hen Frankie Valli sang “Grease is the word, is the word, is the word …” for the first time, no one could possibly have predicted the way in which 1978’s Grease, from Paramount Pictures, would echo like the song into perpetual pop culture history.
Grease produced one of the best selling soundtracks in history and remains one of the highest grossing movie musicals of all time. It, along with 1977’s "Saturday Night Fever", cemented John Travolta as the new “it” boy of the late 70’s. And Olivia Newton-John parlayed the film transition from good girl Sandy Olsen to vixen Sandy Olsen into a change of musical style that eventually led to 1981’s sex-charged, number one single for 10 consecutive weeks, “Physical.”
The film took America by storm in June 1978. It didn’t even hurt that the movie had it's roots in the longest running Broadway musical of all time (until 'Chorus Line' and 'Cats' overtook it). Travolta even hoofed it in the Broadway version – on the road, but not as leader of the T-Birds, Danny Zuko; rather, one of Travolta’s first major roles was playing Doody in the much darker-themed musical.
“Grease” debuted on Broadway amidst controversial fare like “Hair” in 1971 and America ate up the cynical look back at the simpler time depicted in the play. The play begins not in the 50’s, but at the Rydell High School reunion “today” (i.e., 1971), where the Rydell theme song devolves into the T-Birds’ naughty rendition as time slips back to 1959. Danny and Sandy may have been the play’s protagonists, but they had little in common with the later film versions, especially the Sandy character. Sandy Dumbrowski was, for one thing, American. And not as cool as the Pink Ladies Rizzo, Marty, Jan, and Frenchy, but not nearly as out of it as Olivia’s Australian immigrant Sandy Olsen.
Most of the music was composed by Louis St. Louis and familiar tunes included 'Summer Nights' and 'We Go Together' – no 'Sandy', no 'Hopelessly Devoted to You' and no 'You’re the One That I Want'. The closing number when Sandy Dumbrowski reveals her wilder side is a much more ‘50’s sounding tune than YTOTIW, called 'All Shook Up.'.
Interest in making a film version of “Grease” began almost immediately with ideas ranging from a completely animated version (which eventually beget the idea to do the opening credits as a cartoon) to Henry Winkler as Danny Zuko. Winkler, however, was already in the midst of becoming typecast as Arthur Fonzarelli on television’s mega-hit "Happy Days". Ironically, it was "Happy Days" and George Lucas’ “American Graffiti” that generated interest in speeding up a film production of Grease.
The diminutive Alan Carr and Robert Stigwood immediately jumped onboard as producers and Randall Kleiser, a relative unknown, as director. Pat Birch was brought in as choreographer. While the Louis St. Louis tunes would form the foundation of the film, it was quickly decided that new songs were needed to reflect the feel of the 50’s in songs suited to the disco era. No one thought 'All Shook Up' had the makings of a #1 late ‘70s hit and so it was out. Barry Gibb wrote the Grease theme song, which was recorded by Frankie Valli (Frankie Valli has said he too was asked to play the role of Teen Angel, eventually played by Frankie Avalon, but that he rallied hard for Gibbs’ “Grease” theme instead).
Rising television star, John Travolta, broke out early from the pack of Sweathogs on ABC-TV’s “Welcome Back, Kotter” and Vinnie Barbarino was becoming the show’s break-out character primarily because of Travolta’s combination of genuine acting talent and raw sexuality. Travolta became contracted to Paramount for a trilogy of films and each of those films eventually had it's own continuing impact on pop culture: 1977’s "Saturday Night Fever", 1978’s "Grease", and 1980’s "Urban Cowboy".
Travolta knew he was right for the part of Danny Zuko and he lobbied hard for it. His experience on stage and his new popularity combined to make him the right man for the part. Casting his female lead would prove more challenging.
Olivia Newton-John was not necessarily first on anybody’s list for Sandy, an American girl. And yet Olivia was, at that time, the personification of the “California girl” – beautiful, blonde, and with a voice that rivaled her friend, the angelic Karen Carpenter.
