15 Facts About Everybody Loves Raymond

Over the course of nine seasons, Ray Romano endeared himself to audiences as Ray Barone, a Long Island sportswriter juggling work and family, including his parents and older brother, who live right across the street. Here are some facts about the Emmy Award-winning series, which debuted 20 years ago today.

1. THE SHOW BEGAN AFTER RAY ROMANO DID A STAND-UP SET ON LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.

"I was doing stand-up for 12 years," Romano recounted to Larry King in 2005. "I did my first stand-up spot on Letterman and then the following week his company called me up to say, 'We want to try to develop a show based around what we saw.'"

2. ROMANO DIDN'T LOVE THE TITLE.

“It was a title that, first of all, the critics ... it invites hatred,” Romano explained. “It came about from a sarcastic comment my brother made, who is a police officer. And he said, ‘Look what I do for a living, and look at Raymond—yeah, everybody loves Raymond.’ So we used it as a working title. And it just grew on CBS, and we couldn't get rid of it.”

3. DORIS ROBERTS THOUGHT SHE WOULD BE TOO BUSY TO EVEN AUDITION.

Doris Roberts was busy directing a play while the Marie auditions were taking place. The play’s producer made sure to have her available for 3:30 one fateful Monday. She beat out over 100 other women for the part.

4. PETER BOYLE WAS PERFECTLY ANGRY AT HIS AUDITION FOR FRANK.

Peter Boyle had trouble just getting into the studio lot. He then couldn’t find a parking space. Then he went into the wrong building. By the time he reached Romano and show creator/showrunner Philip Rosenthal he was, in his own words, “enraged”—and perfectly in character for Frank Barone. The topper of it all was that, according to Romano, the CBS president was going to give Boyle the gig anyway.

5. CBS OFFERED CAROL FROM FRIENDS THE PART OF DEBRA.

Jane Sibbett (Ross’s first ex-wife on Friends) declined the role once she discovered Romano was both unaware she had been offered the role by the network, and that Romano was pushing hard for Patricia Heaton to play his on-screen wife.

Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice on Friends, auditioned for the role of Debra, too. She ended up playing Debra’s friend Linda over the course of the series as a consolation prize. Heaton wasn't officially cast until one week before the pilot began shooting.

6. RAY IS OLDER THAN HIS "OLDER" BROTHER.

Brad Garrett, who played Ray's older brother Robert, was 36 when the series first started. Romano was a few months shy of his 39th birthday.

7. PHILIP ROSENTHAL'S WIFE GOT USED TO STORIES FROM HER MARRIAGE BEING WRITTEN INTO THE SHOW.

Monica Horan—who played Robert’s on-again-off-again girlfriend and eventual wife Amy—was married to the show's creator, Phil Rosenthal. She got used to her arguments with Rosenthal ending up in scripts. Horan told People about an episode where Debra has PMS: "I'm hearing lines from conversations I had with my husband. Ray was telling Debra to take medication, and she was telling him she needed a hug. I was like, 'Whoa.' I was crying, then laughing, then crying. It was surreal."

"Ninety percent of everything you hear on the show has been said to me or Ray Romano or one of the writers,” Rosenthal admitted in the same article. Horan claimed her favorite line to Rosenthal is, “You can say the right thing on TV, but why can't you do it in real life?”

8. THE NAMES OF THE TWIN BOYS WERE CHANGED AFTER THE FIRST EPISODE.

In the pilot, the kids were known as Matthew and Gregory, but were subsequently turned into Michael and Geoffrey for the rest of the series. Romano’s own twin sons are named Matthew and Gregory; he decided that art was imitating life a little too closely and asked for the names to be changed. Matthew and Gregory not only got new names, they got new actors to play them: Rosenthal cast Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten as Michael and Geoffrey, respectively. They were the real-life brothers of Madylin Sweeten, who played their TV sis, Ally.

