25 Facts About The West Wing

James Sorensen/NBC/Newsmakers via Getty Images
James Sorensen/NBC/Newsmakers via Getty Images

Twenty years ago, one of the most influential, acclaimed, and quoted TV shows of all time aired its series premiere on NBC. The brainchild of a screenwriter who’d never wanted to write television in the first place, aired by a network that wasn’t sure a show about politicians could work with viewers, The West Wing rose above early doubts to become one of most celebrated shows of its era, winning four consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmys and turning its ensemble cast into major stars.

Even now, 20 years after it arrived, The West Wing remains a binge-worthy fan favorite, and has earned its place among the greatest television series of all time. So, to celebrate two decades of the Bartlet White House, here are 25 facts about The West Wing.

1. Aaron Sorkin didn’t want to do TV.

"The West Wing" show creator Aaron Sorkin accepts the "Heritage Award" for the "West Wing" onstage during the 2006 Summer TCA Awards held at The Ritz-Carlton on July 23, 2006 in Pasadena, California
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The seed for The West Wing was planted when screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, fresh off the success of films like A Few Good Men and The American President, was asked to take a meeting with TV producer John Wells, who was still riding high from the success of ER at NBC. Sorkin agreed to the meeting, though he had “never thought of doing television,” and the night before meeting with Wells he had a conversation with his friend, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who referenced Sorkin’s The American President and suggested the idea of a TV series about a senior staffer at the White House. Sorkin still resisted the idea of a TV show, but couldn’t get the idea out of his head.

“The next day I walked into the restaurant and immediately saw this wasn't what I thought it was going to be,” Sorkin told Empire. “This wasn't just a ‘hello, how are you?’ meeting, because John was sitting with a couple of agents and studio executives from Warner Bros. Right after I sat down, he said, ‘So what do you want to do?’ And instead of saying, ‘I think there's been a misunderstanding, I don't have an idea for a television series,’ which would've been honest, I said 'I want to do a television series about senior staffers at the White House.' He said, ‘Okay, you got a deal.'"

2. It was assembled from The American President leftovers.

With a deal made, Sorkin then had to go back and begin scripting what would become the pilot of The West Wing, but he wasn’t short on material. Thanks to his work on The American President, Sorkin already had ideas for what his senior staffers at the White House might do that he hadn’t been able to fit into that script. One of them became the first storyline for the series’ pilot episode.

“If I'm writing a script, really 90 percent of it would be just walking around, climbing the walls, just trying to put the idea together. Then the final 10 percent would be writing it,” Sorkin said. “Fortunately I had written a very long first draft of The American President: about 385 pages, when what you want is 130 or 140. So there were these tiny shards of ideas and one of them, about Cuban refugees, I was able to spin into a pilot.”

3. A Bill Clinton scandal delayed The West Wing's start.

Wells took The West Wing to NBC, where he wanted to set the show as part of a deal he’d made with the network after the success of ER. Network executives were hesitant, fearing that no one would watch a show about politicians. While Sorkin was writing the pilot, news broke of President Bill Clinton having an affair with an intern in the White House, which only served to bolster the network’s reluctance to put the show on the air.

“The Lewinsky scandal was happening at the very time I was writing the pilot and it was hard, at least for Americans, to look at the White House and think of anything but a punch line,” Sorkin recalled. “Plus a show about politics, a show that took place in Washington, had just never worked before in American television. So the show was delayed for a year.”

According to Wells, NBC held on to the show because they didn’t want it to go to another network under the terms of Sorkin’s deal. In the year while The West Wing was on hold, Sorkin and director Thomas Schlamme managed to launch a different TV series, Sports Night, on ABC in the fall of 1998. That series helped executives better understand Sorkin’s style and, at Wells’ urging, NBC greenlit The West Wing.

4. NBC sent some strange early notes on the series.

Though NBC agreed to make The West Wing after seeing Sports Night, executives remained nervous about the series in its early stages, and offered up a number of interesting notes that Wells and Sorkin ultimately resisted. Among their suggestions, according to Wells, was that the president on the series should not be a liberal democrat, but rather “a populist, somebody who's a wrestler or a race car driver or a football player coming in from the outside and shaking things up.”

“We chose not to do that,” Wells recalled.

Another suggestion about the pilot episode, which featured Josh Lyman attempting to deal with Cuban refugees coming into Florida, was that Josh and Sam Seaborn should be “in the water” during the incident to create more action. Sorkin and Wells also chose not to do that.

5. Bradley Whitford almost played Sam Seaborn.

Winner for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series "The West Wing", Bradley Whitford at the 53rd Annual Prime-Time Emmy Awards held at the Shubert Theatre, Los Angeles, CA., Nov. 4, 2001
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It’s hard to think of anyone other than The West Wing’s eventual main cast playing their roles now, but as the casting process for the show began there were a number of different potential actors in mind for key characters, including one actor who was up for two roles. Sorkin had written the role of Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman specifically for Bradley Whitford, while the role of Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn was offered to Rob Lowe. At one point in the process, though, there was concern over whether or not Lowe would actually sign on to the show. The network asked the creators to begin looking at other actors to play Sam, and Whitford found himself suddenly in consideration to play the best friend of the character who was written for him.

“I got a phone call saying that I was in the show but I was playing Sam,” Whitford told Empire. “I remember I was in a gas station in Santa Monica and I had no right not to be thrilled but I called Aaron and I said, 'I'm not Sam! I'm not the guy with the hooker, I'm the guy bashing the Christian right!'"

Fortunately for Whitford, Lowe ultimately did join the show as Sam Seaborn, and he got to play Josh Lyman.

6. Donna Moss was not meant to be one of the show's stars.

Janel Moloney originally read for the role of C.J. Cregg during The West Wing audition process. Sorkin knew she wouldn’t get that role, but wanted Moloney to find a way into the pilot somehow, and offered her the role of Donna, Josh Lyman’s assistant, who was initially meant to only have a couple of lines. Moloney was warned she shouldn’t expect anything more than an occasional recurring appearance, but along the way Sorkin added a second short scene between Josh and Donna to beef up the pilot a bit. He liked the chemistry between the two characters so much that he just never stopped.

"I was hostessing at an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills called Il Pastaio, and I kept my job at the restaurant at first,” Moloney told The Hollywood Reporter. “But by the third episode, I knew that they were never going to get rid of me.”

