, and with much more success.

13. TORI AMOS WALKED OUT, TOO.

Amos was thrown off and "couldn't harness the energy." But unlike Young, she was able to walk back onstage, perform, and not have to try again with another set on a different night. As the singer/songwriter remembered it, she and her manager paced "beneath the MTV thing" backstage thinking about the problem. "Then my [lighting director] came down and said, 'Something just doesn't feel right. I can’t put my finger on it,'" Amos told Worstgig.com. "For 700 shows over the five years (prior to that), I'd played with the lights down. So all the lights were up to catch the audience and I felt like somebody was watching me take a shower. So they dimmed the lights, I felt better. By that point because I'd made the choice to stop it and make some changes, I felt like I began again. And I turned the whole show around."

14. ALEX COLETTI FOUGHT TO CUT "THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD" FROM NIRVANA'S EPISODE.

"Maybe I shouldn't give this secret away, but I built a fake box out in front of the amp to make it look like a monitor wedge," Coletti admitted to Guitar World in 1995. "It's an acoustic guitar, but he's obviously going through an amp," he added, talking about the now iconic David Bowie cover. "I actually fought pretty hard to leave that song out [of the final edit of the show], because I felt it wasn't as genuine as the rest of the songs. But I'm a huge Bowie fan, so I couldn't fight too hard against the song."

15. DAVE GROHL WAS ALMOST UNINVITED TO NIRVANA'S SHOW.

The Nirvana drummer remembered that it was a minor miracle that the band's Unplugged performance went so well. “That show was supposed to be a disaster,” Grohl said. “We hadn’t rehearsed. We weren’t used to playing acoustic. We did a few rehearsals and they were terrible. Everyone thought it was horrible. Even the people from MTV thought it was horrible. Then we sat down and the cameras started rolling and something clicked. It became one of the band’s most memorable performances.”

As Coletti told it, Kurt Cobain was thinking of just replacing Grohl behind the kit, or maybe not using a drummer at all. “What I didn’t know was up until the day [of the Unplugged performance], there was talk of Dave [Grohl] not playing at all in the show,” the producer revealed in 2014. “Kurt wasn’t happy with the way rehearsals were going; he didn’t like the way Dave sounded playing drums with sticks."

But Grohl turned up the day of filming, and Coletti gifted him some brushes and sizzle sticks to give his drumming a softer sound. "I was afraid Dave would just roll his eyes, like, 'Oh great, the a**hole from MTV is trying to be my friend,'" the producer remembered thinking. "But instead he opened the package and said, 'Cool, I've never had brushes before. I've never even tried using them.'" The album Unplugged in New York won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1996. It was the band's lone Grammy win.

16. YES, THEY TRIED TO GET ROBERT PLANT AND JIMMY PAGE TO PLAY "STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN."

The Led Zeppelin bandmates reunited in 1994 for the Unplugged special: No Quarter: Robert Plant and Jimmy Page Unledded, which at the time was the highest-rated episode of the series ever. MTV suggested they film it in Queens, New York. Plant suggested Morocco and Wales because it was where he wrote "Kashmir" and "Down by the Seaside," respectively. Network executives explicitly requested "Stairway" but were shot down. "I think we're in a disposable world and 'Stairway to Heaven' is one of the things that hasn't quite been thrown away yet," Plant said in 1994. "I think radio stations should be asked not to play it for 10 years, just to leave it alone for a bit so we can tell whether it's any good or not."

17. LIAM GALLAGHER HECKLED HIS BROTHER.

Oasis lead vocalist Liam Gallagher backed out of the Royal Festival Hall gig in London at the last minute due to a "sore throat," so songwriter/guitarist/brother Noel took over the vocal duties. Noel would later disclose that Liam in fact appeared an hour before showtime "sh*tfaced," and when he tried to sing it sounded "f**king dreadful." Liam watched the performance from the balcony and at times jeered the band. Noel told him to shut up. Coletti thought it was all for the best. "There's something when the songwriter himself sings it. Maybe he's a little more connected to the song."

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