16 Regal Facts About Three's Company

ABC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images
ABC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Based on the British sitcom Man About the House, Three's Company starred physical comedy champion John Ritter in his breakout role as Jack Tripper, a culinary student who crashes a party and wakes up in Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Chrissy Snow’s (Suzanne Somers) bathtub. Janet and Chrissy and Jack end up becoming roommates, with Jack posing as a gay man in order to keep the coed living situation going. Here are some facts about the classic ABC sitcom that will impress your friends over at the Regal Beagle.

1. TWO OTHER PILOTS WERE MADE BEFORE THEY GOT IT RIGHT.

On the first attempt, M*A*S*H writer/producer Larry Gelbart wrote a Three's Company pilot script resembling Man About the House. John Ritter's character was named David Bell and was an aspiring filmmaker. The two female roommates were actresses named Jenny (played by Valerie Curtin) and Samantha (Susanne Zenor). A second unaired pilot was requested by ABC programming head Fred Silverman, written by All in the Family and The Jeffersons writer/producers Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, and Bernard West, and featured Joyce DeWitt and Suze Lanier-Bramlett as Chrissy. The third pilot filmed was the charm deemed worthy for broadcast; it premiered on March 15, 1977.

2. BILLY CRYSTAL AUDITIONED TO PLAY JACK TRIPPER.

Barry Van Dyke (Ritter hero Dick Van Dyke's son) and Michael Lembeck (later a director of sitcoms including Friends) also attempted to win the role. Crystal found employment on another ABC comedy a short time later, as Jodie Dallas in Soap (1977-1981).

3. LONI ANDERSON AUDITIONED FOR CHRISSY.

Anderson (later Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP in Cincinnati) didn't get the part. Ritter, who claimed she had a great audition, theorized that Anderson wasn't selected because no one would believe she couldn't live in her own apartment.

4. SUZANNE SOMERS WAS DISCOVERED BY ACCIDENT.

Desperately searching for the right Chrissy the day before production began, Silverman put in all of the audition tapes they had received and fast-forwarded through them. When he spotted Somers, he stopped the tape and liked what he saw. After never getting a clear answer on why she was passed on in the first place, Somers was summoned to the studio. "We got her in that day and she was on the set tomorrow and she was terrific in that part," the ABC programming chief remembered. "And that was an accident because she never should have gotten the part."

5. THE THEME SONG WAS COMPOSED BY THE SAME MAN WHO WROTE THE THEME SONGS FOR SESAME STREET AND THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.

Joe Raposo wrote it, but the producers of Three's Company flirted with the idea of having the stars of the show sing the theme. Despite their protests, Ritter, DeWitt, and Somers attempted it. "They didn't even come close," associate producer Mimi Seawell said. Ray Charles (not that one) and Julia Rinker provided the vocals instead.

6. THE BRUNETTE JACK LOOKS AT BEFORE FALLING IN THE OPENING CREDITS IS SUZANNE SOMERS IN A WIG.

"That brunette is Suzanne with a wig. You can tell by her little Suzanne buns," Ritter said. The bike Jack rode belonged to production associate Carol Summers.

7. NORMAN FELL BASED STANLEY ROPER ON A REAL GUY.

Norman Fell (who also played a landlord in The Graduate) based the character of landlord Stanley Roper on a man he knew back in his hometown of Philadelphia. "I was thinking of a guy I really know in Philadelphia,” Fell said. “The clothes are all wrong ... He was innocent and a guy who just can't do things right, whether it's being with a woman or fixing something. And yet he thought he was the cat's meow. He thought he was attractive, he liked his clothes. He thought people were looking at him because of how well-preserved he looked. He thought he was all things he's not.”

8. FELL WAS PROMISED HE COULD RETURN TO THREE’S COMPANY IF THE ROPERS DIDN'T LAST FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR.

Fell wasn’t interested in leaving the very popular Three's Company, but Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper) was game for a spin-off towards the end of the third season. To appease Fell, ABC promised him that if The Ropers was cancelled after one year, Fell and Lindley could return to Three’s Company. After The Ropers drew the second highest ratings for a series debut in television history at the time in March of 1979, it moved to Saturdays for the second season and viewership dropped enough for it to get cancelled. Fell wanted to return to Three's Company, but producers noted that The Ropers had technically lasted for one and a half years. Besides, the Ropers had already been replaced by Don Knotts as Ralph Furley.

