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29 Fun Facts about Abraham Lincoln

Besides Frank Sinatra, Abraham Lincoln was probably one of the most influential people in my life.  Of course I didn’t know him personally, but my deep desire to learn everything I could about this mysterious man shaped my life in ways I never thought possible.

It was my love of Lincoln that motivated me to watch a 90’s made-for-TV movie called Tad, starring Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Lincoln, Jane Curtin as Mary Todd, and a very young Bug Hall as Lincoln’s son, Tad.  At the beginning of the movie, there is a solo trumpet playing “Hail to the Chief”.  It was that rendition that inspired my 10-year-old self to take up trumpet…an instrument that would stay a part of my life throughout my entire education and beyond.  It became my goal to one day play “Hail to the Chief” for the President one day…still workin’ on that one 😉

My love of Lincoln also got me interested in history education and The Civil War, an educational path I almost took in college before switching to literature.  He got me interested in presidential history and the history of my own home state.  And, as an added little how do ya do, the most recent Lincoln movie starring Daniel Day Lewis hit theaters on my birthday.  Ka-wink-ee-dink?  I think not.

For as famous and well-known as Lincoln is today, he was a very secluded man, prone to depression and large bouts of sadness.  He was instrumental in shaping several of today’s laws and government organizations, and has been named several times as one of the best presidents the US has ever had.

He holds the record for many strange accolades, including being the tallest president, the president with the biggest feet, the only president to hold a patent, the first president to be photographed at his inauguration, the first president to be added to the US currency, the first president with a beard, and was the first president to be born outside the original 13 colonies.

He fought for women’s rights…he fought for equal rights…he fought against slavery and he fought for the common man.  He honored education, loved his children dearly, and served his country not just as the President, but in local government as well.  A few days ago we celebrated Lincoln’s 208th birthday…and as a little celebration, here are 29 Fascinating Facts about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.

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29 Fun Facts about Abraham Lincoln

  1. Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender.
  2. Abraham’s son, Robert, was saved from a train accident by Edwin Booth, brother of his father’s killer, John Wilkes Booth.
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  3. Robert was also the only son of Abe Lincoln to live to adulthood.
  4. About 60 years ahead of his time, Abe was a firm believer that women should have the right to vote.
  5. Abe is among a large assortment of brilliant minds that do not own a college degree.  Others include Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.
  6. Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same day.
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  7. According to his own journals, Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination before it happened…as did Martin Luther King, Jr.
  8. When he was running for president, Abe received a letter from a young 11-year-old girl named Grace Greenwood.  In the letter, she told Abe that he would look much more dignified and presidential with a beard.  He took her advice…and won.
    Image result for abraham lincoln, with and without a beard
  9. Abraham Lincoln has no confirmed living descendants.  The last known one, a great-grandson, died in 1985.
  10. So far, Lincoln is the tallest US president, standing at 6 foot 4 inches.  He also has the biggest feet of any US President, wearing a size 14 shoe.
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  11. Lincoln did indeed hold important documents and speech notes inside his tall black hat.
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  12. After being shot, Lincoln remained in a coma for 9 hours before succumbing to his injuries.
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  13. Though today his views would be considered more democratic, Lincoln was actually the first Republican elected to the US Presidency.
  14. Abe was also the first US President to be born outside one of the original 13 colonies.
  15. Lincoln was the first President to be photographed at his inauguration.
  16. He was also the first to appear on a US coin.
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  17. Lincoln was a huge fan of Shakespeare and quoted him often.  John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed Lincoln, was a famous Shakespearean actor and a personal favorite of Lincoln’s.
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  18. Lincoln is the only President to hold a patent.  He invented a device to free steamboats that ran aground.
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  19. He was also a man of simple tastes.  He didn’t drink, smoke, or chew tobacco…and he never drank inside The White House.
  20. It was Honest Abe himself who officially established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
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  21. Lincoln loved cats.  His own cat, Tabby, had a place at The White House dinner table.  He also had a dog named Fido.
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  22. Defeated only once in about 300 matches, Lincoln was an accomplished wrestler in his day.  He’s enshrined as an “Outstanding American” in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
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  23. The last piece of legislation Lincoln signed before his assassination was the creation of the Secret Service.
  24. Illinois may be known as “The Land of Lincoln”, but he didn’t move here until he was 21.  He was born in Kentucky and spent time in Indiana before eventually settling in Illinois.
  25. The Lincoln Bedroom in The White House was never really Lincoln’s bedroom.  He used the space as his personal office, meeting with Cabinet members and signing documents, including The Emancipation Proclamation.
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  26. There are more books written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American to date.
  27. Tom Hanks is a descendent of Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks.  Abe and Tom are very, very, very distant cousins.
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  28. Lincoln’s heterosexuality has been disputed on numerous occasions, as various biographers have claimed that Lincoln may have been homosexual or bisexual.  There are several stories about Lincoln sleeping in the same bed as some of his mail friends, though no actual concrete proof of Lincoln’s preferences have been unearthed as of yet.
  29. There are SEVERAL weird coincidences between Abe Lincoln and later President, John F. Kennedy.  Both were shot in the head on a Friday, both were elected to Congress exactly 100 years apart (1846/1946), both were elected to the presidency 100 years apart (1860/1960), both men’s successors were named Johnson (Andrew Johnson/Lyndon Johnson), both Johnson’s were born 100 years apart (1808/1908), both Lincoln and Kennedy were shot by a man with thee known names (John Wilkes Booth/Lee Harvey Oswald), both Lincoln and Kennedy contain seven letters, the names of both their assassins contain 15 letters, and Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre while Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln town car, made by Ford.
    Image result for abe lincoln, john f kennedy

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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33 Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day

Whether you love it or ya hate it, Valentine’s Day is coming nonetheless.