7. CCH Pounder almost played C.J. Cregg.

C. C. H. Pounder attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures' "Godzilla: King Of The Monsters" at TCL Chinese Theatre on May 18, 2019 in Hollywood, California
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

When it came time to cast White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg, Sorkin and company found themselves with two talented actresses in mind for the part: Allison Janney was a major contender thanks to her performance in the political comedy Primary Colors, but CCH Pounder—fresh off an Emmy-nominated three-season run on ER—was also up for the role.

“CC would have been fantastic, but we just couldn't not give the part to Allison,” Sorkin said.

Janney later remarked that she suspected a big reason she won the role was a major pratfall she took in Primary Colors, because one of the first things we see C.J. do on the show is fall off a treadmill. Janney went on to win four Primetime Emmy Awards, including three consecutive wins, for her work as C.J.

As a bit of a consolation prize, Pounder would also later appear on the show in a one-episode guest appearance as HUD Secretary Deborah O’Leary.

8. Eugene Levy almost played Toby Ziegler.

When it came time to cast the brilliant but grumpy Communications Director, Toby Ziegler, Sorkin and company again found themselves down to two great actors. One was Richard Schiff, who eventually won the role, and the other was Eugene Levy, best known for his comedy work in films like Best In Show.

“[Levy] really gave Richard a run for his money but there was just something undeniable about Richard where you knew he was going to elevate not just the role but the show—you couldn't look away,” Sorkin said.

Sorkin’s confidence in Schiff paid off, as Schiff won an Emmy for playing Toby in the first season of the series.

9. Several legendary actors were considered for President Bartlet.

'The West Wing' cast: Front row, L to R: Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen, Richard Schiff, and Janel Moloney; Back row,  L to R: John Spencer, Rob Lowe, and Dule Hill
NBC/Newsmakers via Getty Images

With the key members of the senior staff cast, including John Spencer as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, Schlamme began working on rehearsal for The West Wing pilot, but one key piece of the puzzle was missing: The President, who wouldn’t appear in the show until the final scene of the first episode.

According to Sorkin, the first actor who was actually offered the role was Sidney Poitier, but the legendary Oscar winner's salary demands were “too rich for our blood.” From there, the show considered Jason Robards, but his poor health led to concerns that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with a recurring TV schedule. John Cullum and Hal Holbrook (who ultimately did land a role on the show as Under Secretary of State Albie Duncan) also read for the role, but the search stopped when Wells suggested Martin Sheen, who had already worked with Sorkin in The American President. After reading the script, Sheen agreed to take the part.

10. The President was originally supposed to be a guest star.

When Sheen accepted the role of President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, he did it thinking he would be a recurring cast member only, appearing in just a handful of episodes each season. Sorkin originally intended to use the President sparingly on the show, keeping the focus on the staff out of fear that having the Leader of the Free World pop up all the time would “take up all the oxygen in a room.” When Sheen showed up to work on the show, though, in the famous final scene of the pilot in which he berates a group of hypocritical ministers, everyone knew Sheen would be sticking around.

“Aaron's whole thing was that he didn't want the pomposity of the presidency. He didn't want everybody to do exactly what, in the final scene, everyone does, which is stand still and be respectful and just listen to what the President has to say,” Schlamme recalled. “But once we cast Martin and we realized Martin's incredible accessibility, nothing felt pompous or aloof. If the show is about all the planets, let's end it with the sun.”

11. Martin Sheen came up with President Bartlet’s background.

After the pilot convinced Sorkin, Schlamme, and company that President Bartlet should be a main cast member rather than occasional guest star, Sheen went back to the table to renegotiate his contract for an increased number of appearances on The West Wing. When he did, he offered up a couple of conditions that proved to be key contributions to the Jed Bartlet character.

“I had to renegotiate a long-term contract after the pilot and I asked two things: that they make Bartlet a Catholic—because I wanted him to form all of his opinions from a moral frame of reference and as a Catholic myself, that's the way I framed all of my actions,” Sheen explained. “And I also asked that he be a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Aaron agreed to both of them and they became a staple of the character.”

12. It was Thomas Schlamme who suggested the now-iconic “walk-and-talk” shots.

As The West Wing came together and Sorkin began delivering scripts, the design of the show's visuals fell to Schlamme, who quickly realized he had to find new ways of making a bunch of scenes that were essentially people have high-stakes meetings into something that would look dynamic and exciting on a TV screen. It was out of this need that the show’s trademark “walk-and-talk” sequences of characters have long conversations while moving through corridors was born.

“I thought his language had motion, so why not get people up and have them say that language while they're also moving? It was driven by the idea that there is no wasted time,” Schlamme said. “If you went from one place to another, that had to be a meeting!”

The walk-and-talks required tremendous precision on the part of camera operators and cast members, who all had to make sure they remained in frame even as they tried to keep their movements through the halls as natural as possible. While this created various issues like falling cameramen and loads of cast bloopers, the actors still found it rewarding.

“You were in a relay race and if you had to come in on the third hallway pass and you f***ed up, it was like, ‘Oh my God!’ It was this really exhilarating game and the perfect way to keep a show about politics active, exciting, and fast-paced,” Janney said.

13. Sorkin demanded the dialogue be exactly what he wrote.

Even then, after his film writing and time in the theater, Sorkin was famous for the rhythm and pacing of his dialogue. And by the time The West Wing came along he’d taken great pains to make sure the language that was on his page was the same language spoken by his actors in the finished product. Sheen later recalled that it was actually a part of Sorkin’s contract that the dialogue he wrote had to be repeated exactly by the cast, and while the actors could make suggestions for rewrites, improvisation was never encouraged.

“I had been used to improvising and even in the audition I was feeling free to rearrange Aaron's words a little bit, as lovely as they were. I didn't find out until after I got the part how furious Aaron was at me for doing that,” Schiff recalled. “They said, ‘He was livid. He did everything in his power not to jump down your throat!’ But I came to realize that Aaron was writing in meter and the rhythm of the language is very important.”

14. Real White House staffers served as consultants.

Moira Kelly, Dule Hill, Rob Lowe, Richard Schiff, Martin Sheen, John Spencer, Allison Janney, and Bradley Whitford in "The West Wing
NBC, Getty Images

Though Sorkin was the driving force behind The West Wing’s stories in its first four seasons, with a writing credit on nearly every single script, he didn’t just spin all of those plots out of thin air. Many of the most famous West Wing stories were based on or inspired by anecdotes that came to Sorkin and his writers room from various consultants who’d previously served as White House staffers.

