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Dirty Years of 30 Dancing, or Rather 30 Years of Dirty Dancing

August 23, 2017

We hope you have the time of your life reading these facts about Dirty Dancing, one of the biggest movie hits of 1987.
Dirty Dancing
The movie was filmed in the fall, but it takes place in the summer. The leaves had started to change color, so the crew had to spray paint trees and leaves green.
For the lead role of Baby, Jennifer Gray beat out Sarah Jessica Parker.
Patrick Swayze won the role of Catskills resort dance instructor Johnny over Val Kilmer and Billy Zane. Zane was close to securing the role, but producers watched his screen test with Jennifer Gray and concluded that the duo had no chemistry.
Swayze and Gray did have chemistry, even though they’d worked together on the movie Red Dawn and didn’t get along.
On its 10th anniversary in 1997, Dirty Dancing was re-released in a few hundred movie theaters. It was all at the prodding of Conan O’Brien. He implored Late Night with Conan O’Brien viewers to write and call the movie’s distributor, demanding that Dirty Dancing return to theaters, just as the Star Wars trilogy had done earlier that year. Amazingly, it worked…even though it was all a joke, and O’Brien said he didn’t even like the movie.
There have been a few Dirty Dancing themed TV shows. The first was a drama series on CBS. Dirty Dancing (starring Melora Hardin from The Office as Baby) lasted just 11 episodes. Another is a British reality show called Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life. Filmed at the Catskills resort-esque “Mountain Lake Lodge,” it was a dance competition show. One of the judges was dancer/actress Miranda Garrison, who had portrayed Vivian Pressman in the original film.
The soundtrack sold more than 11 million copies…and it went on the road. Amidst the soundtrack’s many early ‘60s chestnuts were a couple of modern-day songs: Bill Medley’s “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes.” The two singers went a 90-city tour together in 1988 called “Dirty Dancing: Live in Concert.” Dancers were present on stage throughout almost the entire show.
The rest of the movie’s formula: sensual dancing. Before Dirty Dancing, screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein wrote a 1980 movie called It’s My Turn. Producers cut out a sexy dance sequence, which inspired Bergstein to write a whole movie about sexy dancing.
Two of the songs on the soundtrack were written by cast members: “She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze (Johnny) and “Hula Hana” by Jane Brucker  (Baby’s sister, Lisa).
Swayze did his own stunts…and paid the price. On the scene where he balances on a log, he fell off so much that he hurt his knee, leading to severe swelling. A doctor had to be called in drain out the fluid.
Patrick Swayze turned down $6 million to make a sequel in the late ‘80s because he didn’t like the idea of sequels. A follow-up/remake finally hit theaters in 2004. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was essentially the same story as the original movie, but set in late ‘50s Cuba and was about a romance between a naïve American teenager and a Cuban revolutionary. The screenplay began life in 1992 as Cuba Mine, a political romance written by NPR host Peter Sagal. It was rewritten so many times that Sagal says there isn’t a single line of his original script up on screen. (The movie bombed, too.)

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