Grease is the most successful movie musical of all time – and it turns 36 this year!
In celebration of that, lets look back at some possibly unknown facts about the singing and dancing smash.
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Olivia Newton-John was 29 years old when the movie was filmed. John Travolta was six years younger, making him 23. Never mind that however, because Stockard Channing (Rizzo) was 33 playing a 17 year-old!
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Speaking of Rizzo, the ‘Hickeys from Kenickie’ were reportedly real! To save time in the make-up chair, her ‘real-life’ boyfriend helped her out with some real ones before her scenes.
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In the song ‘Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee’, Rizzo sings a song mentioning Elvis Presley. In the original stage play of Grease, the line is about Salvatore ‘Sal’ Mineo, who is best known for his performance as John ‘Plato’ Crawford opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. However, the line was changed to Elvis as that scene was being filmed the day that The King passed away.
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The film had a product placement deal with Coca-Cola that fell through right before the film wrapped up production. All Coke products then had to be digitally removed or blurred out in post production. This issue left a very obvious hanging sign in the diner blurred out!
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Olivia Newton-John was quite unsure of herself as an actress so she requested a screen test with John Travolta. After shooting the drive-in movie scene, she was pleased with the results and agreed to do the movie. (Thank goodness for that!).
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Those famous tight black pants that Olivia Newton-John wore were so tight that the zipper broke. She then had to be sewn into the pants for the carnival finale.
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The dance contest in the gym where everyone looked like they were having a blast was actually filmed in the middle of summer and the gym had NO air conditioning. The doors had to be kept closed for lighting purposes and some actors were treated for heat exhaustion!
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The water by the bridge in the car chase scene was stagnate and contaminated and made a handful of cast members sick after filming.
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‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ was written after the movie had wrapped because producers thought Sandy needed a big ballad for the film. The song was later nominated for an academy award.
The stage version of the movie has a few differences. Sandy’s character was actually an American girl whose last name was ‘Dumbrowski’. In the movie, her background was changed after Aussie Olivia was cast as Sandy.
Jeff Conaway played the role of Danny Zuko on Broadway before being cast as Kenickie for the movie, and John Travolta played the role of Doodie on Broadway. Kenickie also sings ‘Greased Lightning’ in the stage version however, John Travolta convinced producers to let him sing the song for the film.
Grease is the word.