Among the former staffers who joined The West Wing in some capacity over the years were former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, former George H.W. Bush press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, Clinton economic adviser Gene Sperling, and famed Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. The writing staff itself also boasted former staffers, including Carter staffer Pat Caddell, Al Gore speechwriter Eli Attie, and now-MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, who served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan and eventually wound up as an actor on the show, playing Bartlet’s father in flashback in the episode “Two Cathedrals.”

Among the storylines on the show that were inspired by consultant anecdotes: Someone getting left behind by the presidential motorcade because it has to keep moving (“20 Hours in America,” Season 4); a foreign diplomat showing up to the White House drunk (“The Lame Duck Congress,” Season 2); and the complications of the U.S. Census (“Mr. Willis of Ohio,” Season 1).

15. The MS subplot came from researchers.

In the season 1 episode “He Shall, From Time to Time,” First Lady Abigail Bartlet (Stockard Channing) reveals to Leo McGarry that President Bartlet has multiple sclerosis. This secret, which wasn’t really brought up as a plot device again until the season 2 premiere, became the driving narrative force late in the second season, as a Congressional investigation into whether or not Bartlet had defrauded the public by concealing his illness got underway. Bartlet’s MS ultimately became one of the show’s most potent dramatic elements, but during a 2016 panel at the ATX Television Festival, Sorkin admitted he initially gave the President the disease simply because he wanted to do a story about Bartlet taking a sick day and needed an excuse for the First Lady to come rushing home to take care of him.

“I said, ‘Kevin [Falls, The West Wing writer and co-executive producer], can you get the researchers on something? I need just the right disease.’”

Sorkin picked multiple sclerosis and moved forward with the episode, only to find that the next time he faced questions from the Television Critics Association, everyone wanted to know when the MS storyline would come up again. So, Sorkin had to figure out what happened next.

16. Allison Janney did "The Jackal" in real life.

Talk to die-hard West Wing fans about their favorite moments in the history of the show, and you’ll hear “The Jackal” come up a lot. In the season 1 episode “Six Meetings Before Lunch,” after the staff wins a Senate confirmation for a Supreme Court Justice, they celebrate in the White House, and C.J. performs a dead-on lip sync of the Ronnie Jordan song “The Jackal” for the assembled staff. According to Janney, that was one of the pieces of the show pulled from real life on the set.

“Richard Schiff and I would constantly think of terrible ways to spend our time waiting to work,” she recalled. “We started doing just ridiculously silly things in my trailer like playing air guitar and lip-syncing to crazy songs. We made Aaron come in to see us do ‘The Jackal,’ and then he put it in the show.”

17. One piece of the original ensemble didn’t fit.

Moira Kelly And Bradley Whitford Star In The West Wing
NBC, Getty Images

Over the course of its first season, The West Wing continued to garner critical acclaim and an ever-growing audience that would ultimately make it one of the most talked-about and celebrated shows of its era. That season would ultimately garner five Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, a Peabody Award, and numerous other accolades. Despite all of this, one part of The West Wing machine wasn’t working out: The character of Mandy Hampton, a former Bartlet campaign staffer who was introduced to the show as a foil for Josh Lyman and ultimately became the Bartlet White House Media Director.

Mandy, played by Moira Kelly, was embroiled in a subplot late in the first season in which a playbook for defeating Bartlet that she’d written was stolen from her computer and leaked, and by the second season premiere the character had disappeared from the show entirely without explanation. So, where did Mandy go? According to Sorkin, there’s no great mystery to solve. It just didn’t work out.

“Moira was a joy to work with, a total pro who understood as time went on that for whatever reasons—and those reasons had nothing to do with her considerable talent—it just wasn't working,” he later said. “She was a model of graciousness.”

18. Joshua Malina requested his role on the show.

After three seasons of award-winning success, change began to come to The West Wing in a form even bigger than a cast member leaving unceremoniously after just one season. Midway through season 4, Rob Lowe—who, when the show began, had been a key selling point of the series for both audiences and network executives—announced that he would leave The West Wing behind.

“Tommy, John, and I did everything we could to try to change his mind, but Rob had his own plans, and after he gave us his best for three-and-a-half years, we wanted the best for him,” Sorkin recalled.

Sam Seaborn was written out of the show after a failed Congressional campaign in California, leaving room for a new Deputy Communications Director in The White House. Joshua Malina, who’d worked with Sorkin and Schlamme on Sports Night, heard the reports of Lowe’s departure and basically asked if he could have a job on the show.

“I read that Rob Lowe was thinking about leaving, and I really needed a job,” Malina told The Hollywood Reporter. “I sent [Aaron] an email, the contents of which basically were: ‘What about a less well-known, less good-looking actor who would work for less money?’ It was shameless, but to my surprise, Aaron's response suggested that he had already talked to Schlamme about the idea. I drove to meet him at the Four Seasons for lunch, and he said, ‘Here's the character I'm thinking of for you.’"

Malina was introduced in the season 4 episode “Game On” as Congressional campaign manager Will Bailey, who befriended Seaborn before taking his place in the White House staff.

19. Aaron Sorkin never watched the seasons he didn’t write.

Rob Lowe’s departure turned out to be the lesser of two major shake-ups on The West Wing in its fourth season. After Lowe announced he was leaving, Sorkin and Schlamme also announced that the fourth season would be their last, leaving The West Wing without its creative driving force. Though Sorkin’s name was always on the show as a creator, the last episode he wrote was the season 4 finale “Twenty Five,” which left a cliffhanger involving Bartlet’s kidnapped daughter and a new interim President for Wells and company to pick up in season 5.

As he left The West Wing behind, Sorkin got a call from another famous television writer who’d recently departed a hit series, who gave him a key piece of advice.

“Larry David had left Seinfeld a few seasons before the show ended and he called me and said, ‘You can never watch The West Wing again. Either the show is going to be great without you and you're going to be miserable, or the show is going to be less than great without you and you're going to be miserable.’ I thought, ‘Well, this is Larry David; he's kind of professionally miserable.’ So I had them send a tape of the first episode that I didn't do,” Sorkin admitted. “I put it in the VCR and I don't think I got 15 seconds in before I leaped up and slammed it off! It felt like I was watching somebody make out with my girlfriend. Except for that 15 seconds, I've followed Larry's advice. I've never seen a West Wing episode in seasons five, six or seven.”