The inclination to separate fact from fiction never seemed to apply to Ally, who kept her character name despite being based on Romano’s real daughter, also named Ally. Not only that, the real Ally (Alexandra Romano) played TV Ally’s friend Molly on the show.

9. RAY’S BROTHER WAS A POLICE OFFICER, WHOSE COLLEAGUES MADE FUN OF HIM.

“Well, my brother was—he is a retired cop now, but at the time he would take a lot of stuff from the other cops," said Romano. "They think it's a documentary.” While Garrett put his own spin on the character to differentiate Robert Barone from Rich Romano, there was a point where Ray's brother—an NYPD sergeant—moved back in with their parents.

10. PATRICIA HEATON’S FATHER WAS A SPORTSWRITER, LIKE RAY BARONE.

Chuck Heaton was a sportswriter for The Cleveland Plain Dealer for 50 years. He’s mentioned in the season one episode “Recovering Pessimist” when Debra runs down a list of Ray’s competition for a Sportswriter of the Year award: “Chuck Heaton’s big story this year was 'too much violence in boxing.' Thanks for the scoop, Chuck.”

11. PETER BOYLE’S CAREER WAS ALLUDED TO TWICE IN THE SAME EPISODE.

In “Halloween Candy,” Frank gives the same speech about mortality he famously gave to Robert De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver (1976). He also dressed as Frankenstein’s monster, a nod to his work in Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein (1974).

12. THE SHOW MADE ROMANO THE HIGHEST PAID ACTOR ON TELEVISION.

Romano made $1.7 to $1.8 million per episode during the last two seasons of Raymond, surpassing Kelsey Grammer's $1.6 million per episode salary for Frasier at the time.

13. THE SERIES ENDED WHEN THE WRITERS RAN OUT OF IDEAS.

“We ran out of ideas," Rosenthal told The A.V. Club of why the show came to an end. "If you worked for me, I would say to you, ‘Go home, get in a fight with your wife, and come back in and tell me about it.’ And then we’d have a show. But after nine years, if we kept that up, our wives would leave us. And in California, that’s half. So we made sure that we got out before that happened.”

14. THE SERIES FINALE TAPING WAS DELAYED BY ONE WEEK.

Patricia Heaton fell ill, and by the intended showtime her voice was completely gone. The audience was sent home, and told to return seven days later.

15. RAYMOND IS LOVED ALL OVER THE WORLD.

The Voronins, or Воронины, the Russian adaptation which Rosenthal attempted to help, was Russia’s number one comedy, and performed original episodes after going through all 210 of the American installments. Local-language versions of the show were also produced in Egypt (Close Doors); Israel (You Can’t Choose Your Family); the Netherlands (Everybody Is Crazy About Jack); Poland (Everybody Loves Roman, which was canceled after four episodes), and the Czech Republic (Everybody Loves Rudy). In the United Kingdom, a pilot was shot (The Smiths).

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Twentieth Century Fox
Big Is Coming Back to Theaters for Its 30th Anniversary
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

Break out your giant piano: Big is coming back to theaters! As Entertainment Weekly reports, the hit Tom Hanks-starring comedy will be making its triumphant return to the big screen to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and 20th Century Fox.

Though the movie itself was released on June 3, 1988, these special anniversary screenings will take place next month. More than 700 theaters across the country will welcome Big back into cinemas on July 15 and July 18, with 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. screenings on both days.

Though the role of Josh Baskin—a teenager who magically gets his wish to be a grown-up, with both hilarious and dramatic complications—seemed tailor-made for Hanks and his talents, the production wasn’t all smooth sailing. Originally, Steven Spielberg (whose sister co-wrote the script with Gary Ross) was attached to direct, with Harrison Ford in the lead. When Penny Marshall came on board, Hanks was her first choice, but he passed on the part (as did Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty, Albert Brooks, and a string of other in-demand actors). Robert De Niro was attached for a time, but that eventually fell apart, too.

