7 Things You Didn’t Know About “Dirty Dancing”

Today is the 30th anniversary of the movie “Dirty Dancing,” which means, if it’s anything like me, it’ll have some tasteful drinks with friends and find itself happily in bed by 10:30. It’s hard to believe three decades have gone by since Baby met Johnny that fated summer in the Catskills, maybe because the movie still holds such a prominent place in the cultural lexicon–and our hearts. For Jewish women especially, Baby represented the alternative to the “Nice Jewish Girl” we all promised our bubbes to be. She was cool. She was sexy. And that bod…

To celebrate the fact that our collective favorite movie is now old enough to do its own taxes without its father’s help (mostly), here are 7 little known facts that will make you appreciate “Dirty Dancing” even more.

1. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey kinda hated each other.

dirty dancing crawling gif

That palpable chemistry you can feel while watching them? Yeah, that’s disgust. Grey almost didn’t agree to do the film since she disliked Swayze so much while filming “Red Dawn” three years earlier. According to Moviefone, while filming the rehearsal montage, “Grey couldn’t stop laughing, which irritated Swayze. They were supposed to be playing the scene for serious drama, but eventually, the filmmakers gave up and kept the muffed takes, resulting in one of the movie’s most beloved sequences.”

2. Johnny was originally supposed to be played by Billy Zane. 

billy zane

Apparently Patrick Swayze was not a clear winner, as he was about 10 years older than the character was supposed to be (same with Jennifer Grey, actually) and he didn’t have the dark and Mediterranean look they were going for. But Zane and Grey just couldn’t get the chemistry right while dancing so he was thrown overboard (that’s a “Titanic” joke, get it?). While we’re at it, some sources say that Sarah Jessica Parker auditioned for the part of Baby.

3. Clearasil was going to sponsor the movie, until the whole abortion thing… 

dirty dancing penny

Knowing the flick would be a hit among teens who are famous for acne, skin-care company Clearasil wanted to come aboard as a promotional sponsor. Only problem: they weren’t fans of that whole abortion sub-plot (it’s never explicitly stated, but Penny needs money for a doctor with “a dirty knife and a folding table”). Writer/producer Eleanor Bergstein refused to cut the story line, so she lost the sponsorship.

4. Dr. Ruth was almost in the film. 

dr. ruth gif

How do you make a perfect film even better? Add Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the famed sex therapist. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Bergstein wanted to cast her friend as the purse-swiping Mrs Schumacher, but Dr. Ruth refused to play a thief. She might constantly be subtweeting sex, but the lady’s got standards.

5. The lake scene was dangerously cold. 

dirty dancing lake scene

The water was at a rousing 40 degrees, and Swayze called it “hypothermically cold.” Apparently there aren’t any close-ups of the actors’ faces in that scene because their lips were blue. Damn.

6. Grey was too afraid to practice the famous lift.

dirty dancing lift gif

“The day you see me do it in the movie is the first time I do it,” she told Self magazine (in a weirdly sponsored ad for Skinny Cow).

7. Swayze wanted to cut the line, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” 

nobody puts baby in a corner gif

He hated the line, stating it “sounded so corny,” though he agreed, when seeing the final product, that it worked. When he was dying of pancreatic cancer in 2009, he apparently would tell friends who wanted an update: “Nobody puts Patrick’s pancreas in a corner.” Sob.

BONUS: It’s my mom’s favorite movie. And maybe your mom’s, too. Thank you, “Dirty Dancing”!


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