20. Matt Santos and Arnold Vinick were based on Obama and McCain (sort of).

Though Wells later admitted the months following Sorkin and Schlamme’s departure was a tough time for the show, The West Wing evolved and eventually found its stride again in its final three, Sorkin-less seasons. One of the reasons for this was the sense that the show needed a new driving force, and found it in season 6 in the form of a campaign to find the man who would succeed Bartlet as President at the end of his second term. The show ultimately set the stage for a showdown between an idealistic liberal with a minority background from the Democratic Party and an older, maverick conservative from the Republican Party. This all unfolded on the show more than two years before the 2008 President election, so there’s no direct correlation between that campaign and this fictional one. Even so, the character of Congressman Matt Santos of Texas (Jimmy Smits) did end up being partially based on the then-theoretical rise of Barack Obama.

“[Political consultants] basically laid out for us what they thought the campaign strategy would have to be for [Obama] to ever run for president, although they kept telling us the whole time, ‘It'll never happen, of course,’” Wells recalled.

Senator Arnold Vinick of California (Alan Alda), the Republican candidate, was based a bit more directly on John McCain, who’d already staged a formidable run for the White House in 2000 only to lose in the primary to George W. Bush.

“Vinick was based on John McCain and a number of possible centrist Republican candidates. The rise of the Tea Party, that very militant side of the Republican Party, hadn't really forced people into the positions that Republican presidential candidates have to take now. So we were looking for someone far more moderate, what would now be considered an establishment Republican,” Wells said. “The 2008 election was very odd. We called the political consultants we'd worked with and said, ‘You guys kind of knew what you were talking about!’”

21. Vinick almost won the election.

After the season 6 finale set the Democratic ticket for President as Matt Santos and Leo McGarry (who by then had left full-time West Wing employment following a heart attack and become a special counselor), season 7 dug deep into the general election for President, as the show’s writers tried to create a convincing scenario in which either candidate could win. Though the show’s main cast were of course supporting Santos, Wells and the writer spent a lot of time building up Vinick as a noble, principled leader who the audience could root for and respect. It turns out that’s because Vinick was originally intended to win the election. The death of actor John Spencer on December 16, 2005—midway through the seventh season—forced numerous last-minute changes to the show’s final episodes. According to Sheen, one of them was a Democratic victory, with Leo McGarry dying of a heart attack on election night.

“Up until his death, the Republican was going to win the election,” Sheen recalled. “Jimmy Smits would be defeated and that wonderful actor Alan Alda would win. But with John's death they said no and, against history, the Democrats would continue.”

22. There was almost a season 8.

Actor John Spencer, of "The West Wing " television program, attends the 2002 Service to America Medals Awards November 13, 2002 in Washington, DC
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Spencer’s death at the age of 58 devastated The West Wing’s cast and crew, but it was agreed that he would have wanted them to carry on with the story, which now included losing him.

“You don't want to exploit anything, but we all felt that honoring his character in the show would have been something he'd be comfortable with,” Whitford recalled.

That meant rewriting the remaining scripts to include Leo’s election night death, and the addition of an episode titled “Requiem” that served as both a funeral for Leo and a reunion and communal goodbye for the cast and crew.

“The episode where we actually had to carry his casket because his character had died ... it was an empty casket, but it wasn't an empty casket,” Dule Hill, who played Charlie Young, later said.

Spencer’s death also meant that discussions for an eighth season that would have focused on Santos’s rise to power and the early days of his administration, with Bartlet acting as elder statesman, were ended. Though there could have been more story, no one felt right carrying on without Spencer.

“[W]hen John died, they folded the tent,” Sheen, who compared losing Spencer to losing a brother, said. “It was over, and we thought, ‘No, we can never go back there.’”

23. Richard Schiff and Allison Janney didn’t like where their characters went.

Actress Allison Janney (R) arrives at the premiere of her new miniseries "A Girl Thing" with co-star of television series "The West Wing" Richard Schiff (L), January 10, 2001 in Hollywood, CA
Lucy Nicholson/Newsmakers via Getty Images

The John Wells era of The West Wing included a number of different shake-ups and ambitious new plotlines, and that included new directions for some of the show’s key characters. Early in the sixth season, Leo McGarry suffered a near-fatal heart attack, and Bartlet named C.J. Cregg the new White House Chief of Staff. Though it added some new energy to the show, Janney wasn’t exactly a fan.

“I liked the dynamics the way they were. Me having to be the boss of everyone wasn't as fun for me in the room and the comedy wasn't there,” Janney recalled. “When C.J. became Chief of Staff it was a strange shift for me on the show and I wasn't comfortable in that shift."

The change was even more radical for Toby Ziegler, who went from one of the president’s most trusted advisors to a disgraced criminal when it was revealed in the season 7 episode “Mr. Frost” that he’d been responsible for leaking classified information about a military space shuttle to the press. Schiff hated the turn for his character, and believed Toby would never have betrayed Bartlet.

“What was done to Toby [in the final season] was wrong. I was deeply, deeply hurt by that” Schiff said. “They gave me this scene where I reveal myself as the White House leak and I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I'm taking the fall for somebody.’ So I played that out kind of heroically, like maybe I'm falling on my sword. I did not know that they wanted to shorten the number of my episodes! I hope it was just a bad idea that they thought was great and that there was nothing beyond that—but it was a really bad idea and very insulting to me.”

24. Janel Maloney always knew Donna was in love with Josh.

One of The West Wing’s many, many running narrative hallmarks was the Will They/Won’t They? energy that developed between Josh Lyman and his assistant Donna Moss. While some fans were never keen on the two hooking up, others were always dying for it to happen, and the sexual tension finally came to a head in season 7, when Josh and Donna fell into bed together during the heat of the campaign’s final days and ended up trying to make a go of things as a couple. According to Moloney, it may have taken that long for the writers to bring them together, but in her mind Donna was in love with Josh from the very beginning of the show.

“The whole basis of my character, before I even started on day one, was ‘Donna is drop-dead, head-over-heels, 100 percent would die for Josh,” Moloney said in 2016. “Every file I signed, every policy I asked about, the subtext was ‘I just love you so much, I would do anything for you at any moment.’”

