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15 Brilliant Facts About Dumb and Dumber

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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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Shout! Factory
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The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon Is Back
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Shout! Factory

For many fans, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is as beloved a Thanksgiving tradition as mashed potatoes and gravy (except funnier). It seems appropriate, given that the show celebrates the turkeys of the movie world. And that it made its debut on Thanksgiving Day in 1988 (on KTMA, a local station in Minneapolis). In 1991, to celebrate its third anniversary, Comedy Central hosted a Thanksgiving Day marathon of the series—and in the more than 25 years since, that tradition has continued.

Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, Shout! Factory will host yet another Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day marathon, hosted by series creator Joel Hodgson and stars Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. Taking place online at ShoutFactoryTV.com, or via the Shout! Factory TV app on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and select smart TVs, the trio will share six classic MST3K episodes that have never been screened as part of a Shout! Factory Turkey Day Marathon. Here’s hoping your favorite episode makes it (cough, Hobgoblins, cough.)

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Troma Entertainment
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11 Bite-Sized Facts About Cannibal! The Musical
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Troma Entertainment

Back in their film school days, the creators of South Park made a twisted tribute to Rogers and Hammerstein. Cannibal! The Musical is (very) loosely based on the life of Alfred "Alferd" Packer, an American prospector who resorted to eating his travel companions in the harsh winter of 1874. Below, you’ll find a buffet of bite-sized facts about this weirdly upbeat black comedy. Bon appétit!

1. IT ALL STARTED WITH A GAG TRAILER.

In 1992, Trey Parker was studying film at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where pretty much everyone knows all about the legend of Alfred "Alferd" Packer. Indeed, when a new restaurant opened up on campus in 1968, the student body chose to name it after this famous man-eater. The restaurant’s slogan? “Have a friend for lunch.” As a joke, Parker rounded up some of his fellow film majors and spent three days shooting a phony trailer for a nonexistent movie called Alferd Packer: The Musical. Included in the ensemble was Matt Stone, with whom Parker would go on to create South Park.

Once the Alferd Packer promo was finished, those who worked on it weren’t sure if they could turn this concept into a feature-length picture. Fortunately, the trailer was a huge hit. “People thought it was really funny,” Parker told The Denver Post, “so we went around … and said, ‘So do you want to invest?’” Thanks (for the most part) to donations from a few CU grads with wealthy parents, Parker and his co-stars amassed a $100,000 budget.

2. LIANE THE HORSE WAS NAMED AFTER TREY PARKER’S EX-FIANCÉE.

At age 21, Parker was all set to marry his high school sweetheart. “We had plane tickets, the dress was bought, the church was paid for,” Parker shared on the DVD commentary. Then, about a month before the wedding, he caught his bride-to-be with another man. Devastated, Parker broke off the engagement and came up with an unusual way to get even. “I really wrote this movie for her,” he said.

A major character in Cannibal is Liane, Packer’s beloved horse, who leaves him for another rider. The two-timing equine was named after Parker’s former fiancée. Some artistic license was taken here, as there’s no proof that the real Packer ever owned a horse named Liane—or that he ever wistfully sang about being on top of her.

3. AN AVANT-GARDE LEGEND WAS CAST IN A MINOR ROLE.

World-renowned for his experimental filmmaking, the late Stan Brakhage taught off and on at the University of Colorado, where he met Parker and Stone. The two convinced him to appear in Cannibal! as George Noon’s father, who gets about two minutes’ worth of screen time.

4. PARKER’S DAD WAS IN IT, TOO.

Just like Stan Marsh’s dad in South Park, Trey Parker’s father, Randy, is a geologist. In Cannibal! The Musical, he portrays the Breckenridge judge who sentences Packer (played by Trey) to death.

5. “SHPADOINKLE” WAS MEANT AS A FILLER WORD.

