14 Up-Tempo Facts About “Saturday Night Fever”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 14 Up-Tempo Facts About Saturday Night Fever.  Here are three of my favorites…

6. IT HAS SOME ROCKY CONNECTIONS.
First connection: It was supposed to be directed by John G. Avildsen, whose previous film was Rocky. Ultimately, that didn’t work out and Avildsen was replaced with John Badham a few weeks before shooting began. Second connection: Tony has a Rocky poster on his bedroom wall. Third connection: Saturday Night Fever’s 1983 sequel, Staying Alive, was directed by … Sylvester Stallone.

8. THE WHITE CASTLE EMPLOYEES WEREN’T ACTING WHEN THEY LOOKED SHOCKED. 
In the brief scene where Tony, his boys, and Stephanie are loudly eating at White Castle, those were the real burger-flippers, not actors. Badham told them to just go about their business. He also told his actors to cut loose and surprise the White Castlers in whatever way they saw fit. The shot that’s in the movie appears to be a reaction to Joey standing on the table and barking, but Badham said it was actually in response to something else: “Double J (actor Paul Pape) pulling his pants down and mooning the entire staff of the White Castle.”

11. THE COMPOSER HAD TO SCRAMBLE TO REPLACE A NIXED SONG.
For Tony and Stephanie’s rehearsal scene about 30 minutes into the movie, Badham had used the song “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs, going so far as to shoot the scene, including the dialogue, with the song actually playing in the background. (That’s usually a no-no, for exactly the reasons you’re about to read about.) According to Badham, no sooner had they wrapped the scene than Scaggs’ people reached out to say they couldn’t use the song after all, as Scaggs was thinking of pursuing a disco project of his own. Badham now had to have the actors re-dub the dialogue (since the version he’d recorded was tainted by “Lowdown”); what’s more, he had to find a new song that would fit the choreography and tempo of the dancing. Composer David Shire rose to the occasion, writing a piece of instrumental music that met the specifications, and that’s what we hear in the movie.

Twilight Zone: “The Incredible World of Horace Ford” [Season 4, Episode 15] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “The Incredible World of Horace Ford[Season 4, Episode 15]
Original Air Date: April 18, 1963

Director: Abner Biberman
Writer: Reginald Rose

Starring: Pat Hingle, Nan Martin, and Ruth White.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

Horace Ford [Hingle] is obsessed with his childhood days when the world was a better place.  His obsession is starting to take a toll on his life and when Ford gets the chance to return to his childhood he finds things are not all as he remembered.

16 Lively Facts About “Death Wish”

Roger Cormier and Mental_Floss present 16 Lively Facts About Death Wish.  Here are three of my favorites…

4. CHARLES BRONSON AND HIS AGENT DISAGREED ON THE FILM’S MESSAGE.
“It’s the only time Paul Kohner, my agent, ever disagreed with me about a film,” Bronson said in 1974. “Paul felt very strongly that it was a dangerous picture—that it might make people think it’s right to take the law into their own hands. This is what the hero of the picture does when he wants a one-man vigilante squad to kill muggers, after three of them have murdered his wife and raped his daughter. I told Paul I thought the message was the same there that runs through a lot of my pictures: That violence is senseless because it only begets more violence.”

6. DENZEL WASHINGTON MADE HIS ON-SCREEN DEBUT IN THE MOVIE.

Denzel Washington’s acting debut as a thug was, unfortunately, uncredited. He was 19 years old at the time.

16. SYLVESTER STALLONE WANTED TO REMAKE IT.
Sylvester Stallone was set to direct and star in a Death Wish remake for MGM back in 2008. While that project, uh, died, it was recently reported that Paramount and MGM are teaming up to remake the movie—with Bruce Willis starring.

Twilight Zone: “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” [Season 4, Episode 14] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “Of Late I Think of Cliffordville[Season 4, Episode 14]
Original Air Date: April 11, 1963

Director: David Lowell Rich
Writer: Malcolm Jameson

Starring: Albert Salmi, John Anderson, Wright King and Julie Newmar.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

William Feathersmith [Salmi] is very old and very rich.  Feathersmith made his money at the expense of others.  It isn’t the wealth that made Feathersmith happy it was getting it at the expense of others.

When offered a deal with the devil for the opportunity to go back in time and do it all over again, Feathersmith accepts.  With the knowledge he has of things that will happen, he knows that he came create an even bigger empire but of course Feathersmith’s deal was with the devil and this is the Twilight Zone.

Twilight Zone: “The New Exhibit” [Season 4, Episode 13] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “The New Exhibit[Season 4, Episode 13]
Original Air Date: April 4, 1963

Director: John Brahm
Writer: Charles Beaumont

Starring: Martin Balsam, Will Kuluva and Margaret Field.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

When a wax museum closes down, Martin [Balsam] the meek tour guide, convinces the museum owner to let Martin keep the five wax figures from “Murder’s Row.”  Martin places them in his basement and becomes obsessed with them.  He takes such good care of them does it comes as any surprise that people who come between Martin and his “friends” end up dead… and not at the hands of Martin!