25. Aaron Sorkin came back for the series finale.

Sorkin resisted opportunities to look back on The West Wing after he left at the end of the show’s fourth season, never returning to guest script an episode and heeding Larry David’s advice to never watch what other writers had taken over from him. The seventh and final season of the show was full of reunions, though, including the returns of characters like Sam Seaborn and frequent guest Ainsley Hayes (Emily Procter) for an episode or two, and it turned out Sorkin also wanted to at least be present for the farewell. He makes a brief but prominent cameo appearance in the series finale, “Tomorrow,” as a man seated on the stage during Matt Santos’ inauguration.

57 Facts Every Disney Fan Should Know

Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Image
Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Image

For nearly a century, Walt Disney's name has been synonymous with fun. From the creation of Mickey Mouse and his legendary slate of animated classic films to his titular amusement parks around the world and Disney+ emerging as one of the premier streaming services on the market, there's never been a better time to be a Disneyphile. Here are 57 things any hardcore Disney fan should know.

(Note: For clarity’s sake, this list uses Walt to refer to the man and Disney to refer to the company.)

1. Walt Disney got paid in haircuts when he was starting out.

A vintage photo of Walt Disney.
R. Mitchell/Express/Getty Images

One of Walt’s first art jobs was drawing cartoons for a local barber in exchange for haircuts.

2. He also photographed babies.

Walt Disney trying to coax a penguin into performing for the camera, for a 'Silly Symphony' entitled 'Peculiar Penguins'.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before shooting footage of penguins, Walt took pictures of babies in Kansas City, Missouri, in order to scrape together the money for a train ticket to Hollywood.

3. Walt's last words were not "Kurt Russell."

Kurt Russell at a press event.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM

Nope. The actor's name was one of the last things he wrote in his office, but the note is undated—it could have been up to a month old at the time Walt died in a hospital. Russell has a connection with Disney, though: He has appeared in a Disney-produced or -distributed film every decade since the 1960s, including 1969’s The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, 1971’s The Barefoot Executive, 1981’s The Fox and the Hound, 1993’s Tombstone (which was distributed by Disney), and 2005’s Sky High. Disney also owns Marvel, so 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 should count, right?

4. Walt signed a legal right-of-way agreement for a toy train.

A photo of a young Walt Disney.
Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images

When Walt built the 1/8th scale Carolwood Pacific Railway in his backyard, he made his wife, Lillian, sign over the right of way through her flower garden. Their two daughters served as witnesses.

5. Mickey wasn't his only famous voice appearance.

The gates at a Disney studio.
Razvan/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus

Walt’s most famous voice-acting role was Mickey Mouse early on, but according to official Disney Archivist Dave Smith, Walt was also the voice of Ferdinand in the Academy Award-winning short Ferdinand the Bull.

6. Walt's first educational film was for a dentist.

A tooth next to dental instruments.
AndreyPopov/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It debuted in 1922 and was called Tommy Tucker’s Tooth. Walt made it for a local dentist in Kansas City. (Other educational films include Four Methods of Flush Riveting for Lockheed, Advice on Lice, and the slightly better known The Story of Menstruation.)

7. Steamboat Willie wasn't the first cartoon with synchronized sound.

Walt Disney and his wife.
Imagno/Getty Images

Despite popular belief, animators had been experimenting with the combination for years. In fact, Max Fleischer had produced a couple of experimental sound cartoons four years before Steamboat. Walt himself saw a sound cartoon before Steamboat Willie’s audio was even recorded; he dismissed it as “a lot of racket and nothing else.”

8. The first feature-length animated film wasn’t actually Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

People dressed as the Seven Dwarfs.
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Disney

Again, this bucks against popular belief. Walt himself admitted that it “was not the first feature-length cartoon by 20 years.” Snow White wasn’t even Disney’s first. The first Disney animated “movie” was The Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons, a collection of several previously released shorts with new bridging narration that was released to build excitement for Snow White. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines an animated feature film as having a running time of “more than 40 minutes" [PDF]. The Academy Award Review clocks in at 41.

9. Toy Story's status as the first 100 percent computer-animated movie is in question.

A lineup of Toy Story action figures.
Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

While 1995's Toy Story is often credited as the first 100 percent computer-animated movie, some film buffs disagree; they claim the 1996 Brazilian movie Cassiopeia was first. Cassiopeia was released after Toy Story, but because Pixar had used clay models and scanned them in with lasers, not everything in Toy Story was 100 percent computer generated. Some consider this cheating.

10. Disney didn't invent the word Imagineer.

A sign at the Disneyland Resort.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

While today, the word Imagineer is associated with Disney, it was actually coined by aluminum manufacturer Alcoa in the 1940s.

11. The myth about lemmings is older than Disney.

An absolutely adorable lemming.
Tinieder/iStock via Getty Images

Disney widely gets the blame for starting the myth that lemmings commit mass suicide by running off of cliffs in the 1958 documentary White Wilderness. But the myth is actually much older; for instance, a 1908 issue of Century Path magazine claimed that “the most extraordinary thing is what takes place when [lemmings] reach the sea; for here, descending the cliffs, they plunge headlong into the water and swim as if for some promised Eldorado, with the result that all perish.”

Disney’s not completely off the hook, though. The filmmakers did cart lemmings into Alberta, Canada, and threw them off a cliff to dramatize this event. (This isn't as odd as it sounds; even today, nature documentary-makers are known to cheat in order to get their ideas across.)

12. Scrooge McDuck has conflicting net worths.

A painting of Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck.
Sarah Fabian-Baddiel/Heritage Images/Getty Images

How rich is Scrooge McDuck? The comics claimed “skyrillions” and “fantasticatillions” until an actual number was revealed in "The Menehune Mystery" story from Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge #4: $500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.16.

For what it’s worth, Forbes estimates Scrooge’s wealth at only $65.4 billion.

13. Scrooge McDuck inspired a rock concept album.

Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish.
Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

In 2014, the songwriter/keyboardist behind the band Nightwish, Tuomas Holopainen, released Music Inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge, a concept album based on Don Rosa’s Eisner Award-winning comic book story detailing how Scrooge made his money. It reached the top of the charts in Finland. And it's really good!

