10 Things You Didn't Know About 'Caddyshack,' Because Bill Murray Loves To Improvise
Caddyshack, now celebrating its 35th anniversary, is one of those movies that everyone likes — dads, best friends, teachers, doctors, writers, and comedians. It has all the trimmings of a classic comedy film: An amazingly talented director (the late Harold Ramis, who cut his chops with National Lampoon and would later go on to make movies like Groundhog Day and Analyze This); a ready-for-improv cast; and a few comedy legends (Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight). Caddyshack is just one of those movies you know deeply in your blood, so, during my research, I was surprised at all the facts I uncovered.
If you’ve never seen Caddyshack, seriously, get to it, but the film tells the tale of Danny Noonan, a teen who works as a caddy at a seriously snobby country club to raise cash for college. In order to get a special scholarship reserved for caddies, he volunteers to follow around a very influential golfer around the club’s course — too bad the member (played by Ted Knight) totally sucks. Danny tries to prepare for the Caddy Day golf tournament in the midst of this. Ty Webb, played by Chevy Chase, tries to guide him (but he’s weird and so New Age), and Carl Spackler (expertly acted by Bill Murray) is a strung-out, shell-shocked groundskeeper hell-bent on capturing a pesky gopher. Oh, and Rodney Dangerfield can’t get no respect. If that’s not the stuff of comedy, I don’t know what is.
Even if you’ve seen the film 100 times, here’s a list of things you may not have known about Caddyshack .
1. Harold Ramis Didn’t Love Editing
The director’s cut of Caddyshack is over four-and-a-half hours long. Ramis thought that all of the jokes were so good that he didn’t want to cut them out. Might need an intermission for that one.
2. Bill Murray Improvised The “Cinderella” Scene
Murray, only on set for six days, got two lines of direction for his famed “Cinderella story” scene. Ramis told him to imagine himself as a kid depicting a great moment in sports. Murray asked for the flowers, and a major moment in comedy history was born. It’s also worth noting that the scene originally went on for over 30 minutes.
3. The Candy Bar Prank Was Real
The scene where there’s a Baby Ruth in the pool that’s mistaken for a piece of human excrement? That was based on a real-life prank that Bill Murray and his brothers pulled in their high school’s pool.
4. Rodney Dangerfield Was A Little Insecure
Though a seasoned standup comedian, Dangerfield hadn’t had a great deal of experience in feature films. He thought he was bombing because no one would laugh after he’d deliver his jokes. Finally, someone explained to him that if they laughed, they’d ruin the take and be forced to do it all over again.
5. Bill Murray & Chevy Chase’s Scene Wasn’t In The OG Script
Ramis realized sometime into shooting that Chase and Murray didn’t have a scene together. The trio wrote the scene over lunch, even though Chase and Murray hated each other from a disagreement during their Saturday Night Live days.
6. Ramis Turned Caddyshack Into A Marx Brothers Film
Though the story was supposed to be pretty much entirely about Danny, Ramis realized that he had too much to work with with Chase, Murray, etc. in the movie. So, he retooled, instead getting inspiration from the Marx Brothers. He decided Dangerfield would act as Groucho, Murray as Harpo, and Chase as Chico.
7. Harold Ramis Never Played Golf
Luckily, he didn’t need the experience, but Ramis had never played a round of golf in his life prior to directing the movie. Wonder if he spent time on the greens afterwards.
8. Ted Knight Was Not Happy On Set
Ted Knight, best known for his stint on The Mary Tyler Moore show, was a seasoned actor that was really thrown by all of the improvisation on the set. He was also fed up with the nonstop partying and with the fact that his role was reduced to basic cameo status when Murray, Dangerfield, and Chase signed on. It was his last movie.
9. The Gopher May Sound Familiar
Did the noises the gopher makes always sound a little weird to you? That’s because they’re the sounds of a dolphin, not a rodent. The noises used in Caddyshack were also used in Flipper .
10. Dangerfield’s Line Turned Into An Ad Campaign
In Caddyshack, Dangerfield’s character barks, “Let’s go — while we’re young” at Ted Knight’s character Elihu Smalls. Since Caddyshack is so beloved by the gold community, the USGA (United States Golf Association) used “While We’re Young” as the theme of a 2013 campaign aimed on getting more people to golf or return to golfing.
Did you know all of those Caddyshack facts? Time to tee up and hit the course.
Images: Warner Brothers; Giphy (10)