Holiday Movie Trivia
Tis the season for holiday parties and family
gatherings. And while spiked eggnog and mistletoe are the usual social
lubricants for this time of year, there is always a moment where you find
yourself in a conversation that hits that awkward lull. So whether you find
yourself talking to your boss or your weird uncle Dennis, here are a few
Christmas movie-themed bon mots you can use to amuse and entertain.
Even though "Miracle on 34th Street" is one of the ultimate
Christmas movies, studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck insisted on releasing the flick
in May because, he reasoned, more people see movies in the summer. The studio's
PR department was given the difficult task of marketing a movie about Santa
Claus while trying to keep the fact that it was a Christmas movie secret.
Not only did Zanuck make the holiday movie a summer
release, but he wasn't too keen on the project to begin with. He thought that
flick was too corny to get an audience. It ended up getting nominated for a
Best Picture Oscar and did win the Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay,
When it was being developed, "It's a Wonderful
Life" was originally slated to star Cary Grant, not Jimmy Stewart. But
when Frank Capra came on board, he rewrote the part for Stewart.
Here's another fact: In movies of the 1940s, effects
departments routinely used corn flakes painted white as snow. However, as
actors walked through the "corn snow," the crunching of the flakes
was so loud that dialogue couldn't be recorded. Frank Capra wanted live
dialogue in his snow scenes, so he called upon the effects department at RKO to
create a new kind of artificial snow. The result: a new chemical snow, blown
through a wind machine, for a truly silent night.
"Wonderful Life" flopped at the box office in
1946, not even recouping its production costs. As TV sets invaded America over
the following 30 years, networks searched for holiday programming -- and
"It's a Wonderful Life" proved perfect.
"A Christmas Story" might be one of the most
beloved Christmas movies around, but its existence is entirely because of the
success of director Bob Clark's previous
effort "Porky's" -- a teen sex comedy that's far less beloved.
Jack Nicholson was reportedly interested in the role of
The Old Man, but the studio wasn't keen to pay the actor's fees, which would
have doubled the budget.
When the original home of "A Christmas Story"
went up for sale in 2005, avid fan Brian Jones bought the house on eBay to the
tune of $150,000. He reportedly spent another $500,000 restoring the exterior
to look exactly like the movie. It's now a museum. The house next door has been
turned into a gift shop.
Joe Pesci kept dropping the F-bomb during production,
forgetting that this was a family movie and not "Goodfellas."
Director Chris Columbus advised the actor to say the word "fridge"
instead of that other word.
Daniel Stern agreed to have that tarantula crawl on his
face for only one take. He had to pantomime the scream, though. Screams tend to freak out the spiders, and it's never a good idea to do that when they're on your face.
If you look quickly, you'll see that Peter Billingsley