14. Flintheart got a nationality change for Ducktales.

Scrooge McDuck and David Tennant.
Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

In the original Disney comics, Scrooge’s nemesis, Flintheart Glomgold, was South African. DuckTales decided to make him much more Scottish, presumably because at the time apartheid was still law in South Africa.

15. A "Donald Duck" showed up in the first issue of The Adventures of Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney holding an early Donald Duck collectible.
Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images

One of the animals in the first hardback Disney book, The Adventures of Mickey Mouse (1931), was named Donald Duck. He's sporting green pants and looks exactly nothing like the Donald we know.

16. Donald Was the first core Disney character to appear in color.

Singer Gwen Stefani poses with Donald Duck
Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

Donald wouldn’t officially debut until three years later in the short The Wise Little Hen. Because this was a Silly Symphony—the first color cartoons Disney produced—Donald was the first of the “Fab 5” (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) to appear in color in a theatrically released short.

17. Donald's nephews got their start in print.

Steve Carrell and Donald Duck.
Larry Hack/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Donald’s nephews (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) first appeared in the comics, and then a few months later made their big screen debut. While the background of how they got to Donald are broadly similar, there are a couple big differences between the comic and the cartoon. In the comic, the boys' mother is named Della, which turned into Dumbella for the cartoon. The bigger change is that Della was Donald’s cousin while Dumbella was his sister.

18. Huey, Dewey, and Louie have another brother.

Jon Stewart posing with Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse.
Todd Anderson/Disney via Getty Images

Hold onto your sailor hats. Huey, Dewey, and Louie actually have a fourth brother, Phooey. Basically, in the comics sometimes the artists accidentally drew one too many nephews in a panel, so this unofficial fourth "brother" was born.

19. Disneyland is responsible for Doritos.

An early look at Disney World.
Keystone/Getty Images

One of the most successful things to come out of Disneyland has to be Doritos. In the early days of Disneyland, Casa de Fritos was a restaurant that served Tex-Mex and was associated with Fritos (and later Frito-Lay). The story is that the restaurant was getting in a shipment of tortillas when the salesman advised that instead of tossing unused tortillas away, they should cut them up and fry them. This new dish became an instant hit. Later, when a marketing executive of the newly formed Frito-Lay company was looking around, he noticed how popular these fried tortilla chips were and decided to put them into production as a new snack. Soon, Doritos were conquering supermarket shelves.

20. The Drawbridge at fantasyland can open.

An image of the opening of Fantasyland.
Kent Phillips/Disney Parks via Getty Images

And has done so on two occasions: Once on opening day and again after a major park redesign in 1983.

21. The voice of Alice came back for the new Fantasyland.

Kathryn Beaumont, the original voice of Alice from 'Alice in Wonderland.'
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

During the 1983 renovation of Fantasyland, Disney brought back the original voice of Alice, Kathryn Beaumont, to do the updated voiceover work for the attraction—more than 30 years after the movie came out.

22. Adding characters to the rides cleared up some confusion.

An actor playing Peter Pan at a Disney theme park.
Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images

Another major change was the addition of characters to Fantasyland rides. In the original Peter Pan’s Flight, there was no Peter Pan because guests were supposed to be Peter. But this was so confusing for guests who wanted to see the titular hero that a figure was added in the renovation.

23. Walt broke some horses to make the King Arthur Carrousel the way he wanted.

A photo of Walt Disney.
Harry Shepherd/Fox Photos/Getty Images

The King Arthur Carrousel, which dates back to 1922 and was purchased from a Toronto amusement park, is one of the oldest attractions in Disneyland. But Walt wasn’t entirely pleased with what he bought—he wanted all the horses to be jumping. Any standing horse had its legs broken and reset. Hopefully not in front of the kids.

24. One Disneyland attraction is millions of years old.

A photo of Frontierland, a part of the Disney theme parks.
Keystone/Getty Images

The oldest attraction in Disneyland is the Petrified Tree in Frontierland, which is believed to be about 55 to 70 million years old. Walt procured the relic from a privately owned petrified forest in Colorado. Sadly, the story of it being a present to his wife, Lillian, is likely just that—a story. Walt probably intended it for a natural history exhibit, where he was planning to display rocks and minerals as well as sell Disney-branded minerals.

25. The Ice Capades rescued Disneyland's opening day parade.

The Disney Fab 5: Goofy, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto.

Joel, via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

On opening day, Disney didn’t yet have character costumes for the parade, so the company borrowed some from the Ice Capades, which did Disney-related shows.

26. A movie about a casino manager was the first non-Disney movie made at Disneyland.

A photo from 'That Thing You Do!'
Getty Images / Handout

Tony Curtis’s 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962) was the first non-Disney movie filmed at Disneyland. That Thing You Do! (1996) also features a short section there, and the very-not-Disney horror film Escape From Tomorrow secretly filmed at Disney World (but Disney declined to take legal action).

27. The "STR" initials on Walt's tie stand for the Smoke Tree Ranch.

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.
Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

On Partners, the famous statue of Walt and Mickey in several parks, Walt has "STR" on his tie. This stands for Smoke Tree Ranch, where Walt used to have a vacation home.

28. Walt didn't open a park in New Jersey because he couldn't control the weather.

A woman dressed as Mary Poppins holds a young girl's hand on a sunny day at Disneyland
smckenzie/iStock via Getty Images

In the late 1950s, Disney’s relationship with ABC (which had financed a large part of the original Disneyland) was falling apart, ultimately resulting in Disney’s Wonderful World of Color airing on NBC. As this was happening, the president of NBC decided that they wanted to get involved in a park and proposed a location in the New Jersey Meadows. According to Roy Disney, the proposal never went very far: “Walt gave the Meadows proposal a careful look, but he finally decided that there would have to be some method of controlling the weather—a vast dome or some such thing. When the financial backers looked into the cost of such an undertaking they lost their courage pretty fast.”

29. It's not clear why a park didn't get built in St. Louis.

A look at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Alex Menendez/Getty Images

After the New Jersey failure, Disney decided to look into St. Louis for the “Riverfront Square” park (which was actually going to be entirely indoors). The company created blueprints and was ready to go until something happened and Disney canceled it in 1965. It’s unclear why the project didn’t go forward, but the most common explanation is that the Busch family insisted it sell beer, and Disney refused. Still, many Disney historians think that the beer issue had been worked out fairly quickly, and that the real cause was St. Louis’s refusal to help pay for construction.

