Oh, boy. If you’re a huge Saved By The Bell fan then you wanna pay attention. Some of the secrets we’re about to dig deep into about the beloved light comedy that followed our favorite highschoolers’ lives, pranks, and crushes will probably surprise you.
Our favorite blondie Zach, portrayed by Mark-Paul Gosselaar, is actually a natural brunette! For his role, he dyed his hair blonde every two weeks. Now that’s commitment.
So it turns out that Saved by the Bell originated as an NBC pilot entitled Good Morning, Miss Bliss. When NBC passed on the series, the Disney Channel actually picked it and aired the series for just one season. The intention originally was for the teacher Miss Bliss, played by Hayley Mills, to be the main character. While characters Zack Morris, Samuel “Screech” Powers, Lisa Turtle, and Mr Richard Belding all originated on this series; other main characters, including classmates Nikki Coleman (Heather Hopper), Mikey Gonzalez (Max Battimo), and maintenance supervisor Mylo Williams (T. K. Carter), were discontinued when the show changed direction.
Not that catchy
The executive producer, Peter Engel, originally wanted the show to be called ‘When the Bell Rings’, but it was Brandon Tartikoff who convinced him to go with the title Saved by the Bell. Good choice.
Peter Engel also banned swearing on the set! He wanted to keep innocent vibes on set so he didn’t allow swearing what-so-ever. Someone order flowers online for Engel cause that probably wasn’t an easy task!
When the show shifted from Good Morning, Miss Bliss to Saved by the Bell, the location changed to. The setting was quickly changed from Indianapolis, Indiana, to the fictional “Bayside High School” in the Palisades in Los Angeles, California.
The episode titled “Jessie’s Song” is the one where our incredible Jessie Spano has a caffeine pill addiction. Well, executive producer Peter Engel originally wanted Jessie to be addicted to speed and not caffeine pills. He felt it was important for the show to deal with more important issues but Standards and Practices vetoed this and said it was too serious of an issue for a Saturday morning show.
Just A Sip
The gorgeous and talented Tiffani Thiessen tried alcohol for the very first time while with Mark-Paul Gosselaar. They were on a press tour in Paris at the time.
That’s right, Zack and Screech are the only two cast members to appear in every single episode. Starting with the episode “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” up until the finale of “The College Years.” The dynamic duo.
Our girl, Lisa Turtle, was originally set out to play a spoiled, Jewish girl from Long Island but the producers loved Lark Voorhies so, so much that they changed the part! They wanted her to play Lisa so away went the original write-up and boy are we glad.
When Dustin Diamond was hired on as Screech, no one realized just how young he was. In fact, Diamond was only 11 years old at the time which was three years younger than everybody else on the show!
Elizabeth Berkley really wanted the role of Kelly Kapowski, but the producers preferred Tiffani Amber Thiessen. However, the producers still really liked Elizabeth and wanted her on the show so, they wrote the part of Jessie Spano specifically for her. Best decision ever.
Turns out that during filming Saved By The Bell, the gorgeous Mario Lopez was being investigated for raping a 18 year old teenage girl. Lopez was 19 at the time and denied all allegations hurled at him. Shortly after the first victim came out, a second victim came out. However prosecutes dismissed all claims due to lack of evidence. In his tell-all book, Dustin Diamond, claimed that NBC execs paid the accuser to keep quiet.
No one’s favorite
Well then, the cast of Saved by the Bell didn’t like Dustin Diamond, and apparently they still don’t. They often refer to his inappropriate antics on set, namely, taking pictures of his genitals and leaving it scattered around the set. There are a lot of cast members who say that his tell-all book is filled with completely exaggerated and false stories.
Let me just start off by saying, “Oh My Goodness, the man gets seriously better looking with age.” Now, Mark-Paul Gosselaar was actually accused of taking steroids in-between filming “Saved By The Bell” and “Saved By The Bell: The College Years”. There’s no way to prove any of this is real apart from Zach’s change in physique. And uhh, hey, no one’s complaining.
During the last year of the series, NBC doubled the order of episodes of Saved by the Bell, but Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley never extended their contracts. Enter Tori Scott. So the network went and decided to add a new character to take their place, Tori was played by Leanna Creel.
