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15 Fun Facts About Troop Beverly Hills

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Troop Beverly Hills starred Shelley Long as Phyllis Nefler, a pampered Beverly Hills housewife who becomes the leader of her daughter's "Wilderness Girls" troop to prove to her divorce-seeking husband (Craig T. Nelson) that she's still the caring woman he married. After lukewarm reviews and a poor showing at the box office, the movie gained a cult following over the years, and is known for helping to launch the careers of a host of young actresses, including Tori Spelling, Carla Gugino, Kellie Martin, and Jenny Lewis.

1. THE FILM WAS PARTLY BASED ON THE LIFE OF ITS PRODUCER.

Ava Ostern Fries, wife of veteran producer Charles W. Fries, became the Brownie leader of her seven-year-old daughter's Beverly Hills troop. When it rained on their first camping trip, they really went to the Beverly Hills Hotel, where they roasted marshmallows in front of the fireplaces. After her stories became a hit at dinner parties, Ava was implored to write her stories down.

2. DISNEY WANTED BETTE MIDLER TO PLAY PHYLLIS.

Ava Ostern Fries turned down Disney's offer to make her movie because they wanted Bette Midler for the lead, and Fries didn't think she was right for it.

3. CARLA GUGINO LIED ABOUT HER AGE IN ORDER TO PLAY CHICA.

Carla Gugino was 16 years old when she auditioned for Troop Beverly Hills. She lied and said she was 14. She finally admitted the truth to director Jeff Kanew three weeks into production, knowing it was too late for her role to be recast. "I thought for sure he was gonna be like, 'No big deal,'" Gugino recounted. "But he was like, 'Gasp! I would've never hired you if I knew you were 16.'"

The film was a turning point for Gugino: "I got emancipated that year, so I was a legal adult," Gugino told The A.V. Club. "So I didn’t have to have a chaperone on set, and it was the first time that I made enough money that I could say, 'I’m going to fully support myself as an actor.' So that was the moment I really felt like a real actor."

4. IT WAS TORI SPELLING'S FIRST FILM ROLE.

Tori Spelling, who played Jamie in the film, had appeared in a handful of television series, including Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. One year after Troop Beverly Hills was released, she was cast as Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210.

5. IT WAS THE FIRST FILM IN 30 YEARS TO SHOOT INSIDE BEVERLY HILLS CITY HALL.

Filming inside of Beverly Hills City Hall had been forbidden for 30 years. Until this movie.

6. "COOKIE TIME" ISN'T WHERE IT USED TO BE.

The Giorgio boutique at 295 North Rodeo Drive is now a Louis Vuitton storefront.

7. THE WRITER OF "COOKIE TIME" MADE A CAMEO.

Actress/songwriter Hilary Shepard was the sales associate who sold Phyllis a dress missing a bead.

8. THE TITLE SEQUENCE WAS MADE BY THE CREATOR OF REN & STIMPY.

The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi said working on Troop Beverly Hills was a big opportunity. “It’s the first time I ever got a chance to animate and design a sexy girl," he said. "It was completely taboo to draw women who were good looking because it would set a bad example for young girls.”

Joining Kricfalusi were Jon McClenahan (later an animator on Animaniacs), Jim Smith (who later worked with Kricfalusi on Ren & Stimpy), Mike Kazaleh (Camp Candy, The Simpsons), Kent Butterworth (The Smurfs, He-Man), and Eric Stefani (character layout artist for The Simpsons, co-founder of No Doubt, and brother of Gwen Stefani).

9. THERE ARE CONTINUITY ERRORS IN THE TITLE SEQUENCE.

At around the 2:15 mark, a troop member simply disappears with no explanation. Some of the actors' names also didn't fully appear on movie screens, because Kricfalusi placed them too close to the edges. "If [the studio] noticed, they didn’t care," opening title supervisor Bill Kroyer said. "That’s a job that I hardly remember getting notes on. That’s the strangest thing. That whole production, it was rushed to get it done, and they really liked the look of the art. It’s all hand-inked and everything—it looks great. I think they were just so excited about that so the little things about the staging or composition, they just didn’t mention it."

10. THERE WAS A 77 SUNSET STRIP EASTER EGG.

Edd Byrnes (who played Ross Coleman) appeared on the Swiss army knife's comb on purpose. Byrnes portrayed Kookie in the detective drama 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964), a character who combed his hair so often a novelty song called "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" was written.

11. THE GIRL SCOUTS REFUSED TO ENDORSE THE PICTURE.

They withheld approval because they didn't like the way some Scouts were portrayed in the script.

12. IT WAS VELDA'S LAST FILM ROLE.

Betty Thomas retired from acting following Troop Beverly Hills to focus on directing for film and television. Among her more than two dozen credits are Private Parts, Doctor Dolittle, I Spy, and The Brady Bunch Movie (featuring Shelley Long).