30. Disney had to negotiate mineral rights to build in Orlando.

Photos of the original Epcot plans.
Central Press/Getty Images

The canceled St. Louis project might also have something to do with the fact that on November 15, 1965, Walt announced that he had purchased a huge area of land near Orlando, Florida. There were a couple of issues with buying the land in Florida, chief among them the mineral rights. Under American law, a land owner is allowed to separate out the surface rights from the mineral rights for the same plot of land and sell them separately. Tufts University used to own large areas of Central Florida, but retained the mineral rights when they sold the surface rights. This meant, in theory, they could come in and dig up any building in the area to get at underlying resources. Thankfully, Disney found this out and was able to negotiate a sale for $15,000.

31. Walt also abandoned a large Frontierland in Virginia.

The entrance to a Disney park featuring giant letters that spell California.
travelview/iStock via Getty Images

In 1993, Disney announced Disney’s America, a new park in Virginia. The idea was basically a giant Frontierland that tracked American history from the Colonial Era through the Civil War and into World War II. Less than a year after the announcement, protests and concern about the proximity to the Manassas Battlefield  (at only 3.5 miles away, the National Park Service was worried the site would be threatened by the development around the battlefield) forced the abandonment of the idea. Several of the proposed ideas moved to California Adventure when it opened in 2001, such as the whitewater raft ride (Grizzly River Run), Paradise Pier, and the original Condor Flats.

32. Environmentalism and the Supreme Court quashed a Disney ski resort.

People skiing down a mountain.
Gordy Colonna/iStock via Getty Images

In the 1960s, the Mineral King area of the Sequoia National Forest was opened to private recreational development for a new ski resort. Walt Disney Enterprises decided to put in a bid and won. They were going to build a destination that could be used for skiing in the winter and other outdoor pursuits in the summer. But soon after the announcement, environmentalists turned on the idea and lawsuits relating to the project went all the way to the Supreme Court. Eventually, the area was added to Sequoia National Park, ending all plans of development. Probably the most famous thing to come out of this was a show Disney had planned for the development called Country Bear Jamboree.

33. New Mexico Almost Got a Disney Park, Too.

A sign depicting a UFO grabbing a cow in New Mexico.
StellaMc/iStock via Getty Images Plus

While Mineral King was being held up in courts, the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce offered Sandia Peak to Disney, who seriously considered it. Ultimately, the company concluded that the weather wasn't right. 

34. Europe and the United States have different ideas about what makes a Disney Classic.

Photos from the premiere of the Disney movie 'Dinosaur.'
Chris Weeks/Liaison/Getty Images

Any Disney fan can name the Disney Animated Classics (the canon distinction for the company's feature-length animated movies), but a European and American would have different lists. In the UKThe Wild is included as a Classic but not 2000's Dinosaur. In the States, that's flip-flopped. 

35. Disney dominates the list of highest-grossing G-rated movies.

Tim Allen and Tom Hanks at the Toy Story 3 premiere.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

All 10 of the highest grossing G movies are either Disney or Pixar (which is owned by Disney), and of the top 15, only Gone With the Wind interrupts Disney’s streak. But not everyone appreciates the family friendliness of these movies; English children were required to bring a parent along to see Snow White because it was deemed too scary.

36. Walt knew Snow White's initial budget was far too low.

People dressed as Snow White's dwarfs.
Ryan Wendler/Disney Parks via Getty Images

It’s actually kind of amazing that Snow White was created at all. Walt originally budgeted $250,000 for the movie (around $4 million today), but he knew that this was a wild understatement, later saying, “we were spending about that much on every three Symphonies. Walt estimated that it ultimately cost around $2 million.

37. Roy Disney Hated Debt.

A photo of Space Mountain in Disney World.
Central Press/Getty Images

One person who didn’t take this budget increase well was Walt’s brother, Roy. According to Walt, “Roy was very brave and manly until the costs passed $1 million. He wasn’t used to figures of over $100,000 at that time. The extra cipher threw him. When costs passed the one and one-half million mark, Roy didn’t even bat an eye. He couldn’t; he was paralyzed.” (Roy hated debt. After Walt’s death, Roy took it upon himself to go through with the Disney World project by building an East Coast Disneyland. Through creative financing methods, he was able to build Magic Kingdom virtually debt-free.)

38. The price tag for Snow White and the seven Dwarfs wouldn't matter if it wasn't good.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

During the filming of Snow White, Walt was very clear that no matter how much was spent on the movie, if the final product wasn’t up to his standards, it would be destroyed.

39. Fortunately, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a massive success.

Snow White and Dopey.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

It was a good gamble though, because Snow White became the then-highest grossing film of all time. Sadly, Disney’s next movie, Pinocchio, failed to do as well. Walt commented that it was actually the second highest grossing film of the year (after Gone With the Wind, which had been released in December of the previous year). But due to soaring costs ($3 million) and World War II removing most of their markets, Disney failed to recoup their investment in the original release.

40. some of your favorite disney movies were initially failures.

Walt Disney Reading Alice in Wonderland.
Edward G. Malindine/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Other Disney films from this time that failed to turn a profit on their initial releases included Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, and Fantasia.

41. Dumbo was supposed to be on the cover of Time in December 1941.

Minnie Mouse on a Dumbo ride.
Gene Duncan/Disney via Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, it was kicked off the cover following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

42. Audiences love non-disney movies when they think Disney made them.

The Disney logo.
John Keeble/Getty Images

In 1994, Warner Bros. did test screenings of their new animated movie, Thumbelina. The audience reaction was so-so—but when they replaced the WB logo with Disney’s in test screenings, audience scores skyrocketed.

43. Animators Made Captain Hook a Righty.

Captain Hook in the Magic Kingdom.
Todd Anderson/Disney Parks via Getty Images

In the original Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie wrote that “[Captain Hook] has an iron hook instead of a right hand,” but in the cartoon, Captain Hook has the hook on his left hand. This was because the animators wanted him to be able to write and do other activities with his right hand since it was simpler to draw.

44. Pluto was briefly "Rover."

Paul McCartney hanging out with Pluto.
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Pluto was introduced in 1930 in The Chain Gang as a bloodhound. In The Picnic, he was introduced as Minnie's dog Rover, and then became Mickey's in 1931’s The Moose Hunt.

