Oh how we love surprises, especially when they come in forms of fun facts!
Just a little earlier this week, we talked about some of what we think we the greatest and most memorable TV shows (dramas, action, and sitcom) from yesteryear. As luck would have it, we managed to stumble upon some interesting information about the TV shows that we loved, ranging from what happened before and after the production as well as facts about its respective cast members. Hence, we’ve saved it for a separate post – this post.
However, we’ve narrowed them down to only a few per TV show as there were just too many!
So here are some things you never knew about your fave TV shows:
- The flying Airwolf helicopter was actually a cosmetically modified version of the Bell 222 (the first light commercial twin turbine engine helicopter developed in US, built by Bell Helicopter), serial number 47085. It’s sometimes unofficially called a Bell 222A.
- The helicopter was sold after the show ended and became an ambulance helicopter in Germany, where it crashed in a thunderstorm and was destroyed in 1992, killing all 3 crew members.
- The concept behind Airwolf was a supersonic armed helicopter that could be disguised as a civilian vehicle, hence “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. In fact, the Airwolf insignia features a snarling bat-winged wolf’s head wearing a sheepskin.
- F.R.I.E.N.D.S was almost called a number of other “less cool” names including Insomnia Café, Friends Like Us, Across the Hall, Once Upon a Time in the West Village, and Six of One.
- Before Lisa Kudrow landed the part of Phoebe Buffay, Ellen DeGeneres was offered the role – but she turned it down. Courteney Cox was originally cast as Rachel Green but she insisted for Monica Geller.
- The average F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode took 5 hours to film. During the first season, each cast member earned only USD22,500 per episode. By the end of the series, they each made USD1 million an episode.
3. Sesame Street
- Cookie Monster used to have big pointy teeth because the puppet was used in commercials before Sesame Street. Also, he has a real name – his name is Sid.
- Elmo was initially just a background extra and was given up on as a workable character and didn’t officially debut until Season 12. Initially this “new” character only communicated with “sounds rather than words”.
- The show was almost called 123 Avenue B, but it was changed to Sesame Street (after the “Arabian Nights” phrase “Open, Sesame!”) due to the fact that it was a real NYC address. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street.
4. Knight Rider
- K.I.T.T., which stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand, was originally named T.A.T.T. for Trans Am Two Thousand because the design was based on the Pontiac Trans Am.
- The stunt work was hard on the cars and the show ruined 4 – 9 each season. The Trans Ams were sold by GM to the producers for USD1 each. Each one cost about USD18,000 to modify into K.I.T.T.
- The writers had K.I.T.T. destroyed and rebuilt during the third season because commercially available cars started to have K.I.T.T.-like features, such as vocalised notifications i.e “Your oil temperature is too high”.
5. Breaking Bad
- There are 270 deaths throughout the 5 seasons of Breaking Bad. Jesse Pinkman was originally supposed to die at the end of Season 1, but Vince Gilligan picked up on the chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul and rewrote the plot.
- All the blue meth is actually blue-hued rock candy.
- In a scene that Vince Gilligan called a “one-in-a-million shot”, Bryan Cranston managed to throw the pizza onto the roof for this now-iconic moment. It was actually a complete fluke and was done in one take.
6. Full House
- The show was originally about 3 comics living together titled House of Comics, but since family sitcoms were trending at the time, they decided to change the concept of the show.
- Uncle Jesse (played by John Stamos) was originally going to be called Uncle Adam (Adam Cochran). The name was changed to Jesse Cochran shortly before the pilot. John Stamos later asked that the last name be changed to Katsopolis.
- Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen landed the role of Michelle because they were the only 2 babies who didn’t cry during the auditions. The producers didn’t want the audience to know that Michelle was played by twins so they credited the girls as Mary-Kate Ashley Olsen.
* Psst. There has been talks about a Full House reboot!
7. Game of Thrones
- GoT was supposed to be a movie, but George R.R. Martin didn’t want his story to be cut down so drastically. To make their reactions as genuine as possible, the majority of the cast have not read the book.
- Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, voiced Dr. Zoidberg’s girlfriend in the final episodes of Futurama. Emilia Clarke didn’t dye her hair blond for the show – she wears a wig.
- Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, is a very strict vegetarian. Every time you see him eating meat on screen, he’s actually eating tofu.
* More seriously serious GoT fun facts here.
8. The X-Files
- Creator Chris Carter came up with the idea for The X-Files when he read a report saying 3.7 million people have claimed to have been abducted by aliens.
- Gillian Anderson wasn’t what producers had in mind for Scully. FOX originally wanted a “taller, leggier, blonder, and bustier” actress. She’s so small (just a little over 5 feet tall) that she spent most of her time standing on a box while filming.
- The beloved opening-theme tune for the series was created almost by accident, after composer Mark Snow rested his elbow on the keyboard with the “echo” function on and they decided they liked the creep vibe and kept it.
9. Desperate Housewives
- Initially, ABC wanted to call it Wisteria Lane or The Secret Lives of Housewives instead to avoid criticism. It was also originally written as a half-hour comedy, but was later turned into a soap opera.
- Heather Locklear, Courteney Cox, Calista Flockhart, and Mary-Louise Parker were considered for Teri Hatcher’s role of Susan Mayer. Also, Nicollette Sheridan originally auditioned for Bree but was cast as Edie Britt instead.
- The Desperate Housewives set was previously used in Kelly Rowland and Nelly’s music video for “Dilemma”.
10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Selma Blair and Katie Holmes were in the running to play Buffy – that was until Sarah Michelle Gellar won the part. Sarah Michelle Gellar originally auditioned to play Cordelia, but producers thought she’d be a better Buffy.
- By playing the role of Dawn (the most universally disliked character) Michelle Trachtenberg started a tradition of playing characters viewers loathed. Dawn was supposed to be able to speak to the dead and be telekinetic but those were thrown out to enhance her “powers” of being incredibly annoying.
- In the beginning, Buffy didn’t have much of a budget, so instead of shooting on a soundstage, the crew used a huge warehouse. Torrance High School in LA subbed in for the exterior of fictional Sunnydale High. You might also recognise it from Beverly Hills 90210, She’s All That, Not Another Teen Movie, and more.
11. Dawson’s Creek
- Nearly 500 actors tried out for the part of Dawson, and James Van Der Beek almost did not get the part either, but the show’s creator, Kevin Williamson, fought for him.
- Kevin Williamson actually wanted to cast Selma Blair to as Joey, but he decided to audition other actresses — including Katie Holmes. Unable to fly to LA for the audition, Katie Holmes and her mother acted out the scene and filmed it. The tape was a success and she was cast.
- Kevin Williamson also wrote the screenplays for all the Scream movies as well as I Know What You Did Last Summer. He would sometimes put props from Scream i.e. the iconic Ghostface mask and I Know What You Did Last Summer in Dawson’s bedroom.
12. The Big Bang Theory
- The cast learned how to play the instruments their character was said to have known. Jim Parsons learned the theremin, Johnny Galecki learned the cello, and Mayim Bialik learned the harp.
- Sheldon’s trademark “Bazinga!” originated with writer Stephen Engel, who would set up playful practical jokes, including putting together a grapefruit with tape. It was Stephen’s word for “gotcha”. “Bazinga!” has officially been dubbed a species of bee as a way to honour Sheldon Cooper.
- Each episode of The Big Bang Theory is filmed in front of a real studio audience. Which means that the laughter in the background is from actual fans and not a laugh track.