Travolta thought Olivia was perfect for Sandy because she exuded innocence and sex at the same time. Every guy in America wanted to be with Olivia and every girl wanted to be her -even before Grease, Travolta has said.
Olivia’s fellow Aussie, Helen Reddy, put together a dinner party with an agenda. She invited Olivia, and the Grease production team! And they immediately fell in love with her. They had suddenly found their Sandy.
But Olivia wasn’t convinced. She thought that, pushing 30, she couldn’t realistically play a 17 year old. (Turns out she was correct, but that’s part of the fun of Grease and it began a grand tradition that led to adults being cast as teens in 'Beverly Hills, 90210'; 'Dawson’s Creek'; and 'Smallville', among others.)
Olivia wanted a screen test and so she and Travolta ran through the drive-in sequence. Finally, she was convinced.
Olivia’s casting changed the film significantly and immediately distinguished it from it's Broadway predecessor. Olivia couldn’t pull off a convincing California accent and, besides, who would want to cover up that gorgeous and melodic Australian accent? So the writers conceived a name change from Dumbrowski to Olsen and turned Sandy into a transplant from Australia. This echoed Olivia’s own life as she was born in England and the family transplanted themselves to Australia when Olivia was still a child.
Filming began in 1977 and all of the participants’ recollections were of a very high-school mentality. The actors playing the geeks never quite fit in with the rest of the cast. The main players played practical jokes on one another. And then there was the sexuality inherent in a high school type setting. Burgeoning hormones and rumors of actions taken due to those burgeoning hormones exist to this day. Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie, and later married and divorced Rona Newton-John, Olivia’s sister, has proudly spoken of conquests on the set in interviews, though, to this day, neither Olivia nor Travolta say much more than that an innocent flirtation existed between the two throughout filming, all the rumors to the contrary.
There was one major issue remaining during production. Olivia was doing just fine as Sandy I, as she’s been termed over the years. After all, prior to Grease, Olivia made a superstar-living belting out easy listening, pop-country crossover tunes like “Let Me Be There”, “If You Love Me (Let Me Know),” “Have You Never Been Mellow”, and the smash Peter Allen-penned tune, “I Honestly Love You.” But what about Sandy II, the bad-girl Sandy who relinquishes all her values and morality for her man?
The night of the shoot for the “Sandy” scene at the drive-in, Olivia and the make-up artists went to work. Suddenly, walking around the set was this hot vixen in black spandex pants, a black leather jacket and the wildest bad-girl hairdo. Jaws dropped and everyone realized that there was nothing to worry about.
When Olivia was brought into the project, she brought with her long time lyricist John Farrar, who wrote many of her biggest hits throughout her career. And, while 'You’re the One That I Want' was believed to have the makings of a huge hit, Farrar and Olivia decided that the film was missing one of Olivia’s trademark ballads. So out went 'Freddy, My Love', the tune from Broadway that took place during the sleepover scene, sung by character Marty and in came 'Hopelessly Devoted to You', one of the most beautiful ballads of the pop era. In fact, the 'Hopelessly Devoted' sequence was one of the last shot in the Grease production. That may explain why the soundtrack contains a version of 'Freddy, My Love' even though it does not appear in the film and Marty’s soldier boyfriend is now “Bobby”, not “Freddy”.
The film begins on a mountaintop covered with snow. Oh come on. We’ve all seen the movie countless times. The Paramount logo is as much a part of that film as anything else.
Actually, things start at the beach, the summer before senior year. Sandy Olsen hauled her cookies all the way to the beach for some guy, Danny Zuko, who was a sweet, romantic, caring gentleman. As the waves of the Pacific belt our lovebirds in a scene echoing “From Here to Eternity”, “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” plays in the background as the first of several heartbreaks befalls our heroine. Turns out that, while summer loving may have been a blast, Sandy has to return to Australia. Is this the end before it begins? Of course not, Sandy, it’s only the beginning.
