Useless Entertainment Industry Facts & Trivia

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Captain Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scotty,” but he did say, “Beam me up, Mr. Scott.”

On April 6, 1925, the first in-flight movie was shown. It was a silent film and appeared on a Deutsche Lufthansa flight.

Gunsmoke Series

Gunsmoke Series

Gunsmoke debuted on CBS-TV in 1955 and became the longest-running prime-time drama – for 20 years. Today, it is tied with Law & Order which was on NBC from 1990 to 2010.

Charlie Chaplin made his movie mocking Hitler with his own money because Hollywood was afraid of losing money if they took a stand.

The original movie poster for the 1943 movie The Outlaw, which portrays actress Jane Russell sold for more than $82,200 at Christie’s auction house.

There’s a Starbucks cup in every Fight Club scene.

E.T. and Poltergeist started from the same script.

In the movie Babe, the piglet was played by over 30 different piglets they outgrew the part so quickly during the production of the film.

One of the Bond girls in the James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only, used to be a man.

Billie Jean by Michael Jackson was the first video to air on MTV by a black artist.

Leave it to Beaver television series.

Leave it to Beaver television series.

The first toilet ever seen on television was on Leave It to Beaver.

Because metal was scarce, the Oscars during World War II were made of wood.

In 1920, 57% of Hollywood movies billed the female star above the leading man. In 1990, only 18% had the leading lady given top billing.

The first Academy Awards ceremony to be telecast was the 25th annual awards in 1953.

Napoleon Bonaparte is the historical figure most often portrayed in movies. He has been featured in 194 movies, Jesus Christ in 152, and Abraham Lincoln in 137.

The average child sees 30,000 television commercials every year.

There wasn’t just one television Lassie, and none of the Lassies was female. The part was played by a series of male dogs.

The Jazz Singer is widely believed to have been the first “talkie.” However, it wasn’t – the first all-talking film was actually Lights of New York shown in 1928.

George Lucas’ Dog Inspired Chewbacca.



Unusual deaths have plagued the cast of the Poltergeist trilogy of films including 12-year-old actress Heather O’Rourke, who died of septic shock. The theory is that the set was cursed by evil.

The “Miss America” pageant made its network TV debut on ABC In 1954. Miss California, Lee Ann Meriwether, was crowned the winner.

The Les Nessman character on WKRP in Cincinnati wore a band-aid in every episode.

Internationally, Baywatch is the most popular television show in history.

The first live televised murder was in 1963 when Jack Ruby killed John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald while millions of viewers watched.

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was created in 1939, in Chicago, Illinois for the Montgomery Ward department stores for a Christmas promotion. The lyrics were written as a poem by Robert May but weren’t set to music until 1947. Gene Autry recorded the hit song in 1949.

Tom Cruise’s real name is Thomas Mapother.

King Kong was Adolf Hitler’s favorite movie.

The number of fatalities in the production of a film occurred during the shooting of the 1931 film Viking. When the film crew were shooting from a ship off the coast of Newfoundland, it blew up, killings seven people, including the director and cinematographer.



In the movie Casablanca, Rick never says, “Play it again, Sam.” He says: “You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!”

During the chariot scene in Ben Hur, a small red car can be seen in the distance.

The movie Titanic, at $200 million, cost more than the ship itself. The cost to construct the ship in 1910-1912 was $7.5 million at the time, which would have been the equivalent of about $120 to $150 million when the movie was made.

It’s not true that Gilligan, of Gilligan’s Island, only had one name. His first name was Willy. Additionally, the Skipper’s name wasn’t Skipper; of course, it was Jonas Grumby. The Professor’s real name was Roy Hinkley. Mary Ann’s last name was Summers.

A South Korean movie theater owner decided that the movie The Sound of Music was too long. His solution was to shorten the movie by cutting out all of the musical scenes!

By the time a child finishes elementary school, she will have witnessed 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence on television.

The sounds made by the Brachiosaurs in Jurassic Park were a combination of whale and donkey sounds.

Fred & Wilma Flintstone

Fred & Wilma Flintstone

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

India’s movie industry, Bollywood, is the largest in the world producing over eight hundred movies a year. Hollywood only produces half of this number in a year.