In addition to penning the Cannibal! script, Parker also wrote the film’s musical numbers. The first of these is “Shpadoinkle Day,” an offbeat tribute to “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! Parker knew that the first verse had to include a positive, three-syllable word, but couldn’t think of any that fit. So he used the made-up term “Shpadoinkle” to plug the gap until he could come up with an alternative. However, the creative team liked “shpadoinkle” so much that it stayed put and became one of Cannibal’s running jokes.

6. THEY SHOT IN THE COURTROOM IN WHICH PACKER WAS ACTUALLY TRIED.

On April 6, 1883, Packer was put on trial at the Hinsdale County Courthouse in Lake City, Colorado. Over the next few days, he admitted to dining on two of his dead travel companions—one of whom he supposedly killed in self-defense (the other died of natural causes). Packer was found guilty of murder, but avoided the hangman’s noose by fighting for a second trial, which took place 30 miles away in Gunnison. This time, he was charged with five counts of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 40 years in prison. However, while Packer languished behind bars, public opinion slowly turned in the cannibal’s favor. Under near-constant pressure from The Denver Post, Governor Charles S. Thomas pardoned Packer in 1901.

More than 90 years later, Parker filmed the trial scenes of Cannibal! The Musical at the still-standing Hinsdale County Courthouse. About halfway through the movie, the judge delivers a big speech in which he sentences Packer to death. His on-screen monologue was copied word-for-word from the court transcript of that 1883 Lake City trial.

7. AS THE MINERS SING “THAT’S ALL I’M ASKING FOR,” YOU CAN SEE PARKER MOUTH THE WORD “CUT.”

It goes by fast, but you can see Parker call "cut" to end the shot at the 3:06 mark in the clip above.

8. PARKER USED A PSEUDONYM FOR THE OPENING CREDITS.

Parker billed himself as "Juan Schwartz" in the cast of Cannibal because, according to the movie's website, "Trey doesn't like seeing one person's name plastered all over a movie's credits." Since he is properly credited as writer and director, he likely felt the additional acting credit was a bit too much. Incidentally, Packer called himself “John Shwartze” while evading the law before his arrest.

9. A FEW SONGS WERE DELETED.

The original cut of Cannibal! The Musical ran for two and a half hours, but thanks to some major-league editing, the runtime was reduced to a breezy 93 minutes. “There were fights about that from the get-go, but I give credit to Trey for being the toughest critic,” producer Jason McHugh told MovieMaker Magazine. “He had the maturity to know that a musical comedy about cannibals can’t be two and a half hours long.”

In the streamlining process, two musical numbers got the axe. The first was a quick little dirge called “Don’t Be Stupid,” wherein some nameless miners tell Packer’s group to postpone their journey until springtime. The other was “I’m Shatterproof,” a rap/funk song that Packer, hardened by his recent ordeals, delivers during a bar fight. Also deleted was a reprise of “When I Was On Top of You.”

10. COMEDY CENTRAL WOULDN’T BROADCAST IT.

Cannibal! was distributed by Troma Entertainment, an independent production company best known for creating The Toxic Avenger series. When South Park began to emerge as a major player on cable TV, Troma’s co-founder, Lloyd Kaufman, assumed that Comedy Central would jump at the chance to air some of Parker and Stone’s earlier work. Instead, the channel flatly refused to air Cannibal.

Kaufman was sent a rejection letter from Comedy Central, which read: “Thank you for submitting and re-submitting Cannibal! The Musical, but it is simply not up to our standards for broadcasting.” Troma forwarded a copy of this dispatch to Parker. Today, it’s prominently displayed in his office—at Comedy Central!

11. IT HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A STAGE MUSICAL ON MANY OCCASIONS.

Can’t get tickets to The Book of Mormon? Perhaps you can catch a live reenactment of Cannibal! The Musical instead. Since 1998, the movie has been seen more than 60 stage adaptations. There’s no “official” version of the theatrical show. As such, acting troupes that might be interested in performing Cannibal! have to write their own scripts based on the original movie. 

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