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14 Empowering Facts About 9 to 5

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Whether you think of it as a statement on female empowerment or simply a fun workplace comedy, the 1980 hit 9 to 5—which featured Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton as a trio of secretaries who turn the tables on their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss (Dabney Coleman)—is a bona fide comedy classic. In honor of its 35th anniversary, here are 14 things you might not know about the Oscar-nominated film.

1. THE CONCEPT BEGAN WITH JANE FONDA.

9 to 5 was produced by Jane Fonda’s company, IPC Films, and the idea originated from a real-life organization. “My ideas for films always come from things that I hear and perceive in my daily life,” Fonda told The Canberra Times in 1981. “In that case, a very old friend of mine had started an organization in Boston called 'Nine To Five,’ which was an association of women office workers. I heard them talking about their work and they had some great stories. And I've always been attracted to those 1940s films with three female stars.”

2. IT WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO BE A DRAMA.

Though it’s ranked number 74 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time, 9 to 5 didn’t start out as a comedy. "At first we were going to make a drama,” Fonda explained. “But any way we did it, it seemed too preachy, too much of a feminist line. I'd wanted to work with Lily [Tomlin] for some time, and it suddenly occurred to [producer] Bruce [Gilbert] and me that we should make it a comedy. It remains a ‘labor film,’ but I hope of a new kind, different from The Grapes of Wrath or Salt of the Earth. We took out a lot of stuff that was filmed, even stuff the director, Colin Higgins, thought worked but which I asked to have taken out. I'm just super-sensitive to anything that smacks of the soapbox or lecturing the audience.”

3. IT WAS A BLACK COMEDY BEFORE IT WAS A BROAD COMEDY.

“I had written a very dark comedy in which the secretaries actually tried to kill the boss, although they tried to kill him in sort of funny ways,” screenwriter Patricia Resnick told Rolling Stone. “Originally, Jane had been concerned that would be too dark. I screened an old Charlie Chaplin film called Monsieur Verdoux for her. In it, Chaplin's wife is blind and he has a child. He's kind of a Blackbeard, he romances a series of woman through the course of the movie and murders them in order to get money and support his family. It is a comedy, but at the end they hang him. I turned to Jane at the end of the movie and tears were rolling down her cheeks—but she was concerned the women wouldn't be sympathetic enough. I said, ‘He really killed all these women and you're crying. I just want them to try! They won't be successful.’ And she said OK. But then when Colin came in, he was very influenced by Warner Bros. cartoons and things like that, and so their attempts to kill him became the fantasy scenes, and he made it a much broader comedy.”

4. THE LEAD ROLES WERE WRITTEN FOR JANE FONDA, LILY TOMLIN, AND DOLLY PARTON.

Just because a writer has a particular actor in mind when writing a script doesn’t mean he or she will end up playing the part. In fact, it’s a rarity. But Resnick lucked out with 9 to 5. “We had Jane for sure, because it was her idea to do the film and it was her production company,” Resnick told Rolling Stone. “It was written for Dolly and Lily, but we did not have them under contract. We really wanted them, but we did have some backup ideas in case they turned us down. For Lily, it was Carol Burnett, and for Dolly, it was Ann-Margret. But I had Dolly, Lily and Jane in my head the whole time, and we were really hoping that's who it was going to be.”

5. LILY TOMLIN INITIALLY TURNED DOWN THE ROLE.

Though the role of Violet Newstead was written specifically for Tomlin, the legendary actress and comedian turned down the part when it was first offered to her. “I was shooting The Incredible Shrinking Woman and I was so overworked,” Tomlin explained to the Evening Times. “I'd worked for seven months on that movie, so I was ready to just shut my eyes to anything else.” It was Tomlin’s wife, Jane Wagner, who changed her mind. “My partner Jane said to me, ‘This is the biggest mistake of your life.’ She said, ‘You've got to get on the phone and tell Jane Fonda you want to take back the resignation … And I am grateful that I did it. They became two of my good friends, you know.”