The most played song on American radio during the twentieth century was You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.  Although recorded by different artists, the song is the only one in history to be played over 8 million times on the radio. That amounts to about 45 years if the song was played back to back!  Three songs were played 7 million times: Never My Love, Yesterday, and Stand By Me, in that order.

The Blair Witch Project used the “f-word” 133 times.

The first CD pressed in the United States for commercial release was Bruce Springsteen’s, Born in the USA.

The Russian Imperial Necklace has been loaned out by Joseff jewelers of Hollywood for 1,215 different feature films.

Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs

The Godfather, Part II is often cited as the only sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. However, this is untrue – the Silence of the Lambs, the sequel to Manhunter, shares that distinction.

The spider used in the 2002 movie Spider-Man was a Steatoda spider, not a black widow. The spider was given anesthesia and was then painted blue and red.

When an orange is shown in any of the Godfather movies, it means that someone is about to die or a close call is to occur.

Released in 2002, the science fiction comedy The Adventures of Pluto Nash was the biggest Hollywood bomb in history in terms of profit/loss. The movie had a gross budget of $100 million but only earned $4.41 million at the U.S. box office.

Meet the Press, on NBC, is the longest-running show on television, getting its start in November 1947.

Daytime dramas are called Soap Operas because they were originally used to advertise soap powder. In America in the early days of television, advertisers would write stories about the use of their soap powder.

The voice actors of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the 1930s got married in real life.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons

The Simpsons is the longest-running TV cartoon in the world. It has also had over 300 celebrities featured.

The Academy Awards were held twice in 1930.

The first presidential news conference filmed for TV was in 1955 when Eisenhower was president.

The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s, It’s A Wonderful Life.

Gloucestershire airport in England used to blast Tina Turner songs on its runways to scare birds away.

The world’s first drive-in theatre opened in Camden, New Jersey, in June 1933; the fourth drive-in was located on Pico in Los AngelesCalifornia, and opened in September 1934.

Approximately 55% of the movies released are Rated R.

The Wizard Of Oz

The Wizard Of Oz

The ruby red slippers in the movie The Wizard of Oz were sold at an auction for $660,000.

The first kiss in a movie was between May Irwin and John Rice in The Widow Jones in 1896.

The first time the “f-word” was spoken in a movie was by Marianne Faithfull in the 1968 film I’ll Never Forget Whatshisname.  In Brian De Palma’s 1984 movie Scarface, the word is spoken 206 times – an average of once every 29 seconds.

For the movie Tootsie, actor Dustin Hoffman thought of the title. His mother used to call him that as a child.

Reserves from the Irish army were used as extras in the movie Braveheart.

The stage where the television sitcom Friends was shot was said to be haunted.

One major reason Hollywood emerged as the center of filmmaking is that early on; most moviemaking patents were held by Thomas Edison’s company in New Jersey to escape being sued to stop their productions, filmmakers moved out west, where enforcement was difficult.

In 1933, Mickey Mouse is believed to have received 800,000 fan letters.

Paris Hilton has size 11 feet.



Psycho was the first U.S. film to feature a toilet flushing. At that time it was inappropriate to show that and Alfred Hitchcock saw an opportunity to add some extra shock.

Hee Haw holds the record for the longest-running weekly first-run syndicated show in the history of television. It spanned over four decades, from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, airing every Saturday night at 7:00.

The MGM lion, whose name was Leo, lived in Memphis, Tennessee, until his death.

Adjusting for inflation, the 1963 film Cleopatra, is the most expensive movie ever made. Its budget of $44 million is equivalent to about 300 million dollars today.

In the movie The Exorcist, the vomit that Regan, played by Linda Blair, hurls at Father Damien Karras is thick pea soup.

A “special” Academy Award was granted to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that consisted of one regular-sized award and seven smaller-sized awards.



Some of the chariot racers in Ben-Hur were seen to be wearing wristwatches.

The first movie to ever cost $100 million to make was Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991.

