From On Screen To Stage
In 2004, the screenplay of Dirty Dancing was adapted by Eleanor Bergstein herself into a live musical titled, Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage. Similarly to the film, the show received tremendous success in Toronto, Chicago, and Europe. The show is yet to hit the big stage in the Broadway, but fans still managed to get a glimpse of their favorite movie turned into a musical, and really, any excuse to have more Baby and Johnny in our lives, we’ll take!
The Crawl Was Not Intentional
The scene where Johnny and Baby are crawling towards each other was never included in the script and was not originally meant for the film. In fact, the actors were just warming up, and it got the directors thinking. They liked it so much that they saw it as a potential scene and chose to film it. It was then included it in the final production and a famous scene we have all come to know! Sometimes a bit of improvisation makes all the difference.
Bringing In The Money
Producers certainly made the right choice when they decided to release the film in the theaters, and not just for our entertainment. The film which cost $5 million to produce, made a whopping $214 million worldwide. If that sum is not enough to say that they made a heartwarming classic, then we’re not sure what else there is to prove it. Perhaps the fact that thirty years on, the film is still up there with some of the best may help, but the sum shows it was a real box-office hit.
It’s All In The Outfits
Purposely, the outfits worn by the two main stars in the film were coordinated strategically by the costume team. Baby always wore light, pastel colors throughout the film, and Johnny was dressed in black and dark colors. If you’re choosing to dress up as the couple for Halloween – an option favored by so many – or any form of fancy dress occasion, these are the two simple dress codes to follow to make for the perfect Baby and Johnny pairing.
Dirty Dancing Reality Show
In 2007, the U.K. premiered their own Dirty Dancing reality show, appropriately titled, Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life. The show was basically a dance competition, but contestants did have the honor of being judged by some of the actors from the movie. Since the spinoff show only lasted that two years and was not renewed for another, it seems that the Dirty Dancing moves were made primarily for the benefit of the film, and did not prove the same success in reality TV.
A Fan Of Ryan Gosling
Most people would be starstruck at seeing Jennifer Grey as opposed to the other way round. However, when Grey watched Crazy, Stupid, Love and saw Ryan Gosling use the Dirty Dancing lift to woo Emma Stone, Jennifer could not believe her luck. “I’m such a fan of Ryan Gosling and all of a sudden he’s saying my name [in the movie]. I’m just in the theater with my husband, and I look at him like, ‘Oh my God, Ryan Gosling just said my name.’”
A Musical Hit
Shortly after the film release, the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” made it to number one in the music charts in 1987, and sold more than 50,000 copies. The song was then honored at the Grammy’s when Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes took home the award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. Furthermore, at the 1988 Academy Awards, the Dirty Dancing writers took home the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1988. Bill Medley must have been one happy man.
From Another Mother
Kelly Bishop, who has her own roots in show business as a dancer, was originally going to play Vivian Pressman when the show was first being cast. She might be better known today for playing the snarky grandmother on Gilmore Girls, but Bishop landed the role of the nice mom in an unexpected way. Right before filming began, the original choice for Marjorie Houseman, Lynne Lipton, got sick, so the producers decided to ask Bishop to fill in instead.
Deciding On Dirty
Though they had some concept of the movie before they began, it wasn’t quite working when it came to script development. Finally, the producer, Lisa Gottlieb, asked Eleanor Bergstein to tell her about herself, to which Bergstein responded, “I grew up in Brooklyn, my father was a doctor, I was one of those kids who used to go across the tracks to go dirty dancing.” The phrase struck Gottlieb who said, “That’s a million-dollar title! Now we’ll figure out the story.”
All About The Image
Famous therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, was originally asked to play Mrs. Schumacher in Dirty Dancing but eventually turned down the role. Although she initially contemplated joining the cast, she reconsidered when she thought more about how it would portray her image professionally. Since Mrs. Schumacher played a thief on screen, Westheimer decided it would be best not to play the character as it could impact her future career if she went ahead with the role. Therefore, Paula Trueman replaced her.
Dirty Dancing Made Into A TV Show
A spin-off show was created after the release of the Dirty Dancing. Having proven to be a huge success on the big screen, it is no surprise it was made into a television adaptation in hope to secure the same popularity. The series, which premiered in 1988, lasted 11 episodes and featured celebrities such as Paul Feig and Melora Hardin. Before Hardin was Jan from The Office, she was television version of Baby.
The Time Of His Life
Although skeptical at first, Bill Medley’s decision to record the song for Dirty Dancing surely changed his life. So much so, he must have thought Patrick Swayze was his lucky charm since he took to recording yet another song three years later in a film featuring the actor. Medley lent his voice to the romantic classic, Ghost, where Swayze stars alongside Demi Moore. In the pottery scene, “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers is played. In 2014, Medley wrote an autobiography and titled it, The Time of My Life.