13. JENNY LEWIS BECAME A ROCK STAR.

Jenny Lewis, who played Hannah, co-founded the band Rilo Kiley along with fellow child actor Blake Sennett (Salute Your Shorts, Boy Meets World) and later became a solo musician. In 2015, she acknowledged Troop Beverly Hills in her music video for "She's Not Me."

14. LEWIS KEPT ONE ITEM FROM THE SET.

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"I have the hat that Kellie Martin's character [Emily Coleman] wore," Lewis claimed. "It's a little white hat with a pink flower, but I don't know why I still have it."

15. PEOPLE KEEP MIXING HANNAH UP WITH TIFFANY.

Lewis said that people still confuse her with Emily Schulman, who played Tiffany Honigman in the movie (and Harriet Brindle on Small Wonder). "My entire life growing up, everyone thought I was this girl who was on Small Wonder, Emily Schulman," Lewis told Rolling Stone Australia. "Not the case. And then I put out this video ("She's Not Me") and someone on Twitter was like, 'Oh, were you on Small Wonder?' Oh, drat! Still happening!"

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16 Geeky Coasters to Keep Your Coffee Table Safe
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Avoid unsightly ring stains on your coffee table with this delightful selection of coasters:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FLOPPY DISKS; $22.79

Floppy disks are not obsolete—at least in your living room area.

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2. MARIO; $20

Mario Question Mark Block Coaster Set
Etsy

Unfortunately, no coins will be coming out of these coasters, but they will keep your table dry.

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3. GAME OF THRONES; $12.99

Game of Thrones coasters
HBO Shop

Avoid a royal mess with house sigils of houses Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister.

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4. PACMAN; $20.95

Use these on a black table to recreate the retro video game.

Buy on Epic Giftables.

5. AGATE; $35

Rock on: These fancy agate coasters will look solid resting under your glass.

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6. ELEMENTS; $56.99

These glowing coasters are perfect for chemists, Breaking Bad fans, and anyone who forgot to pay their electric bill.

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7. BUILDING BLOCKS; $19.99

Build your own coaster with this LEGO-esque design.

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8. STAR TREK; $16.63

Star Trek ship coasters
Amazon

This ceramic set celebrates all the best ships from Star Trek.

Buy on Amazon.

9. DR. WHO; $22.99

Just make sure you don’t accidentally send your glass into a different time period when you set it down.

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10. RILAKKUMA; $1.95

Rilakkuma coaster
Bonanza

Cover your counter space with the cute face of Rilakkuma.

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11. HARRY POTTER; $50

Set of wood burned coasters featuring the crest of each Harry Potter house
Etsy

All the houses are present in this set of wood coasters.

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12. FALLOUT; $25

fallout coasters
Etsy

Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean all manners go out the door: Never forget to use a coaster!

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13. BRAIN; $19.99

This set comes with 10 coasters, each with a slice of brain specimen. When you’re not using them, you can stack them together to create a full brain.

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14. THE LAST AIRBENDER; FROM $13

Aang and his entourage face off on these wooden coasters.

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15. BUFFY AND CO; $20

Getting totally wigged by the idea of a stained table? All your favorite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can give you an assist.

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16. STUDIO GHIBLI; $25

Studio Ghibli Stone Tile Coasters
Etsy

These coasters feature scenes from the classics My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.

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15 Educational Facts About Old School
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DreamWorks

Old School starred Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin, an attorney who—after catching his girlfriend cheating, and through some real estate and bitter dean-related circumstances—becomes the leader of a not-quite-official college fraternity. Along with his fellow thirtysomething friends Bernard (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell), they end up having to fight for their right to maintain their status as a party-loving frat on campus.

The film, which was released 15 years ago today, marked Vaughn’s return to major comedies and Ferrell’s first major starring role after seven years on Saturday Night Live. Here are some facts about the movie for everyone, but particularly for my boy, Blue.

1. THE IDEA ORIGINATED WITH AN AD GUY.

Writer-director Todd Phillips was talking to a friend of his from the advertising industry named Court Crandall one day. Crandall had seen and enjoyed Phillips's movie Frat House (1998) and told his director buddy, “You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own.” After being told by Phillips to write it, he presented Phillips with a “loose version” of the finished product.

2. SOME OF THE FRAT SHENANIGANS WERE REAL.

While Crandall received the story credit for Old School, Phillips and Scot Armstrong received the credit for writing the script. Armstrong put his own college fraternity experiences into the script. “We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves," Armstrong shared in the movie's official production notes. "A lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of ‘brilliance' might be different from other people's.”

3. IVAN REITMAN HELPED OUT.

Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes and Ghostbusters, was an executive producer on the film. Phillips and Armstrong wrote and rewrote every day for two months at Reitman’s house, an experience Phillips described as comedy writing “boot camp.”

4. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT VINCE VAUGHN.