6. IT WAS DOLLY PARTON’S MOVIE DEBUT.

When 9 to 5 premiered on December 19, 1980, Dolly Parton was already a major country music star, but she was a Hollywood newcomer. In a 1980 interview with Today, Fonda shared that when the film’s tone shifted from drama to comedy, the idea of casting Parton arose. And part of what made her perfect for the role was “her music. But particularly the songs that she writes—she’s a great songwriter—and the songs have a kind of depth and humanity that made me feel that she could act.”

7. PARTON MEMORIZED THE ENTIRE SCRIPT.

In the same interview with Today, Parton admitted that the closest she had come to a movie set before shooting 9 to 5 was taking the Universal Studios tour. So when she got the script for the film, she assumed that she had to memorize every word of every character’s part. “I memorized it,” said Parton. “I just assumed that you had to. My part and [Lily’s] part and [Jane’s] part and Dabney’s part. But I just knew the script back and forth and every week I would read it … I would practice.”

8. PARTON WOULD ONLY STAR IN THE FILM IF SHE COULD WRITE THE THEME SONG.

Parton may have been a Hollywood newcomer, but she was savvy. She agreed to take the part in 9 to 5, but only if she could write the theme song as well. Fonda agreed, and Parton wrote the song while the movie was filming. In 1981, she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for “9 to 5.”

9. PARTON’S FINGERNAILS MADE A CAMEO IN THE SONG.

During a 2009 appearance on The View, Parton shared that she composed the song using her fingernails, which to the singer-songwriter sounded like a typewriter. In the final version of the song, you can hear her acrylic fingernails as part of the percussion section.

Parton’s fingernails also became part of her defense when she was sued by Neil and Janice Goldberg in 1983, who claimed that the singer copied their 1976 song, “Money World.” “I worked on the song at my hotel,” Parton testified in 1985. “On the set, I'd rub my fingernails together like this,” she continued, demonstrating her composing technique.

10. SHEENA EASTON HAD A SONG CALLED “9 TO 5” COME OUT AT THE SAME TIME.

In the spring of 1980, seven months before the debut of 9 to 5, Sheena Easton released a song titled “9 to 5” in the U.K. By the time the song made its way to American radio listeners in February of 1981, its title had been changed to “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” in order to avoid any confusion with Parton’s song. The song was Easton’s biggest hit.

11. IT WAS THE SECOND HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE OF 1980.

The workplace comedy was a hit with audiences, earning more than $100 million at the box office—a grand total that made it the second biggest hit of 1980 (only The Empire Strikes Back made more).

12. THE STUDIO WANTED A SEQUEL.

Considering its popularity with audiences, it’s hardly surprising that studio heads were interested in prepping a sequel. For years, the proposed follow-up was on the table. “We tried for a long time for a sequel," Tomlin told Buzz Worthy in 2012. "There were two or three scripts but they weren't what we wanted."

“People would love to see the three of them together again,” Resnick told Rolling Stone. “For years there was talk of a sequel or a remake, but as Dolly always says, ‘It's 9 to 5, not 95!’ Doing a remake with them, that ship has probably sailed.”

13. IT BEGAT A SITCOM.

Though it wasn’t nearly as popular as the film, 9 to 5 was adapted for the small screen with a sitcom that ran from 1982 to 1988. It didn’t feature any of the original actresses, but Dolly Parton’s younger sister, Rachel Dennison, played Doralee (Parton’s character in the film).

14. IT WAS ALSO TURNED INTO A BROADWAY MUSICAL.

On April 7, 2009—nearly 30 years after the film’s release—9 to 5 made its debut as a Broadway musical. Allison Janney played Tomlin’s part, Stephanie J. Block took over for Fonda, and Megan Hilty filled Parton’s shoes. The show closed five months later

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8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog to Get Along
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When people aren’t debating whether cats or dogs are more intelligent, they’re equating them as mortal foes. That’s a stereotype that both cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, and certified dog trainer Zoe Sandor want to break.

Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are gregarious and territorial. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't share the same space—they're just going to need your help. “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends,” Galaxy tells Mental Floss. “Or at the very least, they’ll tolerate each other.”

The duo has teamed up in a new Animal Planet series, Cat Vs. Dog, which airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show chronicles their efforts to help pet owners establish long-lasting peace—if not perfect harmony—among cats and dogs. (Yes, it’s possible.) Gleaned from both TV and off-camera experiences, here are eight tips Galaxy and Sandor say will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.

1. TAKE PERSONALITY—NOT BREED—INTO ACCOUNT.

Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't typically get along better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it’s more important to take their personalities and energy levels into account. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a good fit in a household with a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog would hate sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.

If two animals don’t end up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider setting up a household arrangement that keeps them separated for the long term. And if you’re adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it’s lived with other animals before, or gets along with them.

2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.

To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does it leap across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie, or go on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If so, it probably won’t be great with cats right off the bat, since it will likely jump up whenever it spots a feline.

Hold off Fido's face time with Fluffy until the former is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first several cat-dog meetings.

3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG.

Cats need a protected space—a “base camp” of sorts—that’s just theirs, Galaxy says. Make this refuge off-limits to the dog, but create safe spaces around the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without trouble from its canine sibling.

Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends taking advantage of your home’s vertical space. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed atop a bookcase. This allows your cat to observe the dog from a safe distance, or cross a room without touching the floor.

And while you’re at it, keep dogs away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe while doing their business, plus dogs sometimes (ew) like to snack on cat feces, a bad habit that can cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can cause a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

Baby gates work in a pinch, but since some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by keeping the litter box uncovered and in an open space. That way, the cat won’t be cornered and trapped mid-squat.

4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG'S BODY AND MIND.

“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they should really be doing,” Sandor says. “It’s really important that their energy is released somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and really control themselves when they’re around kitties.”

Dogs also need lots of stimulation. Receiving it in a controlled manner makes them less likely to satisfy it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.

“Instead of just taking a walk, stop and do a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do direction changes three times on every block, or speed changes two times. It’s about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an appropriate way.”

If you don’t have time for any of these activities, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.

5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES.

In Galaxy's new book, Total Cat Mojo, he says it’s a smart idea to let cats and dogs sniff each other’s bedding and toys before a face-to-face introduction. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.

6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY.

Just like humans, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a great first impression. Luckily, they both love food, which might ultimately help them love each other.

Schedule the first cat-dog meeting during mealtime, but keep the dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t see each other, but they will smell each other while chowing down on their respective foods. They’ll begin to associate this smell with food, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.

Do this every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re eating side-by-side, pretty much ignoring each other,” Galaxy says. For safety’s sake, continue keeping the dog on a leash until you’re confident it’s safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).

7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.

After you've successfully ingratiated the cat and dog using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl—either while the dog’s eating, or in the vicinity—and try to eat out of it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”

To prevent these disastrous mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes for your pets (no free feeding!) and place the bowls in separate areas of the house, or the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.

Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys—competition over toys can also prompt fighting. “Dogs tend to get really into catnip,” Galaxy says. “My dog loves catnip a whole lot more than my cats do.”

8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER (IF YOU CAN).

Socializing these animals at a young age can be easier than introducing them as adults—pups are easily trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Plus, dogs are less confident and smaller at this stage in life, allowing the cat to “assume its rightful position at the top of the hierarchy,” she adds.

Remain watchful, though, to ensure everything goes smoothly—especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “teenage” stage before becoming a full-grown dog.

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Animals
10 Juicy Facts About Sea Apples

They're both gorgeous and grotesque. Sea apples, a type of marine invertebrate, have dazzling purple, yellow, and blue color schemes streaking across their bodies. But some of their habits are rather R-rated. Here’s what you should know about these weird little creatures.