Fortunately, the project came full circle and Hanks was eventually convinced to come aboard. He earned his first of five (and counting) Best Actor Oscar nominations for the role.

Visit the Fathom Events website to find out if Big is coming (back) to a theater near you

[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]

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Columbia Pictures
10 Fun Facts About Can’t Hardly Wait
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

When the teen film Can’t Hardly Wait—which was named after the Replacements song of the same name—arrived in theaters on June 12, 1998, it grossed $25,605,015 on a $10 million budget. In the 20 years since, the movie has found an even larger audience through DVD and cable. The premise follows Preston Meyers (Empire Records’s Ethan Embry) trying to connect with his dream girl, Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), all the while seeking advice from his best friend, Denise Fleming (a pre-Six Feet Under Lauren Ambrose).

Originally called The Party, most of the movie takes place during a rambunctious graduation party, featuring a before-they-were-famous cast, and Jenna Elfman as a stripper dressed as an angel. The movie culminates with Preston and Amanda sealing their romance and living happily ever after. Written and directed by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, the two would later team up for Josie and the Pussycats. Here are 10 fun-filled facts about the ’90s teen comedy.

1. THE PLOT WAS BASED ON LOGISTICS.

Can't Hardly Wait was Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan’s directorial debut, so they liked the idea of having a self-contained and low-budget story to direct. “It was all practical,” Elfont told TIME. “The idea of doing a movie set at a party came first, because it seemed like it would be really cheap to shoot a movie in one location. Then we thought, what hasn’t been done? Nobody’s really done a high-school movie in a while. So we kind of fell into it that way. It was kind of an accident.”

2. SEVERAL SCENES IN THE FILM WERE CHANGED TO AVOID AN R RATING.

A year before the raunchy American Pie was released and jumpstarted R-rated teen films, Can’t Hardly Wait got watered down to get a PG-13 rating. Sony had issues with the underage drinking, and the fact there was no parental supervision at the party. “Well, who would have a high school party and have your parents there?!” Hewitt asked the Los Angeles Times. Seth Green, who played the virginal Kenny Fisher in the movie, gave a rundown of deleted or altered scenes, to Vulture.

“When [Jennifer] Love [Hewitt] first walks into the party, there’s a kid behind her holding a balloon and covering his mouth,” he said. “That used to be a beer bong, but the most expensive CG in the movie was [used] to make it [look] like that kid was smiling and holding a balloon. And then, there’s a scene where Charlie [Korsmo] and Peter [Facinelli] are at the piano. They toast, and then they cut to a wide shot where neither of them are drinking and then cut back to a close-up of them putting their glasses down because you can’t show the kids drinking.”

3. ETHAN EMBRY FORCED HIS WAY INTO PLAYING THE LEAD.

“It had been a while that I had the opportunity to play the ‘guy that gets the girl,’” Embry told VH1. “I had done those roles when I was a lot younger and this was the first time that someone would see me as a lead.” After Embry auditioned for the movie, he got offered the William Lichter part, which eventually went to Charlie Korsmo. But Embry turned the supporting part down. “I wanted to play the guy who gets the girl. That was sort of the driving thing.”

4. MELISSA JOAN HART AND JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT GOT “HIGH” ON B12 VITAMINS.

Hart purposefully chose the small role of the manic Yearbook Girl, as she was working full-time on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and couldn’t fit in a bigger part. While filming a night scene with Hewitt, Hart took B12 vitamins to stay energized, and offered them to a skeptical Hewitt, who thought the vitamins were drugs. “I finally convinced her it’s a vitamin, you can do it,” Hart told TV Guide. “So we took B12 vitamins, and then there was an owl in the tree. [Hewitt] was like, ‘See I’m high now, because there’s not really an owl in the tree.’ We were having these silly night giggles and just attributing it to B12 vitamins.”

