10 Surprising Facts About Lady Bird

Merie Wallace, A24
Merie Wallace, A24

Audiences and critics alike have gone wild for Lady Bird, writer-director Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age tale about a teenager (Saoirse Ronan) chafing against the restrictions of school, family, and life in Sacramento, “the mid-west of California.” Here are 10 hella tight facts about the film, which is nominated for five Oscars.

1. GRETA GERWIG WORE A PROM DRESS ON-SET.

A still from 'Lady Bird' (2017)
Merie Wallace, A24

Greta Gerwig got into the high school spirit of things by wearing a prom dress to shoot Lady Bird’s prom scenes. Gerwig described the pink prom dress Lady Bird wears as “a little tip of the hat for Pretty in Pink.”

2. THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE SCRIPT WAS A MONSTER.

Gerwig began writing Lady Bird in December 2013, eventually landing on a first draft that was a whopping 350 pages long. (If filmed at that length, it would have been more than five hours long.)

3. ITS STAR IS GAGA OVER BRIDESMAIDS.

Lady Bird star Saoirse Ronan is a well-documented superfan of Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids. We’re talking “Bridesmaids-themed birthday party” territory.

4. GERWIG BARED HER SOUL TO JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, ALANIS MORISSETTE, AND DAVE MATTHEWS.

Saoirse Ronan and Greta Gerwig on the set of 'Lady Bird' (2017)
Merie Wallace, A24

In order to secure the rights to early ’00 staples “Cry Me a River,” “Hand in My Pocket,” and “Crash Into Me,” Gerwig wrote personal letters to Justin Timberlake (“You were the soundtrack to my adolescence. Your rise corresponded exactly with my very awkward puberty”), Alanis Morissette (“I saw the film DOGMA because I read that you played God, which seemed totally fitting to me”), and Dave Matthews (“The song ‘Crash Into Me’ was and is the most romantic song ever”).

5. LUCAS HEDGES KEPT HIS CHARACTER’S PUKA SHELL NECKLACE.

Lucas Hedges, who plays Lady Bird’s theater kid paramour Danny, was outfitted in baggy khakis and a puka shell necklace typical of Lady Bird’s 2002 setting. After Hedges was done filming, he kept the necklace.

6. JOHN HUGHES, STEPHEN SONDHEIM, AND HOWARD ZINN WERE AMONG THE REQUIRED HOMEWORK.

Ronan, Hedges and Timothée Chalamet (who plays bad boy Kyle) got research packets of movies, books, and songs from Gerwig to help them relate to their characters. In Hedges's: “Seasons of Love” from Rent, Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” from Magnolia, and Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along and Sunday in the Park with George. For Chalamet: Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States, The Internet Does Not Exist (per Gerwig, “an essay collection that warns of the dangers of a networked world”), and Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s. Ronan got Joan Didion books, Paper Moon, and John Hughes’s Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

7. SAOIRSE RONAN’S ACNE PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE.

Saoirse Ronan stars in 'Lady Bird' (2017)
Merie Wallace, A24

Jacqueline Knowlton, the head of Lady Bird’s makeup department, suggested that Ronan’s acne not be covered up. “I thought it was a really good opportunity to let a teenager’s face in a movie actually look like a teenager’s face in real life,” Ronan said.

8. GERWIG IS ONE OF ONLY FIVE WOMEN IN HISTORY TO RECEIVE AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR BEST DIRECTOR.

Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman in the Oscars’ 90-year history to be nominated for Best Director. The only other female directors to receive the nod are: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties in 1977, Jane Campion for The Piano in 1994, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2004, and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010. So far, Bigelow is the only woman to walk home with the golden statuette.

9. THERE WERE ON-SET DANCE PARTIES.

The Lady Bird set had all the normal accouterments: craft services tables, trailers … and dance parties. “We would cry, we would laugh,” Ronan told W Magazine. “We'd have dance parties when we rehearsed. Lucas [Hedges] and I went over to [Gerwig’s] apartment one time and I can't even remember what we played, but we just danced for so long that we got really emotional. She'd play a lot of music on set. It was great. It's good having music around because it subconsciously makes people sort of move to the same beat.”

