Today I was going through all our old VHS video tapes, why we still have them? I have no idea. Among the pile of Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, I found Grease. I completely forgot that we had ever owned Grease. For old time sake I decided to literally dust off the VHS player and watch this classic movie. I learned a couple things —
— Whoever did the casting has no idea what teenagers look like. Everyone in this movie looks way to old to be a high school student.
— When I first saw this movie my parents must not have known I was watching it because it is SO not appropriate for an 8 year old to watch. It is just a good thing I had no idea what they were talking about half the time.
In light of these observations I decided to do Google research and found some of the things I came across interesting.
As I alluded to earlier, Grease was set in high school, but what you may have guessed (just by looking at them) was that most of the cast was well beyond their high school years. John Travolta (Danny) was 23 and Olivia-Newton-John (Sandy) was 28 when filming began. Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) was 26, and Stockard Channing (Rizzo) was the oldest in the group at 33.
2. Plastic Wrap Innuendo—
The original stage play of “Grease” has more sexual references than the censors would allow in the film. One of these was the use of plastic wrap as a condom. The censors made the filmmakers take this out during the production of the movie, but John Travolta found a sneaky way to put it back in. During the song “Grease Lightning” you can see Danny Rubbing plastic wrap on his junk during the dance number… classy.
3. Dancing in the Heat—
The dance contest during the movie had to be filmed during the summer when the school was closed. They gym wasn’t air conditioned, and the doors had to be kept closed to control the lighting. The gym became so hot that several of the extras had to be removed and given medical treatment for heat exhaustion.
4. Real Life Addiction—
According to an interview conducted on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” Jeff Conaway (Kenichie) stated that he first became addicted to painkillers during the filming of “Grease.” He said that during the “Grease Lightning” song and dance number, a fellow cast member dropped him and he injured his back.
5. Kenickie’s Song—
6. Actor’s Porn Past Loses Him the Role—
To cast the role of the coach the director looked to Harry Reems, a previous porn star, to play the part. Reems was cast and ready to begin filming when protests over the Star’s porn past began surfacing, threatening the movies success. Paramount relented and gave the role to Sid Caesar.
7. Stagnant Water—
The filming of the scene where the cast is near the bridge after the car race made several cast members and extras very ill. The water on the ground was stagnant and filled with trash. Apparently no one knew this until it was too late.
8. Lucie and Rizzo—
Although fans of the movie couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Rizzo other than Stockard Channing, she was not the studio’s first choice. Paramount wanted Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball, to play the part. Lucy allegedly called the studio and said “I used to own that studio; my daughter is not doing that screen test!” The part then went to Channing.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love this movie. It has a very random place in my heart and I have the choreographed, made up, dance moves from when I was 10 to prove it. I Just find it interesting to look back on these things as an adult.