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Did You Know...? Movie Facts
Cheetah the Chimp...Going on 80
Did you know these facts...
Here's a dozen nuggets of information for any people who may be interested...
*The first words ever spoken on screen in a sound film were "Wait a minute. You ain't heard nothing yet!" These words were spoken by Al Jolson in The jazz Singer.
*The original title for Return of the Jedi was "Revenge of the Jedi". Promotional posters were put up and even sold with the original title until George Lucas suddenly decided to change the title at the 11th hour. He said that his Jedi stand for justice, not revenge, so the posters all had to be recalled. Some stolen posters are still out there and they sell for a lot of money if you have one.
*The menacing giant octopus that attacked San Fransico in It Came from Beneath the Sea only had 6 tentacles. Special effects master Ray Harryhausen hadn't completed the octopus model when filming began. The director covered this up by keeping the octopus partly under water at all times.
*The chimpanzee used to play Cheetah the chimp in the old Johnny Weissmuller "Tarzan" films hated actress Maureen O'Sullivan (who played Jane.) The chimp (whose real name is "Jiggs') apparantly adored Weissmuller and got angry during the love scenes with O'Sullivan. The chimp tried to attack her more than once and had to be kept seperated or it would have injured her.
*Another amazing fact about Cheetah is that he is still alive. Cheetah is 79 years old. He was born in 1932 and is now in the Guiness Book of World Records as the oldest living chimp on record. Most chimps live between 35-45 years. It's rare for them to live passed 50. Cheetah is decades passed that age, and living contentedly in the Sun Coast Primate foundation in Palm Springs, Florida. His 80th birthday is coming soon.
*Kermit the frog was created to be a generic lizard. It wasn't until years later that Jim Henson decided he was a frog. (Kermit was Henson's favorite muppet, which is why he became the lead character in The Muppet Show and Muppet films.)
*Debbie Reynolds couldn't dance at all when she started filming Singing in the Rain. Director/Star Gene Kelly had wanted dancer Cyd Charisse as his co-star but the studio forced Reynolds on him. Kelly was impatient with Reynolds during filming because she couldn't get the steps right and he made her cry more than once. It was Fred Astaire--who found her crying on the stairway one evening after filming--who offered to mentor her in dance. Astaire was a more patient teacher than Kelly, and Reynolds learned the steps under his guidance. Kelly was so impressed by her improvement that he was nicer to her for the rest of the filming.
*When Fay Wray was hired to do King Kong, the producer promised her that her co-star would be "the tallest, darkest, strongest leading man you've ever worked with!"
*And speaking of King Kong, special effects expert Willis O'Brien (who did the effects fo the original King Kong) was in a career slump years later and wanted to bring Kong back to the screen. He peddled a screenplay to Universal Studios called King Kong Vs. Frankenstein (utliizing two of their most popular monsters.) Universal wasn't interested. O'Brien sold the film to Japanese studio Toho Films, who rejiggered the script extensively, dropped Frankenstein and turned it into King Kong vs. Godzilla.
*While we're on the subject of big Gorilla's, the producers of the film Mighty Joe Young had hoped to create a franchise for the ape character and were planning a cross-over film with the Lex Barker Tarzan series called Mighty Joe Young meets Tarzan. The disappointing box office for Mighty Joe Young ended any thoughts of a franchise.
*The Marx Brothers' final film Love Happy was originally meant to be a solo vehicle for Harpo Marx. However Chico (who was perpetually broke) needed money and convinced Harpo to talk the producers into adding him to the cast. Later, when the film went over budget, the studio wouldn't give an extra cent to the project unless Groucho agreed to appear. They hoped that advertising it as a Marx Brothers film would help the box office. (Groucho does appear but in only in a few scenes.)
*In The House of Dracula, Lon Chaney Junior's character Larry Talbot only transforms into the Wolfman once, because there was a shortage of Yak hair. The film was made during WW2 and supplies from Asia were hard to get. The studio ran out of the imported Yak hair they used for the Wolfman make-up and only had enough for one day's filming. (It couldn't be re-used.) The Wolfman's one scene was shot in a single day and that was the last of the yak hair.
And there you have it. Twelve trivial bits of information.