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A holiday with a very confusing and questioned history, Valentine’s Day is supposedly named after St. Valentine, who performed secret marriages and was executed for his crime on February 14th.

Now both celebrated and loathed by people all over the world, Valentine’s Day is a $17 billion a year industry and is easily the lifeblood for companies such as American Greetings, Hallmark, Hersheys, and – believe it or not – a WIDE assortment of home pregnancy test companies.

So, whether you indulge in flowers and chocolates or you hide under a blanket and wait for all the ooy gooy stuff to end, here are 33 Fun Facts (you’re sure to LOVE!) About Valentine’s Day!

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33 Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day

  1. There are several theories as to how Valentine’s Day started, the most popular being that when Roman Emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, he forbade young men to marry (apparently single men make better soldiers). In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages.  He was imprisoned for his actions and was executed on February 14th.
  2. Supposedly while St. Valentine was in jail, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote her a love letter before his execution. He signed it, “from your Valentine”.
  3. Adding to the confusion is that there have been approximately eight St. Valentines throughout history. The two most likely to have inspired Valentine’s Day are Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome, though some scholars speculate that they are actually the same person.
  4. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned to their sleeves for one week for everyone to see.  This is supposedly the origin of the expression, “to wear your heart on your sleeve”.
  5. According to several sources, it was Henry VIII – the same man who would behead all his wives for not giving him sons – who officially declared February 14th the holiday of St. Valentine in 1537.
  6. Apparently girls have been playing love games around Valentine’s Day since the holiday’s inception! In England around 1700, girls would pin four bay leaves to their pillows and eat a hard-boiled egg, including the shell, the night before Valentine’s Day.  If she dreamed of a boy that night, she would soon marry him.
  7. Girls would also write boys’ names on small pieces of paper and cover them with clay. They’d drop them in the water and, when the clay broke, the papers would float to the top.  The first name the girl could read would predict who she would marry.
  8. Based on retail statistics, about 3% of pet owners (or at least 9 million people) will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
  9. About 15% of US women will send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
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  10. On average, about 196 million red roses are produced for Valentine’s Day each year.
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  11. Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800’s.
  12. Today, over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day…and more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day.
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  13. The first recorded Valentine card sent was in February 1415 by the English Duke of Orleans. He sent a love letter to his wife from his jail cell in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt.  The letter is currently on display in The British Museum.
  14. Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, and pets.
  15. About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year around February 14th. This makes Valentine’s Day the second-largest card holiday behind Christmas.
    television heart peanuts charlie brown valentine
  16. In totality, Valentine’s Day is a $17.4 billion holiday.
  17. Hallmark produced its first Valentine card in 1913.
  18. Lace is often used on Valentine’s Day decorations. The word ‘lace’ comes from the Latin laques, meaning “to snare or net”, or to catch a person’s heart.
  19. Some of the oldest handmade Valentine cards are rebuses, or a puzzle or riddle using pictures. For example, a picture of a bee and a picture of a gold mine would indicate the sentiment, “Be Mine”.
  20. Esther Howland was the first person to create Valentines to sell in the US. She patented a lacy Valentine in 1844 – making well over $100,000 by 1860.
  21. On average, about 11,000 children are conceived on Valentine’s Day each year.
  22. So, not surprisingly, more at-home pregnancy tests are sold in March than any other month of the year.
  23. Penicillin, a popular treatment for venereal diseases such as syphilis, was introduced to the world on February 14, 1929.
  24. February 14th is also V-Day, a day meant to help raise awareness to end violence against women and girls. It started as a benefit back in 1998 inspired by the work of Eve Ensler, the playwright and activist behind The Vagina Monologues.
  25. There are about 8 billion candy hearts made each year…enough to stretch from Valentine, Arizona to Rome, Italy about 20 times back and forth.
    Salih! love art heart candy
  26. Nearly 10 new candy heart sayings are introduced each year. Recent additions have included “Yeah Right”, “Puppy Love”, and “Call Home”.
    funny cartoons & comics heart charlie brown valentines day
  27. Those little conversation hearts also have a shelf life of about 5 years.
  28. In terms of gifts, about 65% of the US will receive at least one greeting card. Other popular gifts include date nights (44%), candy (38%), flowers (32%), gift cards (29%), and plush toys (21%).
  29. The average consumer spends about $100 on Valentine’s Day gifts, meals, and entertainment.
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  30. Roughly 63% of men and 69% of women think it’s cliché to get engaged or married on Valentine’s Day.
  31. However, roughly 4 million Americans expect to propose or to be proposed to over Valentine’s Day.
  32. In the 1900’s, the Chicago Post Office refused to deliver about 25,000 Valentine postcards because the messages were not nice. These cards came to be known as “vinegar Valentines”.
  33. Valentine Writers were booklets written in 1823 to help those who couldn’t think up Valentine verses on their own.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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28 Fun Facts About Gene Kelly

