Famous Comedy Movie Trivia That’s Secretly Bullshit
We all love a good piece of movie trivia, whether it’s about how the shark from Jaws was a piece of junk or that Darth Vader was not originally going to be Luke's father or the fact that Daniel Craig is clearly mimicking a giant cartoon rooster in the Knives Out movies. But as evidenced by every Facebook post from that one uncle nobody in the family talks to anymore, not everything you read on the internet can be trusted. Some famous pieces of trivia about classic film comedies, some of which have circulated the world wide web for years, even decades, are totally bogus, such as…
No, Slimer Wasn’ t Designed to Look Like John Belushi
One of the most famous pieces of Ghostbusters trivia involves the character of Slimer, the lovable green blob who 1980s and 1990s kids trusted implicitly when it came to endorsing fruit juice-like products. Dan Aykroyd has described Slimer as a "tribute" to the late John Belushi, who was originally supposed to appear in Ghostbusters. Aykroyd literally referred to Slimer as “The Ghost of John Belushi” and once admitted that Slimer, a genital-less eating machine, was based on "John's body." A tremendous tribute.
But according to a 2018 interview with special effects artist Steve Johnson, he only received the note that Slimer should resemble Belushi the day before his design was set to be approved by the studio following six months of work. So literally the night before his big deadline, Johnson “pulled out a stack of headshots of John Belushi” and then did a bunch of cocaine. In a snowblind delusional state, Johnson believed that the ghost of Belushi popped by to give him life advice.
In a 2019 interview for the Netflix series The Movies That Made Us, Johnson called the last-minute demands “insanity,” admitting that he didn’t actually modify his Slimer design to better resemble Belushi, stating, “I kind of didn’t and told them I did.” Despite changing absolutely nothing, Aykroyd and company were thrilled at the design, proclaiming that Slimer looked “just like Belushi.”
‘Back to the Future’s Time Machine Wasn’ t Changed Due to Safety Fears
It’s hard to imagine Back to the Future becoming the beloved classic it is today had the filmmakers gone with some of their original instincts, such as giving Doc Brown a chimp sidekick named Shemp, making Marty McFly a part-time movie bootlegger or having the secret to time travel be Coke, as in Coca-Cola. (Even the wildest early drafts didn’t feature any scenes of Marty and Doc doing rails of blow to visit the 1950s.)
One of the weirdest early ideas concerned the time machine itself; instead of a sleek metal luxury car designed by a drug trafficking megalomaniac, Doc’s invention utilized an immobile refrigerator, which then got nuked, Indiana Jones-style. According to several sources, the change was made, in part, because director Robert Zemeckis worried that kids would imitate Marty and trap themselves inside fridges (and apparently less concerned that kids would suddenly start creeping on their moms).
But according to co-writer and producer Bob Gale, that’s not true. As Gale recounted on the Script Apart podcast, the claim, which can be traced back to Zemeckis, was not “really the reason” for the change. It was because “Bob Zemeckis came up with a much better idea. He came into the office one day, and he said, ‘You know Bob, I’ve been thinking about the logistics of having to have Doc Brown put this refrigerator on the back of a pick-up truck and carry it around. I don’t want to do that. It’s a waste of time. Wouldn’t Doc have been smarter to build the time machine in a car?’”
Gale recognized that this modification would save them “a lot of trouble” — not to mention a lot of money. He stressed that it “was not out of a fear that kids would lock themselves in refrigerators” and attributed the false story to “Bob being a wiseguy.”
Speaking of Michael J. Fox movies that are allegories for puberty…
There Are Zero Exposed Penises in ‘Teen Wolf’
During the climactic moments of the 1980s hit Teen Wolf, those who weren’t swept up in the emotional drama of a hormonal lycanthrope winning a high school basketball game may have noticed a wardrobe malfunction in the stands. Multiple people have claimed that one of the bleacher extras exposed their Michael J. Cox in the movie, and somehow nobody noticed at the time. In addition to the odd internet article about movie bloopers, Family Guy specifically referenced the urban legend as if it were fact, encouraging people to “look it up” for themselves.
Well, we did look it up, and it’s not true. While the extra’s pants are clearly undone, there’s absolutely no dong in sight.
The saga of the faux flasher is surprisingly dramatic. A Minneapolis radio station claimed to have found the extra, a guy named Kris Hagerty, who IMDb credits as Fan #2. They even interviewed him about the incident that he claimed "ruined his career," which seemed a tad suspicious. “Kris” was later revealed to be a hoaxer; the real Kris Hagerty was a woman, and not the extra who flashed their underwear on-screen (who was also seemingly, a woman). She speculated that the slip-up was due to the shoot’s long hours and the prevalence of tight pants in the 1980s: “I had seen a few girl extras unzipping their pants in between takes and then zipping up when we were about to shoot,” she revealed.
Dana Carvey Wasn’t Dressed as His Turtle Man Character on 9/11
Carvey’s critically-abhorred 2002 comedy The Master of Disguise found the former Saturday Night Live star playing a hapless waiter who learns how to become, well, a “Master of Disguise.” Unfortunately, this mysterious, otherworldly skill mostly resulted in the character slapping on brownface and attempting various offensive accents.
For one notorious scene, Carvey has to infiltrate the exclusive “Turtle Club” but mistakenly believes that it’s a club for turtle-like gentlemen — which is why he shows up in a large green suit, a bald cap, glasses and a turtle-y prosthetic lip.
There’s been a longstanding rumor, propagated by Wikipedia and IMDb trivia, that the turtle club scene was filmed on September 11, 2001, which would mean that Carvey’s turtle-based shtick technically wasn’t the worst thing to happen in America that day. The story goes that the cast and crew found out what was happening on set and “observed a moment of silence.”
While the internet was quick to believe that Carvey received the news of a famous national tragedy while dressed like a mutant variant of the Six Flags guy, the story wasn’t totally accurate. According to director Perry Andelin Blake, The Master of Disguise was still in pre-production at the time. When filming began, Blake made a speech, and the crew observed a moment of silence — but it happened a full two weeks after the attack.
Carvey himself recently confirmed Blake's account but also recalled that he did, in fact, participate in a “group prayer” for the victims of 9/11 while wearing his objectively ridiculous costume. “I’m dressed as the Turtle Man,” Carvey said, “with a bald head, and I’m holding hands and I’m lowering my head and praying and I just thought at the moment: ‘This is very strange.’”
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