After the cartoon sequence opening, we see Rydell High School for the first time. The coolest of the T-Birds, Danny Zuko, greets his best pal, Kenickie, and their three stooges, Doody, Putzie, and Sonny. (A sixth T-Bird, Roger, appeared in the Broadway show and was not featured in the film.)
Then, across campus, we meet the Pink Ladies: leader Betty Rizzo, played by acting legend Stockard Channing, and her lieutenants, Frenchy, Marty, and Jan. Frenchy, played by Didi Conn, who had made a big splash in 1976’s “You Light Up My Life,” is walking with Sandy, who it turns out has not returned to Australia but has instead registered at Rydell High. This leads to the assumption that relationships in the 1950’s were very one-sided toward the male as Sandy never even knew where her boyfriend went to high school.
After all the appropriate introductions are made – from the “child” cast of 30-somethings to the 50’s legends like Eve Arden, Dodi Goodman, and Sid Caesar – Danny and Sandy manage to sing completely in synch without the slightest inclination that they are even in the same country, let alone on the same high school campus. Yes, it’s “Summer Nights” where we glean the different ways in which boys and girls view one another, especially when their friends are around. Perhaps this is part of Grease’s universal appeal – the unpopular understand and relate to it and find joy in Sandy’s ultimate revelation and the popular relate to the pressure of staying popular when one little slip could reveal that you actually have real feelings that, if you are a guy, make you un-cool and, if you’re Rizzo, could make you pregos.
After the summer dreams are ripped at the seams, Sandy lets slip the name of her true love who didn’t lay a hand on her and the Pink Ladies find it amusing that this “great romantic” is T-Bird Danny Zuko. But Rizzo silences her ladies and begins scheming Danny’s and Sandy’s reunion for the worst possible moment – the bonfire where everybody is all around them and Danny has no choice but to play it cool in front of his friends.
Poor Sandy is confused and hurt by Danny’s brush off and Frenchy innocently invites Sandy to the girls’ sleepover to help her feel better. But Rizzo won’t have it. Ms. Goody-Two-Shoes makes Rizzo want to barf and she just can’t help singing about it in “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”. In the Broadway show, the song made much more sense since Sandy was “Sandra Dee”, i.e., Sandy Dumbrowski. Nonetheless, Olivia’s Sandy gets the message.
The T-Birds show up and one of the few references to parents is made when Frenchy insists that her “folks will flip” if the T-Birds come upstairs. Rizzo shimmies down the drainpipe and into Kenickie’s front seat. Marty shows off her new robe, which is supposed to be from “Freddy, My Love”, but it’s glaringly from Bobby in Korea. (Note: The Korean conflict was well over by 1958, the date established as the timeline in the film). But all is forgiven for the doo-wop ballad is shelved so that Sandy can go outside in her jammies and belt out “Hopelessly Devoted” for the neighbors before hallucinating that she sees Danny in the kiddy pool in Frenchy’s backyard.
Let’s see. Are we at boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl or are we at boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl? Does it matter? The songs are a combination of the style of the 1950’s with the disco beat of the 1970’s. And we know Danny and Sandy end up together almost as well as we know that the sun will rise every morning.
Before the big finale, Danny and Sandy go through make-ups and further break-ups at the Frosty Palace, the Drive-In, and the big Dance Off televised on National Bandstand and emceed by Vince Fontaine, with music by Johnny Casino and the Gamblers (played by 70’s icons, Sha-Na-Na).
Meanwhile, Rizzo thinks she’s pregnant and that Kenickie may be the father. However, Rizzo too, we see, is a captive of her own set of rules as it would be too un-cool to be honest with Kenickie so she dismisses his interest in not running away from his “problems.” Ultimately, Sandy’s offer of genuine friendship during Rizzo’s crisis of confidence leads to Rizzo’s begrudging acceptance of Sandy who, like Olivia herself, was just gosh darn likeable. Channing follows that up with one of the film’s more underrated songs, the torchy “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.”
Frenchy can’t keep her hair one color after deciding to drop out of high school and enter into beauty school and her regrets lead her to fantasize about a Teen Angel who would tell her to go back to high school and who looks suspiciously like Frankie Avalon.