The first time I ever watched Gene Kelly dance was in Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  A wonderfully cheesy picture starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Esther Williams, TMOTTBG is about a terrible baseball team that is instantly improved when their new coach, (A WOMAN), whips them into shape.  Featuring lovely dance numbers, including several where Esther Williams is in the water, of course, Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a gem of a film, and happened to be one of my grandma’s favorites.

I was at her house when we watched it together for the first time.  She knew I loved Sinatra and thought this would be a great way for us to spend some time together.  Granted, I did love Sinatra’s numbers, but I remember my 10-year-old self being completely mystified and enchanted by Gene Kelly.

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After TMOTTBG, I dove into Gene’s other films, including the other two he made with Frank (Anchors Aweigh and On the Town), as well as the films that shot him into stardom, including An American in Paris, Cover Girl, and of course, Singin’ in the Rain.  I was glued on him.  He made it look so easy!  The fluidity of his movements and his drop-dead gorgeous smile…he lit up the screen in every way possible and to this day he remains as one of my favorite performers.

On this day 21 years ago, Gene Kelly passed away from complications from a stroke.  He was 83 years old and had nearly 30 movies under his belt by the time he passed.  He was a powerhouse both on stage and on screen and completely changed the way theater and moviegoers reacted to tap, ballet, and modern dance.  Many of his methods are still used to this day and his impact on Hollywood certainly does not go unnoticed.

Unlike his colleagues of the day, Gene didn’t actually get his start until much later in his life and was near 40 years old when he had his breakthrough role in Singin’ in the Rain.  But despite his late start to the game, Gene turned MGM and Hollywood upside down when he started dancing…and his dedication, near obsession, to his craft has earned him a glowing star amidst the glamour and glitz of the golden age of Hollywood.

If you’re looking to learn a little bit more about Gene Kelly, here are about 28 fun facts about the man who taught the world to love dance.

28 Fun Facts About Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly was one of five children born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Like most young boys at the time, Gene’s dream was to be a professional baseball player for his hometown.  He’s quoted as saying he “wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

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Gene entered Pennsylvania State College as a journalism major, but the 1929 Stock Market Crash forced him to work to help his family.  He and his brother Fred would earn money creating dance routines for local talent contests and nightclubs.

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Two years after he left Penn State, Gene enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to study economics and received a degree in the subject.

While at University, Gene joined the Cap and Gown Club, which staged original musical productions.  After graduating in 1933, he continued to work with the Cap and Gown Club, serving as their director until 1938.

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Gene’s family opened a dance studio in Pittsburgh titled The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance.  Gene taught there while attending college and working towards a law degree, a path he had to drop after two months when he decided to move to New York and pursue dancing full time…But NY was a bust.  Gene decided to move back to PA and teach dance wherever he could, as well as perform in a few local shows.

His first career breakthrough came in 1939 at the age of 27 when he was cast in the Pulitzer-Prize winning Broadway show, The Time of Your Life.

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The following year, Gene was cast as the lead role in the stage production of Pal Joey, a role that shot him into stardom.

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After Pal Joey, offers from Hollywood began pouring in…and in 1941, Gene decided to move back to New York and try his luck on the big screen.

Gene’s first movie was For Me and My Gal in 1942, starring box-office champion, Judy Garland.  Judy and Gene would go on to be very close friends the rest of their lives.

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He achieved another successful breakthrough in 1944 for his work with Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl.  This film features one of Gene’s most memorable scenes, where he dances with himself – NO CGI USED HERE – to highlight his characters internal struggle.

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At the end of the same year, Gene enlisted in the US Naval Air Service and was stationed in Washington DC, where he was involved in writing and directing a range of documentaries.

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Ironically Gene’s next film, Anchors Aweigh, cast him and heartthrob Frank Sinatra as two young and strapping Navy men.  MGM gave Gene a free hand to devise a range of dance routines, including one of Gene’s most popular dance scenes with Jerry the Mouse.  Though the scene only lasts about 4 minutes, it took months to complete.  Kelly’s movements were filmed first, then there were 10,000 painted frames of Jerry the mouse to synchronize with Kelly’s movements.

This scene was recreated recently on Family Guy with Stewie acting the part of Jerry.  Gene lives on!

Anchors Aweigh (one of my personal favorites!) was one of three movies starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and was one of the most successful films of 1945.  It garnered Gene his first and only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, which he lost to Ray Milland for The Lost Weekend.

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After a few flops, Gene wanted to return to safer and more commercial projects.  After a few smaller roles here and there, Gene starred in Take Me Out to the Ball Game, another film with Sinatra, in 1949.