9. JEFFREY TAMBOR PLAYED THREE DIFFERENT CHARACTERS.

After he starred as snobby neighbor Jeffrey P. Brookes III in The Ropers, Tambor found employment again and again and again in late-season episodes of Three’s Company. He was a rich man, Winston Cromwell III, who was after Chrissy in "Father of the Bride"; in “Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” he played Dr. Tom Miller, a psychiatrist who Jack and Janet confuse for a mental patient; he was also dentist Dr. Phillip Greene, a crazy dentist who was recently dumped by Terri.

10. WHEN JOHN LARROQUETTE GUEST STARRED AS A COP, HE CHANGED THE SCRIPT SO THAT THE AUDIENCE WOULD SEE HIS FACE.

YouTube

In the third season episode "Jack Moves Out" (spoiler: it doesn't last), Larroquette figured that because he was supposed to keep his cop cap on, nobody would get to see his visage. He rationalized it for The A.V. Club as such: "So I had to figure out a way to get my hat off. And this is all completely selfish and premeditated. So inside my hat, I've written the Miranda rights. So I take my hat off and tell him, 'You have the right to remain silent.' So my hat is off for the remainder of the scene, which allows you to see my face and my confidence, as it were. Had I not thought of that, it would have just been this hated cop figure for 30 seconds or whatever, and no one would have really known who he was." The producers clearly didn’t mind the change; they left the scene intact.

11. SOMERS LEFT THE SHOW BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO BE PAID AS MUCH AS RITTER.

Somers asked for an increase from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode, Ritter's salary at the time, as well as 10 percent of the show's profits. ABC was offering a $5000 pay raise. For the fourth season, after Ritter and DeWitt stopped speaking to Somers when she feigned a broken rib injury and the contract negotiations became a distraction, Somers was effectively written off the show. Chrissy was stuck in Fresno caring for her sick mother, calling back home to fill the last minute of episodes. (Jenilee Harrison played Chrissy's cousin, Cindy, that year.) After her contract expired at the end of that season, Somers was not asked to return.

12. HEATHER LOCKLEAR WAS LAUGHED AT DURING HER AUDITION TO REPLACE SOMERS.

Sweating in her peach silk blouse on her way to her audition, Locklear resorted to putting Kleenex under her arms. Despite performing a funny scene, nobody laughed at her audition. After hearing laughter as soon as she closed the door, the actress noticed the Kleenex had come out of her blouse. “So I guess they thought I stuffed my bra,” Locklear recalled.

13. PRISCILLA BARNES WAS CONSIDERED “TOO BLOND” SOMETIMES.

Barnes portrayed nurse Terri Alden, a replacement for Cindy (who was a replacement for Chrissy) for the final three seasons of the show. "Our bosses were very, very controlling,” Barnes told CNN in 2002. “If my hair was too blond, I'd get called up in the office.”

14. RITTER'S ONE-YEAR-OLD SON, JASON, WAS THE KID WHO RAN UP TO JANET AT THE ZOO.

The younger Ritter (later Dipper Pines in Gravity Falls and Mark Cyr on Parenthood) didn't remember the incident that was immortalized in the opening credits for seasons six through eight. "But the story is they were shooting a bunch of things at the zoo and I got away from my mom," Jason told The Huffington Post. “I just walked into the shot and it made Joyce DeWitt laugh so they kept it in the opening credits."

15. SOMEONE SAW MORE OF JACK TRIPPER THAN SHE WANTED.

In March 2001, a viewer claimed that a certain part of John Ritter's anatomy was briefly visible in the episode titled "The Charming Stranger.” The complaint was taken seriously enough that Nickelodeon edited the short scene out soon thereafter. In response to the controversy, Ritter infamously said, “I’ve requested that [Nickelodeon] air both versions, edited and unedited, because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.”

