Following up on the terrific Animal House was never going to be easy, but spiritual successor Caddyshack managed that very feat. Since its release in 1980, the all-star movie went on to become a cult favorite, commonly featuring in “funniest movie ever” lists. But there’s more than meets the eye to this zany and outrageous motion picture. From blowing up golf courses to going on late-night weed scavenges, Caddyshack is still intriguing its rabid fan base with all sorts of peculiar facts surrounding its making. So let’s tee-off with these 20 Caddyshack facts that even its most dedicated fans don’t know.
20. The original cut was much longer
Audiences were bowled over by the movie’s non-stop output of jokes, but there could have been much more if director Harold Ramis had his way. Indeed, it turns out that the original version of the movie clocked in at more than four-and-a-half hours. Yikes! According to Ramis, there were just too many hilarious gags in the film, making it extremely hard to edit.
19. One legendary band turned down the soundtrack
Fans of the movie will know that Kenny Loggins ended up providing the soundtrack. However, initially, Harold Ramis inquired about the services of legendary prog-rock outfit Pink Floyd. It was quite an ambitious request by the budding director, so he probably wasn’t too surprised when they rejected it in favor of touring their album The Wall.
18. The Dalai Lama responded to the movie by barely responding
One of the most memorable scenes from the movie is when Carl Spackler (played by Bill Murray) recounts a hilarious story about caddying for the Dalai Lama. But the peaceful figure had never even heard of the movie. When asked in a Fox News interview whether he’d seen it, a rather mystified Dalai Lama responded with, “what?”
17. Scott Colomby picked up a bad habit during filming
Sometimes the lines blur between fiction and reality during the filming process, something which Scott Colomby knows all too well. His character Tony D’Annunzio was often puffing on a cigarette in the movie, but Colomby stated on the DVD extras that he’d never smoked before the role. However, following his portrayal of the human smoke machine, he was hooked.
16. An awkward sex scene caught Cindy Morgan off guard
Love scenes are tough enough to act in without things happening that you aren’t prepared for. Well, when it comes to a mostly improvised movie like Caddyshack, you should learn to expect the unexpected. Cindy Morgan certainly wasn’t anticipating Chevy Chase to pour oil on her during their love scene. Indeed, she said in a 2010 interview with Socialite Life, “When he dumped that bottle of oil on my back, did you think I knew that was coming?”
15. Dr. Dow gave a one-off appearance
Just because you’ve starred in a movie, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re an actor. Case and point being college professor Dr. Dow, who played Mr Wang in the film. After appearing in Caddyshack, Dow never appeared in another motion picture.
14. It received some scathing reviews
Not every movie can impress everyone, and Caddyshack is no different. Upon its release in 1980, the movie had some terrible reviews written about it by respected critics, including Roger Ebert and Judy Stone. Criticisms ranged from the actors trying too hard to the movie simply not being funny. Fortunately with time, the general consensus has mostly shifted in favor of this misunderstood gem.
13. Harold Ramis said he didn’t want to make a sequel
With the first Caddyshack in the bag, it wasn’t long before studio execs approached Harold Ramis to do a sequel. Indeed, in an 1999 interview with A.V. Club, the director recalled, “With Caddyshack 2, the studio begged me.” However, he didn’t comply, and with director Allan Arkush at the helm, the movie bombed at the box office due to its completely revised cast and nonsensical PG rating.
12. The large golf course explosion was spotted by pilots
So, you’re flying your plane and you spot a huge explosion below you. What do you do? Probably report it to air traffic control, which is exactly what this particular pilot did. What he didn’t know, however, was that it was the massive golf course explosion featured in Caddyshack, and not a downed aircraft. Phew!
11. Two of the stars were, in fact, bitter rivals
One of the most surprising aspects regarding the production was the Chevy Chase and Bill Murray dynamic. That’s because the two were allegedly sworn enemies leading up to their performances in Caddyshack, stemming from their days on Saturday Night Live. However, when it came time to shoot their only scene together, the two professionals put aside their differences and showed each other mutual respect.
