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18 Catchy Facts About Footloose

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Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) moves to a small town that has banned dancing and rock music, thanks to a minister (John Lithgow) who has suffered a family tragedy, in Footloose. When Ren’s need to dance influences his peers, the 1984 drama film had its conflict. Here are some facts about the movie that’ll help you cut loose.

1. IT WAS BASED ON ELMORE CITY, OKLAHOMA.

Elmore City had forbidden public dancing by law since its founding. In January of 1979, the local high schoolers asked that the rules be changed so that they could have a prom, to the anger of the reverend from the United Pentecostal Church. The kids won and got to dance on prom night. Dean Pitchford (lyricist for Fame songs "Red Light", "Fame", and "I Sing The Body Electric") read about all of it and visited the town. Pitchford had his screenplay after 22 drafts.

2. TOM CRUISE ALMOST PLAYED REN.

The producers wanted Tom Cruise, but he had a scheduling conflict with All the Right Moves (1983). Rob Lowe auditioned and blew out his ACL. "I have post-traumatic stress with anything having to do with Footloose," Lowe said later, while recalling a party where Kenny Loggins asked him to do a karaoke duet of the theme song. "I was like, ‘I won’t do anything with that damn movie, but I’ll do Danger Zone from Top Gun.'”

3. CHRISTOPHER ATKINS HAD THE LEAD, THEN LOST IT.

The Blue Lagoon star Christopher Atkins claimed he was cast as Ren. Unfortunately for him, he was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when he met with the producers and the director before taking a vacation where he was planning to have more “fun.” When he found out he lost the role, Atkins had a breakdown and was hospitalized.

4. MADONNA AUDITIONED FOR ARIEL.

Had she gotten the part, it would have been her first feature film role. That didn’t come until 1985, in A Certain Sacrifice. Lori Singer got to play Ariel Moore instead.

5. SARAH JESSICA PARKER WASN’T THE FIRST CHOICE FOR RUSTY.

Pitchford had written the role with Tracy Nelson, Parker’s co-star on the short-lived but cult favorite TV show Square Pegs (1982-1983), in mind. After successfully auditioning, director Herbert Ross’ wife noted that she didn’t fit into the movie.

6. PARKER INITIALLY TURNED THE ROLE DOWN.

The future Sex and the City star passed after being told she had to cut and dye her hair red, something she did not want to do after her hair was finally growing out after playing Annie on Broadway. A couple of days into production, the studio changed their mind and let the actress keep her locks.

7. MICHAEL CIMINO WAS THE DIRECTOR FOR FOUR MONTHS.

Michael Cimino, the Oscar-winning director of The Deer Hunter and Heaven’s Gate, kept asking for grandiose set-ups and making more and more demands—like requesting $250,000 to rewrite the script, and to make the film darker. Paramount Pictures feared Cimino was going to lose them a ton of money after Heaven’s Gate bankrupted United Artists, and so they let him go. Herbert Ross (director of The Goodbye Girl and Steel Magnolias) took over.

8. THE FILM'S ORIGINAL TITLE WAS CHEEK TO CHEEK.

Cheek to Cheek was a placeholder, and Pitchford filled pages of yellow legal pad paper with any ideas he could think of to come up with a better title. On the second day of doing this, he wrote down "footloose and fancy free," and then "footloose." Pitchford liked it because "footloose" is “one of those interesting words that looks good on paper—you see it scrawled across a billboard, and it sells itself."

9. BACON WENT UNDERCOVER AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.

Only the principal and guidance counselor at Payson Utah High School knew the true identity of one “Ren McCormack,” a transfer student from Philadelphia. The then 24-year-old Bacon was terrified, and was treated the way his character ended up being treated in the movie. He only lasted two to three hours.

10. BACON DIDN’T REALIZE WHAT HE WAS GETTING HIMSELF INTO.

The script, according to Bacon, “didn’t really indicate anything” and led him to believe he didn’t need a choreographer. He spent three weeks of dance training with Lynne Taylor-Corbett. Bacon also worked on his gymnastics, and “worked the skin off his hands.”

11. BACON WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT NEEDING STUNT DOUBLES.

Gymnast Chuck Gaylord, brother of Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord, did the complicated gymnastics. Peter Tramm, who had appeared in Staying Alive, was Bacon’s dance double. In 2011, Bacon joked that he “was furious ... It's like a starting pitcher getting taken out of a game—no one wants to be told they can't get the guy out." Bacon balked at the studio’s request to not tell the media he had used any doubles.

12. BACON’S JEANS WERE MADE EXTRA TIGHT ON PURPOSE.

"I remember having these pants on that were unbelievably tight already, but weren't quite tight enough for some of the shots,” Bacon recalled on the DVD commentary. “They would take them and pin them from behind so they were really skintight. It wasn't so much about sexiness as it was that line to make the [dance] move look powerful."

13. CHRIS PENN CAME IN WITH NO DANCE SKILLS.

Taylor-Corbett got Chris Penn to dance after she equated it to wrestling, something Penn loved and used to do. Bacon said the best dance scene in the movie was his character Ren teaching Penn’s character, Willard, to dance. Originally, the two danced to the Karla Bonoff song “Somebody’s Eyes”—Ross said it didn’t work with the scene. Pitchford and Tom Snow wrote a more uplifting song instead around the line “Let’s hear it for the boy.”

14. JOHN LITHGOW DECEIVED A MINISTER.

John Lithgow needed help channeling his character of Reverend Shaw Moore, so he found an Assembly of God minister in the Yellow Pages. Lithgow told him he was lonely on location shooting in Utah, and asked if he could talk to him about Jesus. Lithgow recounted to The Huffington Post that it was an “incredibly valuable thing to do. I did feel like a total hypocrite, a snake in the grass, but without that—this man was extremely kind and very persuasive. That's what I needed to play that part and deliver those sermons.”

15. BACON NEEDED HALF A VALIUM FOR THE TOWN COUNCIL SCENE.

Bacon's real fear of public speaking resulted in hives appearing all over his ribs. He was given half a Valium to calm himself down for the scene when Ren pleads with the Bomont town council to bring dancing back.

16. KENNY LOGGINS AND DEAN PITCHFORD WROTE THE TITLE TRACK ON PAINKILLERS.

Loggins had broken a rib at a show, and Pitchford had strep throat and a fever of 101 when the two met in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Because Loggins was soon flying to Asia, Pitchford hid the fact he was sick from Loggins by spraying his throat with Chloraseptic and taking decongestants so the two could get their songwriting done and appease Paramount. "I think it was two or three days we kept up this charade with him showing up on his painkillers and me on my painkillers, and us getting the gist of the song," Pitchford recalled.

17. THE PROM SCENE HAD TO BE RE-SHOT.

Ross wanted the final scene to play out in slow motion, until the film was screened and it made the end drag. When it was re-shot, new dance styles like popping-and-locking were added. It cost $250,000 to do the reshoot six weeks before the film’s opening. Producers went to L.A. dance clubs on New Year’s Eve looking for talent.

18. BACON PAYS DJS TO NOT PLAY FOOTLOOSE.

While he loves the song, Bacon doesn’t like it when it’s played at parties he’s attending, because when it is played, he’s expected to perform “like a trained monkey.”

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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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