1. THEY’RE SEA CUCUMBERS.

The world’s oceans are home to more than 1200 species of sea cucumber. Like sand dollars and starfish, sea cucumbers are echinoderms: brainless, spineless marine animals with skin-covered shells and a complex network of internal hydraulics that enables them to get around. Sea cucumbers can thrive in a range of oceanic habitats, from Arctic depths to tropical reefs. They're a fascinating group with colorful popular names, like the “burnt hot dog sea cucumber” (Holothuria edulis) and the sea pig (Scotoplanes globosa), a scavenger that’s been described as a “living vacuum cleaner.”

2. THEY'RE NATIVE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN.

Sea apples have oval-shaped bodies and belong to the genus Pseudocolochirus and genus Paracacumaria. The animals are indigenous to the western Pacific, where they can be found shuffling across the ocean floor in shallow, coastal waters. Many different types are kept in captivity, but two species, Pseudocolochirus violaceus and Pseudocolochirus axiologus, have proven especially popular with aquarium hobbyists. Both species reside along the coastlines of Australia and Southeast Asia.

3. THEY EAT WITH MUCUS-COVERED TENTACLES.

Sea cucumbers, the ocean's sanitation crew, eat by swallowing plankton, algae, and sandy detritus at one end of their bodies and then expelling clean, fresh sand out their other end. Sea apples use a different technique. A ring of mucus-covered tentacles around a sea apple's mouth snares floating bits of food, popping each bit into its mouth one at a time. In the process, the tentacles are covered with a fresh coat of sticky mucus, and the whole cycle repeats.

4. THEY’RE ACTIVE AT NIGHT.

Sea apples' waving appendages can look delicious to predatory fish, so the echinoderms minimize the risk of attracting unwanted attention by doing most of their feeding at night. When those tentacles aren’t in use, they’re retracted into the body.

5. THE MOVE ON TUBULAR FEET.

The rows of yellow protuberances running along the sides of this specimen are its feet. They allow sea apples to latch onto rocks and other hard surfaces while feeding. And if one of these feet gets severed, it can grow back.

6. SOME FISH HANG OUT IN SEA APPLES' BUTTS.

Sea apples are poisonous, but a few marine freeloaders capitalize on this very quality. Some small fish have evolved to live inside the invertebrates' digestive tracts, mooching off the sea apples' meals and using their bodies for shelter. In a gross twist of evolution, fish gain entry through the back door, an orifice called the cloaca. In addition expelling waste, the cloaca absorbs fresh oxygen, meaning that sea apples/cucumbers essentially breathe through their anuses.

7. WHEN THREATENED, SEA APPLES CAN EXPAND.

Most full-grown adult sea apples are around 3 to 8 inches long, but they can make themselves look twice as big if they need to escape a threat. By pulling extra water into their bodies, some can grow to the size of a volleyball, according to Advanced Aquarist. After puffing up, they can float on the current and away from danger. Some aquarists might mistake the robust display as a sign of optimum health, but it's usually a reaction to stress.

8. THEY CAN EXPEL THEIR OWN GUTS.

Sea apples use their vibrant appearance to broadcast that they’re packing a dangerous toxin. But to really scare off predators, they puke up some of their own innards. When an attacker gets too close, sea apples can expel various organs through their orifices, and some simultaneously unleash a cloud of the poison holothurin. In an aquarium, the holothurin doesn’t disperse as widely as it would in the sea, and it's been known to wipe out entire fish tanks.

9. SEA APPLES LAY TOXIC EGGS.

These invertebrates reproduce sexually; females release eggs that are later fertilized by clouds of sperm emitted by the males. As many saltwater aquarium keepers know all too well, sea apple eggs are not suitable fish snacks—because they’re poisonous. Scientists have observed that, in Pseudocolochirus violaceus at least, the eggs develop into small, barrel-shaped larvae within two weeks of fertilization.

10. THEY'RE NOT EASILY CONFUSED WITH THIS TREE SPECIES.

Syzgium grande is a coastal tree native to Southeast Asia whose informal name is "sea apple." When fully grown, they can stand more than 140 feet tall. Once a year, it produces attractive clusters of fuzzy white flowers and round green fruits, perhaps prompting its comparison to an apple tree.

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