15 Brilliant Facts About Dumb and Dumber

We know you don’t want to hear the most annoying sound in the world, so how about some facts about the 1994 comedy classic, Dumb and Dumber?

1. THE FARRELLY BROTHERS UPDATED AN OLD SCRIPT TO WRITE DUMB AND DUMBER.

The first script written by the directing duo was for a movie called Dust to Dust that told the story of two idiot friends who worked at a funeral parlor. They used it to get their foot in the door for meetings in Hollywood, and eventually the Dust to Dust script was bought but was never made into a movie. Years later they resurrected the same idea of two idiot friends getting into bizarre and hilarious schemes when they set out to write Dumb and Dumber.

2. NOBODY WANTED TO CALL IT DUMB AND DUMBER—EXCEPT THE FARRELLY BROTHERS.

The script went through a few name changes as it made the rounds because it kept being rejected based solely on the Dumb and Dumber moniker. Because no studio wanted to make a movie called Dumb and Dumber, the Farrellys changed the name of the script to Go West and then A Power Tool is Not a Toy, just to get studio execs to read it.

3. THE MOVIE STUDIO THAT AGREED TO MAKE THE MOVIE DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE IT.

The script passed through—and was rejected by—every major Hollywood studio until it made its way to New Line Cinema, where studio president Mike De Luca loved the script and agreed to make it. But Bob Shaye, the studio’s CEO, hated it, and only agreed to greenlight the film if the filmmakers could secure two leads from a list of 25 comedic actors provided by the studio. The Farrellys pitched the script to the entire list of actors, all of whom turned it down.

4. THE LIST OF NAMES THAT PASSED WAS PRETTY AMBITIOUS.

Nicolas Cage, Martin Short, Steve Martin, Rob Lowe, and Gary Oldman were some of the actors who were on that list. According to Bobby Farrelly, “Occasionally we’ll bump into somebody who will say like, ‘Hey, how come you never offered me a role?’ ‘I offered you Dumb and Dumber.’ But they never got them. You know, you thought you were being turned down by all the actors, but it’s really the agents just saying, ‘No, he can’t do it, he’s unavailable.’ It’s rare that they actually give it to them. So hard to tell how many actually passed, but we were told 100.”

5. THE MOVIE WAS MADE BECAUSE OF JIM CARREY.

Despite the pile of rejections, the filmmakers soldiered on and eventually offered the part of Lloyd Christmas to then-relative-newcomer Jim Carrey. One of the producers knew Carrey from his days as a cast member on In Living Color, and got him the script while he was working on the movie The Mask (which was shot before Dumb and Dumber). Carrey met with the brothers and they immediately hit it off.

6. CARREY’S SUCCESS MADE HIM RENEGOTIATE HIS ACTING FEE.

Carrey was initially offered $350,000 to appear in Dumb and Dumber, and continued to negotiate the final number with the studio. But his star-making turn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective immediately gave him the clout to demand more money. He was eventually paid $7 million to appear in the movie (which was shot on a budget of $16 million).

7. CARREY HAD A RECORD-BREAKING 1994.

He became the first actor in history to headline three number one movies at the box office in the same year with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber.

8. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT THE FILMMAKERS TO CAST JEFF DANIELS.

The Farrelly brothers approached Jeff Daniels to play Harry Dunne because they enjoyed his dramatic and comedic turn in director Jonathan Demme’s 1986 movie, Something Wild. The studio didn’t want to cast Daniels because he had never appeared in any outright comedic roles, and they didn’t think he’d able to keep up with a comedic kingpin like Carrey. Instead they favored Harland Williams, but the Farrelly brothers pushed for Daniels—which prompted the studio to lowball him on his acting fee. The studio offered Daniels $50,000, figuring he’d say no. But Daniels took the part. Williams would go on to appear in the movie as the Pennsylvania highway patrolman who mistakenly drinks Carrey’s urine out of a beer bottle after pulling them over.

9. THE FARRELLY BROTHERS INCLUDED THEIR OWN NOD TO SOMETHING WILD IN DUMB AND DUMBER.

In the scene where Harry and Lloyd skip out on their diner tab, Harry asks Lloyd where he learned that trick, and Lloyd responds that he had seen it in a movie once. The movie he’s referring to is Something Wild, starring Daniels, which features a similar dine-and-dash scam.

10. MANY OF THE MOST ICONIC SCENES WERE IMPROVISED.

Peter Farrelly admitted that about 15 percent of the movie was ad-libbed. The directors would have the actors do two takes that adhered to their script and then let the actors improvise in takes after that. Some of the ad-libbed scenes include the “Wanna hear the movie annoying sound in the world,” scene, the moment when Carrey leaves the hotel bar in Aspen and is surprised about the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the move with the doggy bag at the end of the kung-fu sequence.

11. HARRY AND LLOYD SHARED A ROOM WITH THE SHINING.

The swanky Danbury Hotel in the movie is actually the Stanely Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, the allegedly haunted 106-year-old hotel that inspired author Stephen King to pen the horror classic The Shining. Carrey reportedly requested to stay in the haunted room 217, but checked out after only three hours because of its ghostly power.

