18 Facts About Teen Witch—Top That!

MGM Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment

If you’ve had the pleasure of catching a screening of Teen Witch over the past 30 years—on television, at a live sing-along, or on an old-school VHS—you know that Louise Miller is a teenager with magical powers who is gonna be the most popular girl at her high school. But here are 18 things you might not know about the 1989 cult classic.

1. Teen Witch was pitched as a female version of Teen Wolf.

While the final version of the film bears some obvious similarities to Teen Wolf—a teen balancing high school life with his or her supernatural abilities—it originally intended to borrow the title font, tagline, and general plot from the 1985 Michael J. Fox hit. Eventually, Teen Witch morphed into an original work.

2. The movie was a box office bomb.

Shot on a budget of $2.5 million, Teen Witch wasn’t able to conjure up any magical box office numbers. It made just $3875 in its opening weekend, and had a total domestic gross of $27,843 for its entire run. It was via subsequent airings on cable and ABC Family that its popularity began to grow.

3. Teen Witch's music is its crowning achievement.

Love it or hate it, Teen Witch’s odd—and some might say nonsensical—supernatural elements and teen rom-com moments are part of its charm. But its singing and dancing are what have cemented its place in pop culture history. Nerve.com may have described it best when it once called the movie’s famously terrible “Top That” rap as “everything wonderful and terrible about [the 1980s] rolled into one misguided appropriation of hip-hop.” As a result, Teen Witch sing-alongs have become popular events in major cities, from New York to San Francisco.

4. Unfortunately, you can't purchase the Teen Witch soundtrack.

The producers of Teen Witch clearly did not anticipate that it would become a pop culture phenomenon, so the film’s original budget did not include funding for a soundtrack release. Fortunately, there is YouTube.

5. A live musical recording of Teen Witch does exist.

As the film continued to grow in popularity, the film’s musical producers—Larry and Tom Weir—decided to re-record the soundtrack with new performers. In 2007, they released Teen Witch The Musical on Amazon and iTunes. It was released in anticipation of a Broadway-bound musical (which has yet to materialize).

6. The Groundlings performed a live version, too.

The renowned Los Angeles improv group—which counts Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Paul Reubens, and Maya Rudolph among its alumni—launched a live version of the show, Teen Witch: The Musical, in 2013.

7. Teen Witch's popularity makes songwriter Larry Weir think people are "pretty messed up."

In a 2007 interview with Austinist, Teen Witch songwriter Larry Weir acknowledged the movie’s cheesiness. “What’s crazy is that we have been to screenings all over the country, in Seattle, San Francisco and even Manhattan, and for every screening there have been lines around the block and packed theaters, which leads me to believe that there are some pretty messed up people out there,” he joked. “In San Francisco it was almost like being at a concert, they cranked the audio up and it was wild."

8. Robyn Lively blames her bad dancing on being "The Most Popular Girl."

“I took all the dancing too seriously at the time,” star Robyn Lively, who played Louise Miller, told BuzzFeed in 2014. “I was a little more self-conscious back then. And when I had to do the ‘most popular girl’ spin inside the bedroom, I had twisted my ankle. I’m going to blame most of my bad dancing on the ankle.”

9. Louise Miller's dad had a history with witches.

Louise’s father, Frank, was played by actor Dick Sargent, who was no stranger to sorcery. From 1969 to 1972, he played (the second) Darrin Stephens—husband to Samantha and father to Tabitha—on the popular series Bewitched.

10. In many of the musical numbers, the film's audio and video are out of sync.

This is particularly apparent in the infamous “Top That” rap.

11. Mandy Ingber counts Teen Witch as one of her worst summer jobs.


Getty Images

In a 2013 interview with Diet Detective, actress-turned-yogi Mandy Ingber, who played Louise’s best friend Polly, recalled that her “most noteworthy ‘bad summer job’ was the summer I did Teen Witch ... It haunts me, as the ‘rap’ I did for this ’80s movie lives on through the Internet. I think that’s the best of the worst.”

12. A drag queen named Peaches Christ taught Joshua Miller to appreciate the film.

In a 2013 interview with VICE, Joshua Miller—who played Louise’s obnoxious little brother Richie—admitted that it took some time for him to understand the movie’s appeal. “It wasn’t until years later though, when a drag queen named Peaches Christ started hosting midnight screenings of Teen Witch in San Francisco, that I began to appreciate it,” he admitted. “He invited me to one, and prior to the screening he sat me down and explained that as a teenager he could see that I was not like the other boys; that there was something sexually ambiguous about me that gave him a sense of comfort, especially in Teen Witch. That meant the world to me. From then on, I was proud. I don’t take compliments from drag queens lightly, because they have no problem telling you what time it is. There’s no f***ing bulls***."

13. Joshua Miller is part of a famous family.

Though he was just 14 years old at the time of Teen Witch’s release, Joshua Miller was no stranger to Hollywood. Miller is the son of playwright and Oscar-nominated actor Jason Miller (who played Father Karras in The Exorcist) and Russ Meyer muse Sue Bernard. His grandfather, Bruno Bernard, was one of the world’s first celebrity photographers. And he is the half-brother of actor Jason Patric. But Miller wasn’t the only famous son on set. Polly’s funky “Top That” cohort Noah Blake is the son of actor-turned-murder suspect Robert Blake.

14. Madame Serena's house had a starring role in Thriller.

The creepy Victorian house that Zelda Rubinstein, as Madame Serena, calls home in Teen Witch is the same Los Angeles abode where Michael Jackson turned into a werewolf in the video for “Thriller.”

