I am a MASSIVE fan of “The Golden Girls” – I still love this show more than anything, and I watch it all the time. LOVE it. It’s my life ambition to live out my years with my friends in a house somewhere (not Miami, though…too expensive and humid), eating cheesecake, sitting on the lanai. I am still sketchy on what a lanai is exactly (deck? veranda? porch? fancy porch?)- but I want one. I even listen to the popular podcast ‘Out On The Lanai‘ – devoted to dissecting episodes of “The Golden Girls”…and last week, I ordered this masterpiece:
Haha – awesome, eh? I know…and I don’t even really wear t-shirts. But I will wear this one! 🙂
Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the premiere of this show (where the hell that time went I will NEVER know) – and FoxNews published this great list of 10 things you might not have known about the show:
#1. Getty, who was younger than both Bea Arthur and Betty White, underwent a 3-hour transformation to become the 80-year-old sassy Sicilian Sophia Petrillo. “When she first sits down in the chair, she’s just Estelle, a nice, lovely lady,” said makeup artist Maurice Stein in the February 1988 issue of Orange Coast Magazine. “But as the makeup goes on, she becomes this snappy old lady, wise-cracking and crusty. She seems to slum down in her chair and really get into character. By the time she gets up from her chair, I have Sophia on my hands.”
#2. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was such a fan of the series that she requested the cast give a command performance on November 21, 1988. However, the racy dialogue the show was famous for had to be toned down a notch. “We’ll do about seven minutes from the show, but we’ll have to censor a few things for the queen,” said Arthur at the time.
#3. Not all the girls love the sweet stuff. While it was reported that the characters consumed more than 100 cheesecakes during the seven-year run of the show, one of them detested the dessert. “In real life, Bea hates cheesecake!” said her webmaster Kevin Buckstiegel while she was promoting her one-woman show in 2006. According to “The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes From More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen,” Arthur’s take on breakfast was actually a vegetarian one featuring roasted mushrooms. No sugary fluff for her, whether day or night!
#4. Blanche and her roommates may have called Miami home, but their ranch-style property was actually located in California: A house at 245 N. Saltair Avenue in Brentwood was used as a model for the girls’ dwelling. Los Angeles magazine reveals that an exact replica of the home’s façade was later built on Residential Street at Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in Orlando, and was used for exterior images during the series’ later years. Residential Street and its sets were torn down in 2003 to make room for a stunt show, but the private Brentwood residence is still standing. And in case you’re wondering, the girls’ address, 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, isn’t real.
#5. While their Miami residence doesn’t exist, Rose’s infamous St. Olaf does … sort of. There is no such Norwegian town in Minnesota, but a St. Olaf Township does exist in the state. There is also a St. Olaf College located on St. Olaf Avenue in Minnesota, which was founded by Norwegian immigrants in 1874. It offers a “robust program in Scandinavian culture, including Norwegian language classes, Nordic film studies and Viking history courses.”
#6. When Susan Harris wrote the pilot script for “The Golden Girls,” she described the character of Dorothy as a “Bea Arthur type.” However, the role may have gone to actress Elaine Stritch — had she not screwed up her audition by throwing out an F-bomb. “Who really gave a s*** about playing some old broad who settles in Miami with two other old broads and their mother?” she later joked in her one-woman show.
#7. Fans of “The Golden Girls” may notice that Blanche, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, did not have much of a Southern accent in the pilot episode. That’s because director Jay Sandrich told McClanahan to instead rely on her “regular Oklahoma accent.” However, when director Paul Bogart later came on board, he wanted McClanahan to use the Southern accent. Later, McClanahan revealed she created an exaggerated take on a sultry Southern accent — one she thought might easily lure men. “It’s funny,” said McClanahan. “[Blanche] didn’t think she was funny, but I thought she was funny.”
8. Perhaps McClanahan was inspired by a third-season episode called “My Brother, My Father” — in which Blanche pretended to collect lingerie for “needy sexy people” — when she started her own clothing line on QVC. In McClanahan’s 2007 memoir, “My First Five Husbands … And the Ones Who Got Away,” she remembered launching “A Touch of Rue”: “I selected fabrics I loved and designed Blanche-inspired garments with my own practical spin, making the exquisite Blanche creations wearable in real life and available at affordable prices.” (According to her, the silky gown-peignoir sets “sold out in minutes.”) As for Blanche’s actual couture? McClanahan was allowed to keep about 500 of her “Golden Girls” costumes, which were stored in her New York apartment.
#9. “The Golden Girls” introduced viewers across the nation to a word Floridians were already very familiar with: “Lanai.” A lanai is described as an enclosed porch within a more tropical setting, featuring casual tables and chairs. In the season 2 episode, “A Piece of Cake,” Sophia learns about it for herself along with the viewers:
Dorothy: We’re having a surprise birthday party for Blanche. Why don’t you go out to the lanai and mingle with the guests?
Sophia: OK! What’s a lanai?
Sophia: Well, excuse me, Krystle Carrington!
#10. Dorothy frequently picking on Rose may not have been an act. In real life, Arthur had an “intense dislike” for White. According to White, Arthur found her to be a “pain in the neck” because of her constant cheery attitude. McClanahan believed their opposite takes on acting may have been a contributing factor, too. “Bea came from a New York stage point of view,” explained McClanahan. “She always had what we call ‘the fourth wall'” And Betty came from a television point of view. She would flirt with the audience, and pull her skirt up and say, ‘Hi sailor.’ But Bea never acknowledged the audience.” McClanahan also admitted that Arthur never actually revealed why she couldn’t get along with White.
Cool, right? (apart from Bea Arthur not liking Betty White – that upsets me….everybody needs to like Betty White, she’s so awesome). Do yourself a favor and sit down and catch some reruns of this show – if you need me to suggest some, give me a holler…I’ll be on the lanai.