TRIVIA TIDBITS

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Hey folks, don’t know if you’ve noticed yet but it’s the festive season and something called “Christmas” is apparently upon us. During this time, gifts are supposed to be exchanged. As a result, I thought I’d gift you all with a Christmas themed trivia post as it’s been a while since I done some of these. So without further ado, this weeks Christmas Tidbits are…

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1: Films made prior to “It’s a Wonderful Life” used cornflakes painted white for the falling snow effect. Because the cornflakes were so loud, dialogue had to be dubbed in later. Frank Capra wanted to record the sound live, so a new snow effect was developed using foamite (a fire-fighting chemical) and soap and water. This mixture was then pumped at high pressure through a wind machine to create the silent, falling snow. 6000 gallons of the new snow were used in the film. The RKO Effects Department received a Class III Scientific or Technical Award from the Motion Picture Academy for the development of the new film snow.

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2: “Home Alone” is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland. It has aired on national TV during prime time Christmas season every year since 1990. In 2011 the movie aired on December 23rd with an audience of over 5 million, making it the most popular show aired during the Christmas season in Poland. One of the reasons for this is because the movie was one of the first western productions aired in Poland after the fall of communism.

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3: The prosthetic make-up that Jim Carrey wore in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” took 3 hours to apply. Carrey felt so horribly confined and uncomfortable in the latex skin he needed counselling from a Navy SEAL who taught him torture-resistance techniques.

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4: The original concept of “White Christmas” was to reunite Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, as they had been successful in “Holiday Inn” in 1942. Astaire refused, as he had “retired” at the time, so the part was reworked for Donald O’Connor. O’Connor eventually pulled out and the part was reworked at the last minute for Danny Kaye.

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5: In “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation“, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) unsuccessfully attempts to demonstrate his handiwork with the house Christmas lights to his family. Afterwards, he asks his son, Rusty (Johnny Galecki), to help him check all the light bulbs again. Rusty looks at his bare wrist, pretending to have a watch, and excuses himself. Looking at a bare wrist and pretending to have a watch is actually one of Chevy Chase’s trademark gags.

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6: Tim Burton has said the original poem of “A Nightmare Before Christmas” was inspired after seeing Halloween merchandise display in a store being taken down and replaced by a Christmas display. The juxtaposition of ghouls and goblins with Santa and his reindeer sparked his imagination.

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7: There is a scene in “The Polar Express” at the North Pole City communications room featuring an elf describing a bad little boy in New Jersey named Steven who is terrorising his two little sisters. This line is a nod to Robert Zemeckis’ friend and mentor, Steven Spielberg. Spielberg grew up in New Jersey and has admitted many times that he frequently terrorised his two younger sisters.

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8: On the final day of shooting of “Elf” in New York, it was just the director, Jon Favreau, Will Ferrell, and a camera man driving around the city looking for locations to shoot. They would jump out and ask pedestrians if they would be willing to be extras for some quick cash while Ferrell paraded around acting like Buddy. Much of the montage when Buddy first arrives in New York was filmed then, such as when he is getting his shoes shined and jumping between traffic.

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9: As Tim Allen has a criminal record and Disney has a ‘no hiring of ex-cons’ policy, an exception was made in the case of “The Santa Clause“. Before he was cast, though, the role of Scott Calvin/Santa Clause was written with Bill Murray in mind.

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10: Before Billy Bob Thornton got the lead role in “Bad Santa“, Jack Nicholson had read the script and wanted to do it. However, he had to turn it down because he was already committed to “Something’s Gotta Give“. Bill Murray was actually signed on for the role but, again, he dropped out for “Lost in Translation“…

… and on that note, I’d like to wish everyone a very “Murray Christmas

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47 Responses to “TRIVIA TIDBITS”

  1. Great trivia, loved the It’s a wonderful life one.

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  2. Lovely stuff Mark, excellent fact about It’s a Wonderful Life. Also, I think Jim Carrey having to be trained in torture-resistance techniques in somewhat ironic πŸ˜‰

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  3. Wow tons of good ones here. Most of them were completely new to me. Funny you mention “Holiday Inn”. It’s one of my mom’s all-time favorites. She watched it so much as a kid that I really grew to dislike it. Now I haven’t seen it in years.

    Great stuff man. I love this feature.