5. JASON SEGEL HAD A CAMEO.

The actor was a year away from starring on Freaks and Geeks and seven from How I Met Your Mother when he signed on to play Watermelon Guy. Kaplan and Elfont recognized his talent immediately. “We knew how funny Jason was but there wasn’t a bigger part for him, so we were, like, let’s cast him as this watermelon guy,” Elfont told TIME.

Many other actors either got their start in the movie or became more famous as a result, including Lauren Ambrose and Freddy Rodriguez (both from Six Feet Under), Clea DuVall, Selma Blair, and Sean Patrick Thomas. “Everyone in that age range came in to read because there were no other jobs,” Kaplan told TIME. “That whole crop of people who turned out to be so talented and do so well for themselves afterward were in our movie literally, I think, because there was nothing else for them to do.”

6. EMBRY DOESN’T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT THE SHOOT.

Embry admitted to VH1 to being “the world’s biggest stoner” while making the film. “Nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time,” he said. He also confessed, “I haven’t seen the movie all the way through ... I never read the script.”

One thing he did remember, though, was the only scene he filmed with Hewitt, at the end of the movie. Before their characters kissed at the train station, Hewitt—knowing he smoked—had a basket of breath mints sent to Embry’s trailer. “And there was a basket of breath mints, you know? Like real pretty,” he said. “Like almost you give somebody flowers or a fruit basket but she gave me 50 breath mints. And it’s all different types. It was all very sweet. And that always makes me laugh thinking of that. Aww, Jennifer wanted me to smell good.” Embry took advantage of the gift and popped some breath mints into his mouth before filming. “They were rather nice cottonmouth alleviators,” he said during a Reddit AMA.

7. EMBRY DOESN’T KNOW—OR CARE—WHAT HIS CHARACTER'S LETTER SAID.

Early on at the party, Amanda finds and reads Preston’s letter and spends the rest of the film trying to find him. It must’ve been a powerful letter, because it finally brings them together at the end. “It was a prop! It was an envelope,” he told VH1. “I think I remember the directors asking me if I knew what was in there. It was a prop. It doesn’t matter. Like I know what’s in there? It’s called acting.”

8. THE CAST WOULD LOVE TO DO A SEQUEL.

In 2015, some of the cast reunited at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a screening of the film. Hewitt tweeted: “Can’t Hardly Wait reunion movie anyone? Let’s get them to make it!” In a 2013 interview with VH1, Embry was tepid about a sequel. “Maybe if they paid me more than last time,” he said about a second one. “[He and Amanda] would have to not be together anymore. Amanda and him had a horrible breakup and there were kids involved. He drinks himself silly over a typewriter. I’d make that sequel.” But in a 2015 interview with The Huffington Post, Embry changed his tune. “Of course I would be thrilled to work with any of the players involved again,” he said. “If all the stars aligned, I would be happy to entertain that possibility.”

Peter Facinelli, who played Amanda’s ex-boyfriend Mike Dexter, told IFC his thoughts on a sequel. “You know how the whole movie takes place at the high school party? We could have the whole movie take place at the reunion. I thought it’d be a fun movie.”

9. PETER FACINELLI THINKS MIKE DEXTER TURNED INTO A LOSER.

If a sequel did occur, Facinelli has an idea about what happened to Mike. “Now he’s basically the loser,” he told IFC. “The nerd was the loser in the first movie. Now he’s like the loser and then he kind of climbs back and gets back on his horse. And the nerdy kid is now the Bill Gates who is kind of like the Mike Dexter, bossing everyone around. I think [Dexter’s] just literally a loser. He’s filled with self-doubt and he would basically rise to self-confidence again and come back on top.”

10. EMBRY THINKS PRESTON AND AMANDA ENDED UP WITH WEIRD JOBS.

VH1 asked Embry where he thinks the characters would be today, and he said: “She’s j*rking off dudes in Vancouver, and he’s making horror movies in upstate New York.”

Elfont took a more serious approach to the question, for TIME. “[The on-screen text at the end of the movie] says they’re still together,” Elfont said. “Who am I to argue?”

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