The film climaxes at Thunder Road where the T-Birds have agreed to race the bad greasers led by Crater-Face (who returns for more from the T-Birds in Grease 2). Kenickie has asked Danny to be his back-up at Thunder Road, just in case, and the just in case happens when Kenickie gets konked on the head by Greased Lightning’s door when Putzie acts like a putz and opens the door right into the greaser’s head.
Danny wins the race of course. And Sandy is there to watch the victory, but she does not come down and join the revelry. Rather, she sings to herself, taunting herself with Rizzo’s “Sandra Dee” tune re-worded into an anthem for change. Handing herself over to Frenchy’s cosmetologist hands, they run off together. Has Danny lost Sandy forever?
Time has passed. Thunder Road is in the past, the dance-off is in the past, and it’s the last day of school. Anyone who has spent any time in school can relate to the excitement of that last bell ring before summer. And the freedom of summer is represented by a carnival on school grounds.
Kenickie makes his move on Rizzo hoping to make an honest woman of her, but it turns out she isn’t pregnant after all.
And Danny? After several unsuccessful attempts at baseball, basketball, and wrestling, he letters in track, which is his attempt to prove himself to Sandy. But is a letterman’s sweater going to do the trick?
Then all hell breaks loose and we all know what happens next so we might as well say it together:
“Tell me about it … STUD.”
And one of the all time great pop moments takes place as Danny and Sandy croon how each of them is the one that they want (oooh oooh oooh honey). The song fades out and, somehow, as Danny is still singing, he is also able to talk to his friends about how they will see each other after graduation.
“How do you know?”
How does one know anything? A wop bop a loo bop a wop bam boom, of course.
“We Go Together” speaks volumes about Danny and Sandy, Danny and the T-Birds, Sandy and the Pink Ladies, Kenickie and Rizzo, and like on television’s Friends, there’s luckily one guy for each girl.
Oh, did I forget to mention the flying car?
Don't forget that Grease is now available to order on Widescreen DVD using our special 70s search device... [See DVD section or click here for more details]
By: Barry Freiman
Grease is the word for every generation. The film may be viewed by some as little more than the cinematic equivalent of a cheese-puff, all flavor and no substance. But that flies in the face of the movie’s ability to entertain as much in 2003 as it did in 1978.
Though the newer songs do indeed reflect the disco / pop era, the film has a timeless appeal. “Summer Nights”, “There are Worse Things I Can Do”, “Greased Lightning”, and “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” were all composed by Louis St. Louis for a 1971 musical, but “You’re the One That I Want,” “Grease”, and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” were all composed for the 1978 film project. This gives the music a universal quality that evokes not only the 50’s and the disco era, but the entire rock and roll pantheon. Even the 60’s are represented with Teen Angel Frankie Avalon, who made a career with a post-Mickey Mouse Annette Funicello in 1960’s beach movies.
Director Kleiser realizes that the material he’s been given is the presentation of a stereotype, a distorted perversion of the idea in the increasingly complicated 70’s that somehow the 50’s were a simpler time for America. Yet the issues of popularity, dating, and relationships in high school resonated with Kleiser and he clearly realized the significance of Sandy’s transformation at the end of the film into a vivacious vixen.
By the time Sandy has chucked her morality in order to snare her man, Kleiser makes it clear that this is a fantasy piece, a fairy tale told in leather jackets and poodle skirts, by having the King and Queen soar off in a souped up flying car, the fantasy-representation of Kenickie’s Greased Lightning from the “Greased Lightning” musical sequence. Also, it is often neglected that Danny too was prepared to chuck all to get Sandy as he has donned his letterman’s sweater for the Carnival in an attempt to show Sandy that he’s changed. The questionable moral decision made by Sandy to put on hot sticky black spandex and leather at the end of the school year angered many feminists, but the Broadway show’s ending reflected early 1970’s cynicism of the period in which women gave up their own lives and identities to secure husbands and life in the suburbs. Sandy’s transformation in the film feels more like a “coming out” of who she really is and letting herself drop her guard and feel at home amongst these crazy Californians.
