I remember seeing Grease when it first came out in 1978 at the Allen Park Theater. I now ironically work across street from in my second job. It was the first real musical film I had seen in a movie theater. I thought it might be lame, but it ended up being pretty cool to me and soon became a production I re-enacted with friends over and over.
Here are some not well known facts about a movie that represents what summer, youth, and playfulness is all about.
28. Grease was the number one hit movie of 1978 even though it also came out alongside the first Superman movie.
27. The exciting drag race was plagued by contaminated water that made many of the crew ill afterwards.
26. Sandy was originally going to have last name of Dumbrowski but with Olivia Newton-John's accent they had to make her appear Australian.
25. Jeff Conaway played the role of Kenickie, but he had played John Travolta's role of Danny in the Broadway version.
24. The opening scene with Danny has him wearing a windbreaker over his white T-shirt, which was a tribute to James Dean and his film "Rebel Without A Cause".
23. 4 songs not in the original Broadway version were "Grease", "Hopelessly Devoted To You', "Sandy", "You're the One That I Want".
22. The gang name "T-Birds" for the guys was originally going to be called the Burger Palace Boys.
21. Supposedly, the cast chewed in total over 100,000 pieces of gum over the course of shooting the film. That's a lot of chewing and cavities!
20. While audiences loved the film, critics hated it. The New Yorker called it the "klutzburger".
19. John Travolta once appeared in a stage version of Grease (before the film release) as the character Doody.
18. Grease is the highest grossing movie musical of the 20th Century. It has only been replaced by Mamma Mia in 2008 (Why oh why? Mamma Mia grates my nerves).
17. The film cast of the Bad News Bears challenged the cast of Grease to a softball game which was played without Travolta.
16. Didi Conn (Frenchy) reports the cast was like an entire family except for the character Patty Simcox who chose to stay in character and stay separate from the cast even socially.
15. The director of the film Grease did not want the song "You Are The One That I Want" in the film but lost his battle. The song remained. (one of my favorites).
14. The scene where Kenickie gets a shake thrown in his face by Rizzo was cut short. The scene had an argument with Rizzo explaining why she threw it but was cut for being too dark for the film's tone.
13. According to Didi Conn, the actors playing Kenickie and Rizzo had a real hot relationship off set and were at odds during the shake throwing scene. Apparently Rizzo was accused of intentionally having to have several retakes, so she kept getting to throw shakes in the male actor's face.
12. The song Grease Lightning was intended to be sung by Kenickie but Travolta used his clout so he could sing the song.
11. On the same vain as #10, it was the Beach Boy's who were slated by the director to sing Grease Lightning but it didn't work out.
10. The song Hopelessly Devoted To You won the film an Oscar nod and was put in at the last moment to give Sandy her own ballad.
9. Jane Donnelly who played the quirky Jan had fast growing, gray hair that the staff couldn't keep up with so at times the film makers used black crayon to color it.
8. Olivia Newton-John wore a prom dress to the film's opening.
7. NONE of the cast was high school age in real life. The ages range from 38-25. The youngest was a 19-year-old Lorenzo Lamas playing Tom.
6. Carrie Fisher was the original person slated for Sandy but the director chose otherwise.
5. Lucy Arnez (Lucille Ball's daughter) was slated to play Rizzo but Lucille Ball was so angry her daughter was required to audition that the film moved on without her.
4. Henry Winkler (The Fonz) was slated as Danny but Henry turned it down because he feared being typed cast as a greaser. I don't think he got out of that one!
3. Jeff Conaway was apparently crushing hard over Olivia despite his hickey producing love affair with the actress playing Rizzo. He apparently couldn't talk in Olivia's presence. Jeff eventually ended up marrying Olivia's sister in real life after getting over his crush.
2. Elvis was offered a role in the film but turned it down. The day Rizzo filmed the song Look At Me I'm Sandra Dee where she sings the lyrics "Elvis! Elvis!" is the day Elvis died in real life.
1. As you might have imagined, the movie was filmed in an unairconditioned, windowless gym. Temperatures got up into the 100's causing several fainting spells and illnesses.
(resource taken from Fascinate)