Eek! Lark Voorhies and Mark-Paul Gosselaar dated in real life, guys! For three whole years! On-screen, Zack and Lisa were just friends, but off-screen the two were head over heels in love.
The Dating Game
While filming the show, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, at different times, actually dated three of his female co-stars, Lark Voorhies, Tiffani Thiessen, and Elizabeth Berkley. However in 2012, Gosselaar married the advertising executive, Catriona McGinn. That’s one beautiful couple.
Dem College Years
Not long after we said goodbye to Saved by the Bell did Saved by the Bell: The College Years grace our screens. Sadly, it only lasted 18 episodes but it actually had an average of 7.2 million viewers each week. This made it the 2nd highest rated comedy on NBC. Not bad.
In 2015, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon did a mini cameo starring the original Saved by the Bell cast, minus Lisa and Screech though.
Our two favorite boys, Zack and Slater, were originally supposed to fight for Kelly’s love on the show, however Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez had such a Bromance off-screen that the writers made them BFFs instead.
The Show Comes First
The incredible Lark Voorhies actually sacrificed going to her own prom and graduation because she was so busy filming the show. Now that’s commitment and we love her for it.
After the show had already been on air for about four weeks, NBC did a little research. Turns out that 50% of teenage girls in America watched the show regularly. Yeah, we don’t blame them.
Have you ever wondered just was A.C. stands for? Because during the show, his name is never actually mentioned. Well folks, A.C. stands for Albert Clifford.
Sadly in 2014, Dustin Diamond, who played the great Screech, was arrested and charged with “second-degree recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.” This is his excuse for missing the The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon reunion and I guess it’s a good one, maybe he should get a better attorney.
During the height of the show, Saved by the Bell(1989) actually attracted more teenage viewers on Saturday mornings than the #1 television show at that time, which was The Cosby Show (1984), ever did at primetime.
Just about everyone on the cast dated off-screen which made it so much harder to film an on-screen romance post break up, according to producer Peter Engel.
Daddy One And Two
While he wasn’t on screen a lot, Zack’s dad is some hotshot computer salesman who was actually played by two different actors, Robert Pine and John Sandford.
Yup, Jennie Garth also auditioned for the role of Kelly Kapowski, although it went to Tiffani-Amber Thiessen instead. Thiessen and Garth both later starred on Beverly Hills, 90210 together.
Wardrobe is a zero
Turns out that real-life Jessie didn’t like her characters wardrobe. She felt that just because she was a feminist on the show didn’t mean she had to dress like one, she was a teenager after. As you can see though, now that Jessie is all grown up, her sense of style has surely evolved.
There’s a musical, and a comic
In September 2013, Bayside! The Musical! came out, it shows as the website says, “the unauthorized, hilarious, and raunchy musical parody of TV’s Saved By The Bell.” It received mixed reviews mind you. Also in 2014, a comic book came out taking us back to the cast’s freshman year.
Dennis Haskins who played Mr. Belding had a famous catchphrase, ‘Hey! Hey! Hey! What is going on here?’ Well that came to be because the director Don Barnhardt used to tease the kids and would say, ‘Heyheyheyheyhey’ in a descending tone of voice. So when Haskins got the line during rehearsal, well, the rest is history really.
Lots Of Hairspray
Jessie’s hair was pretty iconic on the show! She pretty much went through almost a can of hairspray per episode. “They diffused my hair, flipped it, teased it, sprayed it with hair spray. I practically went through a can of hair spray a show.” (And yes, that really is what Kelly and Jessie look like now).
That’s My Name
Yes, the producer Engel named some of the names of characters from real people he knew. “I knew a guy named Screech Washington. He was a producer. I said I’m not going to hire him, but I’m going to steal your name. Slater was a kid who was in my son’s kindergarten class, Zack was named after my dear, dear friend, John DeLorean … His son’s name was Zack. Lisa Turtle was a girl I knew and Mr. Belding, Richard Belding had been my cranky editor when I worked at Universal.”
Of course stars that are big now were once on the show! Leah Remini, Scott Wolf, Denise Richards, Soleil Moon Frye and Tori Spelling all made cameos.
Gosselaar, Zack in case you forgot, admitted that he broke a few rules during filming and we totally get it. “At 16, I was hanging out in adult clubs. But I didn’t abuse it, and neither did my castmates. I can’t stress how good we were.”