16. THERE WAS ANOTHER SPIN-OFF, CALLED THREE'S A CROWD.

After the events of the 1984 series finale to Three's Company, Jack moved in with his new girlfriend, Vicky (Mary Cadorette). The person who made his new digs a "crowd" on the show was Vicky’s father, who was also Jack's new landlord (Robert Mandan). The show lasted for one season.

16 Biting Facts About Fright Night

William Ragsdale stars in Fright Night (1985).
William Ragsdale stars in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

Charley Brewster is your typical teen: he’s got a doting mom, a girlfriend whom he loves, a wacky best friend … and an enigmatic vampire living next door.

For more than 30 years, Tom Holland’s critically acclaimed directorial debut has been a staple of Halloween movie marathons everywhere. To celebrate the season, we dug through the coffins of the horror classic in order to discover some things you might not have known about Fright Night.

1. Fright Night was based on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

Or, in this case, "The Boy Who Cried Vampire." “I started to kick around the idea about how hilarious it would be if a horror movie fan thought that a vampire was living next door to him,” Holland told TVStoreOnline of the film’s genesis. “I thought that would be an interesting take on the whole Boy Who Cried Wolf thing. It really tickled my funny bone. I thought it was a charming idea, but I really didn't have a story for it.”

2. Peter Vincent made Fright Night click.

It wasn’t until Holland conceived of the character of Peter Vincent, the late-night horror movie host played by Roddy McDowall, that he really found the story. While discussing the idea with a department head at Columbia Pictures, Holland realized what The Boy Who Cried Vampire would do: “Of course, he's gonna go to Vincent Price!” Which is when the screenplay clicked. “The minute I had Peter Vincent, I had the story,” Holland told Dread Central. “Charley Brewster was the engine, but Peter Vincent was the heart.”

3. Peter Vincent is named after two horror icons.

Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.

4. The Peter Vincent role was intended for Vincent Price.

Roddy McDowall in Fright Night (1985)
Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

“Now the truth is that when I first went out with it, I was thinking of Vincent Price, but Vincent Price was not physically well at the time,” Holland said.

5. Roddy McDowall did not want to play the part like Vincent Price.

Once he was cast, Roddy McDowall made the decision that Peter Vincent was nothing like Vincent Price—specifically: he was a terrible actor. “My part is that of an old ham actor,” McDowall told Monster Land magazine in 1985. “I mean a dreadful actor. He had a moderate success in an isolated film here and there, but all very bad product. Basically, he played one character for eight or 10 films, for which he probably got paid next to nothing. Unlike stars of horror films who are very good actors and played lots of different roles, such as Peter Lorre and Vincent Price or Boris Karloff, this poor sonofabitch just played the same character all the time, which was awful.”

6. It took Holland just three weeks to write the Fright Night script.

And he had a helluva good time doing it, too. “I couldn’t stop writing,” Holland said in 2008, during a Fright Night reunion at Fright Fest. “I wrote it in about three weeks. And I was laughing the entire time, literally on the floor, kicking my feet in the air in hysterics. Because there’s something so intrinsically humorous in the basic concept. So it was always, along with the thrills and chills, something there that tickled your funny bone. It wasn’t broad comedy, but it’s a grin all the way through.”

7. Tom Holland directed Fright Night out of "self-defense."

By the time Fright Night came around, Holland was already a Hollywood veteran—just not as a director. He had spent the past two decades as an actor and writer and he told the crowd at Fright Fest that “this was the first film where I had sufficient credibility in Hollywood to be able to direct ... I had a film after Psycho 2 and before Fright Night called Scream For Help, which … I thought was so badly directed that [directing Fright Night] was self-defense. In self-defense, I wanted to protect the material, and that’s why I started directing with Fright Night."

8. Chris Sarandon had a number of reasons for not wanting to make Fright Night.

Chris Sarandon stars in 'Fright Night' (1985)
Chris Sarandon stars in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

At the Fright Night reunion, Chris Sarandon recalled his initial reaction to being approached about playing vampire Jerry Dandrige. "I was living in New York and I got the script,” he explained. “My agent said that someone was interested in the possibility of my doing the movie, and I said to myself, ‘There’s no way I can do a horror movie. I can’t do a vampire movie. I can’t do a movie with a first-time director.’ Not a first-time screenwriter, but first-time director. And I sat down and read the script, and I remember very vividly sitting at my desk, looked over at my then wife and said, ‘This is amazing. I don’t know. I have to meet this guy.’ And so, I came out to L.A. And I met with Tom [Holland] and our producer. And we just hit it off, and that was it.”

