32001: A Space Odyssey's Iconic Soundtrack Was Just a Placeholder
It's impossible to think of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick's most famous and mind-blowingest work, without instantly hearing the distinctive soundtrack in your head. This movie is the only reason we associate ape men with Also Sprach Zarathustra or spaceships with waltzing.
Or even something as basic as computers with murder.
It's not just that the music fits great with the movie; it's that every image seems perfectly synchronized to that music. The audience's familiarity with those classical pieces also makes the two-and-a-half hours of cosmic insanity infinitely more watchable. Knowing how insanely detail-oriented Kubrick was, he probably had all that stuff completely figured out before shooting one second of footage, right?
"... and this whole scene will be framed by The Ride of the Valkyries, done entirely in farts."
But It Was Almost ...
Actually, the entire classical soundtrack was more or less something Kubrick included at the last minute ... throwing away a finished modern score composed and recorded specifically for this movie. The opening sequence almost sounded like this:
That original score was created by veteran composer Alex North, who had previously worked with Kubrick on his earlier film Spartacus. North's score was epic and bombastic, and would have given the movie a completely different feeling -- the audience would keep wondering when the gladiators were gonna show up and tear down that monolith. 2001 without classical music would be like Pulp Fiction without '70s songs, and with a touching John Williams theme instead.
Still, North worked so hard on the score that Kubrick personally commissioned from him that he actually came down with muscle spasms from the stress and had to be driven to the recording in an ambulance. Kubrick wasn't impressed.
"The last time I slept was Thursday. I don't remember which year."
At some point during the film's long production, MGM started worrying about the state of the movie, and Kubrick created a work reel set to classical music, just to show them how it was coming along.
Kubrick liked how it sounded and continued using the classical music as a temporary soundtrack while editing the movie himself (apparently he did everything but act in it). Meanwhile, he told North his score was fine, but that he didn't need more of it because the rest of the movie would be just breathing noises. It's unclear exactly at what point he decided to completely ditch North's soundtrack and use his own -- North himself only found out about it when he attended the film's screening (and probably looked like a huge jerk in front of his date).
2Scooby-Doo's Name Was Almost "Too Much"
There's a reason why people remember Scooby-Doo as, well, "Scooby-Doo," and not "Daphne" or something: The dog is the only thing separating the show from being a cartoon about four '60s teenagers doing everything but what teenagers actually did in the '60s.
With one exception.
The original series was called Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? because that's exactly what the viewership wondered during every second of footage in which Scooby wasn't on the screen. Also, Scooby's name is way catchier than everyone else's: There are literally no words you can rhyme with "Velma."
"Thelema" kind of works, but it's a bit of a stretch.
But It Was Almost ...
Scooby was almost called "Too Much," wasn't going be the star of the show, and would play the bongos. So why did that change? Because Frank Sinatra intervened.
And for once, not by threatening to break anyone's legs.
Originally, the show was going to be about a musical group that solved mysteries between gigs, which would actually explain what four teens are doing going around the country in a cramped van painted with psychedelic artwork. The teens had a Great Dane called Too Much, who was also their drummer (this wasn't a very good band). Too Much had a cowardly personality and was best friends with Shaggy -- he was essentially Scooby-Doo already, only with a terrible name.
Nobody would say "I like that dog, Too Much" for fear of sounding like a zoophile.
However, during a plane ride back from meeting with CBS executives (who initially rejected the show), producer Fred Silverman was listening to music on his headphones when he heard Frank Sinatra improvise some gibberish at the end of his song "Strangers in the Night" -- at around the 2:22 mark, as the song fades away, Sinatra sings "dooby-dooby-doo." Silverman liked the sound of that and decided the dog should be named Scooby-Doo and should also be the star of the show. Just like that.
In order to make Scooby more of a protagonist, the writers dropped the whole music group idea and made the characters just four regular mystery-solving teens with a talking dog. CBS picked up the retooled show, and it's pretty much been on the screen in one form or another since then (including the latest live-action movie, Cabin in the Woods). If it wasn't for Frank Sinatra scatting in the studio, everything from the iconic theme song to Scooby snacks would have been different or, more likely, nonexistent.