15. Robyn Lively's mom is responsible for Louise's awesome '80s style.

“My mom was really the one who created the entire style for Teen Witch,” Lively told BuzzFeed about Louise Miller’s totally ’80s wardrobe. “I’m dead serious. She was super involved, and is super creative, so I wore a lot of my actual clothes in the movie. Truly, Louise was my mom’s vision. She really created an iconic character.”

16. A TEEN WITCH REMAKE WAS ANNOUNCED IN 2008.

In 2008, Variety reported that High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale would recreate the role of Louise Miller in a Teen Witch remake. And in 2010, Tisdale talked about how (unlike in the original) the new Teen Witch would actually do some of her own singing. But it’s nine years later now and no production start date has been announced and Tisdale is 33 years old, so ...

17. Blake Lively and ryan Reynolds had a Teen Witch wedding moment.

When Robyn Lively’s younger sister, Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, married Ryan Reynolds in 2012, she wanted to give her a gift she’d never forget. “My younger sister and younger brother are huge Teen Witch fans,” the elder Lively told Pop My Culture Podcast. “So for [Blake's] wedding, my younger brother and I got together and figured out how to do that last scene, the ‘Finest Hour’ dance ... I got a blue dress, a blue tutu, and the music comes on. I had the necklace remade. I took it off and threw it to her. We did the whole dance!”

18. BUT BRAD AND RANDA LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Dan Gauthier and Lisa Fuller
Getty Images

Louise gets the guy in the end of the movie. But in real life, high school stud Brad (Dan Gauthier) ended up with Louise’s teen rival, Randa (Lisa Fuller). “They dated while making the movie and got married shortly after the movie wrapped,” Lively—who admitted to harboring a major crush on Gauthier—told BuzzFeed. “I was heartbroken, but I still went to their wedding. Brad and Randa really lived happily ever after.”

Updated for 2019.

Learn Python From Home for Just $50

Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com
Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com

It's difficult to think of a hobby or job that doesn’t involve some element of coding in its execution. Are you an Instagram enthusiast? Coding and algorithms are what bring your friends' posts to your feed. Can’t get enough Mental Floss? Coding brings the entire site to life on your desktop and mobile screens. Even sorting through playlists on Spotify uses coding. If you're tired of playing catch-up with all the latest coding techniques and principles, the 2020 Python Programming Certification Bundle is on sale for $49.99 to teach you to code, challenge your brain, and boost your resume to get your dream job.

Basically, coding is how people speak to computers (cue your sci-fi vision of a chat with a creepy, sentient computer), and while it does sound a bit futuristic, the truth is that people are talking to computers every day through a program called Python. The 2020 Python Programming Training Certification Bundle will teach you how to build web applications, database applications, and web visualizations in the world’s most popular programming language.

Python is also the language computers are using to communicate back to programmers. You’ll learn how Jupyter Notebook, NumPy, and pandas can enhance data analysis and data visualization techniques with Matplotlib.

Think back to your creepy, sci-fi visual from earlier; was it some form of artificial intelligence? Contrary to what you may have seen in the movies, artificial intelligence is something you can learn to create yourself. In the Keras Bootcamp, you’ll learn how to create artificial neural networks and deep-learning structures with Google’s powerful Deep Learning framework.

Coding is associated with endless text, numbers, and symbols, but the work code is performing is hardly limited to copy. Dig deep into image processing and computer vision tasks with sessions in OpenCV. You’ll give yourself an extra edge when you can use Python for sifting through information and implement machine learning algorithms on image classification.

Explore coding education with the bundle’s 12 courses, spanning from beginner to advanced levels, to elevate your skillset from home. The 2020 Python Programming Certification Bundle is on sale for $49.99.

 

The Complete 2020 Python Programming Certification Bundle - $49.99

See Deal



At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Mark Hamill Learned About The Empire Strikes Back's Big Darth Vader Reveal Before Anyone Else

Nope, not even Harrison Ford knew about it.
Nope, not even Harrison Ford knew about it.
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Few cinematic secrets were better kept—or more shocking when they came out—than that of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa's true parentage in the Star Wars saga. According to ComicBook.com, the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke and Leia's father was such a well-kept secret that it wasn't actually put into the script at all. Evidently, only three people on set knew about the moment in advance: Mark Hamill, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner. (Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was also aware.)

Hamill took to Twitter to explain the pivotal part of the franchise, during which a fake line was used so the actual reveal could be dubbed in afterwards, allowing the trio to keep the secret from the cast and crew for more than a year.

"The cast & crew first learned of it when they saw the finished film," Hamill said to his fans on Twitter. "When we shot it, Vader's line was 'You don't know the truth, Obi-Wan killed your father.' Only Irvin Kershner, George Lucas & I knew what would be dubbed in later. Agony keeping that secret for over a year!"

Props to them for not letting the spoiler slip early. Even with the pressure of keeping such a big plot twist under wraps, Lucas says financial concerns were what plagued him most.

“Well, to be very honest, the most challenging aspect was paying for [The Empire Strikes Back],” Lucas recently told StarWars.com. “In order to be able to take control of the movie, I had to pay for it myself. And in order to do that, I did something my father told me never to do, which was to borrow money. But there wasn’t much I could do because I only had maybe half of the money to make the movie, so I had to borrow the other half, which put a lot of pressure on me.”

If you feel like reminiscing about a galaxy far, far away, check out this year's May the Fourth celebration compilation here. And if you want to see the twist for yourself (whether it's for the first or the hundredth time), all nine movies in the Skywalker Saga are now streaming on Disney+.

[h/t ComicBook.com]

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.