9. Jerry Dandridge is part fruit bat.

After doing some research into the history of vampires and the legends surrounding them, Sarandon decided that Jerry had some fruit bat in him, which is why he’s often seen snacking on fruit in the film. When asked about the 2011 remake with Colin Farrell, Sarandon commented on how much he appreciated that that specific tradition continued. “In this one, it's an apple, but in the original, Jerry ate all kinds of fruit because it was just sort of something I discovered by searching it—that most bats are not blood-sucking, but they're fruit bats,” Sarandon told io9. “And I thought well maybe somewhere in Jerry's genealogy, there's fruit bat in him, so that's why I did it.”

10. William Ragsdale learned he had booked the part of Charley Brewster on Halloween.

William Ragsdale had only ever appeared in one film before Fright Night (in a bit part). He had recently been considered for the role of Rocky Dennis in Mask, which “didn’t work out,” Ragsdale recalled. “But a few months later, [casting director] Jackie Burch tells me, ‘There’s this movie I’m casting. You might be really right for it.’ So, I had this 1976 Toyota Celica and I drove that through the San Joaquin valley desert for four or five trips down for auditioning. And in the last one, Stephen [Geoffreys] was there, Amanda [Bearse] was there and that’s when it happened. I had read the script and at the time I had been doing Shakespeare and Greek drama, so I read this thing and thought, ‘Well, God, this looks like a lot of fun. There’s no … iambic pentameter, there’s no rhymes. You know? Where’s the catharsis? Where’s the tragedy?’ … I ended up getting a call on Halloween that they had decided to use me, and I was delighted.”

11. Not being Anthony Michael Hall worked in Stephen Geoffreys's favor.

In a weird way, it was by not being Anthony Michael Hall that Stephen Geoffreys was cast as Evil Ed. “I actually met Jackie Burch, the casting director, by mistake in New York months before this movie was cast and she remembered me,” Geoffreys shared at Fright Fest. “My agent sent me for an audition for Weird Science. And Anthony Michael Hall was with the same agent that I was with, and she sent me by mistake. And Jackie looked at me when I walked into the office and said, ‘You’re not Anthony Michael Hall!’ and I’m like ‘No!’ But anyway, I sat down and I talked to Jackie for a half hour and she remembered me from that interview and called my agent, and my agent sent me the script while I was with Amanda [Bearse] in Palm Springs doing Fraternity Vacation, and I read it. It was awesome. The writing was incredible.”

12. Evil Ed wanted to be Charley Brewster.

Stephen Geoffreys stars in 'Fright Night' (1985).
Stephen Geoffreys stars in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

Geoffreys loved the script for Fright Night. “I just got this really awesome feeling about it,” he said. “I read it and thought I’ve got to do this. I called my agent and said ‘I would love to audition for the part of Charley Brewster!’ [And he said] ‘No, Steve, you’re wanted for the part of Evil Ed.’ And I went, ‘Are you kidding me? Why? I couldn’t… What do they see in me that they think I should be this?' Well anyway, it worked out. It was awesome and I had a great time.”

13. Fright Night's original ending was much different.

The film’s original ending saw Peter Vincent transform into a vampire—while hosting “Fright Night” in front of a live television audience.

14. A ghost from Ghostbusters made a cameo in Fright Night.

Visual effects producer Richard Edlund had recently finished up work on Ghostbusters when he and his team began work on Fright Night. And the movie gave them a great reason to recycle one of the library ghosts they had created for Ghostbusters—which was deemed too scary for Ivan Reitman's PG-rated classic—and use it as a vampire bat for Fright Night.

15. Fright Night's cast and crew took it upon themselves to record some DVD commentaries.

Because the earliest DVD versions of Fright Night contained no commentary tracks, in 2008 the cast and crew partnered with Icons of Fright to record a handful of downloadable “pirate” commentary tracks about the making of the film. The tracks ended up on a limited-edition 30th anniversary Blu-ray of the film, which sold out in hours.

