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Previews & Reviews that are Z's Views

22 Fresh Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

Hollywood.com presents 22 Fresh Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.   Here are three of my favorites…

1.  The show was nearly canceled after the fourth season.  During the season finale, Will returns to Philly with the Banks to visit his mom and he decides to stay. Fresh Prince fans were so outraged by the show’s cancellation that NBC brought it back for two additional seasons.

7. Will Smith would memorize and mouth the other actors’ lines so that he could remember his own. If you look closely you can see him doing this in various episodes.

12. Alfonso Ribero who plays Carlton Banks in the series credits Eddie Murphy’s “white man dance” in Delirious and Courteney Cox in Bruce Spingsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” video for his iconic Carlton Dance.

25 Yada Yada Yada Facts About “Seinfeld”

Jennifer M. Wood and Mental_Floss present 25 Yada Yada Yada Facts About Seinfeld Here are three of my favorites…

2. IT WAS NEVER PITCHED AS “A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING.”
During a 2014 Reddit AMA, Jerry Seinfeld admitted that both he and co-creator Larry David were surprised by how Seinfeld earned its “show about nothing” moniker: “The pitch for the show, the real pitch, when Larry and I went to NBC in 1988, was we want to show how a comedian gets his material,’” Seinfeld explained. “The show about nothing was just a joke in an episode many years later, and Larry and I to this day are surprised that it caught on as a way that people describe the show, because to us it’s the opposite of that.”

5. STEVE BUSCEMI AUDITIONED FOR GEORGE.
Steve Buscemi is one of many soon-to-be-successful actors who unsuccessfully auditioned for Seinfeld. David Alan Grier was also in the mix, as was David Letterman’s bandleader Paul Shaffer, who said in his autobiography that his resemblance to Larry David (upon whom George is based) was what made him of interest to the show’s creators.

22. SEINFELD TURNED DOWN $110 MILLION FOR SEASON 10.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But when Seinfeld turned down the chance to earn $5 million per episode—a grand total of $110 million—to come back for a tenth season, the network finally got that he wasn’t kidding around.

28 Facts You Might Not Know About “The Munsters”


John Farrier and Neatorama present 28 Facts You Might Not Know About The Munsters Here are three of my favorites…

2. Although the first pilot episode was shot in color, the rest of the series was shot in black and white to save money. It certainly adds to the horror ambiance, don’t you think?

6. Grandpa was Lily’s father, but Al Lewis was a year younger than Yvonne De Carlo.

9. Al Lewis’s long prosthetic nose was eliminated after a few episodes because he kept getting it wet in his cups of coffee.

21 Darn Tootin’ Facts About “Fargo”


Adam D’Arpino and Mental_Floss present 21 Darn Tootin’ Facts About Fargo.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. Fargo was almost a TV show back in 1997.
FX’s original series Fargo, which debuted last year to critical praise and enthusiastic viewership, has breathed new life into the funny-accents-meet-brutal-violence formula. However, FX’s take on the Coen Brothers classic actually marks the second major attempt to adapt Fargo for the small screen. In 1997, a pilot directed by Kathy Bates (yes, that Kathy Bates) and starring a pre-Sopranos Edie Falco as Marge Gunderson was passed on by the major networks. Although it never had a full run on television, this first made-for-TV version of Fargo wasn’t lost forever: it aired on the short-lived cable network Trio in 2003, as part of its Brilliant But Cancelled programming series.

17. The film’s editor, Roderick Jaynes, is actually Joel and Ethan Coen.
Because the Coens found having their names appear on screen as directors, writers, producers, and editors a bit tacky, they credit their editing work to the fictional “Roderick Jaynes,” who’s listed on all of their films outside of Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing. When the fictional Jaynes was for nominated for his first Oscar on Fargo, the Coens wanted to have actor Albert Finney accept the award in character, but because the Academy doesn’t allow for surrogates to accept awards (presumably due to a 1973 incident involving Marlon Brando and a Native American named Sacheen Littlefeather) they had to scratch the plan. Jaynes ended losing to Walter Murch for his work on The English Patient, and would lose again in 2008 (with The Bourne Ultimatum‘s Christopher Rouse beating out the Coens and No Country for Old Men).

11. An inside joke led to rumors that Prince had a cameo in the film.
The Coens provided anyone willing to stick around for the extended credits to a bit of a Minnesota insider joke. The role of “Victim in the Field” is credited to a scribble resembling Prince’s “Love Symbol,” which he went by between 1993 and 2000. This spurred rumors that Prince had a hidden cameo in the film. Anyone paying attention, however, would have noticed that the role was clearly played by a much huskier fellow, who also happened to be the film’s storyboard artist (and a longtime Coen collaborator) J. Todd Anderson.

14 Not So Dirty Facts About “Dirty Dancing”


Garin Pirnia and Mental_Floss present 14 Not So Dirty Facts About Dirty Dancing.  Here are three of my favorites…

3. THE FILM GAVE NEWMAN HIS FIRST BIG MOVIE ROLE.
Before starring as Stan, the resort’s social director, Wayne Knight had small roles in a few TV movies, including an uncredited role in the nuclear holocaust drama The Day After. Dirty Dancing showcased his talents, which in 1992 led him to be cast as Newman on Seinfeld.

10. PENNY BRIEFLY TRANSFORMED INTO A POP STAR IN THE LATE 1980s.
Cynthia Rhodes made a name for herself as dancer Tina Tech in 1983’s Flashdance and starred as John Travolta’s dance partner/love interest in Staying Alive that same year. But it was her role as Johnny Castle’s dancing partner, Penny, that garnered her the most notice. A couple of years after Dirty Dancing, she married singer Richard Marx (they’ve since divorced), and she briefly filled in as the lead singer of L.A. pop group Animotion, known for their hits “Room to Move” and “Obsession.”