If Olivia’s career path following Grease is any indication, even the actress treated the transformation as such for her career, even donning black shinies again for the cover of 1979’s “Totally Hot” album, her first post-Grease work. Certainly, Grease beget “Physical”, Olivia’s most outrageous foray into pop music, which included a hair cut, a song about sex, and a video that played it all for laughs. Yet even the video was controversial as the men transform into model-quality studs and walk off together because, of course, they’re too hot to be straight. Olivia ends up with the one un-transformed man, the implication being that there is more than looks going into the equation of who gets “Physical” with lovely Livvie.
Clearly, post-Grease, Olivia felt more comfortable sharing more of her true self with her fans, whether it is her view on relationships or her 1981, pre-AIDs statement buried in the Physical video that gay is OK.
The lasting appeal of Grease is that every child feels persecuted by his or her peers, whether they are popular or unpopular. Grease makes the statement that everyone has problems, so come on in, make some popcorn, and have a good time with us for two hours. You’ll sing, you’ll dance, and there’s a happy ending too. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon no matter how old you are. Go ahead: check your TIVO; you know it’s on (try VH1 first) and you know you want to watch it. Grease is the word, is the word, is the word, is the word, is the word, is the word, is the word, is the word, is the word ….
Successful? After 20 years, it still ranks as one of the top 10 video titles sold in the U.S. in 1997. So far, over 20 million double soundtrack albums have been sold (more than 1.2 million of those sales came in 1996 and 1997). It had been in the top five on the Billboard pop charts for 244 consecutive weeks as of February 1, 1998.
The Broadway Musical, "Grease", originated in Chicago and, after beginning its Broadway run became the longest running musical in the history of theatre. Grease retained that record until it was broken by "A Chorus Line".
Travolta had worked with Director Randal Kleiser once before in the television blockbuster, “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble”. Ironically, Kelly Ward (“Putzie”) was also in that production as the wise-acre kid who makes fun of the Bubble Boy. Kleiser had sought two other males besides John Travolta, for the part of Danny Zuko. Those two were Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler. [Thanks to Dominic]
Several actors from the theatre company productions of Grease (both Broadway and traveling) wound up with parts in the film, including John Travolta (Doody on stage; Danny Zuko forevermore on celluloid), Jeff Conaway (Danny on stage; Kenickie in the flick), Barry Pearl (Sonny on stage alongside Travolta’s Doody and Doody in the flick), and Jamie Donnelly (Jan on Broadway and in the movie, and she’d been let go from the Broadway production before auditioning for the film).
Along with Didi Conn’s returning Frenchy, among the actors returning for Grease 2 were Eddie Deezen (“Eugene”), Eve Arden (“Principal McGee”), Dody Goodman (“Blanche”), and Sid Caesar (“Coach Calhoun”).
Most people recognize Alice Ghostley, who played the T-Birds’ shop-teacher and Thunder Road confidante, Mrs. Murdock, for her role as Samantha’s never-quite-getting-it-right aunt, and also a witch, on television’s Bewitched.
Other actresses considered for the role of Sandy included The Partridge Family’s Susan Dey and Deborah Raffin (ironically, Raffin and Stockard Channing (“Rizzo”) both auditioned for the role of Lois Lane in later 1978’s Superman: The Movie).
The original choice to play Rizzo was Lucie Arnaz; however, her mother, Lucille Ball refused to allow Lucie to screen test, something that Paramount insisted on before offering the role to any actress. As a result, Stockard Channing was hired only days before filming began.
When the film opens at Rydell High, Danny Zuko is flirting with an unnamed girl as he is spotted by his friends, the T-Birds. According to “Frenchy’s Grease Scrapbook”, by Didi Conn, that character’s name was “Sauce”. In fact, most of the dancers had names for purposes of the production (though not used in the film), character names like Bubba, Trix, Cee Cee, and Woppo.
