66 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Film ‘Grease’

One of the most famous and greatly loved musicals of all time, Grease is the story of the friendships, romances and adventures of a group of high school kids in the 1950’s.

But no matter how many times you’ve seen it, there are still loads of interesting facts you probably didn’t know. Even the biggest Grease fans will tell you that they discover something new when they watch it for the umpteenth time.

Here at the Arthouse Hotel, Grease is one of our all time favourite films, which is why we’ve dedicated an entire suite to the classic high school flick.

We’ve done our research and found a staggering 66 undiscovered Grease film facts.

See how many you knew already!

Grease film facts

Inspiration

Grease the movie is based on the 1971 Broadway musical of the same name.

The Broadway musical was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

Jacobs was an advertising copywriter and Warren Casey was a high-school art teacher. They met through an amateur theatre group in Chicago in the early 1960’s, at high school Jacobs had been a greaser and Casey had been bookish and studious.

Grease film facts

The film is set in 1958, 20 years before the actual release date on 1st June 1978.

It was directed by Randal Kleiser and written by Bronte Woodard.

Casting

Sandy

The wonderful Carrie Fisher was considered for the role of Sandy.

Both Marie Osmond and Susan Dey turned down the role of Sandy, Osmond apparently didn’t want her future children to see her in the film, especially the last scenes.

Before Olivia Newton-John was cast as Sandy, she insisted on having a screen test to make sure she would be the right fit for the character and to determine whether she had onscreen chemistry with Travolta.

Danny

Henry Winkler, a.k.a ‘The Fonz’ turned down playing Danny Zuko because the character was too similar to Fonzie, the tough guy with a heart of gold he was already playing on Happy Days.

The Guardian Angel

Elvis was asked to play the Guardian Angel role in the film, but he didn’t accept the role. It was taken by Frankie Avalon instead.

An Art Teacher

Andy Warhol nearly played the part of an art teacher, but various misunderstandings meant the role could never be decided on.

Held Back a Few Years?

None of the actors were anywhere near high school age, John Travolta was 23, Olivia Newton-John was 29, Jeff Conaway was 26 and Dennis Stewart aka ‘Crater face’ was 30.

Stockard Channing was the eldest of the teenage performers during the filming, she was 33.

The two closest to high school age were Lorenzo Lamas (Tom) and Dinah Manoff (Marty), they were both 19.

On Set

Beauty School Dropout

This scene nearly didn’t happen, Frankie Avalon had an intense fear of heights, so the slippery three-storey staircase didn’t seem so dreamy after all. To solve the problem they put mattresses alongside the steps.

The Dance Scenes

All of the background dancers were named, which doesn’t usually happen in films. Among them were Sauce, Bart, Bubba, Midge and Moose.

Most of the extras that featured in the dance scenes had won a nationwide contest to be in the film.

Dinah Manoff who played Marty couldn’t dance so she sat out every single dance scene.

Rydell High

The high school name Rydell High is a reference to Bobby Rydell, a teen idol known for his 1960’s pop and rock singles.

Rydell High is actually three different real Los Angeles high schools. The outside is Venice High School, the interior is Huntington Park High School and the school field was at John Marshall High School.

It took a week to shoot the dance contest scene and originally Sandy was not intended to dance, it was supposed to be just Danny and Cha Cha.

Hair Dye

Jamie Donnelly (who played Jan) was already growing grey hair when she signed onto “Grease.” To play the part of a high schooler, she had to dye her hair dark brown.

Originally, Lorenzo Lamas who played Tom Chisum had black slicked back hair which made him look too much like a T-Bird, he was told to dye his hair a lighter colour, so he was sent to Rodeo Drive to dye his hair blonde.

Travolta wanted his hair dyed blue-black, inspired by Elvis.

Arguments and Illness

There was originally an extra fight scene between Kenickie and Rizzo to explain why she throws the milkshake at him in the diner, but producers decided it was too heavy for the movie, calling it the “Martin Scorsese scene.”

John Travolta argued with Randal Kleiser, the director, over the end of the song “Sandy”. He wanted a close-up of himself instead of the cartoon shot of a hot dog diving into a bun, Kleiser disagreed.

A number of cast members got ill whilst filming the drag race scene, the water was stagnant and dangerous.

The Rydell prom scene was shot during a heat wave in California and several of the extras had to be treated for heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

Grease is the Word

Grease may be the word, but it’s never actually said once in the entire script, only the word ‘greased’ is sung during the song ‘Greased Lightnin’.

Originally Kenickie was supposed to perform ‘Greased Lightnin’, but Travolta fought to sing the number himself and won.

Name Changes

Producers utilised Olivia Newton-John’s popularity by allowing her to keep her Australian accent and changing Sandy’s last name from American ‘Dumbrowski’ to Australian ‘Olsen’.

In the stage version the boy’s group is called the Burger Palace Boys, this was changed to the T-birds for the film.

‘You’re The One That I Want’

The song ‘You’re The One That I Want’ was filmed at a travelling carnival that was only in town for one day, close ups had to be recreated by the set department.

