Seinfeld: How 'The Contest' Made It To Air And 13 More Recent Revelations
More Seinfeld facts to feed your hungry Seinfeld-less tummy. The real Soup Nazi is a jerk? Who would’ve thought? Michael Richard’s busted his lip open on an AC unit? What a fun fact! Here are 14 more behind-the-scenes interesting nuggets from Seinfeld.
The Frogger Scene Was An Intensely Choreographed Shoot
Remember George’s iconic Frogger movements to get the video game across the street? It turns out that shoot was more difficult than you might realize. Yellow tape was added to the streets to recreate the iconic look of the game and 30 stunt drivers were hired to drive at the same speed as Jason Alexander (that’s right, no stunt double), weaved in and out of traffic. The final shot with the truck smashing the game was also very practical, considering Alexander says pieces of wood landed on him after he jumped out of the way.
How “The Butter Shave” Kramer Turkey Shot Was Made
Jerry Seinfeld opened up about how Kramer’s turkey effect was done in the iconic scene from “The Butter Shave.” Seinfeld said in a behind-the-scenes interview, “We had to take this turkey and make it savory and delicious and buttery and steaming. And then to the neck of the turkey, we applied Kramer's head. We had to lay him in a certain position on a separate blue screen table. We laid him out on like an operating table. It was just this fun little shot. It took a while to shoot it and probably lasted three seconds on screen, but it was a really funny shot." Now you too know how to make your own nightmarish turkey-body-scene.
Related: Seinfeld: 15 Kramer Schemes, Ranked
The Episode Michael Richards Says Solidified Kramer
During the Seinfeld: Inside Look series, Michael Richards opened up about when he felt he had found who Kramer was. Richards said, "I began to feel that the Kramer character really became Kramer when we did the called, 'The Statue,' where I went undercover to play a cop. "I said to them ... Charles, and Jerry and Larry David, 'God, we've got to keep going in this direction, and, of course, I had the ability, too, as a comic actor, to pursue that direction."
Related: Seinfeld: 15 Kramer Schemes, Ranked
The Candy That Skyrocketed In Sales After Appearing On Seinfeld
According to Jason Alexander, after the episode “The Pez Dispenser” aired, sales for the candy company skyrocketed. Alexander said, “We took a relatively dead, obscure product, and that was very notable because I think that may have been the first time where you really saw something that we were just goofing around with on the show suddenly have a rebound in the world."
How Jerry Really Feels About The Show’s Fans
In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Jerry Seinfeld opened up about how he feels fan encounters are just “part of the job.” He continued, "Don't yell at me, we haven't met. Don't touch me. Nobody feels good having a total stranger touch them." He mentioned that some of his favorite encounters were when a man approached him with the opening line, “"I know you hate everybody,” which tickled Jerry so much he offered him a picture and to sign anything he wanted. Also when a man in a tiny midwestern town walked by him and said, “Hey, Jerry,” before walking away. Side Note: The no-touching rule does extend to everyone, even Kesha.
How Seinfeld Keeps Getting New Fans
When asked why he feels the Legacy of Seinfeld is still so strong, Jason Alexander explained, “If I knew I would do it again. I don't know. The only thing I can point to is Jerry and Larry had an ethic about it, ‘if it’s funny it’s good.’ We don’t care about characters or story, although they did, funny reined supreme and funny is funny. What was funny then is still funny now and people want to laugh.”
Related: Seinfeld: 14 Crazed Fan Theories
The Scene That Jerry Could Barely Get Through
Jerry revealed that the scene he had the most trouble getting through was the interrogation from Lt. Bookman in the episode “The Library.” The comedian continued, "It was just so ridiculous that he was interrogating me in my own apartment about a book. I just kept cracking up."
Jason Alexander Reveals The Show’s Unsung Heroes
Alexander told Forbes that the casting directors for the show deserve much more credit than they have received. “It was a tag team of Meg Liberman and Marc Hirschfeld, I believe, were the two casting directors. ... They deserve so much credit. They had this encyclopedic memory and Rolodex of wonderful comedians and actors, and every week they would find these offbeat, extraordinary people. Sometimes they had a large part and they might be ongoing characters. Sometimes they came in and did one line, but they'd come in and nail these things and elevate the show in this extraordinary way. That was one of the great joys I had of working on the show, was showing up every week after having read the script, to go, who did they find? Who's going to do this?”
The Grueling Episode That Left Michael Richards With A Busted Lip
According to cast and crew members, the episode “The Parking Garage” was one of the most difficult episodes to shoot both mentally and physically. The entire set, including Jerry’s apartment, was torn down to make room for a massive parking garage, complete with mirrors to create the illusion of an even bigger space. The shoot lasted throughout the night and was so exhausting that Seinfeld and Louis-Dreyfus had their makeup done while resting on the concrete floor. Richards even requested that the AC unit he hauls in the episode actually be 80 pounds so the exhaustion would look real. Eventually, the cast was so loopy that Richards slipped while putting it in the trunk and busted his lip wide open.
The Camera Tricks Behind The Rickshaw Scenes
“The Bookstore” episode has a few more camera tricks than you may have originally realized for Kramer and Newman's rickshaw B-plot. Director of Photography Wayne Kennan revealed on the season two DVD, "I think the biggest challenge was just figuring out how to get this rickshaw to move down the street and not have somebody get killed by it. We had a truck pull the rickshaw down the street with Newman in the back of it, of course, and then in post erase the truck."
The Seinfeld Character Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Sister Played
Actress Lauren Bowles was a recurring actress on Seinfeld that also happens to be Julia Louise-Dreyfus’s half-sister. Throughout the series, she often played a waitress at Monk’s and has gone on to appear in other series connected to the cast like Veep, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The New Adventures Of Old Christine. Bowles told CYInterview, "I really got to be on the inside and watch its evolution which was just fantastic, and getting to be on the show early on. So it really was such an unbelievable learning experience just watching the evolution of that show."
The Episode That Hurt Michael Richards’ Feelings
Now, Michael Richards is a famously level-headed guy, but he does admit that he was upset when his character was not written into “The Chinese Restaurant.” Richards said, " I felt that I was being written out of the show. I remember Larry came to me and said, 'We're not gonna do this all the time.’ Larry David said the original conceit for Kramer’s character was that he was an enigma who never left his apartment, which was later abandoned. David added, "If that episode had been written a year or two later, he would've been there."
The Real Soup Nazi Hated His Episode
The figure Seinfeld based his Soup Nazi character on was the owner of NYC’s “International Soup Kitchen,” Ali "Al" Yeganeh. Before the episode, Yeganeh was known around town as “The Soup Terrorist,” even being mentioned in the movie Sleepless in Seattle two years before his Seinfeld episode. In the film, Meg Ryan says, "This man sells the greatest soup you have ever eaten, and he is the meanest man in America. I feel strongly about this Becky, it's not just about the soup." After Seinfeld’s take on the soup chef, Yeganeh was *shockingly* a terrible sport about the whole thing. Jerry and the cast went by the soup stand in an attempt to extend the olive branch, but Yeganeh yelled at Seinfeld claiming the show ruined his life. Writer Spike Feresten said Seinfeld gave him "the most sarcastic, insincere apology," before he was kicked out of the shop.
How The Contest Made It To Air
Seinfeld and David were careful about approaching the writing of “The Contest” as they knew the groundbreaking episode would surely be watched closely by NBC censors. Their big agreement with the suits was that the word “masturbation” would never be used in the episode, resulting in the very quotable “master of my domain” line.
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