As the cast rehearsed, the 1978 Warren Beatty hit, “Heaven Can Wait” was filming next door.
“Hopelessly Devoted to You” was the last song composed for the film. Producer Carr felt that the moment in the film where Sandy is feeling rejected should be emphasized with a song so they brought in Newton-John’s regular song-writer, John Farrar, and he composed the smash ballad. Other songs written specifically for the film include “You’re the One That I Want”, “Grease”, and “Sandy”.
Grease opened against "Jaws 2" in June 1978.
Right before the Beauty School drop out scene where the elderly waitress is talking with Frenchy - she goes down the stairs with her arms full of dishes - stretches for the light switch to turn it off - but never makes it - she never touches the light switch yet the lights go off anyway. [Thanks to Angela Gunter]
Director Randal Kleiser went on to direct 1980’s “The Blue Lagoon” and the independent feature and cult hit, “It’s My Party”, in 1996. Newton-John had a small role in “It’s My Party” along with Margaret Cho, Roddy McDowell, George Segal, Gregory Harrison, and Eric Roberts, among others.
Newton-John spoofed her black leather look, and in particular the titillating revelation of Sandy under the black leather jacket in the independent film, “Sordid Lives”, directed by Del Shores. Newton-John plays a tough-talking, been around the block, country-singing alternative lifestyler in a flick that shows just how far her career has come since Sandy I.
Dinah Manoff (“Martie”) went on to play one of the daughters of a Florida pediatrician in the television sitcom, “Empty Nest”, a spin-off of the NBC hit, “The Golden Girls”.
The director of the film sought two other males besides John Travolta, for the part of Danny Zuko. Those two were Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler. [Thanks to Dominic]
Lorenzo Lamas (of TV's "Renegade" fame) has a role as Danny's main rival for Sandy's affection. In some cuts of the movie, his role is not creditted. [Thanks to Ian Dennison]
Oliva Newton-John (Sandy) was hand picked by John Travolta (Danny. They wanted her on the spot but she demanded a screen test first with John Travolta to see what the chemistry was like. The chemistry was so good that not only did she agree to play the part Of Sany Olsen but she also co-stared agian with John in "a href="http://www.fast-rewind.com/twoofakind.htm" target="_blank">Two of a Kind".
Lorenzo Lamas (Sandy's jock boyfriend in the movie Tom Chisum) has no lines whatsoever. This is because at that time Oliva Newton-John was a huge singing sensation and Lorenzo loved her. He loved her so much that he was supposed to have lines but could not speak.
Jamie Donnelly (Jan) has naturally grey hair and it was dyed for the movie as you notice Jan has very black hair.
Dinah Manoff (Marty) can't dance. If you notice in the movie she is hidden or removed completely from the dance scenes. In the lunch area when that cast breaks out into "Summer Nights" Dinah scrunches her nose sings "like does he have a car" and walks away from the entire scence.
Jeff Conaway (Kenickie)was married for a short time to Oliva Newton-John's sister. They met at the cast party and hit it off. They were only married for 2 years and then split.
Berry Pearl's (Doody) daughter owns one of the original Pink Ladies jackets worn in the movie. After production they were shipping a lot of the costumes out and he grabbed it up quickly.
The "Summer Night's" scene took 2 weeks to film while "You The One That I Want" only took one afernoon. [Thanks to Bryanna]
Youngsters in 1978 with kids of their own today may recognize Barry Pearl as a friend of “Barney” the purple dinosaur.
