Not universal as in the meaning of life, but Universal as in the studio. This is from a press release they sent over…some cool stuff here! Here are my favorites (see the complete list here) plus I’ve added a few more salacious tidbits at the end. I have not verified these fun facts.
April 30, 2012 marks the official 100th Anniversary of Universal Pictures! In honor of the Centennial celebration, we’ve put together 100 fun facts which draw from both the history of the studio and our films.
UNIVERSAL PICTURES 100 YEARS, 100 FUN FACTS
6. The word “dude” in The Big Lebowski is used approximately 161 times in the movie: 160 times spoken and once in text (in the credits for “Gutterballs” the second dream sequence). The F-word or a variation of the F-word is used 292 times. The Dude says “man” 147 times in the movie—that’s nearly 1.5 times a minute.
15. In the movie The Breakfast Club, the students ate the following for lunch: Andrew: A bag of chips, chocolate cookies, three sandwiches, milk, a banana and an apple. Claire: Sushi. Allison: Sandwich with Pixie Stix and Captain Crunch cereal. Brian: Soup, sandwich with peanut butter and jam and apple juice. Bender: Nothing.
21. According to reports, during some of the Russian roulette scenes in the movie The Deer Hunter, a live round was put into the gun to heighten the actors’ tension per Robert De Niro’s suggestion. It was checked, however, to make sure the bullet was not in the chamber before the trigger was pulled.
22. In the first scene of the movie Double Indemnity, when Walter first kisses Phyllis, there is a wedding ring on Walter’s hand. Fred MacMurray was married and the ring was not noticed until post-production.
29. Neither Michelle Rodriguez nor Jordana Brewster had drivers’ licenses or even learners’ permits before production of the film in Fast and the Furious.
31. In the movie Field of Dreams, both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are among the thousands of extras in the Fenway Park scene. Over a decade later, when Phil Alden Robinson worked with Affleck on the production of The Sum of All Fears, Affleck said, “Nice working with you again.”
35. The Universal sound technician, Jack Foley, developed the method of creating and recording many of the natural, everyday sound effects in a film. Today this method is named after him.
40. In the infamous shower scene in Psycho, the sound of the knife-stabbing actress Janet Leigh was made by plunging a knife into a melon.
45. In 1995, Waterworld generated worldwide attention for being the most expensive film made to date. Unable to live up to expectations at the box office, the film eventually turned a profit due to strong home video sales and inspired one of the most popular theme park attractions of all time.
52. Steven Spielberg nicknamed the mechanical shark in the movie Jaws, “Bruce.”
54. The script Charlton Heston holds in the film Earthquake as he’s running lines with Genevieve Bujold is actually the script for “Earthquake” and on the page of the scene being shot.
57. With the film Meet the Fockers, the MPAA would not allow use of the name ‘Focker’ unless the filmmakers could find an actual person with that last name.
58. The first American film to show a toilet flushing on screen was Psycho.
62. In the film Pillow Talk, Tony Randall was supposed to fake a reaction to being decked in the face by one of the restaurant patrons. However, during filming, the actor overestimated and actually knocked out Randall. The shot was so well done— it was used in the film.
68. The children who sang the song, “Every Sperm is Sacred” in the Monty Python film, The Meaning of Life, later said they had no idea what sperm was or what they were singing about.
76. When you hear the sound of the crowd cheering, “Spartacus! Spartacus!” in the movie Spartacus, it was actually a pre-taped recording from a 1959 football game at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium.
83. Yes, at some point, some Universal executive, or team of executives, thought 1986’s Howard the Duck was a good idea.
MATT’S NOT SO FUN FACTS
101. During a special “Halloween Horror Night” at Universal Studios, a young employee assigned to jump out and scare passengers on passing tour trams was killed when he was run over and dragged to his death.
102. An unidentified mechanism failed on the Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood June, 2008, spraying a ride vehicle and its occupants with vegetable oil. The guests were given a change of clothes and allowed to shower at the property.
103. Universal’s building on Lankershim was known as the “Black Tower.”
104. Lew Wasserman and his MCA talent company took over Universal Studios in 1962. He was alleged to have had serious mob ties. In 1997, Seagram’s bought Universal and Edgar Bronfman, Jr. became vice-chairman. He was later convicted of insider trading in a French court resulting in a €5 million fine. During his time as CEO of Vivendi (which owned Universal), Jean-Marie Messier used corporate funds to buy a $17.5 million apartment for his personal use. Neither Bronfman nor Messier served prison time.