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Their final pairing was in On the Town, a breakthrough in the musical film genre and probably one of my favorite musicals.  It has been described as “the most inventive and effervescent musical thus far produced in Hollywood.”  Great music, amazing dancing, and an all-star cast helped turn this film into Hollywood gold.

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If Gene wasn’t comfortable enough at the top, by 1952, he was a Hollywood All-Star.  In early 1951, Gene starred in the breathtaking An American in Paris, a film which won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

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An American in Paris also starred newcomer Leslie Caron, who Gene spotted in Paris and brought to Hollywood specifically for this role.  Their dream ballet sequence, lasting an unprecedented 17 minutes, was the most expensive production number ever filmed at the time.

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The following year, Gene was cast in what may be his most iconic role.  As co-director, lead, and choreographer, Gene was a driving force behind Singin’ in the Rain and several of his numbers from this movie cemented his place at the top among filmgoers and critics alike.

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Unfortunately his time at the top was short-lived.  After Singin’ in the Rain, Gene was in a few more movie musicals, including Invitation to Dance and Brigadoon, as well as a few non-musical pictures; however, the decline of the Hollywood musical left Gene in the dust…and after a handful of box office bombs, Gene decided to return to the stage.

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Into the 60’s, Gene made a handful of movie appearances, but most of his efforts were concentrated on production and directing.  He was asked to direct the film version of The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews, but told the producer to “go find someone else to direct this piece of shit.”  Oops.

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After a few years acting in and directing some TV specials and shows, Gene was commissioned to direct Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau, and Louis Armstrong.  It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Picture Oscar in 1969, but lost to Midnight Cowboy.

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By the 70’s and 80’s, Gene’s work was few and far between.  He was in a few TV specials and variety shows, and appeared in the surprising hits, That’s Entertainment!, That’s Entertainment, Part II, and That’s Entertainment, Part III, all a collection of amazing musical numbers from some of MGM’s best musicals of the time.

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His final film project was in 1994 for the animated film Cats Don’t Dance, released in 1997 and dedicated to him.

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Not surprisingly, Gene’s influence on the art of dance is monumental.  He brought the art of ballet to the big screen, created some of the most amazing dance numbers we’ve seen in film, and even coined his own type of dance, appropriately named “cine-dance”.

To help add to his on-screen performances, Gene wanted to make the camera movements serve the choreography, thus coining the term, “cine-dance”.  He defined cine-dance (cinema + dance) as “any dancing choreographed specifically and particularly to be filmed or televised.”  This meant that not only did Kelly’s movements have to be choreographed, but the camera movements had to be choreographed as well.  This was showcased several times in his career, notably in this number from Singin’ in the Rain.  The zoom of the camera onto Kelly’s face as he sings, “I’ve a smile on my face” is a movement that is specifically choreographed as part of the dance to add to the number and would be near impossible to do on stage…thus, cine-dance.

By the late 1980’s, Gene’s health was declining.  He had a stroke in 1994, and another in 1995, leaving him mostly bedridden.  He passed away on February 2, 1996 and was cremated, without funeral or memorial services.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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35 Fun Facts About Gone with the Wind

On January 17, 1940, the town of Atlanta, Georgia became a hub of activity. Some of the wealthiest families of the day, including the Vanderbilts, the Rockerfellers, and the Astors, flocked to the Loew’s Grand theater to be a part of what would become a historic evening.

On that cool day in January, the streets of Atlanta became a buzz with locals and tourists, all hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars soon to be walking into the theater. Afer days of parades and parties, the moment had finally arrived…the premier of the grand and anticipated classic, Gone with the Wind.

Thought to be one of the best movies of all time, Gone with the Wind opened to massive success. When the novel was released in June of 1936, it sold millions of copies within months of hitting the shelves. When word spread that it would be turned into a movie, it became the talk of the country…and celebrities of all kinds flocked to the studio to try to become a part of this soon-to-be classic.

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Now, near 77 years later, the movie still continues to draw in large crowds whenever it’s brought back to the theaters. It sits comfortably on several top movie lists and shot front-runners Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable into Hollywood stardom. It won several Oscars, including the first Oscar to be awarded to a black actor, and instantly became a record-setter that wouldn’t be touched for nearly 20 years.

Like most classic epics, Gone with the Wind is a commitment, clocking in at about 4 hours long…but it was a monumental achievement in its time. It tired out 3 directors, 16 writers, and every actor in the Screen Actor’s Guild at the time.

In my life, I’ve made it through Gone with the Wind twice, once on my own time and once in the theaters. It’s an amazing film and worth seeing just for the costumes alone! With amazing acting, beautiful cinematography, and elegant prose, Gone with the Wind is sure to stay a classic for years to come!

To help honor this film and shed some light onto what it cost, both financially and emotionally, to create this epic piece of cinematic history, here are 35 Fun Facts about Gone with the Wind…all of which will certainly make you give a damn the next time you watch it!

