Bye Bye Birdie Movie Poster

Trivia for Bye Bye Birdie

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  • Director George Sidney was so taken with the talent of Ann-Margret that when the film was edited he went to Columbia's executives and proposed the opening and closing bumpers that would showcase her. They refused to pay for any additional filming so Sidney rented the studio and crew at his own expense. He then asked the composers to come up with a title song. Ann-Margret's skirt-flipping/hair-tossing rendition of the song was filmed six months after principal photography was completed at a cost of $60,000, which was repaid to Sidney after the movie, and Ann-Margret, became a sensation.
  • Conrad Birdie was a parody of Elvis Presley and the play was based upon the furor that arose from Presley being drafted in 1958. The character's name, however, was the result of composers Charles Strouse and Lee Adams finding the name of real-life singer Conway Twitty far more humorous and safer to parody than Elvis. Interestingly, Conway Twitty was in the US Army first, before starting his singing career. Ironically, the show's producers originally wanted Presley for the role of Conrad Birdie. Presley was interested, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, refused to let Presley play a role spoofing himself.
  • Director George Sidney was a co-founder and part-owner of cartoon studio Hanna-Barbera Productions. As such, Hanna-Barbera cartoon merchandise is prominently displayed throughout the film: 1) - In "The Telephone Hour" musical number, Alice has a The Yogi Bear Show (1961) record prominently displayed among her records. 2) - In Kim's bedroom, she has dolls of The Flintstones (1960)' Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble on top of her radio, on a chair is a plush toy of Huckleberry Hound, and on yet another chair is a plush toy of Yogi Bear. 3) - Randolph is wearing The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958) pajamas during the "Kids" musical number. Ann-Margret "appeared" shortly afterward on Ann-Margrock Presents (1963).
  • Rita Moreno was the initial choice for the role of Rosie, but turned down the part.
  • The title tune which opens and closes the film was written for the screen version, and was not from the Tony-winning Broadway musical.
  • Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde, both veterans of the 1960 Broadway hit, were displeased with the film version. Van Dyke especially felt it had become too much of a vehicle for Ann-Margret. In the Broadway version of the show, Van Dyke's role of Albert was much more prominent than that of Kim, who Ann-Margret played in the film version. In his autobiography, Van Dyke said he knew Ann-Margret's role was going to be expanded when he once came on the set and found her sitting in the lap of George Sidney, the director. Interestingly, in HER autobiography, Ann-Margret mentions being cast in the role and that the film was a big hit, but makes absolutely no mention of anything that happened during the filming.
  • The original Broadway production of "Bye Bye Birdie" opened at the Martin Beck Theater on April 14, 1960, ran for 607 performances and won the 1961 Tony Award for the Best Musical. Dick Van Dyke recreated his 1961 Tony Award winning performance for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in this filmed production.
  • Despite portraying the mother of Dick Van Dyke's character in the film, Maureen Stapleton is just six months older than Van Dyke.
  • The sheet music of Birdie's next hit song, "Mumbo Jumbo Gooey Gumbo," which Albert picks up from the piano in his first scene, is the same music as the title tune, "Bye Bye Birdie."
  • Albert's music company is called "ALMAELOU." This is an amalgam of his name, his mother's name, and Lou - Mae's wired hair terrier. Lou died after being hit by a beer truck - a beverage she faithfully consumed for 32 years.
  • The motorcycles used in the film are British 750cc Norton Atlas models supplied by Bo Derek's father, Paul Collins.
  • Feature-film debut of Dick Van Dyke, Kim Darby, and Melody Patterson. (The latter two appear as extras.)
  • In the movie, Dick Van Dyke's character wants to be a chemist. In the stage play he wants to be a simple English teacher, and Rosie has a song to that effect. None of the Russian Ballet shows up in either the stage version or the 1995 movie remake Bye Bye Birdie (1995).
  • The song that made Dick Van Dyke's career, "Put on a Happy Face", was unsuccessful in early showings of the musical and almost cut from the production.
  • Columbia Pictures' logo dissolves into animated footage of the lady with a torch character rocking out, one of several films made in the 1960s (Zotz! (1962), Cat Ballou (1965), Strait-Jacket (1964) and, some years later, Thank God It's Friday (1978)) in which the logo was comically altered to fit the theme of the movie.
  • Ed Sullivan, who played himself in this film, would later reprise the "One Last Kiss" segment "for real" on his weekly variety show The Ed Sullivan Show (1948). In 1967 Gary Lewis (American musician, son of comedian Jerry Lewis and member of the band Gary Lewis & The Playboys) performed the song, on Episode #20.13 (1966), shortly before Gary's actual induction into the US Army. Interestingly, pop and country singer Conway Twitty, who first became a singer *after* serving in the military, and gave his name to 'Conrad Birdie,' never appeared on the actual "Ed Sullivan Show".
  • The three gymnasts seen at the beginning of a broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) are introduced as Frank, Dean and Sammy McWilliams--a thinly veiled reference to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.
  • The throng of uncredited teenagers included future actresses and celebrities Melinda Marx (daughter of Groucho Marx), Kim Darby (co-star of True Grit (1969)), Linda Henning (Betty Jo Bradley in Petticoat Junction (1963)), Elaine Joyce (actress, game show guest star and wife to Bobby Van and Neil Simon) and Melody Patterson (Wrangler Jane on F Troop (1965)).
  • When Harry McAfee (Paul Lynde) pulls into his driveway, it is actually the driveway of the house next door on the old Columbia lot where two years later he was playing Uncle Arthur on the Bewitched (1964) series.
  • The lineup for the fictitious Ed Sullivan Show for May 8 includes John Glenn, the Marine Band, Kim Novak, Richard Nixon, Jerry Lewis, the Moscow Ballet, and Conrad Birdie. The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) aired on Sunday nights, and May 8th would not fall on Sunday until 1966.
  • The "Telephone" segment was almost cut from the stage play because no one could figure out how to stage it. Finally choreographer Gower Champion suggested building a box-like shelf unit with oddly shaped sections where the actors could occupy while performing. As each actor sang their part the light in their section would be turned on then off as the next actor sang.
  • Supposedly at a dinner party celebrating the completion of the film, either Maureen Stapleton or Paul Lynde (the story would make sense featuring either of them) stood up and said, "Ann-Margret, I want you to know that I'm the only person who worked on this film who doesn't want to [have carnal relations with] you.
  • In the Broadway show, Rosie's surname is Alvarez, but in the movie it is DeLeon
  • In the scene between Ann Margaret and Janet Leigh as soon as Janet Leigh is shown in full medium shot in her bra, she says, "He's all the things I wanna get away from." a reference to her role in Psycho (1960) in which she appears in her bra in the opening scene and which, as Hitchcock acknowledged, ruined her career through too much association of her with that role.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  • Frank Adamo, Dick Van Dyke's assistant who frequently had bit parts in DVD's show, was the stage manager who knocked on a door and said "Two minutes, maestro" backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show.
  • Although "The Shriners Ballet" is part of the stage play, a completely new version was written for this film. For the 1995 TV adaptation, the music from the stage play was used.
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