12. GREY PLAYED A VERSION OF HERSELF ON THE SITCOM IT’S LIKE, YOU KNOW…
The short-lived ABC sitcom (1999-2000) featured Grey as a member of a Seinfeld-like gang, except the show swapped out New York City for Los Angeles. She allowed herself to be self-deprecating, even poking fun at her nose job and her Dirty Dancing celebrity. Arthur (Chris Eigeman) meets “Jennifer Grey” and goes, “Oh, like the actress. Dirty Dancing. You spell it the same way as her?” “I am Jennifer Grey,” she responds, then she does a dance to prove it. “You look different,” he says. “Nose job!” She blurts. “Just one?” he retorts. (She had two of them.)

R.I.P. Roderick Tombs aka “Rowdy” Roddy Piper


I was shocked and saddened to ready that “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has passed away from a heart attack at just 61 years of age.

Wrestling and movie fans appreciated Mr. Piper’s skills before a camera.  What I liked even more were the things Rowdy Roddy did when the camera was off and he was back to being Roderick Tombs.

By all accounts he was a humble, family man who was gracious with everyone he met.  Funny that most of his wrestling career he played a heel.  Mark Evanier wrote a nice tribute to Roderick Tombs aka Roddy Pipper that will show you the kind of person he was.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Roderick Tombs family, friends and fans.

14 Haunting Facts About “Paranormal Activity”


Garin Pirnia
and Mental_Floss present 14 Haunting Facts About Paranormal Activity.  Here are three of my favorites…

1. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY IS THE MOST PROFITABLE FILM OF ALL TIME, BASED ON RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
Often compared to The Blair Witch Project because of its low-budget nature and huge grosses, 10 years after The Blair Witch Project’s release, the original Paranormal Activity ousted the earlier horror film as the most profitable movie, based on return on investment (ROI). The Blair Witch Project cost about $60,000 to make whereas Paranormal Activity’s initial budget was just $15,000. Blair Witch grossed $248.6 million worldwide, which comes out to a 414,233 percent return on investment. After grossing $65 million, it was calculated that Paranormal Activity made a 433,900 percent ROI. Of course that doesn’t factor in its final worldwide gross of $193 million (which, if you do the math on that total, works out to a 1,286,566 percent ROI).

2. OREN PELI HAD NEVER WORKED ON A MOVIE BEFORE PARANORMAL ACTIVITY—LET ALONE DIRECTED ONE.
His background was as a software developer, a skill that provided him with the technical know-how to shoot a low-tech movie. “I’ve always been very comfortable with computers and software, so one thing that’s made my life easier is the fact that I was very quickly able to figure out how to edit the movie, how to do the audio mixing, and the CGI that’s in the movie,” Peli told Moviefone in 2009. He used a home movie camera, filmed in his own house, hired unknown actors who helped with the production, and edited down 70 hours of footage.

9. THE MOVIE KICK-STARTED THE FOUND FOOTAGE GENRE.
Though 1999’s The Blair Witch Project was hardly the first found footage film (many say that distinction belongs to 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust), it generated new interest in the format. Still, audiences would have to wait until 2008’s Cloverfield, which was a modest hit, and another year for Paranormal Activity (which was filmed in 2006) to start seeing found footage films emerge as their own subgenre. To this day The Blair Witch Project remains the highest-grossing found footage film of all time, though.

14 Nostalgic Facts About “Happy Days”

Kara Kovalchik and Mental_Floss present 14 Nostalgic Facts About Happy Days.   Here are three of my favorites…

1. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SET IN THE 1920S, NOT THE 1950S.
When Garry Marshall was first approached by Paramount executives Michael Eisner and Tom Miller in 1971 to create a new sitcom, they envisioned something set in the 1920s or ’30s. Marshall told them that he knew nothing about flappers, but he could write a show about the era in which he spent his teen and young adult years—the 1950s. He put together a pilot about a Midwestern family that just purchased their first TV set (the first one in the neighborhood!) and how the teenaged son planned to use it as a chick magnet. The series didn’t sell, and the pilot ended up as a vignette on Love, American Style—“the dumping ground of failed pilots” according to Marshall.

4. HAPPY DAYS ACTUALLY PREDATES AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
George Lucas’s Oscar-nominated 1973 film American Graffiti launched a craze for 1950s nostalgia (even though the movie was set in 1962). Casting director Fred Roos had worked with Ron Howard on The Andy Griffith Show and recommended him to Lucas for the role of Steve Bolander. Lucas dug out the “Love and the Happy Days” episode of Love, American Style to determine whether Howard could play an 18-year-old high school student convincingly. Once American Graffiti became a runaway success, ABC decided that the time was ripe for a 1950s-era sitcom and Garry Marshall’s project was resurrected.

5. FONZIE WAS ALMOST A MONKEE.
When Henry Winkler got the callback after his first audition for the role of Arthur Fonzarelli, he was taken aback when he saw that the other contender was former Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz. According to Dolenz, Winkler admitted to him later that he had thought, “Oh crap, Micky Dolenz is here. I’ll never get it!” Dolenz was Marshall’s original choice to play Fonzie, on the strength of a recent guest appearance he had made as a biker on Adam-12. But at six feet tall, Dolenz towered over the five-foot-nine Ron Howard, so Winkler was deemed a better fit.