Top 10 Facts About Grease That Will Ruin Your Childhood
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Shannon Stovall
These facts about "Grease" will ruin your childhood. Our countdown includes tongue tied Travolta, picking on Patty, high school senior citizens, and more!
Top 10 Facts About Grease That Will Ruin Your Childhood
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for The Top 10 Facts about Grease that Will Ruin Your Childhood.
For this list, we’ll be looking at facts about this much-loved musical that may tarnish this movie’s magic.
Which fact from this movie ruined your memories? Let us know in the comments.
#10: Unhappy Feet
You could be forgiven for thinking that everyone in the “Grease” cast was a great dancer. Even Blanche the principal's assistant made her way through the dance line. However, remember how Marty spent the dance flirting with DJ Vince Fontaine? Dinah Manoff was a horrible dancer; despite several takes and attempts to train her for the musical numbers, she was unable to get her feet to cooperate. This is why she was never shown front and centre in any of the dance scenes. While this was more than a little inconvenient in a musical, it might have been a blessing in disguise during the iconic dance off number, when the temperature got as high as 116 degrees and several extras fell ill!
#9: An Ode to Elvis Became an Eerie Tribute
Elvis was known for shocking the world with his gyrating moves, and driving women wild with them as well. It was very fitting that during the slumber party song, the ladies offered up his name in the song “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”. Ths line was one of the few lyrics changed from the original stage play to update the movie for the times. Ironically however, Elvis died on the same day this scene was filmed, making a fun lyrical innuendo into a bittersweet nod to the King.
#8: Tongue Tied Travolta
John Travolta has had his fair share of twists of the tongue. Just ask Idina Minzel. However, he seemed to have an especially hard time with several of his lines in Grease. Many scenes had to be reshot due to his flubs. He struggled especially hard during the Grease Lightning song number. He was supposed to sing “Go grease lightning, you’re coasting through the HEAT lap trials”. But he kept singing “heap lap trials” - so many times that they ended up just leaving it in the movie!
#7: Hair Care by Crayola
No one can escape the grasp of genetics or father time, and Jamie Donnelly who played Jan, was no exception. The actress’s hair was turning gray prematurely during the shooting of the film, which would contrast with the highschooler image she was supposed to portray. This meant her hair had to be color treated for the flick. However, her hair grew so quickly it was not feasible to dye it as often as needed to cover the gray. As a result, her silver roots were colored with black crayon several times during the shoot.
#6: Beware the Beauty School Drop-Out
Inspiration comes from many places; sometimes those places are dark. When Frenchie sits alone lamenting her choices, a doo-wop number lightens the mood. “Beauty School Dropout” may seem like a fun, humorous ditty, but it actually got its name after writers Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey read about a teen who dropped out of beauty school, only to end up becoming a murderer. Wow, we’re really glad that Frenchie’s storyline doesn’t go in this direction! “Grease” would have ended up becoming a horror film with strangely upbeat musical numbers.
#5: Picking on Patty
What would a high school movie be without the perk, peppy, pain in the patootie character that annoys everyone? Patty Simcox, portrayed by Susan Buckner, was that character in Grease. Within the world of the movie, it made sense for poor Patty to be picked on and excluded, given the high school atmosphere. But Buckner reported that she was treated similarly behind the scenes. She later shared that the cast and crew often excluded her from the off camera fun and didn’t see this behavior as a problem, making her memories of the filming less than nostalgic.
If you watched Grease as a kid, it’s likely that much of the sexual innuendo went over your head. But as a teen or an adult, it was pretty blatant. While songs such as “Summer Nights” and “Sandra Dee” had sexual references that were a little more on the tamer side, “Greased Lightnin” was a song with innuendo that went far beyond car restoration. In order to slip another reference by the censors, the T-Birds ran around the car with rolls of plastic, which seems pretty random; but many see this as a reference to safe sex, since it was rumored at the time that plastic wrap could substitute for condoms.
#3: High School Senior Citizens
It’s pretty obvious, even on first viewing, that the actors were a little older than the high schoolers they were playing. But how much older might surprise you. The main cast’s age ranged from 20 year old Kelly Ward who played Putzie, to 33 year old Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing. Most of the actors were in their mid to late 20’s making them almost 10 years older than their characters. Reportedly the director checked each cast member for “crows feet” before casting them, to ensure they could pass for high schoolers.
#2: Emergency Surgery for Cha-Cha
Cha-Cha DiGregorio is one of Grease’s memorable femme fatales, set up to be one of the antagonists of the film along with The Scorpions. She wasn’t afraid to use her charms to compete with Sandy for Danny’s attention and affection. She was flirtatious, dressed to kill, and had some fantastic dance moves. While filming the movie, Annette Charles sadly suffered an ectopic pregnancy, which led to emergency surgery. Shortly after the crew finished up the iconic drag race scene, she was brought to the local hospital for the operation.
#1: Jeff Conaway’s Health Problems
Many movies have tragic stories attached to them, and Grease is no exception. During the shooting of the “Greased Lightnin” scene, Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie, was accidentally dropped by fellow cast members, injuring his back. This injury is believed to be part of what eventually led to a reliance on painkillers. Conaway appeared on Celebrity Rehab in 2008 and spoke about his battle with addiction. On May 11, 2011, he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis, and passed away later that same month. His doctor linked his death to his long use of opiates.