35 Fun Facts About Gone with the Wind

The original director of Gone with the Wind was George Cukor, who had spent more than two years in planning and developing the film.  However, there was friction on the set when it became public knowledge that Cukor was gay.  Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) voiced concern in working with Cukor for a variety of reasons…one being that Gable himself had been a homosexual hustler in his youth and didn’t want Cukor to expose him…the other being that Cukor had a reputation for making “woman’s films” and therefore Gable would lose the spotlight.  Whatever the reason, Cukor wasn’t the only one to walk.  The film actually had three directors throughout the course of its production (Cukor filmed 18 days, Victor Fleming filmed 93, and Sam Wood filmed 24).

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Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) absolutely hated his role in the film.  He felt his slender 40-year-old frame wasn’t believable as a handsome 21 year-old, as Ashley was supposed to be.  He felt he was “not nearly beautiful or young enough to play Ashley”.

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Producer David Selznick wanted no less than 2,500 extras to lie in the dirt, portraying the dead and wounded Confederate soldiers toward the end of the war.  However, the Screen Actors Guild only had 1,500 to offer at the time.  Therefore Selznick ordered 1,000 dummies to round out the scene.

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It took 16 different writers to make the screenplay a viable length.

Selznick used all 7 Technicolor cameras in existence for the filming of Gone with the Wind.

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Author Margaret Mitchell started writing Gone with the Wind out of boredom.  She was recovering from an injury when she decided to dabble in writing.  Her project would take her 10 years to complete.  You’re not alone, GoT fans!

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Old West gunslinger Doc Holliday was Mitchell’s cousin…and many believe he was the inspiration for the character of Ashley Wilkes.

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It is estimated that if Selznick included all the dialogue from the book in the movie, Gone with the Wind would be about 168 hours long!

Selznick bought the movie rights from Mitchell for $50,000.  At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a first novel.

The novel Gone with the Wind had been a phenomenal best seller upon its release…and the movie was hotly anticipated.  Over 1 million people poured into Atlanta to witness the premier of the movie.  The Governor of Georgia declared the day a state holiday and the mayor of Atlanta organized three days of parades and parties.

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Attendees of the premier included the Vanderbilts, the Rockerfellers, the Astors, J.P. Morgan, and all the Govenors of what used to be the Confederacy.

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In fact, there were more people at the premier of Gone with the Wind than there were in Atlanta at the height of the Civil War.

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The title Gone with the Wind comes from the poem “Cynara!” by Ernest Dowson.

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Half a million feet of film were shot for this near 4-hour movie.  It was cut down to only 20,000 feet in the end.

About 1,100 horses were used in the making of this film…oh the days before CGI…

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Gone with the Wind was the first film to receive more than five Academy Awards, receiving eight regular and two special Oscars.  The record stood for 20 years until Ben-Hur won 11 in 1959.

Among its accolades, Gone with the Wind took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, and Best Editing.  Both Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton) were nominated, but lost their categories.

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Hattie McDaniel (Mammy) became the first black actor to win an Academy Award for her part in the film; however, she and her fellow black actors were banned from attending the film’s Atlanta premier.

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About 1,400 candidates were interviewed for the part of Scarlett, and of those, only 90 were given screen tests.  Selznick had Katharine Hepburn as his front-runner, but in the end thought she wasn’t sexy enough for the role.

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Unable to make a decision, Selznick turned the search for Scarlett into a publicity stunt.  He asked the public who they thought should score the role.  Top choices included:  Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, Lana Turner, and Tallulah Bankhead.

Despite not having Scarlett cast, Selznick went on with filming.  Legend has it that during the filming of the great “Burning of Atlanta” scene, actress Vivien Leigh was just being introduced to the producer by Selznick’s brother.  She beat out about 1,400 other girls for the role of Scarlett O’Hara.

The Florida chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy were greatly offended that a British actress had been chosen to play such an iconic southern character; however, when they learned the role was close to going to Katharine Hepburn, they stopped their protest.  Better a Brit than a Yankee!

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In an epic example of fair wage rights, Gable was paid $120,000 to work on the film, working about 70 non-consecutive days.  Leigh, on the other hand, worked 125 days and received about $25,000.

Despite their steamy on-screen romance, Leigh has said that kissing Gable wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  He wore false teeth and smoked a lot and she was quoted as saying, “his dentures smelled something awful”.

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The “Burning of Atlanta” scene was actually the first scene they filmed, as it would be the most expensive and they really only had one shot to make it work.  They actually made it quite successful by burning old sets on the backlot.

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It took 15,000 gallons of water to douse the flames after filming ended.

The character of Ashley Wilkes was one of the few countrymen to survive the war.  Ironically, the man who played him (Leslie Howard) died as a soldier in WWII.

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Unlike other epic war movies, Gone with the Wind doesn’t actually show any battles…only the effects of the war.

At auction, Michael Jackson paid $1,542,500 for David Selznick’s Best Picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind.

A Brazilian woman, who claims to have seen Gone with the Wind 8,000 TIMES, bought Scarlett’s pink dress worn during the “Burning of Atlanta” scene for $95,500.

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If Gone with the Wind were to be made today, it’s estimated it would come with a $40 million price tag.

