Here at DiSanto Propane, we are truly reveling in the Halloween spirit throughout the month of October. Believe it or not, our propane suppliers in New York love spooky movies. Way back in 1988, Tim Burton unveiled his comedy-fantasy movie filled with ghosts and monsters, Beetlejuice.
Back in the heyday of mullets and permed hair, we loved watching this hilarious film. Even today, we enjoy curling up in front of our propane fireplace and watching this campy classic. You may not be aware of the plethora of interesting facts about this film, which we are happy to share with you today.
Sammy Davis Jr. as Beetlejuice?
Director Tim Burton cast a variety of different celebrities from past decades in this film, including singer Robert Goulet and talk show host Dick Cavett. Apparently, Burton had a fondness for classic Hollywood celebrities.
His original choice for the role of Beetlejuice was Sammy Davis Jr, who was 63 years old. Considered a triple threat, Sammy Davis Jr. was a talented singer, dancer, and actor in the Rat Pack. Other actors considered for the part of Beetlejuice included Dudley Moore and comedian Sam Kinison. Unfortunately for Kinison, his manager never even let him know that the studio expressed any interest in him for the part.
How Did Michael Keaton Get the Part of Beetlejuice?
Geffen Pictures studio head David Geffen wanted Michael Keaton to play the role. Interestingly enough, Keaton was best known for his role as a harried dad in Mr. Mom prior to this role. Burton and Keaton worked so well together that they made two more movies together, Batman and Batman Returns.
Creating the Look of Beetlejuice
Keaton himself was responsible for creating most of Beetlejuice’s look. Burton simply told Keaton that Beetlejuice “lived in every time period but was of no time period.” Rumor has it that Keaton’s character was influenced by the character of Chop Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Keaton’s character wore an over-the-top black and white striped suit and had wild green hair, rotting teeth, and was covered in mold. However, test audiences loved the character so much that Keaton changed Beetlejuice’s fate.
Originally, he was supposed to be stuck in the model town surrounded by sandworms, but he instead was sent to the purgatory waiting room.
The Deetz family consisted of a middle-aged and rather obnoxious middle-aged couple, Delia and Jeffrey, and their teenage daughter, Lydia. Originally, Anjelica Huston was going to play Delia, but she fell ill. Burton had to find another actress fast.
Actress Catherine O’Hara originally wasn’t interested in the part, but Burton was determined to cast her. He ended up flying on a plane to meet with her, which paid off because she agreed to accept the role.
The role of Delia Deetz changed O’Hara’s life because she met her future husband, production designer Bo Welch while filming. In fact, Burton was the one to encourage Welch to ask O’Hara out. The couple has been married now for almost 30 years.
The role of the eccentric teenager, Lydia Deetz was offered to a variety of different actresses, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Molly Ringwald, Diane Lane, and Lori Loughlin. Although Juliette Lewis auditioned for the role, Burton decided to cast Winona Ryder after watching her performance in the 1986 movie, Lucas.
Unfortunate Movie Titles
Studio executives originally did not want the film to be named “Beetlejuice.” Instead, they suggested “House Ghosts” and “Scared Sheetless.” Apparently, reason won out and the movie went with its original title.
Where Did the Name Come from?
The name “Beetlejuice” originated from “Betelgeuse,” a star in the Orion constellation.
The Movie Was Supposed to Be Way Darker and Scarier
Despite the constant presence of ghosts and lingering reminders of death, this movie is quite funny. Originally, the movie was supposed to take on a much darker tone with a gruesome car crash and murder. The original Beetlejuice was supposed to be a winged demon, which would have been a much more sinister character.
The Possession Scene
One of the best scenes in the movie is when the Deetz family and their guests are possessed by ghosts and sing and dance to the Harry Belafonte song, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” Burton originally wanted a slower-paced classic doo-wop song, but O’Hara thought it wasn’t upbeat enough.
She suggested him to use a Calypso song instead, and actor Jeffrey Jones asked if they could use the Belafonte song. Day-O was a success, and elements of the song can be heard throughout the movie.
Last year, Burton and Ryder hinted at a Beetlejuice sequel in the works. Could a Beetlejuice sequel happen, and would it even be worth it? Who knows?
If you’re like us, you’ll want to watch this movie comfortably in front of your propane fireplace. To make sure that you never run out of propane, sign up for our automatic propane delivery services at DiSanto Propane. Contact our propane company in upstate New York today to get started.