Dirty Dancing Themed Weekends
Dirty Dancing was filmed in Pembroke, Virginia, and since it was such a movie hit, they host three Dirty Dancing-themed weekends a year. What can be expected at this weekend away, is a screening of the film (of course), a watermelon toss, dinners, a sock hot, group dance lessons, and a Dirty Dancing scavenger hunt. Essentially, it is all things Dirty Dancing, so no surprise if visitors try their luck at the lift themselves, although that is probably not included in the dance lesson.
He Can Sing Too
While he was cast to play the leading role of Johnny in Dirty Dancing, Patrick also lent his talents elsewhere in the film. It seems as though the actor was a triple threat since, not only was he a talented actor, but he also contributed a song on the soundtrack, “She’s Like The Wind,” which Swayze actually co-wrote with Stacy Widelitz, and sang it too! The producers sure got it right when they were casting for this role!
Sarah Jessica Parker
Along with many other hopeful ladies that auditioned for the main role, former Sex and The City star, Sarah Jessica Parker also auditioned for the role of Baby. While we may love her for her own work (after all, she is the Carrie Bradshaw), we couldn’t really imagine anyone other than Jennifer Grey for this role and are thankful that no one else did as good a job as the leading actress. No one can compete with the chemistry between Grey and Swayze!
Borscht Belts Were Big In The 50s
Kellerman’s was located in the Catskills and is just one of the resorts referred to as the Borscht Belt. Those resorts in this category got the name because of the area’s popularity with Jewish-American families from the 1920s to the 1980s. The height of their popularity was in the 1950s and 60s, but since the 90s, hundreds of these resorts have disappeared. Big names, such as comedians Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld, started their careers these resorts.
It Was A No From Patrick
Seeing as though Dirty Dancing was such a box-office hit, and worldwide phenomenon, there was the talk of a sequel. However, it seemed as though Patrick Swayze seemed to really hate the idea of sequels, and for this reason, he turned down the offer for a sequel to Dirty Dancing. This was not just any offer, however. This was a $6 million offer made to Swayze to reprise the role of Johnny in a second film, but Swayze still said no.
What’s In A Name?
Dirty Dancing is one of the most popular films of recent time, and we do not even think twice about the name. This was not the case for the writers who nearly went with a completely different title for the film. Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein revealed that the film was nearly called Was A Teenage Mumba Teen. Their reasoning was because the film had trouble getting across the Canadian border with the name Dirty Dancing, and border control thought the plot of the film was completely different – more like an adult film.
Dirty Dancing Remake
There was, in fact, a remake of Dirty Dancing, titled
. Of course, it was not of the same caliber as the original, nor did it have the same leading characters. However, the dance scenes were choreographed by the same person as the first film, and it proved to be quite the success. This version is full of attractive people, Latin music, and sensual scenes, and proves to be a must-see film, even if it stems away from the original.
Eastern Europe Is A Fan
Bergstein revealed in 2016 that Dirty Dancing has quite the impact in Eastern Europe. “In Russia, it’s policy in the battered women’s shelters, when a woman comes in for help. First, they wash and dress her wounds, then they give her soup. Then they sit her down and show her Dirty Dancing. When the Berlin Wall came down, there were all these pictures of kids wearing Dirty Dancing T-shirts; they were saying, ‘We want to have what they have in the West! We want Dirty Dancing!’”
Swayze had to convince Jennifer Gray to take on the role as Baby, since she was not such a fan of the actor after they filmed alongside each other in Red Dawn (1984). But why?
Come Out For Conan
10 years after Dirty Dancing first hit theaters, a bunch of fans wanted to share it on the big screen with the next generation. Somehow, Conan O’Brien was one of the leaders of this call to arms, asking his viewers to write letters demanding that the film be re-released. Somehow, his campaign worked, and the film was released a second time in honor of its 10th anniversary. Amazingly, that was all done before the age of Twitter.
Wayne Knight’s Big Break
He may be best recognized for his role on Seinfeld, but Wayne Knight’s talents were truly brought to light when he was cast to play the role of Stan in Dirty Dancing. Before landing his big break, Knight was a small-time actor who only featured in minor TV shows. It was after his performance in the big movie hit, as well as other major films, that he was cast as Newman and certainly became a household name from then on.
Can’t Win Them All
Despite the dire predictions about how the original Dirty Dancing would perform at the box office, it turned out to be a mega-hit, so much so that a remake, not a sequel, was released in 2017. Starring Abigail Breslin as Baby, the film earned terrible reviews. Most of them were particularly focused on Breslin’s lack of charisma as a dancer, which was one of the most important parts of the character. The famous moments were all there, but the magic wasn’t.
