Every month we try and bring something new and different to the Alamo Drafthouse. Whether it’s a Quote-Along of TALLADEGA NIGHTS, a screening of STARSHIP TROOPERS with live pyrotechnics in the theater or a special appearance by filmmaker Kevin Smith, we are committed to bringing you fresh events and movies every month. Sometimes, though, our audience tells us loud and clear what it is they never get tired of seeing at Alamo. Thus is the case with GREASE. It would seem our Houston Alamo audiences are hopelessly devoted to the 1978 musical so, after two highly successful screenings in June, we’re bringing the GREASE SING-ALONG back to Houston for three shows in August.
When it comes to Sing-Alongs at the Alamo Drafthouse, though, don’t expect us to just throw the lyrics on the screen and let you fend for yourself — we make the night a true event with props, games and a live host. We guarantee you will have a great time at GREASE or else we will revoke our T-bird or Pink Lady memberships.
To celebrate the three August screenings of the GREASE SING-ALONG at the Houston Alamo Drafthouse locations, here are ten things you may not have known about the film that helped make John Travolta a certifiable star.
The original stars envisioned for GREASE were Henry Winkler and Marie Osmond. Winkler, of HAPPY DAYS fame, turned down the role for fear of being typecast. Osmond walked away from the project because she did not agree with the film’s message that Sandy had to become a “bad girl” in order to get the guy.
GREASE 2 was released in 1982 with the hopes that the franchise would include at lease three sequels and a TV show. When the sequel flopped, the plans were scrapped. Talk of a sequel has come up every few years since — including scrapped plans for a sequel that would see John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John reprise their roles with Kylie Mingoue starring as their daughter.
The opening theme song “Grease” may have been sung by former teen idol Franke Vallie but it was written by Barry Gibb, the front man of the Bee Gees who had previously collaborated with John Travolta for the soundtrack to SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.
Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball, was the first choice to play Rizzo. The part went to Stockard Channing after Ball allegedly called Paramount and said, “I used to own that studio; my daughter’s not doing a screen test!” Gee, thanks mom.
In the original play, Kenickie sings “Greased Lightening.” John Travolta allegedly used his clout as the film’s star to have his character sing it in the movie. While at first Jeff Conaway (who had previously played Danny Zuko in the Broadway version of the musical) at first refused to budge, he eventually gave in to Travolta’s pressure. To add salt to the wound, Jeff Conaway had to walk stooped whenever he was in a scene with John Travolta so that Travolta would appear taller.
During production, the film had set up a product placement deal with Coca-Cola but sometime before the film’s release, the deal fell through. Any Coke products you may glimpse during the movie were blurred beyond recognition – including a huge hanging banner in the diner scenes. The soundtrack album featured photos of Pepsi products.
Harry Reems, star of legendary porn film DEEP THROAT, was originally supposed to play Coach Calhoun in the movie. The studio got nervous due to the federal government’s prosecution of the actor over his work in the porno and he was replaced by Sid Caesar. For more on this story, check out the excellent documentary INSIDE DEEP THROAT.
According to legend, the scene in Frenchy’s bedroom where Rizzo mentions Elvis Presley in a lyric was filmed on the same day Elvis died.
Ever wonder why Danny Zuko rubs plastic wrap over his crotch during the song “Greased Lightening”? This is a reference to a bit from the original stage play that talked about using plastic wrap as a makeshift condom. This scene, along with much more blatantly sexual content, was cut by censors to help clean up what is arguably still a pretty dirty movie.
The film was released in Spain as “Brilliantina” (or Brilliantine). This is due to the fact that its English title translated as “fat” in Spanish.