Olivia Newton-John’s leggings were so tight that the zip was broken, she had to be sewn into them.

Not everyone could handle the carnival rides, Eddie Deezen who played Eugene was on a spinning ride after a scene was ended and threw up.

The ‘You’re The One That I Want’ scene only took one afternoon to film.

Trivia

The character of Danny could have been a busboy, the producer Allan Carr also imagined the greaser working at a gas station, singing a song called “Gas Pump Jockey.”

John Travolta started rehearsals for Grease just four days after completing filming for Saturday Night Fever.

It’s reported that the cast chewed their way through 100,000 pieces of bubblegum during the filming.

Originally, Grease was supposed to be an animated film, but the idea was scraped. To honour the idea they kept the opening credit animations.

The ‘Hickey’s from Kenickie’ that Rizzo tries to cover up were real, given by Jeff Conaway who played Kenickie, to make them look more authentic.

Jeff Conaway had a really big crush on Olivia Newton-John and was nervous around her on set, he ended up marrying her sister.

In Mexico and Venezuela, Grease in known as Vaselina.

Because Jeff Conaway was taller than John Travolta, Kenickie was often slouching when filming so that the lead actor of the movie seemed taller.

Cameos and Almost Camoes

When a coca-cola product placement deal fell through during post-production, multiple shots of coca cola products and advertisements had to be digitally removed or blurred out.

The Beach Boys almost made a guest appearance, Allan Carr originally imagined the surf rock quartet performing ‘Greased Lightnin’.

Danny’s blue windbreaker at the beginning of the film was intended as a nod to James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.

John Travolta’s sister, Ellen Travolta, plays a diner waitress with a single line – ‘Oh, there’s Danny and Sandy’ while watching the dance on TV.

The gang that played the famous trio, Sonny, Putzie and Doody, wanted to honour the Three Stooges and so they asked the producers to pay a small tribute prior to the bonfire scene.

Terminator star Michael Biehn makes an appearance in Grease in the scene where Danny and Kenickie put the frog in Patty’s bag.

The Soundtrack

Two number one hit singles came from the Grease soundtrack, “Grease” and ” You’re The One That I Want”.

The title song ‘Grease’ was written by Barry Gibb, sang by Frankie Valli and Peter Frampton played the guitar.

Lots of songs were cut from the final film, however they can be heard in the background of certain shots.

The “Alma Mater/Parody” instrumental from the stage version of Grease can be heard in the office on the last day of school and during the carnival scenes.

Sandy’s solo “Hopelessly Devoted To You” almost didn’t make the cut and was only added after the film was made. The song was nominated for an Oscar.

Reception

Grease was the highest grossing film of 1978.

Olivia Newton-John attended the film premiere in a prom dress and then for the after party, she changed into her second look, a hot pink spandex.

The official premiere after-party was at the famous Studio 54.

Grease won every People’s Choice Award for which it was nominated – Favourite Motion Picture Actress (Olivia Newton-John), Favourite Motion Picture Supporting Actress (Stockard Channing), Favourite Musical Motion Picture, and Favourite Overall Motion Picture.

Sequels and The Musical

Producers originally wanted to create 3 movies and a TV series but when the first sequel, Grease 2, flopped with $15 million at the box office the other movies were cancelled.

There was a planned sequel called Summer School which was completely different from Grease 2.

Didi Conn was the only one of the Pink Ladies and T-Birds to make an appearance in Grease 2.

Grease the musical is still a successful show and you can still get tickets to see it.

Reunions

Travolta and Newton-John reunited in 1983 for the romantic comedy Two of a Kind. 

They also released a duet Christmas album in 2012, called This Christmas.

There is a crazy fan theory that suggests that the entire musical is actually Sandy’s journey to the afterlife, the story goes that she died when she drowned at the beach and the car is taking them to heaven at the end. Make of that what you will.

The Grease Room At The Arthouse

At the Arthouse Hotel we know that Grease is a classic that should be celebrated.

Our unique Grease-inspired room has been designed as a tribute to the hit 1978 musical, with Sandy and Danny immortalised on the ceiling.

Relax in style, as our Grease room features a large screen TV, kitchenette and a double Jacuzzi bath.

Sleeping up to 6 people, our stunning room is the perfect way to stay in Liverpool city centre, as we’re closely located to the city’s finest restaurants, bars, shops and attractions.

There’s nothing left for you to do but book a stay with us by calling our friendly booking team on 0151 541 9999.

Top Themed Hotel Rooms for Fans of Thriller Movies

When you’re picking your Friday night film which genre do you lean toward? Comedy, fantasy, action? If the answer is a good old-fashioned thriller then why not spend a Friday night one of our Hitchcock movie themed hotel rooms in Liverpool.

At Arthouse Hotel, our second floor has been entirely dedicated to the work of one man who knew how to shock and thrill his audience; Alfred Hitchcock.

Here we count down our Hitchcock themed hotel rooms based on his most thrilling pieces of work.

#5 Notorious 1935

One of Hitchcock’s favourite leading ladies plays the Notorious Alicia Huberman in this masterful love story turned spy thriller.

thriller themed hotel room - Notorious

source: www.sky.com

Deep undercover, Alicia becomes entangled in increasingly more dangerous situations.

