Saturday, June 29, 2013

Caddyshack (1980)

Carl: Cinderella story.  Outta nowhere.  A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion.  It looks like a mirac... It's in the hole!  It's in the hole!  It's in the hole!

There are a lot of laughs and pranks at an exclusive golf club.  Many of the members are wealthy, eccentric, and, well... snobs.  Tho un-snobbish members  and staff know they're snobs and they know how to deal with them in their own way.  When they do, all bets are off!  Hmm... But what about that gopher?!?

Having already been the genius behind the story and screenplay writing of such comedic hits as "Animal House" and "Meatballs," "Caddyshack" was the first Harold Ramis directred.  Harold Ramis co-wrote the screenplay of this film with Douglas Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray who also co-stars in the movie and just happens to be... wait for it, wait for it... Bill Murray's brother.  (YES!  That was worth the wait, right?!?)

Costing an estimated $6 million to make, "Caddyshack" made its broad premiere on July 25, 1980 and ultimately earned $39.8 million in the U.S.  It wasn't nominated for any awards, but it's still considered a cult classic of the 80s and is a favorite of fans who appreciate works by Harold Ramis and films starring Chevy Chase and Bill Murray who gave us memorable performances.

"Caddyshack" starred Chevy Chase (Ty), Rodney Dangerfield (Al), Ted Knight (Judge Elihu Smails), Michael O'Keefe (Danny), and Bill Murray (Carl).  It also co-starred Sarah Holcomb (Maggie), Cindy Morgan (Lacey), Brian Doyle-Murray (Lou Loomis), and Scott Colomby (Tony) in his first feature film (after "Caddyshack" he went on to appear in all three "Porky's" movies as well as other films and television programs).

Here are some other bits of trivia on "Caddyshack" to add to your ever-increasing list of useful information...

1.  "Caddyshack" was filmed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and at the Boca Raton Resort & Club and the Rolling Hills Golf & Tennis Club.  However, because the story was to take place in Nebraska, many days were spent spraypainting the grass blue for certain scenes around the clubhouse.

2.  The second story of the clubhouse was fake. It was only added for the movie and was empty inside.

3.  The movie was inspired by writer and co-star Brian Doyle-Murray's memories working as a caddy at a golf club.  His brother Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis also worked as caddies when they were teenagers. 

4.  Most of the cast and crew lived in a motel located near the actual country club used in the film which made it easy for everyone to show up to work.

5.  According to Harold Ramis on the DVD Commentary, he claims that he wanted to score the movie to Pink Floyd music.  Unfortunately, the studio wouldn't allow him to do that.  After an audition, Kenny Loggins came up with the famous theme song for the film, "I'm All Right" and played it for the producers and got the job.  Johnny Mandel, who wrote the film's musical score, was also hired immediately afterward.

6.  Harold Ramis based the character of Carl Spackler on a slightly deranged police officer who was a shell-shocked war veteran.

7.  Rodney Dangerfield hired singer and golfer Don Cherry to teach him to golf for this film. Don was a regular headliner in Las Vegas and lived near Dangerfield. In addition to his singing, Don was a very well known-professional golfer.  On that same note...

8.  Bill Murray was and is and avid golfer, having played in the Pebble Beach Classic on a few occasions. 

9.  Chevy Chase's character Ty, makes several references to owning or working in a "lumber yard." Co-writer Brian Doyle-Murray's father worked in a lumber yard.

10.  The rowdy, improvisational atmosphere around the filming, created by Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield, didn't sit well with all the members of the cast. Ted Knight, widely regarded as a very nice man, got fed up with the constant shenanigans. Initially, Murray's, Chase's, and Dangerfield's roles were to be cameo appearances. But their deft improvising caused their roles to be expanded much to the chagrin of Scott Colomby and some of the other cast members whose roles were reduced as a result.

11.  According to Scott Colomby on the DVD extras, he only took up smoking after playing the part of cigarette-puffing Tony. 

12.  Cindy Morgan (Lacey Underall) has said that the oil massage scene with Chevy Chase was also completely improvised. When Lacy exclaims "You're crazy!" that was Morgan's genuine reaction to Chase dousing her with oil.

13.  Cindy Morgan did not want to appear topless in the movie. While Harold Ramis was amenable to changing the scene, producer John Peters asked to talk to her while Ramis had her on the phone. When the call ended, Peters informed Ramis that Morgan would do the topless scene - because Peters had told her she would never work again in Hollywood if she didn't. Morgan recounted in July 2010 that this incident contributed to her not working again (voluntarily) for a long time afterward.

14.  The scene where Cindy Morgan walks by Scott Colomby and Michael O'Keefe at the swimming pool made Morgan very nervous at first, but when she completed it, she felt relieved. Colomby was supposed to say a line while she walked past him but couldn't so he wet his lips and that's what ended up on screen.