Three of the four principal actors playing southerners (Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and Vivien Leigh) were British.

Overall, Gone with the Wind cost about $4.25 million to make.  In its initial run, the film grossed $21 million in North America alone and a total of $32 million worldwide.

When adjusted for inflation, Gone with the Wind is the highest grossing film ever made, grossing about $390 million worldwide.  In today’s money, that’s about $3.3 billion, more than today’s two biggest blockbusters, Avatar ($2.8 billion) and Titanic ($2.7 billion).

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It’s also believed to be the most watched film of all time, meaning more people bought tickets, regardless of price, to this film than any other.

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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25 Fun Facts About The Big Lebowski

Get in your comfy clothes.  Pour yourself a White Russian and lay out on that rug that really ties the room together…because today, we’re diving into 25 fun facts about The Big Lebowski!

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Named to tons of top 10, top 100, and even top 1,000 lists, The Big Lebowski is easily one of the best comedies of our time.  Directed by The Coen Brothers (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, Fargo, Raising Arizona, True Grit, Burn After Reading) and starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Elliott, and John Turturro, TBL has not only given birth to an amazing and loyal cult following, but has inspired an international Lebowski Fest and has even resulted in the creation of a new religion.

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Not too bad for a movie about a rug!

Even if you haven’t seen the movie all the way through, chances are you’d recognize some of the popular lines or scenes from the film.  I mean, who doesn’t start dancing like this when “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” comes on the radio?

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So whether you think The Dude is a prophet or a bum, you’re sure to get a kick out of these 25 Fun Facts About The Big Lebowski!

 

25 Fun Facts About The Big Lebowski

In December 2014, The Big Lebowski became one of 650 movies preserved for future generations in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.  Saving Private Ryan, Rosemary’s Baby, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are a few of the other films that share the same honor.

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The Dude (Jeff Bridges), or the essence of The Dude, is present in EVERY scene in the film, including when the Nihilist crew are ordering pancakes (The Dude’s van can be seen through the diner window in the background).

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The Big Lebowski is one of the few Coen Brothers movies that does not feature Frances McDormand.  McCormand is married to Joel Coen and has appeared in seven Coen Brothers films to date.

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If you’re obsessed with The Big Lebowski, you’re in good company.  Several other celebrities have named it as one of their top five favorite films, including:  Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Jane Lynch, Eva Mendes, and Nick Offerman, to name a few.

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Not surprisingly, The Big Lebowski is one of the most f-bomb-laden feature films ever made, with the f-word being uttered, in a variety of variations, about 292 times throughout the film.

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The word “Dude” is not too far behind, being mentioned a total of 161 times.

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The Dude says the word “man” about 147 times throughout the movie.

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The Coen Brothers have said that The Dude is based in part on Jeff Dowd, a film producer they met while working on their directorial debut, Blood Simple.  Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) is also based on writer/director, John Mulius, who had a hand in the making of Dirty Harry, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, and many others.  He sports glasses, a beard, and a figure similar to Walter, and claims to even be obsessed with the Vietnam War.

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The Big Lebowski has spawned its own festival.  Starting in Kentucky in 2002, Lebowski Fest has been held in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago, London, and Edinburgh.  John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, and Julianne Moore have all attended at least one Lebowski Fest.

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The cult film has also given birth to a religion:  Dudeism.  It has ordained more than 130,000 ‘Dudeist Priests’.

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Despite being part of the bowling league, The Dude is never actually seen bowling throughout the film.

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A lot of The Dude’s clothes came directly from Jeff Bridges’ own wardrobe, including his Jellies sandals, which he still owns and uses today.  #thedudeabides

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When writing the script, the Coen Brothers created roles specifically for John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, but did not know who would play the leading role of The Dude.

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The coffee shop where The Dude and Walter discuss the severed toe is called Johnie’s Coffee Shop and can be found in Los Angeles, though it is only used as a filming location and is not a functioning diner.

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Donny (Steve Buscemi) gets a strike with every bowl in the film except the last, moments before he dies.

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The west coast chain, In-n-Out Burger is referenced in the film.  John Goodman actually did a radio advertisement for the brand as well.

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Jeff Bridges plays guitar in a band called The Abiders, named after the popular “The Dude Abides” line from the movie.

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In an early draft of the film, it was revealed that The Dude’s money came from his status as an heir to the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube; however the directors decided to keep the audience guessing as to the source of his money.

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When The Dude writes his check for $0.69, the date on the check is September 11, 1991, exactly 10 years before the US terrorist attack.  President George Bush Sr. can also be heard saying “this aggression will not stand” on the TV in the background.

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In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, John Goodman said that The Dude’s reference to The Big Lebowski as a “human paraquat” was the only improvised line to make it into the film.  Every other line, including every ‘man’ and ‘dude’, was scripted.

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The Big Lebowski is John Goodman’s favorite of his own films.

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In every bowling scene, Walter, The Dude, and Donny bowl in lane 23.

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Walter’s ex-wife’s Pomeranian’s name is Thurston.

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The gun Walter pulls out in the bowling alley is a Colt model 1911 .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun, which was a standard US military side arm during the Vietnam War.

