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33 Facts About "Grease" That Might Just Blow Your Mind

"We'll always be together. Wha oooh, yeah!"

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1. Grease started off as a musical in 1971. It was created by an advertising copywriter named Jim Jacobs and a high school art teacher named Warren Casey. It was adapted into a film in 1978.


4. Randal Kleiser, the film's director, had several people in mind for the role of Sandy Olsson including Carrie Fisher, Susan Dey, Deborah Raffin, and Marie Osmond. Marie was the frontrunner until she objected to Sandy's "good girl to bad girl" transformation.

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5. Elvis Presley was initially offered the role of Teen Angel, but it was ultimately given to Frankie Avalon.

7. For the movie, a lyric from "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" was changed to something a little more sexual: "Elvis, Elvis, let me be! Keep that pelvis far from me!" Coincidentally, Elvis Presley died the same day the scene was filmed, August 16, 1977.


8. While filming, everyone in the primary cast was actually too old to be in high school. Director Randal Kleiser administered a "crow's-feet test" around their eyes to make sure they could pass for teens.

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* John Travolta (Danny Zuko) was 23.

* Olivia Newton-John (Sandy Olsson) was 29.

* Stockard Channing (Betty Rizzo) was 33.

* Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) was 26.

* Didi Conn (Frenchy) was 25.

* Barry Pearl (Doody) was 27.

* Jamie Donnelly (Jan) was 30.

* Michael Tucci (Sonny LaTierri) was 31.

* Dina Manoff (Marty Maraschino) was 19.

* Kelly Ward (Putzie) was 19.

9. Lucille Ball's daughter Lucie Arnaz was originally up for the role of Rizzo, but was later dropped from consideration after her mom told producers this: “I used to own that studio; my daughter’s not doing a screen test!”

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It turns out Lucille Ball owned DesiLu Productions, which was bought by Paramount.


12. "Greased Lightning" was originally supposed to be Jeff Conaway's (Kenickie) song, like it is in the musical, but John Travolta (Danny) insisted he sing it. This caused a bit of tension on set.

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"I have to be completely honest with you,” Travolta said. “I wanted the number. And because I had clout, I could get the number.”

13. Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) injured his back while filming "Greased Lightning." Fellow cast members accidentally dropped him while dancing on top of a car. The injury eventually ignited his pain killer addiction, which led to his untimely death in 2011.

15. The "Sandy" number would've ended differently if it were up to John Travolta (Danny). Instead of the hot dog jumping in the bun, Travolta wanted a close-up.

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"He wanted a close-up on him,” Randal Kleiser said. “But that hot dog was fantastic. I didn’t want to shoot the close-up because I loved the hot dog. That was a battle, but I won.”


16. Production was halted during the drag-racing scene, due to cast members becoming mildly ill due to the filthy water in the LA River. Director Randal Kleiser even caught a foot infection because of it.

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John Travolta reportedly administered a Scientology "touch assist" on Randal Kleiser's foot.

"I was lying there with this fever and he’s poking me and poking me and poking me," Kleiser said. "I’m like, ‘Yes, I feel it.’ ‘Thank you.’ Then he left. The next day I was better, and of course he claimed it was because of the touch assist.”

18. Olivia Newton-John was extremely hesitant about making her transition from "good girl" Sandy to "leather and Spandex" wearing Sandy. John Travolta (Danny) actually had to talk her into it.

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"That was such a stretch, and something I was really worried about,” Newton-John said. “But when it happened, it was just this amazing feeling. It was very freeing. Not just for Sandy, but for me as well. Because I was always the girl next door."


20. It actually only took one day to film "You're the One That I Want" and the end scene. There was also a real traveling circus there.

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21. And the iconic dance contest took an entire week to film. It was shot in Huntington Park High School in Los Angeles. Temperatures reached a scorching 116 degrees during filming, which caused several extras to get mildly ill.

22. Porn star Harry Reems was originally considered for the role of Coach Calhoun, but producers thought it might hurt the film's success. They ultimately replaced hime with Sid Caesar.


24. In the original stage production of the show, Sandy's last name was actually Dumbrowski and was of Polish-American decent. They eventually decided to change it for the film to match her Australian background.

25. "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was written AFTER they finished filming the movie. Olivia Newton-John's ballad was the only Grease song nominated for a 1979 Oscar. It was up for Best Original Song but lost to Donna Summer's "Last Dance."

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27. Coca-Cola initially had a product-placement deal with the film producers, but after negotiations went south, they were forced to obscure all references to the beverage in post-production.


29. John Travolta's sister, Ellen Travolta, plays a diner waitress in the film. She had one line: "Oh, there’s Danny and Sandy,” which was said while watching the dance contest on TV.