12. LLOYD’S CHIPPED TOOTH IS REAL.

To become Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber, Carrey uncapped his chipped front tooth, and did the same for the movie’s sequel. Carrey lost part of his tooth in a fight during elementary school detention.

13. CLINT EASTWOOD TOOK JEFF DANIELS’S TOILET SCENE VERY PERSONALLY.

After the movie premiered and was a big hit, Daniels was approached by Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood at a celebrity golf tournament, who told the actor that the embarrassing toilet scene actually happened to him in real life. Apparently Clint had gone out on a date and was beset by some bad shellfish, and sped to the bathroom only to find out it was broken once he had done his business. Daniels would go on to work with Eastwood on his movie, Blood Work.

14. THE MOVIE HAD TWO ALTERNATE ENDINGS.

The original ending had the Danbury Hotel concierge offering Harry and Lloyd a job working one day a week at the hotel, which the pair laugh off and leave on their moped. Another similar ending has the concierge asking the two to stay and possibly look after his grandson who ends up being Billy in 4C, the blind child that Lloyd tricked into buying Harry’s dead bird. When they shot the current ending, the studio wanted Harry and Lloyd to get on the bus with the Hawaiian Tropic models, but Carrey and the Farrelly brothers refused, citing the fact that the characters are supposed to be dumb.

15. IT SPAWNED A SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON.

While there was a big screen prequel and recent sequel, Dumb and Dumber also inspired a Saturday morning cartoon that ran for one season on ABC. The cartoon tracked the further adventures of Harry and Lloyd, and featured a new companion for the two in the shape of a pet beaver named Kitty.

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Why Are the Academy Awards Statuettes Called Oscars?

Getty Images
Getty Images

In 2013, the Academy Awards were officially rebranded as simply The Oscars, after the famed statuette that winners receive. "We're rebranding it," Oscar show co-producer Neil Meron told The Wrap at the time. "We're not calling it 'the 85th annual Academy Awards,' which keeps it mired somewhat in a musty way. It's called 'The Oscars.'" But how did the statuette get that nickname in the first place?

The popular theory is that the nickname for the Academy Award of Merit (as the statuette is officially known) was coined by Academy Award librarian and future Director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick. The story goes that when Herrick first saw the statue in 1931, she said that it looked like her Uncle Oscar. According to Emanuel Levy, author of All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards, columnist Sidney Skolsky was there when Herrick said this and would later write that, “Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette ‘Oscar.’”

While the first documented use of “Oscar” as the nickname for the statuette was made by Skolsky—in a 1934 New York Daily News article—there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that Skolsky was actually responsible for the above quote. Skolsky, in his 1975 memoir Don’t Get Me Wrong, I Love Hollywood, claimed he first used the nickname referencing a classic vaudeville joke line, “Will you have a cigar, Oscar?” in an attempt to mock the Academy Awards:

"It was my first Academy Awards night when I gave the gold statuette a name. I wasn’t trying to make it legitimate. The snobbery of that particular Academy Award annoyed me. I wanted to make the gold statuette human. ... It was twelve thirty when I finally arrived at the Western Union office on Wilcox to write and file my story. I had listened to Academy, industry, and acceptance talk since seven thirty ... There I was with my notes, a typewriter, blank paper, and that Chandler feeling.

You know how people can rub you the wrong way. The word was a crowd of people. I’d show them, acting so high and mighty about their prize. I’d give it a name. A name that would erase their phony dignity. I needed the magic name fast. But fast! I remembered the vaudeville shows I’d seen. The comedians having fun with the orchestra leader in the pit would say, “Will you have a cigar, Oscar?” The orchestra leader reached for it; the comedians backed away, making a comical remark. The audience laughed at Oscar. I started hitting the keys ...

“THE ACADEMY awards met with the approval of Hollywood, there being practically no dissension … The Academy went out of its way to make the results honest and announced that balloting would continue until 8:00 o’clock of the banquet evening … Then many players arrive late and demanded the right to vote … So voting continued until 10 o’clock or for two hours after the ballot boxes were supposed to be closed … It was King Vidor who said: “This year the election is on the level” … Which caused every one to comment about the other years … Although Katharine Hepburn wasn’t present to receive her Oscar, her constant companion and the gal she resides with in Hollywood, Laura Harding, was there to hear Hepburn get a round of applause for a change…”

During the next year of columns, whenever referring to the Academy Award, I used the word 'Oscar.' In a few years, Oscar was the accepted name. It proved to be the magic name."

"Mouse's Return," a September 11, 1939 article in TIME magazine, seems to back up Skolsky’s above claim, stating:

"This week Sidney Skolsky joined the growing stable of writers that Publisher George Backer is assembling for his New York Post. Hollywood thought Publisher Backer had picked the right horse, for Skolsky is one of the ablest columnists in the business (he originated the term “Oscar” for Academy Awards) and by far the most popular …"

Though Skolsky has actual evidence to back his claim, his assertion that he coined the nickname is still slightly in doubt. Many claim that during Walt Disney’s Academy Award acceptance speech for Three Little Pigs in 1934—the same year Skolsky first covered the Awards—Disney referred to the statuette his little "Oscar," which was supposedly an already well-established nickname for it within the industry. The term Oscar was commonly used as a mocking nickname for the Academy Award (as Skolsky claims he used it), but in this theory, Walt Disney was supposedly the first in the industry to publicly use the name in a positive light.