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And just in case you’re feeling a bit “un-Dude”, here’s the recipe for the famed White Russian/Caucasian:  2 parts vodka, 1 part Kahlua, 1 part cream.  Serve with ice in a low ball glass.

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Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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26 Fun Facts about the Golden Globe Awards

IT’S FINALLY AWARDS SEASON!!  Which means it’s time for a lot of this…

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But also a lot of this…

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I gotta be honest, though, I’m a total sucker for these awards shows…even if the commercials seem to take FO-FREAKING-EVER.  The Golden Globes, the Oscars, the Emmy’s, the Tony’s…I love them all. With the Golden Globes airing on NBC next weekend, I’m getting extra pumped to see a few of my favorite celebs walk the red carpet!

If you haven’t taken a look at the nominations this year, you can see the full list on the Golden Globes website. I have my fingers crossed for Game of Thrones and Loving!

Thought to be one of the most entertaining and casual of the awards shows, the Golden Globes started in 1943 and were originally just 5 awards given out by a group of foreign journalists. Now the show is broadcast on national TV and we get to witness our favorite celebrities drunkenly stumble up to the stage to blabber on and on about how amazing they are. It’s fantastic!

To help get you in the mood for watching this year’s Golden Globes, here are 26 super fun and interesting facts about this amazing awards show…so pour yourself a glass of wine…dig out those classy PJ’s…and join me in watching the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards!

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  1. The first Golden Globes ceremony was held during a luncheon at 20th Century Fox in 1943, founded by a group of foreign journalists.  It had only five categories:  Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.  Instead of statuettes, the winners were given scrolls.
  2. The actual award we know today didn’t come about until 1946 when former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president, Marina Cisternas, suggested creating statuettes that resembled an actual golden globe.
  3. The Golden Globe statuettes are estimated to cost about $800 each and are plated in 24-karat gold.
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  4. Winners of the award receive their statuette in a red velvet-lined, leather-bound chest with the HFPA logo stamped in gold.
  5. Meryl Streep holds the record for most Golden Globe nominations, with 29.  She also holds the record for most Golden Globe wins, at 8 awards.
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  6. The youngest person ever to win a Golden Globe was Ricky Schroder.  At 9 years old, he won the award for Best New Star of the Year for his role in the 1980 movie, The Champ.
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  7. In 2008 the Golden Globes ceremony was cancelled due to the Writer’s Guild strike.  Celebrities refused to show up to the ceremony, so winners were announced January 13th during a press conference.
  8. In 1973, Marlon Brando refused to accept his Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in The Godfather because he was protesting “imperialism and racism”.
  9. The tradition of having celebrities hand out awards didn’t start until 1958, when The Rat Pack rushed the stage with whiskeys and cigars to give them out.  Before that, members of the HFPA handed out the awards.
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  10. The Golden Globes used to only be televised in Los Angeles.  It wasn’t until parts of it aired on The Andy Williams Show in 1965 that it was broadcast for the whole world to see.
  11. The elegant 3-course meal begins for attendees at 3:30 p.m.  Celebrities can eat before the show, but once it starts, everyone is limited to champagne only…which clearly makes for an interesting night!
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  12. The first actor to win the Golden Globe award for Best Actor was Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine in 1944.
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  13. Jamie Foxx has the record for most nominations in one year, with three nominations.
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  14. In 1962, Judy Garland became the first woman to take home the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is given for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”  Past winners have included Jack Nicholson, Barbra Streisand, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Woody Allen, George Clooney, and Denzel Washington.  Meryl Streep will take home the award in 2017.
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  15. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the only film to win all five major Golden Globe awards (picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay).
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  16. In the history of the Golden Globes, only 6 celebrities have hosted the awards show.  Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Andy Williams, John Larroquette, Janine Turner, and Ricky Gervais make up this exclusive club.  Late night host Jimmy Fallon will join those ranks soon, as he’s set to host the awards show in 2017.
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  17. Unless you’re a nominee, your chance of getting into the awards show is slim.  The event is held at the Hilton’s International Ballroom, which only holds 111 tables.  With 10 to 12 people per table, that means only about 1,300 people will actually score in invitation.  In comparison, the Dolby Theater, which hosts the Academy Awards, seats about 3,400 people.
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  18. The Golden Globe statue clocks in at about 5.5 pounds.
  19. Doctor Zhivago, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Star is Born were all clean sweeps, meaning they all won in the categories there were nominated in.
  20. About 9,000 glasses of champagne are usually drunk at the awards show.
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  21. The most Golden Globes won in one night is a five-way tie:  Doctor Zhivago, Love Story, The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and A Star is Born all won five Golden Globes in one night.
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  22. The award for most nominations goes to Nashville, which was nominated for 9 awards in 1976.  However it only took home one award, the Golden Globe for Best Song (“I’m Easy” by Keith Carradine).
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  23. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And The Godfather, Part III each received 7 nominations each but never won a single Golden Globe award.
  24. In 1989, there was a three-way tie for Best Actress, with Jodie Foster (The Accused), Shirley MacLaine (Madame Sousatzka) and Sigourney Weaver (Gorillas in the Mist) each taking home an award in that category.
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  25. The red carpet that’s used to welcome celebrities into the venue is contains more than 30,000 square feet of red carpet and measures almost 500 feet long!
  26. Three lovely ladies hold the record for most acting Globes in the same year.  Sigourney Weaver won Best Actress (Gorillas in the Mist) and Best Supporting Actress (Working Girl) in 1989, Joan Plowright won Best Supporting Actress (Enchanted April and Stalin) in 1993, and Kate Winslet won Best Actress (Revolutionary Road) and Best Supporting Actress (The Reader) in 2009.
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Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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24 Fun Facts About A Christmas Story