15.  In the lovemaking scene, Cindy Morgan was so uncomfortable that Harold Ramis ordered a closed set for it. Michael O'Keefe asked all the cast and crew to take off their shirts for the scene to make her feel more comfortable. 

16.  Cindy Morgan was furious at Chevy Chase during their scene in his cabana. Morgan was upset at the fact that Chase was improvising more than she had anticipated because he didn't tell her ahead of time. This made her uncomfortable, which can be seen clearly when she's having the tequila shots with him and the massage where all the oil accidentally spilled out on her back. Harold Ramis had to settle them down and the scenes then went very smoothly.

17.  The famous scene that begins when Ty Webb's golf ball crashes into Carl Spackler's ramshackle house was not in the original script. It was added by Harold Ramis after realizing that two of his biggest stars, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray (who did not get along due to a feud dating back to their days on Saturday Night Live), did not have a scene together. The three met for lunch and wrote the scene together. Although it has nothing to do with the plot, it is widely regarded as the funniest scene in the movie. This is the only time that Chase and Murray have appeared in a movie together.

18.  Bill Murray filmed all of his scenes, including the famous scene with Chevy Chase, in six days. 

19.  The noises that the Gopher makes are actually vocalized by a dolphin, and the dolphin sound effects used are the same ones that were used for "Flipper."

20.  Bill Murray improvised the "Cinderella story" sequence from two lines of stage direction. Director Harold Ramis simply asked Murray to emulate a kid announcing his own fantasy sports moment. Murray simply asked for four rows of 'mums and did the scene in one take.  Also...

21.  The movie's line "Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac...It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!" was voted as the #92 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

22.  The scene where Carl and Ty are talking in Carl's "house" was almost entirely improvised between Bill Murray and Chevy Chase.

23.  In the scene where the Bishop (played by veteran actor Henry Wilcoxon) is having his best round of golf ever during a thunderstorm, he misses an easy putt, looks skyward and yells "rat farts!", and is immediately struck down by a bolt of lightning. The background music in this scene was from Cecil B. DeMille's classic "The Ten Commandments" in which Wilcoxon played the part of Pentaur. 

24.  While filming, there were a lot of planes flying overhead, which interfered with shooting the golf scenes and caused continuity errors in the dialog tracks that would require looping. John Murray, Bill's younger brother was the one on set everyday to alert Harold Ramis and the shooting crew to stop filming while the planes flew by.

25.  A big hill was built from scratch for the climactic 18th hole scene because the country club did not want their course blown up. They used too many explosives, which completely destroyed the hill and caused planes flying by to report the explosion as if a plane had crashed there.

26.  The gopher sequences were written and filmed after most of the movie was shot. Originally, Harold Ramis wanted to cast a live animal to play the gopher. When that did not work out, the animatronic gopher and its tunnels were built by John Dykstra.

27.  Editor William C. Carruth's original assembled length was about four and a half hours. Bill Murray's ball mashing speech scene lasted a good thirty minutes. Everyone hated the way the film was being put together so they brought in another editor to cut it down to more reasonable length and pace. Orion Pictures and the producers still were not happy with this cut as the shortened version cut out much of the story with the caddies due to both pace and the fact that Bill Murray's, Chevy Chase's and Rodney Dangerfield's parts set the pace for the film's strong comedic elements. The gopher was added at the last minute to ensure that the movie had structure rather than being a series of vignettes.

28.  After filming wrapped each day, most of the cast and crew spent the nights partying, which eventually took its toll before the end of filming as cast and crew began to show up late for morning calls, holding up filming for hours at a time.

29.  After the film started shooting, a hurricane hit Florida and delayed production for several days. The production also experienced delays due to problems with earthworms. 

30.  Sarah Holcomb's (Maggie) film career consisted of only four films within a two year period, "Caddyshack" being her final film.  Afterward, she disappeared from the industry altogether.

31.  This was Ted Knight's final movie. 

32.  After the film's release, writer and producer Douglas Kenney had accidentally fallen off a cliff while on vacation in Hawaii and passed away passed away.  He had been in a deep depression after the film was in post-production as much of the original story had been butchered in the editing room and he was adamantly against the final addition of the gopher to the film. 

33.  Unsurprisingly, the movie is a huge favorite among golfers and golf fans. Tiger Woods so adores the movie, he played Carl Spackler in an American Express commercial that included references to many of the movie's most famous scenes.

34.  Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Sports" in June 2008. 

35.  In 2006, Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time."

There are many characters in this screwball comedy that have been remembered for a long time.  Refresh your memory and see "Caddyshack" very, very soon!  Meanwhile, enjoy these picture stills from the film...

Sandy: I want you to kill every gopher on the course!
Carl Spackler: Check me if I'm wrong Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they're gonna lock me up and throw away the key...
Sandy: Gophers, ya great git! The gophers! The little brown furry rodents!
Carl Spackler: We can do that; we don't even have to have a reason.

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