45. Disney's first named animated character was a cat.

Disney's Oswald.
Victor Chavez/Getty Images

Julius the Cat appeared in 1924. The next year, Pete was introduced. Originally a bear in the Alice Comedies (a collection of cartoons that featured animated characters interacting with a live-action girl), Pegleg Pete would go on to fight Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and then, after a species change, became a cat who first appeared as Mickey’s antagonist in Steamboat Willie. Ninety years after debuting, Pete is still one of Disney’s main villains.

46. Steamboat Willie premiered before a violent mob movie.

Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie.
Victor Chavez/Getty Images

In 1928, Steamboat Willie opened at New York's Colony Theater before the movie Gang War, a completely forgotten (and violent) mob movie. But that's not Gang War's only Disney connection: Some of the music for the movie was written by Al Sherman, father of the Sherman Brothers, who did the music for Mary Poppins and many other Disney projects.

47. Walt considered Mickey an actor playing the role of "Willie."

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Why was Mickey called Willie? The short version is that it’s a reference to Steamboat Bill, Jr., which was both a popular song and a recently released Buster Keaton movie (but Willie was not, as many people claim, a parody; there’s almost no connection between the two).

Walt didn't call the film Steamboat Mickey because he felt that Mickey Mouse was an actor, not a character. In the same way that Bogart played the role of Rick in Casablanca, Mickey Mouse is playing the character of Steamboat Willie for the short.

48. Mickey Has two different birthdays.

Mickey Mouse surveying the crowd while inside a protective bubble.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For the first several decades of Mickey’s existence, his birthday was celebrated September 30, the date the soundtrack for Steamboat Willie was recorded. It wasn’t until later that Steamboat Willie’s release date of November 18 was chosen as the character's birthday.

49. One audience got to see Mickey six months before Steamboat Willie.

A very old piece of Mickey Mouse merchandise.
Imagno/Getty Images

There’s a debate about when Mickey debuted. On May 15, 1928—six months before Steamboat Willie—Walt showed a then-silent Plane Crazy, which stars Mickey as a wannabe Charles Lindbergh, to a test audience in an attempt to get a distributor. He didn’t get one, so most Disney fans agree the real birthday is the wide release debut.

50. Plane Crazy was made in secret in two weeks.

A vintage Mickey Mouse movie poster.
Online USA/Getty Images

The animation of Plane Crazy was a remarkable feat in and of itself. Walt had just been robbed of his Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons by his distributor, and many of his animators were about to leave with Oswald. But there were still three Oswald cartoons left on the Disney contract before most of the animators left. So while the soon-to-leave animators were finishing those up, Disney legend Ub Iwerks worked in secret (supposedly with Oswald drawings on hand if an unexpected visitor arrived) and single-handedly animated all of Plane Crazy in two weeks, producing 700 drawings a day.

51. Cartoons weren't the moneymaker early on.

The sign at Disneyland.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Despite Mickey’s great success, Disney never made much money off of the cartoons. According to a 1934 article in The New York Times, one of the original Mickey Mouse cartoons only just came out of the red, about six years later. Even Three Little Pigs, which the same article says was “the most successful short subject produced by any studio,” grossed $64,000 (it cost $60,000 to make). From day one, Disney made most of its money from merchandising.

52. Mickey and Minnie also have nephews.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images

Donald may get all the nephew credit, but Mickey and Minnie each have nephews and nieces, respectively. Mickey’s nephews are Morty and Ferdie, and Minnie’s nieces are Millie and Melody. Daisy Duck has nieces as well: April, May, and June.

53. The WWII-era Food Will Win the War is a masterclass in mixed measures.

Milk.
Alter_photo/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The 1942 short Food Will Win the War (about American food production) is a masterclass in mixed units (using as many units as possible). For instance, “Milk! 125 billion pounds of it. If all this flowed over Niagara Falls in a steady stream, it would generate enough electricity to light every factory in New York for one month.” In case you ever needed to know how to measure electricity in milk.

54. Phil Simms was the first Super Bowl MVP to say, "I'm going to Disney World.”

Phil Simms playing quarterback for the New York Giants.
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

He was actually instructed to say Disney World and Disneyland three times each; he got $50,000 (and a free vacation) for his troubles.

55. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" was a huge hit.

A Davy Crockett button.
Blank Archives/Getty Images

The theme song to the miniseries Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier was a big winner in its own right, spending several weeks at number one on the Hit Parade and selling 7 million copies in six months. But its origins are a bit more practical: It was written because the show was running short.

56. The nation's Davy Crockett obsession made one store give away thousands of tents.

Young boys dressed as Davy Crockett.
Harry Kerr/BIPs/Getty Images)

Davy Crockett mania reached such a fever pitch that one department store advertised that with every major appliance sold, they’d give away a free Davy Crockett play tent. They were inundated with orders and estimated they’d give away 35,000 tents during the promotion.

57. WALL-E isn't a reference to Walt.

A photo of Disney's Wall-E.
John M. Heller/Getty Images

It’s a myth (albeit a pervasive one) that the name WALL-E is an homage to Walter Elias Disney. According to Pixar, “Nope. Sorr-e.” WALL-E just means Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-Class.

Watch John Krasinski Interview Steve Carell About The Office's 15th Anniversary

John Krasinski and Steve Carell in The Office.
John Krasinski and Steve Carell in The Office.
NBC Universal, Inc.

The Office just passed a major milestone: It has been 15 years since the American adaptation of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's hit British sitcom made its way to NBC, where it ran for nine seasons. To celebrate the show's big anniversary, former co-stars John Krasinski and Steve Carell reunited in the best way possible: Carell appeared as a guest on Krasinski's new YouTube show, where the two decided to spread some positivity.

Krasinski just launched his very own news show titled Some Good News, and it's exactly what we've all been needing. During this segment, he interviewed Carell via video call, and the two shared their favorite memories of working on the beloved workplace comedy.

"It's such a happy surprise," Carell said of The Office's continued success. "After all these years people are still tuning in and finding it." The two also addressed the question that's been on every fan's mind: is there a chance that we'll see the Dunder Mifflin crew reunite in some way?

"Listen, I know everyone's talking about a reunion," Krasinski said. "Hopefully one day we'll just all get to reunite as people."

You can watch the full episode below. (Carell joins the video around the 5:50 minute mark.)

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