Vince Vaughn in 'Old School' (2003)
DreamWorks

It didn’t seem to make a difference to DreamWorks that Phillips and Armstrong had written the role of Bernard with Vince Vaughn in mind—the studio didn't want him. After his breakout success in Swingers, Vaughn had taken roles in dramas like the 1998 remake of Psycho. “So when Todd Phillips wanted me for Old School, the studio didn’t want me,” Vaughn told Variety in 2015. “They didn’t think I could do comedy! They said, ‘He’s a dramatic actor from smaller films.’ Todd really had to push for me.”

5. RECYCLED SHOTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY WERE USED.

The film was mainly shot on the Westwood campus of UCLA. The aerial shots of the fictitious Harrison University, however, were of Harvard; they had been shot for Road Trip (2000).

6. VINCE VAUGHN FANS MIGHT RECOGNIZE THE CHURCH.

In the film, Frank gets married at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. Vaughn and Owen Wilson were in that same church two years later for Wedding Crashers (2005).

7. WILL FERRELL SCARED MEMBERS OF A 24-HOUR GYM.

Frank’s streaking scene was shot on a city street. As Ferrell remembered it, one of the storefronts was a 24-hour gym with Stairmasters and treadmills in the window. “I was rehearsing in a robe, and all these people are in the gym, watching me. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘Shouldn’t we tell them I’m going to be naked?’ Sure enough, I dropped my robe and there were shrieks of pure horror. After the first take, nobody was at the window anymore. I took that as a sign of approval.”

8. FERRELL REALLY WAS NAKED.

Ferrell justified it by saying it showed his character falling off the wagon. “The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level," Ferrell told the BBC. "If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense.” Still, Ferrell needed some liquid courage, and was intimidated by the presence of Snoop Dogg.

9. ROB CORDDRY WAS NOT NAKED, BUT HE STILL HAD TO SIGN AWAY HIS NUDITY RIGHTS.

Old School marked the first major film role for Rob Corddry, who at the time was best known as a correspondent for The Daily Show. He had a jewel bag around his private parts for his nude scene, but his butt made it into the final cut. He had to sign a nudity clause, which gave the film the right to use his naked image “in any part of the universe, in any form, even that which is not devised.”

10. SNOOP DOGG AGREED TO CAMEO SO HE COULD PLAY HUGGY BEAR IN STARSKY & HUTCH.

Phillips admitted to essentially bribing the hip-hop artist/actor, using Snoop Dogg’s desire to play the street informant in the modern movie adaptation of the classic TV show (which Phillips was also directing) to his advantage. “So when I went to him I said, 'I want you to do Huggy Bear,' he was really excited. And I said, 'Oh yeah, also will you do this little thing for me in Old School a little cameo?' So he kind of had to do it I think."

11. SNOOP WANTED TO HANG OUT WITH VINCE VAUGHN ON SET, BUT NOT LUKE WILSON.

Snoop Dogg in 'Old School' (2003)
Richard Foreman, Dreamworks

Vaughn and his friends accepted an invitation to hang out in Snoop Dogg’s trailer to play video games on the last day of shooting. Vaughn recalled seeing Luke Wilson later watching the news alone in his trailer; he had not been informed of the get-together.

12. WILSON WAS TEASED BY HIS CO-STARS.

Vaughn, Wilson, and Ferrell dubbed themselves “The Wolfpack”—years before Phillips directed The Hangover—because they would always make fun of each other. A particularly stinging exchange had Ferrell refer to Legally Blonde (which Wilson had starred in) as Legally Bland. Wilson said it didn’t make him feel great. Wilson retorted by telling Ferrell that "the transition from TV to the movies isn't a very easy one, so you might just want to keep one foot back in TV just in case this whole movie thing falls through!"

13. TERRY O’QUINN SCARED HIS SONS INTO THINKING THEY WERE TRIPPING.

Terry O’Quinn (who went on to play John Locke on Lost the following year) agreed to play Goldberg, uncredited, in what was a two-day job for him. He neglected to inform his sons he was in the movie, and when they saw it, one of them called their father. “I got a call from my sons one night, and they said, ‘What were you doing in Old School? We didn’t even know you were in it!’ They said, ‘We’re sitting there, and the first time we see you, it’s, like, in a reflection in a window. And when we saw it, and we both thought we were, like, tripping or something!’”

14. THE EARMUFFS WERE IMPROVISED.

Before filming, Vaughn worked with Ferrell to figure out their characters' backstories and how they knew each other; he credited that with helping him figure out who Bernard was, which led to several ad-libbed moments. “The earmuff scene where he swears in front of the kids, and then I tell the kid to earmuff, that all is off the cuff. But that stuff is a lot easier to do when you know who you are and your circumstances, and who your characters are,” Vaughn explained.

15. FERRELL AND VAUGHN DIDN’T LOVE A SCRIPT FOR A SEQUEL.

Armstrong had written Old School Dos in 2006, which saw the frat going to Spring Break. Ferrell said that he and Vaughn read the script but felt like they would just be “kind of doing the same thing again.” Wilson, on the other hand, was excited over the new script.

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