Perhaps Herrick really did think the statuette resembled her uncle. Or maybe Skolsky really did come up with the moniker (whether he did or not, he certainly helped popularize it). In the end, nobody really knows why the Academy Award statuette is called an Oscar.

The idea for the design of the Academy Award statuette was thought up by MGM director Cedric Gibbons. His idea was to have a knight gripping a sword while standing on a film reel. Sculptor George Stanley was then hired to create the actual statuette based on this design idea. The first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 in the Blossom Room of Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel. The nickname Oscar wasn’t officially adopted for the statuette by the Academy until 1939.

Incidentally, the Academy states that the five spokes on the film reel the knight is standing on signify the original five branches of the Academy: writers, directors, actors, producers, and technicians.

Daven Hiskey runs the wildly popular interesting fact website Today I Found Out. To subscribe to his “Daily Knowledge” newsletter, click here.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

This article originally appeared in 2013.

11 Dothraki Words and Phrases Every Game of Thrones Fan Should Know

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

You know the words khal and khaleesi, but consider working these other words and phrases from the Dothraki language—which was created by linguist David J. Peterson, and featured in Living Language Dothraki—into your vocabulary before the final season of Game of Thrones premieres on April 14, 2019.

1. M’athchomaroon!

The Dothraki way of saying hi, this word—which can also be shortened to M’ach! or M’ath!—translates to “With respect.” To say hello to a group of non-Dothrakis, you would use the phrase Athchomar chomakea, which literally translates to “Respect to those that are respectful.” Fonas chek, which translates to "hunt well," is one way to say goodbye.

2. San athchomari yeraan!

Peterson writes that the Dothraki have no word for “thank you.” Instead, use this phrase, which literally translates to “a lot of honor to you!” but basically means “much respect!”

3. Fichas jahakes moon!

These are Dothraki fighting words, meant to encourage the warriors in their khalasar (or Dothraki group). This phrase means “get him!” but literally translates to “Take his braid”—which makes sense, since Dothrakis cut off their braids after a defeat. A Dothraki who wins a lot of battles is a lajak haj, or “strong warrior.”

4. And 5. Yer shekh ma shieraki anni and Yer jalan atthirari anni

Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Both of these phrases—the first said by a male, the second by a female—mean “you are my loved one,” but they literally translate to phrases well-known to Game of Thrones fans: “You are my sun and stars” and “You are the moon of my life.” As Peterson notes, “these expressions come from Dothraki mythology, in which the sun is the husband of the moon.”

6. Anha dothrak adakhataan

Peterson writes that “as a result of the importance of horses to Dothraki culture, there are many idiomatic expressions related to horses and riding.” This phrase is best used before a meal: It means “I’m about to eat,” and literally translates to “I ride to eating.” If you were Dothraki, you’d likely be eating fresh horsemeat (gavat) and drinking mare’s milk (lamekh ohazho, which is often just shortened to lamekh).

7. Hrazef

This is Dothraki for horse, and there are many other words relating to horses in the language. A good one to know is the word for the great stallion, a.k.a., “the deity worshipped by the Dothraki”: vezhof.

8. Addrivat

Joseph Naufahu, Tamer Hassan, Emilia Clarke, Elie Haddad, Darius Dar Khan, and Diogo Sales in Game of Thrones
HBO

If there’s one thing the Dothraki are very good at, it’s killing, and they have multiple words for the deed. This is a verb meaning “to kill,” and literally translates to “to make something dead.” Both Ds are pronounced. It’s used, according to Peterson, “when the killer is a sentient being.” (Drozhat is used when a person is killed by an animal or an inanimate object, "like a fallen rock," Peterson writes.)

9. Asshekhqoyi vezhvena!

The next time your friend or loved one is celebrating another year around the sun, use this Dothraki phrase, which means “happy birthday” but literally translates to “[Have] a great blood-day!”

10. Zhavorsa or Zhavvorsa

Dothraki for dragon. Finne zhavvorsa anni? means “Where are my dragons?” This word might not be super applicable in everyday life, so jano—the Dothraki word for dog or dogs—is probably more appropriate.

11. Vorsa

Dracarys—a.k.a., what Dany says to Drogon to get him to let loose—is the High Valyrian word for dragonfire. It's unclear if the Dothraki have a word for dragonfire, but the word for fire is vorsa. Sondra, meanwhile, is their word for obsedian—or, as it's called on Game of Thrones, dragonglass.

For more information on the Dothraki language and culture, pick up Living Language Dothraki: A Conversational Language Course Created by David J. Peterson Based on the Hit Original HBO Series Game of Thrones at Amazon.

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