10. The role of Danny Noonan almost went to another well-known actor
We all know how Caddyshack turned out, but it could’ve been very different. Originally, Mickey Rourke was pursued to star in one of the main roles as Danny Noonan. Speaking with The Huffington Post in 2014, Michael O’Keefe, who got the part over Rourke, said, “They were interested in Mickey Rourke originally to play that part. And, you know, it would’ve been a different movie.”
9. The cast worked hard, but played harder
Ever thought everyone in Caddyshack looked like they were having too good a time? That’s because they likely were. The movie is notorious for its behind-the-scenes parties, boozed-up antics and drug indulgences. Of the many examples, the most noteworthy include Rodney Dangerfield doing lines of cocaine during his audition, Bill Murray going missing after wild night of partying, and the cast requesting cash in order for them to purchase more “under the counter” products.
8. The crew were clever about breaking the rules
One thing you’ll notice on this list is how the cast and crew seemed to just do what they wanted. And nothing exemplifies this more than when they decided to do the golf course explosion scene. Allegedly, the crew built a fake green for detonation purposes, and sent the staff of the golf club to a party. While they were gone, they then blew up the course. That kind of deviousness would make the gopher proud.
7. The filmed spawned its own Caddysnacks
Bill Murray didn’t just wipe his hands of the film once production wrapped up. No, instead he chose to immortalize it with his own Caddyshack-themed restaurant. With one in Florida and another on the way, Murray Bros. Caddyshack is the ultimate food/golf hybrid for fans of the movie. With a catchy slogan like “Eat, Drink and Be Murray” and a tantalizing menu that includes the “Sandwedge” and the “Shack Burger,” who wouldn’t want to eat there?
6. Rodney Dangerfield was out of his depth
As a comic, Rodney Dangerfield is certainly one of the all-time greats. However, until Caddyshack came along, he’d never starred in a motion picture before. This probably explains the fact that when “Action!” was yelled on set, the bamboozled comedian didn’t even know what to do.
5. One of its writers was severely depressed during filming
While almost all of the facts surrounding the movie are humorous, one story couldn’t be any bleaker. A key writer, Douglas Kenney, was battling a serious cocaine addiction during filming. It didn’t help that when the movie was released, frustrations about the final edit and a torrent of negative reviews worsened his depression. The influential 33-year-old writer would fall from a cliff to his death, just one month after the film came out.
4. It was a family affair, full of real-life stories
There were a lot of Murrays floating around the set of Caddyshack, including writer Brian Doyle-Murray and his younger brother, Bill Murray. With this much family interaction, it’s probably no surprise to learn that the film’s Noonan family were based around Doyle-Murray’s actual relatives.
3. Bill Murray went on a seedy, late-night pursuit…
Okay, so we’ve touched on the amount of partying that went on, but check out this odd little factoid regarding the movie’s main stars. According to Chevy Chase in the documentary Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, Bill Murray went on an after-hours search for marijuana, eventually finding himself banging on Chase’s door to see if he could hook him up. Chase sent the persistent Murray to Rodney Dangerfield, who in turn, sold him some seeds. Joke’s on you this time, Bill.
2. …and his character was originally a mute!
Can you imagine how different Caddyshack would have been if Bill Murray’s character Carl Spackler was silent? Well, that’s what was down on the initial script. However, after the talented situational actor was cast, it became apparent that he needed to do his own thing. Even more impressive is the fact that almost all of Murray’s performance was improvised. The Lama would approve.
1. Bosses were prepared for the director to make a mess of it
Not everything goes exactly as planned, as was the case for the initial filming stages of Caddyshack. Making his directorial debut, Harold Ramis called the early stages of production a “disaster”, for which he was sure he’d get shown the door. Indeed, he was right to be suspicious. The studio had five other directors lined up in case Ramis couldn’t make good on the movie. Fortunately, he proved them all wrong in the end.