The first theatre to show motion pictures was the Nickelodeon on June 19, 1905, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The most expensive animated movie is the Prince of Egypt, which cost $70 million to make.

The first daily newspaper for the film industry debuted in 1930, The Hollywood Reporter.

A 1996 study found that the amount of time adolescents watch soaps, movies, and music videos is associated with their degree of body dissatisfaction and desire to be thin.

The blinking light atop the Capitol Records Tower spells out the word “Hollywood” in Morse code and has done so since the building’s opening in 1956,

Dracula is the most filmed story of all time.

Human Torch Comic

Human Torch Comic

The first Marvel superhero was the Human Torch.

The name of the dog from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas was Max.

In Disney’s Fantasia, the sorcerer’s name is “Yensid,” which is Disney spelled backward.

Gene Hackman was originally going to play Hannibal Lecter, but he backed off because the role was too dark for his taste.

The first feature-length animated film, released by Disney Studios in 1937, was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The first issue of People Magazine, in 1974, cost 35 cents and featured actress Mia Farrow on the cover.

It took nearly three decades to sell a network on the idea of Mr. Belvedere.

The first interracial kiss on TV took place on November 22, 1968, between Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner, and Lieutenant Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichol, on an episode of Star Trek.

Oscar Statue

Oscar Statue

The Oscar statuette was designed by MGM’s art director, Cedric Gibbons, in 1928. The design has remained unchanged, except for getting a higher pedestal in the 1940s.

It takes about 100 hours of video shooting to produce a one-hour television program.

The Andy Griffith Show was the first spin-off in television history, spun from the Andy Thomas show.

The first CMA (Country Music Association) Awards were hosted by Sonny James and Bobbie Gentry in 1967.

The Wizard of Oz was a Broadway musical 37 years before the MGM movie version was made. It had 293 performances and then went on a tour that lasted nine years.

The first of the 190 Three Stooges comedy films, called Woman Haters, was released in 1934 by Columbia Pictures.  All of the dialogue was in rhyme.

The rock music video channel MTV made its debut in 1981.

David O. Selznick was fined $5,000 for the line “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” in Gone with the Wind (1939).

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy

The first time a husband and wife got in the same bed on television was on January 17, 1955, when Fred & Ethel Mertz demonstrated their unique way of coping with a sagging mattress on the I Love Lucy show. The first time a couple shared a bed on a regular basis would not be for another decade when, on September 17, 1964, when Samantha and Darrin Stephens went on their honeymoon. Samantha & Darrin continued to share a common bed throughout the eight years Bewitched ran on ABC.

The original name that was chosen for Cameron Crowe’s movie Almost Famous was “Untitled.” The name was changed when Dreamworks would not allow it to be called this.

The first appearance of the cartoon character Popeye was in the Betty Boop cartoon from Paramount.

For the 1939 movie Gone With the Wind, 1,400 actresses were interviewed to play the part of Scarlett O’Hara.

The “think music” on Jeopardy was written by the show’s creator Merv Griffin.

Pierce Brosnan was contractually forbidden from wearing a full tuxedo in any non-James Bond movie from 1995-2002.

There are more than 232 puppets in the Disney film, the Lion King.

Mike Nesmith held out for nearly three decades before rejoining the other Monkees for a 1996 album.

Gilligan's Island

Gilligan’s Island

The Gilligan’s Island theme was recorded in a garage.

The sketch that Jack drew of Rose wearing the famous necklace in the blockbuster movie Titanic was drawn by director James Cameron, who was also responsible for all the other sketches in Jack’s sketchbook. The hands that are seen drawing the sketch are also Cameron’s.

In the movie Gandhi, 300,000 extras appeared in the funeral scene. Of the 300,000, approximately 100,000 received a small fee, and the other 200,000 did it for free.

There have been about 30 films made at or about Alcatraz, the now-closed federal prison island in San Francisco Bay, including The Rock, in 1996, Birdman of Alcatraz in 1962, and Escape from Alcatraz in 1979.

Walt Disney’s 8-minute 1934 film, The Wise Little Hen, featured the first appearance of Donald Duck.

