The history of cinema is filled with incredible moments and anecdotes that have weaved their way into the popular consciousness. Although knowledge of classic films is highly appreciated and/or often assumed, knowledge of the more unconventional facts of film history is off the beaten track. Here are some of the most fun facts that explore the quirky side of cinema history—from the directors and actors who made them to the oddball incidents that happened behind the scenes.

Early Hollywood Tale

John Bunny was one of the first movie stars before the invention of sound in movies. He was a popular character comedian, who appeared in over 150 film shorts in his lifetime. His biggest claim to fame is being one of the earliest overweight film stars—Bunny weighed in at over 300lbs. He is still remembered as the first “fatty” in the industry.

Behind-The-Scenes of ‘Our Gang’

The Our Gang film series was originally released as short films between 1922-1944. Centered on a group of children, it was eventually adapted as an early television show. Surprisingly, the actresses who portrayed the two oldest characters, ‘Alfalfa’ and ‘Spanky’ were adults in their thirties. The two went to great lengths to appear as children onscreen—even wearing foam rubber masks and haircuts to pass as “kids”!

Funny Film Faux Pas

Prop blunders are something that happen in almost every film set. What’s special about the following blunders, however, is that they stayed in the movies! In ‘Finding Nemo’, for example, a label on a coke bottle was accidentally left unaltered. It reads: “Material de Mexico”—which translates to “Product from Mexico” in Spanish. Although unexpected, this still makes it one of the best onscreen Easter eggs of all time.

The Late, Great Stan Lee

Stan Lee is one of the most legendary figures in the world of film production. He made innumerable cameos in Marvel movies, and his trademark glasses and moustache made him a likeable and enigmatic figure. The funniest of his appearances, however, was when he made a surprised look in a crowd, as a security guard in the mall in “Spider-Man 3”. The best part is that a bystander in the movie shouted: “Look! It’s Stan Lee!”

Cursed Films

Cursed films are those that fall short of expectations due to some unforeseen circumstances. The 1939 film ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, for example, was rumored to be cursed. In the movie, for instance, the Bicycle Man was played by a real-life magician, who allegedly cast a spell on the production set. To this day, some people still maintain that the circumstances leading up to and around the movie remain cursed.

Unlikely Trio in Cinema

John Landis, Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg teamed up for one of the most unlikely trifectas in film history. The pair collaborated on the 1982 music video “Thriller”. Produced in partnership with MTV, the video went on to become the most successful music video of all time. It went on to break many records, including world premieres on over 14 television channels.

Biggest Blockbuster of All Time

James Cameron’s 2004 epic ‘Titanic’ still reigns as the biggest box-office success of all time. Since its release, the movie has grossed over $2 billion globally, and is still the most successful film having been brought in the second most money in its opening weekend ever. ‘Titanic’ even won 11 Oscars, setting the record for most awards given to a single film in history.

Worldwide Phenomenon

Respected film scholar Roger Ebert once said “Movies are the most popular art form in the world.” Indeed, movies have impacted the lives of many all over the globe. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, 2.5 billion people bought movie tickets in 2018 alone. This data supports the idea that films are one of the most cherished entertainment forms and that the medium won’t be losing its edge anytime soon.

Unconventional Film Formats

The concept of unconventional films has been around for some time. One of the earliest examples of an alternative movie-viewing experience is ‘Cinerama’. First developed in 1952, this movie format incorporates multi-screen projections to create an illusion of 3D. Since then, many other formats such as IMAX and OMNIMAX have been developed. Over the years, these alternative formats have proven to be extremely popular amongst cine-goers.

From anecdotes to trivia, the world of movies is packed with fun facts. Learning more about the quirky side of film history can give us a deeper understanding and appreciation of the medium. Whether it’s through the many cameo appearances of Stan Lee or the crazy props added to ‘Finding Nemo’, our fascination with film trivia will continue to amuse and surprise us.

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