This quote from Kleiser came from a 1998 Los Angeles Times article on the making of Grease: "At the Drive-In, when Olivia's character leaves Travolta alone, there was a song in the play called "Alone at a Drive-In Movie". None of us felt this would work effectively in the screen version and our musical director, Louis St. Louis, wrote the song "Sandy" to replace it. Now the challenge was how to stage it so it was interesting. We didn't want him to just sit in his car and sing. When I was in high school I used to go to the Main Line Drive-In (which is now a housing development). Just below the screen there was a small playground for kids to amuse themselves at dusk waiting for the movie to start. I loved the idea of Travolta sitting on the kid's swing, pining away for his girlfriend. The popcorn trailers that ran between drive-in features encouraged viewers to visit the refreshment stand with animated countdowns of when the next movie would start. We sent away to a Chicago distributor for about twenty vintage 50's popcorn trailers, but they didn't arrive until the night we were shooting at Burbank's Pickwick Drive-in (now a shopping mall). Bill Hansard, the industry's top process projectionist, ran the trailers one by one on the drive-in screen as the crew sat around waiting. My eye was caught by one that had a hot dog jumping into a bun at the end. I asked Bill if he could synch that action up to the end of the song. The end result looked like it had been carefully planned instead of improvised on the spot. Thinking back, I guess I should have played more of the ending on Travolta; this was his solo. But, I was so excited by the animated hot dog falling into synch that I was swept along and didn't shoot a closeup. One of my regrets." [Thanks to Ed Cook]
Allan Carr did not have an easy time retaining the rights to Grease. When he first saw the theatre production, he became quickly interested in obtaining the film rights; however, the rights were at that time owned by Steve Krantz and Ralph Baakshi, who planned to present Grease as an animated film. When the rights lapsed with no film in sight, Carr purchased the film rights for $200,000 and the contract contained an unusual clause – that Carr’s film could both use the songs from the show and could add, subtract, and replace them with new songs, a move that ultimately resulted in the soundtrack’s biggest hits.
Though the parties involved signed a settlement in which no one talks about the "problem", Paramount and Olivia Newton-John apparently were involved in a dispute over the amount of royalties due to Newton-John relative to similar royalties earned by Travolta due to that infamous cover image of the pair as Danny and Sandy. The DVDs for Grease had all been pressed and ready to go for several years, but were held up by this dispute, which explains why the Grease DVD contains only the same bonus items as the several years earlier released 20th anniversary VHS tape. Kleiser has hinted in interviews that a special edition of Grease could be forthcoming in the next few years.
As the 20th anniversary of the movie approached, there was renewed interest in the Broadway production. In 1994, Tommy Tune produced Grease! for contemporary post-movie Grease Broadway, removing much of the darkness of the original production and stunt-casting growing superstar Rosie O'Donnell as Betty Rizzo. It was in that production that O'Donnell met her musical producer for her TV talk show, John McDaniel. Also in that original production: First star search winner Sam Harris (his "Magic Changes" is reason enough to find the score to the show), and Will & Grace's Megan Mullally (who played Marty). After O'Donnell left the Rizzo role, the character was played by Brooke Shields and TV's Marcia Brady, Maureen McCormick, among others. There was also a different production of Grease in London, which used the songs from the 1978 film, running contemporaneously with Tune's Grease!
Today, Didi Conn’s production company is interested in producing Grease 3 with the children of the original T-Birds and Pink Ladies in 1978. Olivia Newton-John has said that she would not consider reprising the role of Sandy unless Travolta participates as well. Travolta, meanwhile, has made no comment regarding his participation. When initially announced, one rumor quickly debunked was that Avril Lavigne, apparently a big fan of Newton-John’s, was in the running to play Sandy’s daughter. It is unclear whether Grease 3 would be a television production or a major film. I wonder if Grease 2’s Maxwell Caufield is available..?
know some Grease trivia that we could add? [Please
send it in]
Featured Location: Rydell High School
Wanna see the real life location used for Rydell High School in the movie? It was actually filmed at Venice High School, located in Venice, S. California. [Show me a Map/Directions]
The school interiors including classrooms and the dance contest were shot at Huntington Park High School (at 6020 Miles Ave, in Huntington Park, CA).
The carnival at the end of the movie was shot at John Marshall High School (at 3939 Tracy St; Los Angeles).
Virgil Jr. High School in Los Angeles was apparently also used.