8 Fascinating Facts About Butch Cassidy

Fiona Young-Brown and Mental_Floss present 8 Fascinating Facts About Butch Cassidy.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. HIS LIFE OF CRIME BEGAN WITH A PAIR OF JEANS.
Cassidy’s first recorded criminal offense occurred around 1880, when he stole a pair of jeans. To his credit, the teen left an IOU. The store’s owner pressed charges, but the soon-to-be outlaw was acquitted. According to Larry Pointer’s In Search of Butch Cassidy, Cassidy “had been raised with the frontier ethic that a man’s word was his bond. The IOU was an inviolate pledge. The merchant’s distrust was an unfamiliar response and, before the matter was settled, the humiliated youth was having mixed emotions over legal process and blind justice.”

5. HE DISLIKED VIOLENCE.
As odd as it sounds to think of an outlaw who disliked getting rough, records and personal recollections from the era all describe Cassidy as a very polite man who avoided violence whenever possible. He may have waved a gun around when robbing trains and banks, but he didn’t use it. Those who knew him said that one of his proudest claims was that he never killed a man.

8. THERE’S NO REAL EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS KILLED IN A SHOOTOUT.
Butch and Sundance were killed in early November of 1908 following a shootout with authorities in Bolivia … or were they? Some historians argue that there is no real evidence that the two men were involved in the payroll robbery that led to the shootout, or that they were even involved in the shootout itself. Several alternative theories have arisen, claiming that the outlaws were not killed that day.

Josie Bassett, an acquaintance of the Wild Bunch, claimed that Cassidy visited her in the 1920s and that he “died in Johnnie, Nevada … He was an old man when he died. He had been living in Oregon, and back east for a long time, where he worked for a railroad.”

By far, the most popular theory is that Butch may never even have gone to Bolivia. Rather, he left Argentina in early 1908, adopted the name William T. Phillips, got married, and passed away (anonymously) in Spokane, Washington in 1937. Butch’s younger sister Lula added credence to this in her 1975 book, Butch Cassidy, My Brother, saying that he visited her and their father at the family home in 1925. A handwriting analyst also claimed that Butch Cassidy, Robert LeRoy Parker, and William T. Phillips were one and the same. But the main proponent of this theory, Larry Pointer, has recently said that he was wrong and Phillips was not actually Cassidy.

In 2009, an unabridged copy of Phillips’ Bandit Invincible, a Cassidy biography, emerged. And following clues, Pointer came to the conclusion that William Phillips was actually another Wild West outlaw named William Wilcox. So for the moment, the mystery lives on.

Twilight Zone: “I Dream of Jeannie” [Season 4, Episode 12] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “I Dream of Jeannie[Season 4, Episode 12]
Original Air Date: March 21, 1963

Director: Robert Gist
Writer: John Furia Jr.

Starring: Howard Morris, Patricia Barry, Loring Smith and Jack Albertson.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

Nothing ever works out for mild-mannered George P. Hanley [Morris].  Hanley is so used to things going wrong that even when he ends up with a magic lamp and the genie offers him just ONE wish, Hanley imagines all the things that will go wrong with different wishes he could make… then he realizes the perfect wish.

13 Action-Packed Facts About “Rumble in the Bronx”

Anna Green and Mental_Floss present 13 Action-Packed Facts About Rumble in the Bronx.  Here are three of my favorites…

2. JACKIE CHAN WANTED IT TO BE HIS BREAKOUT AMERICAN FILM.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, success came easily to Chan in Asia, where his movies were consistently box office hits. But America was a completely different story. Rumble in the Bronx marked his fourth attempt to break into Hollywood. Previously he’d starred in Robert Clouse’s Battle Creek Brawl (1980) and appeared in The Cannonball Run (1981) and The Protector (1985). But none of those films made much of an impact for Chan. For Rumble in the Bronx, he decided it was time to take things into his own hands: Instead of looking for the right role in a big-budget Hollywood film, he decided to make a Hong Kong film that could work as a cross-over hit.

8. CHAN DECIDED TO MAKE RUMBLE IN THE BRONX AFTER TURNING DOWN A ROLE IN DEMOLITION MAN.
Before he decided to make Rumble in the Bronx, Chan was hoping to find his breakout role in an American movie. He was friends with Sylvester Stallone, who repeatedly offered him roles in his upcoming films—which Chan, for one reason or another, repeatedly turned down. In I Am Jackie Chan, Chan recalled, “Another film Stallone offered me was Demolition Man, a movie with Sandra Bullock from the movie Speed. He wanted me to play a super villain running loose in the far future, chased by a super cop, played by him. I didn’t feel right about that role either. It ended up going to Wesley Snipes—so the two people I’d wanted to work with, and couldn’t, ended up working with each other.”

11. ROGER EBERT COMPARED CHAN TO FRED ASTAIRE.
“Any attempt to defend this movie on rational grounds is futile,” Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film. “Don’t tell me about the plot and the dialogue. Don’t dwell on the acting. The whole point is Jackie Chan—and, like Astaire and Rogers, he does what he does better than anybody.”

Twilight Zone: “The Parallel” [Season 4, Episode 11] / Z-View

Twilight Zone: “The Parallel[Season 4, Episode 11]
Original Air Date: March 7, 1963

Director: Alan Crosland Jr.
Writer: Rod Serling

Starring: Steve Forrest, Jacqueline Scott and Frank Aletter.

The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…

When astronaut Robert Gaines [Forrest] returns from space he begins to notice little things have changed — his rank, the fence at his house, how he takes his coffee.  Could something have happened when mission control lost all contact with him during his space mission.  This is the Twilight Zone and you can bet on it!

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