10. IT PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY OF ELAINE STRITCH.

Ronan’s performance of “Everybody Says Don’t” in the scene where Lady Bird auditions for her school musical was inspired by late Broadway legend Elaine Stritch’s rendition of the song. While looking for inspiration for the performance, Ronan told Vulture that she came across “a still photograph of her leaning up against the piano and she’s like half-talking, half-singing the song. She sounded like a real dame, a real broad, and I thought, 'Okay, that’s what I’m gonna do.'"

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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Good Gnews: Remembering The Great Space Coaster

Tubby Baxter and Gary Gnu in The Great Space Coaster.
Tubby Baxter and Gary Gnu in The Great Space Coaster.
YouTube

Tubby Baxter. Gary Gnu. Goriddle Gorilla. Speed Reader. For people of a certain age, these names probably tug on distant memories of a television series that blended live-action, puppetry, and animation. It was The Great Space Coaster, and it aired daily in syndication from 1981 to 1986. Earning both a Daytime Emmy and a Peabody Award for excellence in children’s programming, The Great Space Coaster fell somewhere in between Sesame Street and The Muppet Show—a series for kids who wanted a little more edge to their puppet performances.

Unlike most classic kid’s shows, fans have had a hard time locating footage of The Great Space Coaster. Even after five seasons and 250 episodes, no collections are available on home video. So what happened?

Get On Board

The Great Space Coaster was created by Kermit Love, who worked closely with Jim Henson on Sesame Street and created Big Bird, and Jim Martin, a master puppeteer who also collaborated with Henson. Produced by Sunbow Productions and sponsored by the Kellogg Company and toy manufacturer Hasbro, The Great Space Coaster took the same approach as Sesame Street of being educational entertainment. In fact, many of the puppeteers and writers were veterans of Sesame Street or The Muppet Show. Producers met with educators to determine subjects and content that could result in a positive cognitive or personal development goal for the audience, which was intended to be children from ages 6 to 11. There would be music, comedy, and cartoons, but all of it would be working toward a lesson on everything from claustrophobia to the hazards of being a litterbug.

The premise involved three teens—Danny (Chris Gifford), Roy (Ray Stephens), and Francine (Emily Bindiger)—who hitch a ride on a space vehicle piloted by a clown named Tubby Baxter. The crew would head for an asteroid populated by a variety of characters like Goriddle Gorilla (Kevin Clash). Roy carried a monitor that played La Linea, an animated segment from Italian creator Osvaldo Cavandoli that featured a figure at odds with his animator. The kids—all of whom looked a fair bit older than their purported teens—also sang in segments with original or cover songs.

The most memorable segment might have been the newscast with Gary Gnu, a stuffy puppet broadcaster who delivered the day’s top stories with his catchphrase: “No gnews is good gnews!” Aside from Gnu, there was Speed Reader (Ken Myles), a super-fast sprinter and reader who reviewed the books he breezed through. Often, the show would also have guest stars, including Mark Hamill, boxer “Sugar” Ray Leonard, and Henry Winkler.

All of it had a slightly irreverent tone, with humor that was more biting than most other kid’s programming of the era. The circus that Tubby Baxter ran away from was run by a character named M.T. Promises. Gnu had subversive takes on his news stories. Other characters weren’t always as well-intentioned as the residents of Sesame Street.

Off We Go

The Great Space Coaster was popular among viewers and critics. In 1982, it won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children’s Programming—Graphic Design and a Peabody Award in 1983. But after the show ceased production in 1986, it failed to have a second life in reruns or on video. Only one VHS tape, The Great Space Coaster Supershow, was ever released in the 1980s. And while fan sites like TheGreatSpaceCoaster.TV surfaced, it was difficult to compile a complete library of the series.

In 2012, Tanslin Media, which had acquired the rights to the show, explained why. Owing to the musical interludes, re-licensing songs would be prohibitively expensive—potentially far more than the company would make selling the program. Worse, the original episodes, which were recorded on 1-inch or 2-inch reel tapes, were in the process of degrading.

That same year, Jim Martin mounted an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to try and raise funds to begin salvaging episodes and digitizing them for preservation. That work has continued over the years, with Tanslin releasing episodes and clips online that don’t require expensive licensing agreements and fans uploading episodes from their original VHS recordings to YouTube.

There’s been no further word on digitizing efforts for the complete series, though Tanslin has reported that a future home video release isn’t out of the question. If that materializes, it’s likely Gary Gnu will be first to deliver the news.