Some sources have given the drive-in site as the Studio Drive-In in Culver City, CA, but according to the film's director Randall Kleiser, the drive-in movie sequence in "Grease" (1978) was filmed at the Pickwick Drive-In (1100 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA). The drive-in was closed in 1989 and torn down shortly afterward. A shopping center (including a Pavilions grocery store where the outdoor movie screen once stood) now stands on the site.
The beach scenes were filmed at El Matador State Beach (32215 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA).
The exterior of the "Frosty Palace" was shot on the lot at Paramount Studios (5555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, CA).
The interior of the "Frosty Palace" and the soundstage sequences ("Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" "Hopelessly Devoted To You" "Greased Lightning" and "Beauty School Dropout") were apparently shot on a soundstage (don't know which one) at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.
The drag-race scenes were filmed in the Los Angeles River Channel near the 6th Street Bridge (area between First Street Bridge and Seventh Street Bridge).[Thanks to Eddy]
Can you help? Do you know any of the S. California (or any other) filming locations used for Grease? [Please send them in]
|Trailer, Featurette, OutTakes|
2 disc 'Rockin' Rydell Edition' due September 19th 2006|
New 2 disc Special Edition|
There is little doubt that a large part of the lasting appeal of Grease lies in its soundtrack.
The soundtrack to Grease is one of the most diverse collections of period music … period. While pop culture history and the infamous “Grease Mega mix” highlight only 'Summer Nights', 'Greased Lightning', and 'You’re the One That I Want', along with the Barry Gibb-penned title song, 'Sandy', and 'Hopelessly Devoted to You', the soundtrack is replete with actual songs from the 50’s (“Blue Moon”, “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”, and “Hound Dog” among others) as well as the original songs from the Broadway show penned during an entire other period in musical history than the late 70’s disco pop era.
As a result, Grease is a double album that winds up in almost everyone’s music collection at some point during their lives.
On September 23, 2003, the Grease Deluxe Edition Soundtrack was released by Polydor with a bonus CD containing several previously unreleased tracks (mostly instrumental) and rare remixes of some of the smash hits. Disc one is identical to the original soundtrack. Track Listing:
1. Grease - Frankie Valli
2. Summer Nights - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
3. Hopelessly Devoted To You - Olivia Newton-John
4. You're The One I Want - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
5. Sandy - John Travolta
6. Beauty School Dropout - Frankie Avalon
7. Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee - Stockard Channing
8. Greased Lightning - John Travolta
9. It's Raining On Prom Night - Cindy Bullens
10. Alone At The Drive-In Movie (Instrumental) - Jim Jacobs/Warren Casey
11. Blue Moon - Sha-Na-Na
12. Rock 'N' Roll Is Here To Stay - Sha-Na-Na
13. Those Magic Changes - Sha-Na-Na
14. Hound Dog - Sha-Na-Na
15. Born To Hand Jive - Sha-Na-Na
16. Tears On My Pillow - Sha-Na-Na
17. Mooning - Louis St. Louis & Cindy Bullens
18. Freddy My Love - Cindy Bullens
19. Rock 'N' Roll Party Queen - Louis St. Louis
20. There Are Worse Things I Could Do - Stockard Channing
21. Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise) - Olivia Newton-John
22. We Go Together - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
23. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (Instrumental) - Sammy Fein/Paul Francis Webster
24. Grease (Reprise) - Frankie Valli
1. Grease - (B-side, instrumental)
2. Summer Nights - (sing-a-long version)
3. Hopelessly Devoted To You - (sing-a-long version)
4. You're The One That I Want - (sing-a-long version)
5. Sandy - (sing-a-long version)
6. Greased Lightnin' - John Travolta (single version)
7. Rydell Fight Song - (previously unreleased, instrumental)
8. Greased Up And Ready To Go - (previously unreleased, instrumental)
9. Grease Megamix: You're The One That I Want / Greased Lightnin' / Summer Nights - John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John
10. Grease Dream Mix: Grease / Sandy / Hopelessly Devoted To You
11. Summer Nights - Olivia Newton-John (Martian remix)
12. You're The One That I Want - John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John (Martian remix)
Soundtrack Available: On CD
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|Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta star|