Let’s face facts…by now you’ve probably seen A Christmas Story at least 100 times.  It’s on a continual loop around the holiday season and almost every Christmas-loving family owns a copy of this cult classic…but I bet there are at least a few things you may NOT know about this movie we’ve all seen a bijillion times.

Filmed mainly in Cleveland and Toronto, A Christmas Story opened on November 18, 1983 and starred Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, Melinda Dillon as Mrs. Parker, and Darren McGavin as Mr. Parker.  Based on the book, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story tells the tale of a little boy who will stop at nothing to get his Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Air Rifle with a Compass in the Stock and this Thing Which Tells Time!

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Filled with memorable scenes, quotes, and characters, A Christmas Story has become a holiday favorite and can be seen airing on TV for 24 hours the day before Christmas.  You may know the lines…you may know the scenes…hell, you may have even visited the museum (if you haven’t, you must!  A truly amazing experience for any fan!), but there are lots of other fun facts that you may not have known about this holiday classic!

To help get you in the Christmas spirit (and to help you impress your friends and family with movie trivia as you watch this flick for the 100th time), here are 24 Fun Facts about A Christmas Story!

Curious where the cast ended up?  Check out A Christmas Story: Where Are They Now? for an update!

24 Fun Facts about A Christmas Story

Jack Nicholson was originally interested in the role of The Old Man, but the film’s budget was too small to afford him.

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Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie, was the first child to audition for the part.  Director Bob Clark didn’t want to cast the first kid he saw, so he auditioned thousands more before deciding to cast Billingsley anyway.

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One of the actors who auditioned for Ralphie was a young Sean Astin, who would go on to star in The Goonies.

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A Christmas Story is based on Jean Shepherd’s 1966 book, In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.  The book started as a series of short stories published in Playboy magazine.

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Author Jean Shepherd was also the narrator of the film and made a brief cameo in the movie as the man who told Ralphie and Randy where the back of the line was while visiting Santa.  The woman in the photo is also his wife.

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In the scene when Ralphie is shooting bandits outside his window chewing tobacco, he actually is chewing tobacco.  Billingsley said he started getting dizzy and his lips started burning.

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Jon Favreau had Billingsley sign a Red Ryder BB Gun for him when they worked together on the set of Swingers.

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In 2004, a man named Brian Jones bought the house in Cleveland where A Christmas Story was filmed for $150,000 on eBay.  He then spent $240,000 restoring the house into a near exact copy of the movie set.  It’s now a museum you can visit and explore!

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In the scene when Flick freezes his tongue to the flagpole, the actor originally just put his tongue through a small hole in the pole; however, actor Scott Schwartz was such a prankster on set that the director decided to get back at him by adding a suction tube inside the pole to really make his tongue stick.  Schwartz freaked out and his reaction made it to the final cut of the film!

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Actor Scott Schwartz has also appeared in several adult films under the name Scotty Schwartz.

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Three iconic leg lamps were made for filming, and all three were broken during production.

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Billingsley owns the iconic pink bunny suit and BB gun, and the glasses that get broken after he “shoots his eye out” were also his own.

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The boy in the goggles who is waiting next to Ralphie in line to see Santa is not an actor.  He was a real kid in the department store and the director decided to use him in the scene.

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The snow in the movie was made using mashed potato flakes.

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Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the movie.

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The Wonder Years was semi-inspired by A Christmas Story.  In fact, Peter Billingsley appears as one of Kevin Arnold’s roommates in one of the last few episodes of The Wonder Years.

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Special versions of the BB gun had to be made for the film.  The Red Ryder BB Gun did exist at the time and was first made in 1938; however it lacked the compass and sundial that the movie version mentioned.

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Though it takes place in Indiana, the movie split its filming between locations in Cleveland and Toronto.

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None of the actors get royalty payments when A Christmas Story airs on TV, making it basically free to show continually for 24 hours.

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The villain, Scott Farkus, is meant to be a wolf, of sorts.  Farkus means “wolf” in Hungarian and his ‘theme song’ is Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

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The leg lamp was inspired by an old soda pop ad for Nehi soda.

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Ralphie’s rant when he’s beating up Farkus was actually scripted word for word.

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Similarly, the rants made by the Old Man were also scripted.

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The popular Chinese dinner scene was also unscripted.  Melinda Dillon had no idea they were going to chop off the head of the duck, inspiring this candid reaction!

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Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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