10 secrets about Grease you probably never knew
12 July 2021, 16:23
Think you know everything about Grease? Here's some rarely known facts about the iconic film...
Let’s face it, most of us have seen Grease at least five times over the years.
In fact, if you’re anything like us, you probably know all the words to the soundtrack backwards.
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But while you might think you know everything there is to know about Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsen, we’ve put together a list of behind-the-scenes secrets that you might have missed.
Check out these secrets about Grease you probably never knew:
1. The film is based on the Broadway musical of the same name
While Grease was released in 1978, it was a Broadway musical that opened in February 1972.
After the film became a box office hit, it was later revived in 1994 and 2007.
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And John Travolta actually played Doody in the production, while Kenickie actor Jeff Conaway played Danny.
Barry Pearl played Sonny in the musical, before starring as Doody in the film, and Jaime Donnelly played Jan both onstage and in the film.
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2. Grease could've been an animated film
Grease fans might not know that the film was originally planned to be an animation.
The film's co-creator, Jim Jacobs, said back in 2018 that director Ralph Bakshi pitched it as an X-rated cartoon, but it didn’t stick.
While producer Allan Carr won the rights and made it a live-action film, he decided to keep the opening credits as an animation to give a nod towards the idea.
3. Olivia Newton-John almost didn’t take the role of Sandy
Before starring in Grease, Olivia was already a successful singer, and she wasn’t sure about playing a high school student at the age of 28.
She requested to do a screen test before accepting the part, and luckily she realised she was convincing enough and took the role.
4. Henry Winkler was offered the role of Danny
Henry Winkler - aka Fonzie from Happy Days - said he was offered the role before Danny, but decided to pass because he was happy in the sitcom.
He went on to say it was ‘one of the great decisions’ of his life because Travolta was so right for the film.
5. Marty couldn’t dance
You might have noticed that Marty didn’t have any dance numbers at the high school prom, instead standing alongside Vince Fontaine (Edd Byrnes).
Well, this wasn’t a coincidence as it turns out actress Dinah Manoff can’t dance at all so was left out of the scenes.
6. Greased Lightning wasn’t originally sung by Danny
According to Vanity Fair, The Beach Boys were supposed to sing ‘Greased Lightnin’ as guest stars.
And Danny wasn’t even second in line, as it was originally meant to be Kenickie's song but John Travolta wanted the song for himself.
He previously said: "I have to be completely honest with you. I wanted the number. And because I had clout, I could get the number."
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7. Elvis Presley was offered the role of Frenchy's guardian angel
Elvis Presley was offered the part of the Teen Angel, but he turned it down and Frankie Avalon later starred.
Fans of the film will also remember the Elvis reference in ‘Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee’.
Rather eerily, this song was recorded on the same day that Elvis died.
The film’s director, Randal Kleiser, said afterwards: “It was all over the news, so everyone knew. We did this number, and everybody kind of looked at each other like, ‘Yeah, this is creepy.'”
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8. John Travolta got his sister a small role in the film
John Travolta’s sister, Ellen, played the diner waitress who says "Oh, there's Danny and Sandy," while watching the High School Dance on the TV.
While she's a trained actress, her brother put in a good word for her with the Grease production team.
Ellen later said: "That's how loose it was, and never knowing the success it would become. I get residuals every 13 weeks for 40 years.
“And I only worked two days, maybe one day, with Joan Blondell and that group, and I had a lot of fun."
9. The T-Birds were originally called the Burger Palace Boys
As well as changing some of songs from the musical, the film producers also switched the name of the boys’ group from the Burger Palace Boys to the T-Birds.
10. Some adverts had to be digitally removed
Grease originally had a product placement deal with Coca-Cola, but when this fell through during post-production, shots of Coca-Cola products and advertisements had to be digitally removed or blurred out.