Grease set the bar when it came to Hollywood musicals. This legendary film has been watched by basically everyone and if you haven’t seen it yet then, well, hire a personal injury attorney because we are hurt. Even though Grease is one of the most popular films in the musical genre, there are still some crazy facts bubbling just beneath the surface. Keep on reading for 24 crazy facts about the movie Grease!
Elvis almost joined the party
How can we kick things off in any other way? The King was reportedly offered a part in the movie though we aren’t sure what the role would have been. At this point, does it matter? Can you imagine a prime Travolta working the screen with Elvis alongside of him? You’d have to hire a lawyer because that film would be too hot to handle.
Burger Palace Boys?
We’re rolling two facts into one here — you’re pretty lucky! The hit 1978 film was actually based off of the hit Broadway musical from 1972. In the original Broadway musical the gang that Travolta leads is actually known as the ‘Burger Palace Boys’. Their name was changed to ‘The T-Birds’ for the film.
Henry Winkler turned down the film
Man, can you imagine the Fonz leading the the T-Birds? Well, actually we can. That’s the reason that Henry Winkler turned down the part of Danny Zuko. He thought it was way too close to his Fonzie character and he didn’t want to be pigeonholed. Winkler should probably partake in some litigation against his agent because that turned out terribly.
Grease dominated the box office
It’s hard to imagine any musical crushing the box office, isn’t it? Still, Grease managed to become the highest grossing film of 1978. Grease beat out Superman, Animal House, Jaws 2, Halloween, and The Deer Hunter. Speaking of Jaws 2, that film should probably hire a wrongful death lawyer because that film killed the franchise.
Some serious Broadway crossover!
After Grease dominated the box office it only made sense to revive the original Broadway ply. John Travolta, Jeff Conaway, Barry Pearl and Jamie Donnelly would all head to Broadway to continue working on the film.
Olivia Newton-John was reluctant to work on the film
While Olivia Newton-John was always the one that we would want, she was apparently hesitant to take the film. She would end up demanding a screen test with John Travolta in order to ensure that there was chemistry between the leads.
Not a single cast member was high school age
This would be like hiring a mesothelioma attorney to do work on your vet, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Not a single cast member of Grease was actually the right age for high school. Travolta was the youngest actor at 23.
The film was almost animated
Animated musicals make a lot of sense. The art convention gives a lot of room for fantastical sequences. Grease was originally slated to be animated film before producers changed their minds. Instead the intro was animated and you can see where other sequences would have been animated.
Olivia’s accent was a game changer
The producers of the film loved Olivia Newton John’s accent so much that they demanded the writers change the story to keep her Australian roots. Needless to say the fans were probably happy with the decision.
Marty couldn’t dance
Marty, who was played by Dinah Manoff, is missing from almost every dance scene in the film. Apparently the actor couldn’t dance so they had to hide the character every time a dance was required.
The film had a HUGE bubble gum budget
Bubble gum was apparently all of the rage during the filming of the movie. The cast of Grease reportedly chewed over 100,000 pieces of gum during the filming of the movie.
Andy Warhol almost starred in the film
Did you know that Andy Warhol almost managed to score a gig in Grease? Allegedly Andy Warhol was going to play an art teacher. Warhol was tossed from the roster after a studio exec came down on the idea saying that he wouldn’t have “that man” in his film.
Lorenzo Lamas took his part from a President’s son
Don’t worry Lorenzo, you were never gonna be under fire for litigation from the White House. Steven Ford, son of Gerald Ford, was going to ply Sandy’s jocky-head boyfriend in the film. Steven got too nervous and backed out, allowing Lomas to take the part.
John Travolta had song demands
We are unplugged from the musical world, admittedly, but it makes sense that actors fight over the best songs. Travolta would only take the role in the film if he was allowed to sing ‘Greased Lightnin’ — taking the part from Kenickie.
Heap Lap Trials
Travolta had so much trouble with the phrase ‘heat lap trials’ that they had to keep in Travolta’s flub. Apparently an ex girlfriend had passed away on the shooting of that sequence so he was understandably upset and distracted.
‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ came in post
The principal filming of Grease had wrapped when producers decided that Olivia Newton-John needed her own big song. So they wrote ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ and filmed it in pick up shots. Newton-John would score an Academy Award nomination for the performance.
The film was released with different names
Grease as a title makes a lot of sense when you think of the era and the characters. When the film was released in Venezuela and Mexico it was titled, Vaselina. That name makes significantly less sense.
All of the dancers were named
Most of the characters in the film exist just in the background to fill up space. Still, the production team named every single dancer with credits like Woppo, Bubba, Cee Cee, and Sauce.
Coke pulled advertising
When the producers were putting together marketing deals for Grease they wanted to pull in Coke, for obvious reasons. Still, a product placement deal would end up falling through and the team would have to rush to blur out as many shots as possible.
A Grease empire was in the works
After Grease dominated the box office there were plans to make a huge empire out of the series. The producers were hoping to release three more films and a TV series. We all know how that worked out after Grease 2 flopped.
‘Beauty School Dropout’ had dark origins
One of the more underrated tracks in the film, ‘Beauty School Dropout’, was written after a writer read a story about a teenage killer who had dropped out of beauty school.
The budget turnaround for Grease is insane
Grease was filmed on a small budget of $6 million dollars. Despite this minuscule budget, for Hollywood standards, the film would go on to earn more than $400 million worldwide. The sequel, Grease 2, would have a budget of $13 million but it would only earn $15 million at the box office.
Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into her costume
Believe it or not, Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into her pants every morning on set. Newton-John had to be careful about what she ate and how she moved. Nowadays she could probably pull a personal injury attorney to get better clothing for her!
George Lucas was instrumental in the re-release of Grease
Apparently George Lucas was a huge fan of the film. When it came time for a re-release of the project it was George Lucas who would help to get Paramount on board. Lucsa said that “Every nine year old he knew watched a VHS copy of Grease every day” back when it had been released.