“Grease” is one of our all-time favorites, regardless of how many times we’ve seen it. Check out these insane facts about the filming of the movie, the cast, and the characters that you had no idea about!
One Character Doesn’t Have A Single Dance Scene
Marty, played by actress Dinah Manoff, lacks rhythm and cannot dance. That’s why she doesn’t participate in any dance numbers.
One Of The Most Iconic Scenes Took Only An Afternoon To Film!
We don’t know about you, but “You’re The One That I Want,” is one of our favorite scenes from the whole movie, and it took just an afternoon to film!
A Major Actor Had To Dye Her Hair For The Role
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 strands dark brown.
Kenickie Had A Thing For Sandy!
Kenickie had a thing for Sandy. Well, sort of…Jeff Conaway had a crush on Olivia Newton-John during filming. He later married her sister. Rest assured, their flimsy yet intricate dynamic made for one or two cringe-worthy conversations at the family BBQ.
Elvis Played A Role In The Film
The singer didn’t physically appear in the film, but he did play a part in “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee.” The lyrics “Elvis Elvis let me be, keep that pelvis far from me” were added into the song because the legend died the day they filmed the scene.
All The Background Dancers Were Named
All the background dancers were named, which doesn’t always happen in films. Credits might list background dancer #1, or background dancer #2. The dancers in “Grease” were named Bart, Bubba, Moose, and Sauce.
Olivia Newton-John Didn’t Want To Film The Carnival Scene
One of the most well-known scenes and songs from the film, “You’re The One That I Want”, wasn’t all fun and games. Olivia Newton-John was extremely afraid of that scene and John Travolta had to convince his co-star to carry through with the song and film.
The Actors Were Much Older Than The Characters They Played
They might have played high schoolers, but the characters were much older IRL: John Travolta was 23, Oliva Newton-John was 28, Stockard Channing was 33, Jeff Conaway was 26, Michael Tucci was 31, Kelly Ward was 20, Didi Conn was 25, Jamie Donnelly was 30, Barry Pearl was 27, and Dinah Manoff was 19.
A Major Company Deal Was Dropped
Originally, Coca-Cola had a product placement deal with the movie, but the deal fell through during production. Producers couldn’t take the products out, so they blurred out all Coca-Cola appearances.
There’s a Nod To James Dean
Cha Cha Had A Scary Medical Emergency During Filming
Cha Cha aka Anette Charles was in the hospital during filming, but she checked herself out to film that drag racing scene. She had to have emergency surgery that night for an ectopic pregnancy.
Olivia Newton-John Almost Didn’t Take The Part
The actress was unsure she could pass for a high school student, so she asked for a screen test before she took the role. When she saw that she played a convincing high-schooler, she took the part.
The Film Was Almost Shot Drastically Differently
The film was almost shot solely in animation, and we would never have gotten to see a live-person Sandy tell Danny “tell me about it stud.” We can’t have that. When the producers and directors decided against the idea, they made the credits animated as a nod to the notion.
There’s A Scene That Honors Highly Celebrated Entertainment Icons
Can you think of a group who Sonny (Michael Tucci), Doody (Barry Pearl) and Putzie (Kelly Ward) resemble? The guys asked the director to play tribute to The Three Stooges, and it was added into the film during the bonfire scene.
Jeff Conaway Came Up With That Non-Hug
Right before the street race, Danny and Kenickie hug, but quickly comb their hair and look away like they never hugged it out big time. Jeff Conaway was the one who had the idea to blow off the embrace because he insisted two males would never have hugged in the 50s.
Sandra Dee Didn’t Fit In The Costume
Danny Doesn’t Originally Sing “Greased Lightning”
Lucille Ball Is To Blame For Her Daughter Not Being Cast
Originally, Lucille Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, was up for the role of Rizzo. However, when Ball called to say that her daughter was too good to audition for the part, producers opted for a different actor.
John and Olivia’s First Meeting
The first time John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John met was at Olivia’s home. Travolta had been a huge fan of Olivia and was rather star struck when the first encounter actually took place.
Jeff Conaway Was Seriously Injured
During the filming of “Greased Lightning”, Jeff Conaway was dropped and seriously injured his back. The injury led to Conaway’s abuse of prescription drugs.
Rizzo’s “Hickeys from Kenickie” Were Real!
Those hickeys weren’t the work of a skilled makeup artist, they were authentic and given to the actress by Jeff Conaway, (who played Kenickie)! The actor insisted the marks be real.
Coach Calhoun Almost Got Raunchy
Harry Reems, star of the 1972 adult film “Deep Throat” was originally cast in the role of Coach Calhoun. Wow, things almost got super greasy on set!
Cast Members Got Really Sick After Filming
After the drag racing scene, many cast members got sick because the water was stagnant and filled with contaminated bacteria.
John Travolta Almost Lost The Part Of Danny
Henry Winkler–who played Fonzie on “Happy Days”–was offered the role of Danny Zuko. Winkler turned down the part though because he felt the character was too similar to Fonzie.
A Cultural Change
While in the stage version, Sandy is an American girl with the last name of “Dumbrowski”, directors decided to make her Australian after the decision to cast Australian native Olivia Newton-John was made.
The plastic wrap that Travolta is holding in the “Greased Lightning” sequence was actually representative of condoms. Go figure.
Burger Palace Boys
T-Birds weren’t supposed to be called T-Birds. In fact, the broadway musical coined the gang with the name, “Burger Palace Boys”
John Travolta Also Played as Doody
Yup, you heard that right. John Travolta was cast as Doody (not Danny) in the broadway musical, “Grease.” Several other characters from the famous film also starred as other characters in the musical.
Frankie Valli Sang “Grease”
Jeff Conaway Was Taller Than He Seemed
Because Jeff Conaway was taller than John Travolta, Kenickie was often slouching when filming so that the lead actor of the movie seemed taller.
It Got Really Hot
The temperature got to 116 degrees during the filming of the Rydell Prom Scene. In fact, a few extras were even treated for heat-related illnesses during filming.