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12 Fun Facts About Slap Shot

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The definitive hockey comedy, Slap Shot had a biting script, a cast filled with professional players, and more F-bombs than some contemporary movie critics could handle.

1. THE CHARLESTOWN CHIEFS WERE MODELED AFTER AN ACTUAL PRO HOCKEY CLUB.

In Slap Shot, fact and fiction are joined at the hip. The movie was inspired by a down-on-its-luck professional hockey club based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1950, the Johnstown Jets represented their community in three different minor leagues before a rough economy forced the team to fold in 1977—the year Slap Shot came out. For two seasons in the 1970s, the Jets roster included a winger named Ned Dowd. His experiences on that squad were of great interest to his sister, Nancy, who happened to be an aspiring screenwriter.

Fascinated by the pro hockey subculture, Nancy penned an irreverent script about a struggling minor league club in the fictional rust-belt city of Charlestown, Pennsylvania. Titled Slap Shot, the screenplay was picked up by Universal Studios, which put George Roy Hill—the Oscar-winning director behind Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and other classic films—in the director’s chair. Johnstown was then selected as the movie’s primary shooting location, although the road game scenes were filmed in an assortment of other cities throughout Pennsylvania and upstate New York.

2. AL PACINO WANTED THE LEAD ROLE.

The main character in Slap Shot is Reggie Dunlop, the Chiefs’ grizzled player-manager. Although Al Pacino expressed a strong interest in the role, Hill chose Paul Newman instead. In Al Pacino, journalist Lawrence Grobel’s extended interview-turned-semi-autobiography of the actor, Pacino cited Slap Shot as a movie he still wishes he had been able to make. “But because George Roy Hill was doing it, I couldn’t do it,” Pacino explained. “I should have made that movie. That was my kind of character—the hockey player. Paul Newman is a great actor, it’s not a matter of that. I read that script and passed it on to George Roy Hill that I wanted to talk to him about it, and all he said was, ‘Can he ice skate?’ That’s all he was interested in, whether I could ice skate or not. That was a certain kind of comment. He didn’t want to talk about anything else. It was like he was saying, 'What the hell, it could work with anybody.’ The way in which he responded said to me he wasn’t interested.”

For the record: Newman was a gifted athlete and a confident skater. He ended up doing a lot of his own skating in Slap Shot, although professional hockey player Rod Bloomfield served as his on-ice stunt double in many sequences.

3. TAPE RECORDINGS OF AUTHENTIC LOCKER ROOM CONVERSATIONS PUNCHED UP THE SCRIPT.

While Ned was still playing for the Jets, Nancy gave him a tape recorder and asked him to document some of the colorful banter that his teammates tossed around; Dowd’s fellow players didn’t seem to mind. “He carried it everywhere and he just recorded all of this sh*t that went on,” said longtime Jet John Gofton. “He would send the tapes to Nancy, and Nancy in turn would write.” Gofton ended up getting a small role in Slap Shot: He played Nick Brophy, the Hyannisport Presidents’ intoxicated center.

4. ONE EX-HOCKEY PLAYER CLAIMS HE WASN’T CAST BECAUSE THE FILMMAKERS THOUGHT HE MIGHT BEAT UP PAUL NEWMAN.

Bill “Goldie” Goldthorpe was not a man to be trifled with. Over the span of his near-20-year hockey career, this Ontario-born enforcer earned a reputation as one of the sport's biggest bullies. Instantly recognizable by virtue of his curly blonde hair, he had a mile-wide mean streak. During his rookie season with the Syracuse Blazers, Goldthorpe got into an altercation with the team’s broadcast announcer—a young Bob Costas—and threatened his life with a hacksaw. He once jumped out of a penalty box to bite an opposing player. And during a different game, he accidentally knocked a man unconscious with a plastic water bottle. By the time he retired in 1984, antics like these had gotten Goldthorpe arrested in multiple cities.

Goldthorpe was also the primary inspiration for Slap Shot’s main villain: the dreaded Ogie Oglethorpe of the Syracuse Bulldogs. Onscreen, it was Ned Dowd who brought this character to life. Oglethorpe’s real-life counterpart could’ve also appeared in the film—if his temper hadn’t gotten the better of him. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Goldthorpe discussed the matter. “You want to know why I wasn’t in the movie?” he asked. “They thought I was too wild and I’d beat up Paul Newman.”

During pre-production, Newman and his brother, Art, would regularly attend Johnstown Jets games. Often, they’d invite a player to join the Slap Shot cast afterwards. One night, they took in a contest between the Jets and the Goldthorpe-led Binghamton Dusters. True to form, the scrapper picked a fight with a fan, earning him one charge of assault. Later, in the dressing room, Goldthorpe erupted. “I had a Coke bottle and I was so angry I threw it at [teammate] Paul Stewart because he wouldn’t shut up,” Goldthorpe told The Globe and Mail. “The bottle hit the wall, and at that moment Newman’s brother walked into the room and got Coke all over him. That was it. They thought I was an undesirable.”

5. TWO OF THE THREE HANSON BROTHERS WERE PLAYED BY REAL-LIFE SIBLINGS.

Slap Shot’s de facto mascots, the bespectacled Hanson brothers, were based on a trio of Johnstown Jets teammates—brothers Jack, Steve, and Jeff Carlson. All three were originally slated to co-star in Slap Shot together, but when Jack was unexpectedly called up by the Edmonton Oilers, he left the project. He was then replaced by yet another Jet: Defenseman Dave Hanson, who supplied the fictitious brothers with their now-famous last name.

6. THE “FINER POINTS OF HOCKEY” BIT CONTAINS A FEW INACCURACIES.

Slap Shot opens with an uncomfortable TV interview between Charlestown media personality Jim Carr (Andrew Duncan) and Denis Lemieux (Yvon Barrette), the Chiefs’ French-Canadian goalie. For the benefit of viewers who might not understand “the finer points of hockey,” Carr asks the athlete to demonstrate some penalty-worthy offenses. On the DVD commentary, Dave Hanson points out that Lemieux rather botched the job. As the scene unfolds, Barrette’s character clearly mistakes hooking for slashing, cross-checking for high-sticking, and butt-ending for spearing. “That’s what happens when you get a goaltender trying to [explain the rules],” Hanson quipped.

7. BEHIND-THE-SCENES PRANKS ABOUNDED.

Hanson and the Carlson brothers would lighten things up via all manner of practical jokes. “We pulled more pranks I think than they ever experienced on a movie set before,” Hanson boasted. “I think because we were three young, tough, carefree, crazy kind of guys they just let us run with things.” On one occasion, the trio surprised Newman by filling his portable sauna with popcorn. The rest of the cast pulled plenty of pranks as well and the group’s shenanigans involved everything from flaming shoelaces to hairdryers that spewed baby powder.

8. LOTS OF ACTORS SUSTAINED INJURIES DURING THE SHOOT.

Even pretending to play hockey can leave you all scratched up. In the above scene, Dunlop and an opposing goalie (portrayed by Christopher Murney) get into a brawl inside the Chiefs’ penalty box. While filming the skirmish, both men injured their groin muscles. Such accidents were commonplace, as Jonathon Jackson revealed in his authoritative book, The Making of Slap Shot: Behind the Scenes of the Greatest Hockey Movie Ever Made.

“Yvon Barrette took a puck off an unprotected part of his leg and wound up hospitalized briefly,” Jackson wrote. “Steve Mendillo [who plays Jim Ahern] suffered a serious cut on his cheek, opened up by a deflected puck during a scrimmage … the cut required 30 stitches to close and Mendillo, accompanied by Nancy Dowd, chose to drive to Pittsburgh to have it sewn up.”

9. SLAP SHOT MAY HAVE COST THE JETS A LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP.

As the movie entered its production period in 1976, the Jets were simultaneously making a North American Hockey League (NAHL) playoff push. All the while, the 11 Johnstown players who joined Slap Shot’s cast remained active members of the roster. So when a rival club eliminated the Jets from the NAHL semifinals, some observers blamed their defeat on the film. In fact, Johnstown’s executive director John Mitchell went so far as to accuse his men of prioritizing Hill’s movie over the team.

Allan Nicholls, who plays Johnny Upton in Slap Shot, believes there could be some merit to this argument. “I would think that having a major film being shot in your city … loosely based around your team, [and] being filmed with your players would cause a distraction,” Nicholls said in retrospect. “I think John Mitchell, being the proud owner that he was, would probably use that as an excuse.”

10. THE NATIONAL ANTHEM SCENE INVOLVED AN ACTOR WHO COULD BARELY SKATE.

One of Slap Shot’s most famous lines comes when a referee played by Larry Block starts lecturing Steve Hanson (a.k.a. Steve Carlson) during the singing of America’s national anthem. Irritated by the tirade, Hanson cuts the man off and screams, “I’m listening to the f*cking song!” According to DVD commentary with Dave Hanson and the Carlson brothers, this brief little moment was surprisingly hard to shoot because Block had difficulty skating over to Carlson—who was standing just a few feet behind him. “Every time he’d turn, he’d fall,” Hanson recalled. Finally, Hill decided to cut the scene in a manner that spared Block from actually having to skate on-camera.

11. SLAP SHOT HAD A DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON NEWMAN’S VOCABULARY.

The hockey flick’s near-constant use of four-letter words shocked many critics. “There is nothing in the history of movies to compare with Slap Shot for consistent low-level obscenity of expression,” wrote TIME’s Richard Schickel. When ABC created a TV-friendly audio track for the picture, a censor counted no less than 176 F-bombs in the original audio. During a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, Newman admitted, “Ever since Slap Shot, I’ve been swearing more. You get a hangover from a character like [Reggie Dunlop], and you simply don’t get rid of it. I knew I had a problem when I turned to my daughter one day and said, ‘Please pass the f*ckng salt.’”

Despite this verbal side effect, the film quickly became one of Newman’s favorite projects. “I’m not usually happy with my work,” he once said, “but I loved that movie. It rates very high as something in which I took great personal satisfaction.”

12. A CURRENT NHL COACH WAS AN EXTRA IN THE MOVIE.

Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau is a Slap Shot alum; he portrayed a member of the Presidents in the beloved film. Look for him in the above clip (he’s wearing number seven on his jersey). Boudreau spent a grand total of two weeks working on the film, earning $2600 in the process. “I probably spent it in about two days, but [that] was good money,” he said.

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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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