The Grand Ole’ Opry, which began broadcasting in 1925 as a series of Saturday night barn dances, is America’s longest-running radio program.

Lost In Space

Lost In Space

The science-fiction series Lost in Space, set in 1997, premiered on CBS in 1965.

The Hollywood star who played the most leading roles in feature films was John Wayne (1907-1979), who appeared in 153 movies.

The world’s longest-running television show is Meet the Press. It began on NBC on November 6, 1947, and continues to be aired today.

Walt Disney holds the record for the most Oscar nominations with 64.

In 1987 Playtex premiered the first U.S. television commercials with real lingerie models displaying their bras and underwear.

The Black Hole, 1979, was Disney’s first PG-rated movie.

The Chinese government has banned any movie that contains aspects of time travel as it considers anything about altering historical events as a dangerous element of fiction.

Tweety Bird looks too naked

Tweety Bird looks too naked

Tweety was once a baby bird without feathers until censors made him have feathers because he looked naked.

The Wizard of Oz was a Broadway musical 37 years before the MGM movie version was made. It had 293 performances and then went on a tour that lasted nine years.

Because of television censorship, actress Mariette Hartley was not allowed to show her belly button on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. Later Roddenberry got even when he gave Hartley “two” belly buttons in the sci-fi movie Genesis II in 1973.

Titanic was only the second film in history to win 11 Academy Awards, the other film was Ben-Hur.

That first Academy Awards ceremony occurred during a banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929.

The first annual Grammy Awards were awarded in 1959.

In 1969, Midnight Cowboy became the first and only X-rated production to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Its rating has since been changed to R.

On MTV, 75% of videos that tell a story involve sexual imagery, over half involve violence, and 80% combine the two, mostly suggesting violence against women.

Judy Garland and Toto

Judy Garland and Toto

When filming The Wizard Of Oz, Toto the dog’s salary was $125 a week, and Judy Garland’s was $500 a week.

Chocolate syrup was used for blood in Alfred Hitchcock’s famous 45-second shower scene, Psycho, which took seven days to shoot.

The Monty Python movie The Life of Brian was banned in Scotland.

Eighty percent of Hollywood executives believe there is a link between television violence and real-life violence.

In 1938 Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel sold all rights to the comic-strip character Superman to their publishers for $130.

The terrifying noises made by the raptors in Jurassic Park were sourced from recordings of tortoises mating.

King Kong

King Kong

King Kong was the first movie to have a sequel. The Son of King Kong was released the same year.

20th Century Fox was so sure Star Wars would be a disaster that they came within days of selling off their stake in the film. Due to positive feedback from an advanced screening, they changed their minds and the profits from the film saved the studio from bankruptcy.

60 Minutes is the only CBS television program that doesn’t have a theme song.

The name for Oz in The Wizard of Oz was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z, hence “Oz.”

Three major horror franchises were inspired by the same serial Killer – Ed Gein of Wisconsin. These film version killers were Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, and Leatherface.

In that famous poppy-field scene in Wizard of Oz, the snow is asbestos.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Fonda took acting classes together.

Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because he had made “that disgusting movie Psycho.”

Sean Connery wore a toupee in every James Bond movie.

Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz suffered first and second-degree burns during the scene when the witch leaves Munchkinland in a blaze of flames.

Although the original Tron film was one of the first major motion pictures to incorporate computer graphics, it was blocked from special effects consideration at the 1982 Academy Awards ceremony. This was because, at the time, computer graphics were considered cheating.

O.J. Simpson was actually the first person considered to play the Terminator. However, the director thought he was too gentle to play the futuristic killing machine.

Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous 45-second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Psycho, which took seven days to shoot.

The Western heroes most portrayed on screen have been William “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Billy the Kid.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley made his first appearance on national television in 1956. He sang Blue Suede Shoes and Heartbreak Hotel on “The Dorsey Brothers Show.”

Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 1938 was Adolf Hitler.

The cost of a star on the walk of fame in Hollywood is $50,000. It is usually paid by the nominating organization, which may be a fan club, or a film studio, record company, broadcaster, or other sponsor involved with the prospective honoree.


Compiled by Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated April 2023.

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