The entire movie is rife with the cinematic mastery that Hitchcock became famous for and draws viewers into the seemingly hopeless love affair, spiced with a risky espionage plot line.

The Notorious themed hotel room at Arthouse sleeps up to four guests and is swathed in decadent red leather walls complemented by glistening gold furnishings.

All the top modern facilities are to hand as well with a huge flat screen TV and small kitchenette.

Perfect for a small group of horror fans looking for a thrilling stay in Liverpool.

#4 Suspicion 1941

Suspicion is a classic story of boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy lies to girl and girl suspects boy of plotting to murder her!

Leading man Cary Grant fills the role of playboy Johnnie wins over everyday girl Lina, whom he suspects has access to inheritance from her wealthy father but it’s not long before the truths come out.

thriller themed hotel room - Suspicion

source: www.dealshut.com

Throughout the rest of the movie Lina’s suspicion of her new husband begin to mount and Hitchcock manages to engage the audience and succeeds in matching their suspicions to hers.

A famous scene is when Johnnie is ascending the stairs with a glass of milk for Lina. The audience’s suspicions heighten without verbal prompting because the glass is illuminated.

thriller themed hotel room - Suspission

source: www.bfi.org

At Arthouse Hotel, the Suspicion themed hotel room has been matched to Hitchcock’s classic style black leather finishes mimicking his perfectly tailored trademark black suits, splashes of red to add some drama.

The Suspicion hotel room sleeps up to six guests with a functional kitchenette and stunning ensuite bathroom.

#3 Vertigo 1958

Perhaps the defining movie moment of his illustrious career Hitchcock uses Vertigo to explore the fragility of the human mind and the ease at which it can be manipulated.

thriller themed hotel rooms - Vertigo

source: www.theimaginativeconservative.org

It has been recognised as the best film ever made and ranks as the ninth-greatest American movie of all time.

Thanks to special camera tricks such as the infamous dolly zoom, and Hitchcock’s fondness for French literature, Vertigo is a movie masterpiece with a dark theme at its core.

Plenty of theories have been drawn up as to what the movie signifies some include portrayals of male aggression, the deconstruction of femininity and the most modern perhaps is that the movie is the all in the imagination of the main male lead.

Our Vertigo themed hotel room can sleep up to four guests in utter luxury.

Located in Liverpool’s most popular nightlife district, Vertigo provides perfect group accommodation in Liverpool for those who enjoy a spooky movie.

#2 Psycho 1960

A movie with the most iconic scene in cinema history, Psycho most defiantly deserves the runner up spot in our countdown to most thrilling Hitchcock movies.

This amazing movie plot has been at the core of so many popular thrillers and set the benchmark for acceptable levels of on screen violence.

Typical of Hitchcock our leading lady Janet Leigh is stranded in a secluded motel after stealing from her boss. Hitchcock often made his victims seem as though they somehow deserved their fate, another directorial technique adopted by modern movie makers.

thriller themed hotel rooms - Psycho

source: www.indiewire.com

Leigh’s character eventually succumbs to the evils of Norman Bates, and one of the most terrifying and disturbing movies follows.

Our stunning Psycho themed hotel room sleeps up to four guests and in the city centre of Liverpool. There are full modern facilities available to guests including a huge flat screen TV and stunning ensuite bathrooms.

thriller themed hotel rooms - Psycho

source: www.awardsdaily.com

Worlds apart from the accommodation experience at Bates Motel for sure.

#1 The Birds 1963

Our number one movie in our countdown to the most thrilling pieces of Hitchcock’s work is, of course, The Birds.

Starting the movie with a clever bit of movie trickery, Hitchcock lulls the audience into a false sense of security with playful comedy technique known as screwball comedy.

After setting the comedic tone of a love story Hitchcock then plunges his audiences into unimaginable terror and new realms of bird related fear.

thriller themed hotel rooms - Alfred Hitchcock

Tippi Hendren who played the lead role in The Birds was said to have been shaken after scenes filmed with Hitchcock due to these little-known facts from the filming of The Birds.

The famed telephone box scene where Hitchcock threw in a realistic looking bird prop smashing the glass was not scripted, neither was there meant to be live birds in the attic scene towards the end of the movie.

It was Hitchcock’s style to shock and amaze; his talent was clear and he captivated his audiences by leaving them wanting more.

The Birds room at Arthouse Hotel will do just the opposite, giving you everything you could need or want during a stay in Liverpool.

thriller themed hotel room - The Birds

This stunning movie themed hotel room is exceptionally outfitted with stunning décor and the latest modern facilities. Sleeping up to four guests The Birds room is our top choice for a group of thriller movie fans looking to stay in Liverpool in style.

Staying at Arthouse Hotel

movie themed hotel rooms at Arthouse Hotel

Call and book your stay today on 0151 601 8801 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk.

Come along and see how Alfred Hitchcock’s genius has helped us make stunning themed hotel rooms that, like the great director, never fail to impress.