16. Vincent Price loved Fright Night.


Columbia Pictures

Holland had the chance to meet Vincent Price one night at a dinner party at McDowall’s. And the actor was well aware that McDowall’s character was based on him. “I was a little bit embarrassed by it,” Holland admitted. “He said it was wonderful and he thought Roddy did a wonderful job. Thank God he didn’t ask why he wasn’t cast in it.”

7 Timeless Facts About Paul Rudd

Rich Fury, Getty Images
Rich Fury, Getty Images

Younger fans may know Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, one of the newest members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the actor has been a Hollywood mainstay for half his life.

Rudd's breakout role came in 1995’s Clueless, where he played Josh, Alicia Silverstone's charming love interest in Amy Heckerling's beloved spin on Jane Austen's Emma. In the 2000s, Rudd became better known for his comedic work when he starred in movies like Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), and I Love You, Man (2009).

It wasn’t until 2015 that Rudd stepped into the ever-growing world of superhero movies when he was cast as Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, and became part of the MCU.

Rudd has proven he can take on any part, serious or goofy. More amazingly, he never seems to age. But in honor of (what is reportedly) his 50th birthday on April 6, here are some things you might not have known about the star.

1. Paul Rudd is technically Paul Rudnitzky.

Though Paul Rudd was born in Passaic, New Jersey, both of his parents hail from London—his father was from Edgware and his mother from Surbiton. Both of his parents were descendants of Jewish immigrants who moved to England from from Russia and Poland. Rudd’s last name was actually Rudnitzky, but it was changed by his grandfather.

2. His parents are second cousins.

In a 2017 episode of Finding Your Roots, Rudd learned that his parents were actually second cousins. Rudd responded to the discovery in typical comedic fashion: "Which explains why I have six nipples." He also wondered what that meant for his own family. "Does this make my son also my uncle?," he asked.

3. He loved comic books as a kid.

While Rudd did read Marvel Comics as a kid, he preferred Archie Comics and other funny stories. His English cousins would send him British comics, too, like Beano and Dandy, which he loved.

4. Rudd wanted to play Christian in Clueless. And Murray.

Clueless would have been a completely different movie if Rudd had been cast as the suave Christian instead of the cute older step-brother-turned-love-interest Josh. But before he was cast as Cher’s beau, he initially wanted the role of the “ringa ding kid” Christian.

"I thought Justin Walker’s character, Christian, was a really good part," Rudd told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. "It was a cool idea, something I’d never seen in a movie before—the cool gay kid. And then I asked to read for Donald Faison's part, because I thought he was kind of a funny hip-hop wannabe. I didn’t realize that the character was African-American.”

5. His role model is Paul Newman.

In a 2008 interview for Role Models, which he both co-wrote and starred in, Rudd was asked about his real-life role model. He answered Paul Newman, saying he admired the legendary actor because he gave a lot to the world before leaving it.

6. Before he was Ant-Man, he wanted to be Adam Ant.

In a 2011 interview with Grantland, Rudd talked about his teenage obsession with '80s English rocker Adam Ant. "Puberty hit me like a Mack truck, and my hair went from straight to curly overnight," Rudd explained. "But it was an easier pill to swallow because Adam Ant had curly hair. I used to ask my mom to try and shave my head on the sides to give me a receding hairline because Adam Ant had one. I didn’t know what a receding hairline was. I just thought he looked cool. She said, 'Absolutely not,' but I was used to that."

Ant wasn't the only musician Rudd tried to emulate. "[My mom] also shot me down when I asked if I could bleach just the top of my head like Howard Jones. Any other kid would’ve been like, 'F*** you, mom! I’m bleaching my hair.' I was too nice," he said.

7. Romeo + Juliet wasn’t Rudd's first go as a Shakespearean actor.

Yet another one of Rudd's iconic '90s roles was in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, but it was far from the actor's first brush with Shakespeare. Rudd spent three years studying Jacobean theater in Oxford, England, and starred in a production of Twelfth Night. He was described by his director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, as having “emotional and intellectual volatility.” Hytner’s praise was a big deal, considering he was the director of London's National Theatre from 2003 until 2015.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER