The behind-the-scenes lunacy didn't begin and end with mere drunkenness. The cast would routinely enter rental cars into impromptu demolition derbies, because alcoholism doesn't become hilarious until you're driving a car. Pranks were all the rage, ranging from the merely amusing (filling Newman's private sauna with popcorn) to the flat-out disturbing (duct taping a cast member to a bench and shaving his pubic hair). One time, Newman even staged a seemingly fatal car crash to punish the director for refusing to buy him any more beer that day.
The rest of the cast was made up of real-life hockey goons (including the legendary Hanson brothers), who had absolutely no interest in pursuing acting careers but were utterly delighted to get stone-cold shitfaced with Paul Newman every single night. They would intentionally screw up their scenes, sometimes by stripping naked and slapping their dongs around like stingy ketchup bottles, just to get a laugh from their co-stars. Finishing the movie and eventually getting an audience to laugh was nowhere on their agenda -- that was a happy accident.
"Puttin' on the foil ... everywhere."
Caddyshack Was a Raucous Drug Fest (Barely) Disguised as a Movie
Caddyshack was arguably the first great improvised comedy, paving the way for Will Ferrell to make millions of dollars screaming at things 20 years later. However, "improvised comedy" back in the 1970s was another way of saying "cocaine-misted sleepover with a half-assed script lying around for some reason." Director Harold Ramis had never directed before, Rodney Dangerfield had barely ever acted before, and getting toasted every night was both tolerated and highly encouraged. It wasn't so much a movie as an 11-week party whose hosts occasionally turned a camera on to film something.
Dangerfield set the tone very early on by whipping out a bag of cocaine and doing a couple of lines during his audition. It should be noted that at no point in the film does his character do drugs -- Rodney apparently just felt that the casting director should know he meant business. He then proceeded to make up just about every line of dialogue he had, not bothering with the "script" Ramis and a few others inexplicably decided to write.
"What do you mean, 'He stole a boat'? Fuck it, keep rolling."
And it wasn't just him -- pretty much the entire cast did all of the drugs for the entirety of the shoot. To wit, the whole film crew requested to be paid in cash, because drug dealers don't accept forwarded checks. And when you have to send one of your actresses to go searching for Bill Murray, only to find him sleeping in a sand trap, it's not just because "He's Bill Murray and he can do whatever he wants." It's because "Bill Murray is titanically wasted, and also can do whatever he wants."
"So, I've got everything going for me ... which is nice."
Some of the cast would occasionally race golf carts in the dead of night in the pitch dark, destroying both the carts and the fairways on which they raced and nearly killing someone in the process, because comedy demands motorized cart sacrifice. Oh, and remember that climactic scene wherein Bill Murray's character blows up the golf course to try to kill a gopher? Not one bit of that was staged -- the cast and crew of Caddyshack decided to actually detonate a golf course without notifying anyone beforehand that they were going to do so. This led to someone mistakenly reporting the explosion as a plane crash. Why that person didn't use common sense to deduce that some drunken comedian was intentionally causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage to convincingly pretend to murder a puppet, nobody knows. By that point, didn't people just assume this sort of thing when a movie was filming nearby?
"If anyone asks, blame it on Chevy. Fuck that guy."
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Get the lowdown on more movies with 30 Mind-Blowing (True) Facts about Famous Movie Scenes.
Related Reading: Speaking of parties, have you read about the two times Andrew Jackson's shenanigans destroyed the White House? If you'd rather read about a party you AREN'T centuries too late to attend, check out this insane burning tar festival. If all this has you hankering for a shindig of your own, be sure to read these party hacks first.