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    • Cheers bro! I know what you mean about a parent watching a film far too many times. Mine was unfortunately, Dirty Dancing. Can’t stand that damn film. πŸ˜‰

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the post, though. I’ve just not had the time to compile these of late. I do hope to get them up and running again at some point.

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  4. Always enjoy these posts Mark!

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  5. Wow I didn’t know that about the cornflakes! And I really can’t see anyone else other than Bill Bob Thornton in Bad Santa. He was perfect

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  6. All interesting tidbits. Thanks!

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  7. When you wrote that piece of Tim Allen a few months ago, I immediately thought of his role in The Santa Claus. Couldn’t imagine Santa as a coke dealer. πŸ˜‰

    Nice trivia as always and happy holidays.

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  8. Nice list Mark. Murray Christmas, lol.

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  9. Great stuff, Muckers!!

    Yesterday MRS THE IPC made me watch a Liberace Christmas special from the 50s. Here’s a tidbit for you: it was TERRIBLE.

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  10. Great edition! 1-3 are my favorites, and also 6 πŸ™‚

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  11. As always my man, them there’s some great movie trivia. Merry Christmas Mark πŸ™‚

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  12. What a spectacular TRIVIA post! I didn’t know a single one before this, so well done Mark! Ahah, funny about those loud cornflakes, crazy how technology has made things easier to make films now. Fun stuff as always, my friend. What a great way to get into the Christmas mood πŸ˜€

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    • Glad to hear you enjoyed them Ruth. A lot were new to me too and that cornflakes one is a beauty. I doubt I’ll ever forget that now. This will probably be my last post for wee while now but I hope you have a lovely Xmas. πŸ™‚

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  13. Cornflakes as snow flakes? That’s clever! Murray Christmas, to you, too–hey, where can I get a calendar? I love the thought of Bill wearing only a red ribbon πŸ˜‰

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  14. backlashcomix Says:

    Great trivia again. It’s funny how many people associate Bill Murray with Christmas, but I guess Scrooged sticks in a lot of people’s minds. Nice snow effect on your page too!

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  15. Awesome stuff! Home Alone is the most popular Christmas film in my country, Estonia, too (and the sequels), but I guess it’s the same way in most Eastern European countries. πŸ˜› Murray Christmas to you too, Mark! πŸ˜€

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    • Yeah, this was news to me until recently Elina but I assume it probably is the same in many Eastern European countries. Either way, it’s still my favourite Xmas film.
      Murray Christmas Elina. πŸ™‚

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  16. Interesting stuff here, Mark. I can only imagine what those actors wearing that amount of makeup like in the Grinch must feel like, something you don’t really think about much while watching the movie.

    Also interesting about Tim Allen, seeing as he went on to star in three Toy Story sequels as well. I wonder if Pixar has those same “no cons” standards?

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    • Cheers Chris. Yeah, sometimes it’s easy to forget the hardships of gruelling makeup deals. Still, it’s a testament to Carrey for still managing to act underneath it all. He certainly still gets his idiosyncratic style out.

      As for Tim Allen, it would seem that Disney actually quite like him. Who knows, maybe he was providing a good bit of cocaine to keep them sweet. πŸ˜‰

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  17. jackdeth72 Says:

    Hi, Mark;

    ‘White Christmas’ was full of surprises. I think Croby and Danny Kaye work very well together. Especially in non dance timing shown in their “Sisters” routine. And Kaye’s gaunt and gawky style makes “Choreography” a favorite of mine.

    You story on Corn Flakes, Wilder and his soapy solution to cinematic snow is a pleasant revelation!

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    • Hi Jack,

      Thanks for dropping in my friend. Glad to hear that the cornflakes story was a revelation. That’s always the aim with these little posts so it always pleases me when someone finds something new from them. By the way, sorry for the late reply, I’ve been taking a break from the blogosphere of late.

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  18. Murray Christmas, Mark! Great trivia as always. πŸ™‚

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  19. […] back, it seems strange now to imagine the great Bill Murray magically transforming into the beloved and iconic role of Santa Claus in this Disney classic. In fact it’s […]

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  20. daveackackattack Says:

    Just getting to this Mark. The Bill Murray card is priceless. I really liked the inspiration for A Nightmare Before Christmas.

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  21. I want this next year too!

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