No Help From Friends
When discussing whether or not Eleanor Bergstein’s dance partners could have been involved in the making of the film, she revealed, “My old partners are either in jail or out on parole … it was a very rough neighborhood.” They may not have been able to make appearances in person, but such colorful dance partners certainly lent a lot to the authenticity of the film, which became one of the biggest reasons the movie turned out to be so iconic.
Straight To VHS
It seems the producers were along some of the people that were not too convinced that Dirty Dancing would be such a success. So much so, they were considering skipping releasing the film in theaters and going straight to VHS. It is safe to say that their change of mind worked in their favor, and one of the best decisions they could have made. Moreover, as fans, we are also pleased with their change of plan, as watching the chemistry between Swayze and Grey on the big screen makes all the difference.
Dirty Dancing Reflects The Writer’s Life
Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein wrote Dirty Dancing with her own life in mind and for her own inspiration when it came to the storyline. During her life, she had also visited the Catskills, was nicknamed “Baby,” and learned to dance when she went to parties. This is one Baby that would surely not be put in the corner following her talented screenwriting and producing such a phenomenon. She also began directing movies in 19995 and wrote Let It Be Me, but has not directed anything since.
Sounds Like A Bad ‘Adult Film’
Just as moments in the film became iconic in their own right, so did the featured song, “Time Of My Life.” While many may rightfully associate the hit song with the film, singer-songwriter Bill Medley first turned down the offer to sing the song because he thought it sounded like the start of a bad ‘adult film.’ Fortunately, the director later convinced him otherwise and the song was undeniably a great addition to Dirty Dancing, and most likely a change to Medley’s life!
From Italy To Ireland
Originally, the producers wanted Johnny to be Italian-American, so much so that they’d been considering Billy Zane, who would later become known for his work in Titanic. However, when he came in for his screen test, they discovered he really didn’t have the moves, which Patrick Swayze certainly did. They scrapped the idea of Johnny being Italian and decided to make him Irish instead, just so Swayze would be a better fit for the character.
A Movie All About Heart
Swayze spoke about the real story behind Dirty Dancing in an interview, stating, “It’s not about the sensuality; it’s really about people trying to find themselves—this young dance instructor feeling like he’s nothing but a product, and this young girl trying to find out who she is in a society of restrictions when she has such an amazing take on things. On a certain level, it’s really about the fabulous, funky little Jewish girl getting the guy because what she’s got in her heart.”
Backed Into A Corner
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” might be one of the most iconic lines in the entire movie, but Patrick Swayze was supposedly unimpressed by it. He apparently disliked it so much that he requested the line be removed from the film, but the production team wouldn’t budge. After the film was released, however, he began to change his tune after seeing how well it fit into the finished product, reluctantly agreeing that it was a good choice to leave it in.
No Time Like The Present
At the time, production was given such a tight filming schedule that the cast was only given two weeks for rehearsal time. It would most likely take most of us much more than two weeks to be able to elegantly lift someone in the air, but Swayze and Grey pulled it off effortlessly. The entire shoot was filmed in 44 days which, compared to most Hollywood movies, is no time at all! Perhaps less time filming creates an even bigger turn around at the box office.
The famous lift that sees Baby floating over the crowd, only supported by Johnny’s arms, was actually terrifying to do for Jennifer Grey. Because of her fear, she refused to continue rehearsing the lift after they tried it in their audition. When it came time to do it on film, it was only the second time they’d done the lift ever. The pair made sure to get it right in the first take so Grey wouldn’t have to suffer any more than necessary.
Like many movies, there were a few moments that ended up onscreen that weren’t supposed to be there. One of them was the scene where Baby bursts out laughing after Johnny tickles her. Jennifer Grey is actually very ticklish in real life, and there was no way she could hold back the laughter even when the cameras were rolling. Johnny’s annoyed reaction was Swayze’s actual response to Grey’s laughter, but the production team they decided they liked it and kept it in.
Runs In The Family
Jennifer Grey may have surely made a name for herself in her own right after winning fans for her role as Baby. However, it seems as though talented genes run in the family since her father is also a performer. Grey’s father, Joel, is a legendary Cabaret performer, so perhaps she got a few lessons from him while growing up. In any case, it is safe to say that this family know how to dance and give a real performance.
Not So New York
While the film is set in Upstate New York, shooting actually took place mainly in Virginia and North Carolina. Furthermore, since the film was shot during the fall, it was not as hot as the stars made out to believe it was, and nature was not as green as production would have hoped for. Therefore, they had to spray paint the leaves on the set green to give the illusion to the audience that the film was shot during summer.
It’s Cold In Here
The lift is one of the most famous scenes to ever grace the silver screen, but the actors had to face uncomfortable lengths to get this perfect moment. The lake scene was filmed in North Carolina – while the rest of the film was filmed in Virginia – and in October, the lake temperature is less than appealing. The actors’ could vouch for this since the reason there were no close-ups of this moment was because the freezing temperatures had turned their lips blue!