If Wayne's World's return to theaters this week has made one thing clear, it’s that the world still loves Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. Nearly 30 years after the head-banging duo made their debut on Saturday Night Live—and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their big-screen debut—we’ve uncovered 18 things you might not know about Wayne’s World in both its small- and big-screen incarnations.
1. WAYNE BEGAN LIFE ON A DIFFERENT SERIES ALTOGETHER.
Though it’s Saturday Night Live that made Wayne Campbell a household name, the character—which Mike Myers began working on when he was still a teenager—began his on-screen life on Canadian television, first on the alternative video show City Limits and later on It’s Only Rock & Roll in 1987 in a sketch called “Wayne’s Power Minute.” When Myers joined the cast of SNL in 1989, he brought Wayne with him. "Wayne’s World" made its SNL debut on February 18, 1989.
2. DANA CARVEY BASED GARTH ON HIS BROTHER.
Dana’s older brother, electronic engineer Brad Carvey, was the inspiration for Garth. “We both eat red licorice, and we both like video, and we both play the drums,” the elder Carvey told People Magazine in 1994 of the similarities between him and Garth. Dana paid sartorial tribute to Brad when Garth wore a “Video Toaster” T-shirt in Wayne’s World 2. Video Toaster is a special effects system that Brad helped to develop.
3. MADONNA WAS MIKE MYERS’ FIRST ON-SCREEN SMOOCH.
Celebrity guests became a staple of "Wayne’s World," with Aerosmith and Madonna being two of the most memorable of them. But Madge’s appearance in a 1991 fantasy sequence caused a bit of anxiety for Myers, as it featured his first on-screen kiss. “I was so nervous,” Myers told The Chicago Tribune in 1991. “She was really nice, actually. I was terrified. I had never kissed anybody on screen before, and she was really nice.”
4. RUMORS OF A RIFT BETWEEN MYERS AND CARVEY HAVE LONG CIRCULATED.
From "Wayne’s World"’s SNL inception, rumors of a rift between Myers and Carvey have made the rounds in Hollywood, with many anonymous “insiders”—and a 2000 article in Vanity Fair—claiming that Myers didn’t want to be upstaged by Carvey, whose comedic profile was much higher when the sketch first began. In 2008, both Carvey and Lorne Michaels disputed that there was any bad blood in an Entertainment Weekly article. While Carvey said the claims were “ridiculous,” Michaels described the rumors as “overstated,” then went on to say, “That isn’t to say they’re not both comedians and that occasionally there’s not some disagreement over who should be speaking what.”
5. THERE WAS TENSION BETWEEN MYERS AND PENELOPE SPHEERIS.
Wayne’s World director Penelope Spheeris has been vocal about the many creative differences she and Myers had on the set of the first Wayne’s World movie, which was Myers’ big-screen debut. “You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene: ‘I can’t move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!,’” Spheeris recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 2008.
6. SEEING AUSTIN POWERS PERSUADED SPHEERIS TO FORGIVE MYERS.
Though she blamed Myers for not being invited back to direct Wayne’s World 2, seeing Austin Powers persuaded Spheeris to forget the past. “I hated that bastard for years,” Spheeris told Entertainment Weekly in 2008. ''But when I saw Austin Powers, I went, ‘I forgive you, Mike … You can be moody, you can be a jerk, you can be things that others of us can't be—because you are profoundly talented. And I forgive you.’” Oddly, Austin Powers ignited a new (though always denied) feud between Myers and Carvey, with rumors that Myers’ Dr. Evil was based on Carvey’s Lorne Michaels impression.
7. IN 2013, MYERS, CARVEY AND SPHEERIS REUNITED FOR A WAYNE’S WORLD PANEL.
Before the panel, Spheeris told The Hollywood Reporter, “We're all getting too old to be pissed. Wayne's World has such a beautiful, uplifting spirit about it. Why should there be a dark cloud? This is going to be cathartic. Everyone's going to walk out of there high—sort of like they did when they watched the movie.”
8. WAYNE’S WORLD MARKED CHRIS FARLEY’S MOVIE DEBUT.
Like Myers, Wayne’s World marked the movie debut of fellow SNL-er Chris Farley, who made a cameo as a security guard at an Alice Cooper concert. He also appeared in the movie’s sequel, but this time playing a friend of Wayne and Garth’s named Milton.
9. THE FILM HELPED REVIVE ROB LOWE’S CAREER.
Wayne’s World helped to resurrect Rob Lowe’s career after a slump following a 1988 sex tape scandal. It also helped reinvent him as a comedic actor, a role he continued to play alongside Myers in all three Austin Powers movies (and well beyond).
10. WAYNE’S WORLD WAS ONLY THE SECOND SNL MOVIE TO BE MADE.
When Wayne’s World was released on February 14, 1992, it was only the second movie to be made from a Saturday Night Live sketch. The first was 1980’s The Blues Brothers. But Wayne’s World remains the most financially successful SNL movie to date, earning more than $183 million worldwide.
11. THE WAYNE’S WORLD SOUNDTRACK WAS A HIT, TOO.
The Wayne’s World soundtrack—which included classic rock tracks like Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”—rose to the top of the Billboard 200 upon its release on February 18, 1992. “Bohemian Rhapsody” experienced a second life; the 1975 Queen classic reached number two on the Billboard chart. Spheeris even shot a new video for the song, which incorporated footage from the movie.
12. “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” ALMOST DIDN’T MAKE IT INTO THE FILM.
In 2014, Myers told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast that using “Bohemian Rhapsody” was one of the things he fought for hardest on Wayne’s World. “They wanted Guns N' Roses. Guns N' Roses were very, very popular, they were a fantastic band,” Myers said. “Queen, at that point—not by me and not by hardcore fans—but the public had sort of forgotten about them. Freddie [Mercury] had gotten sick, the last time we had seen them was on Live Aid and then there were a few albums after where they were sort of straying away from their arena rock roots. But I always loved ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ I thought it was a masterpiece. So I fought really, really hard for it. And at one point I said, ‘Well, I'm out. I don't want to make this movie if it’s not ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’”
13. WAYNE REALLY WAS DENIED THE RIGHT TO PLAY “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN.”
In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Wayne attempts to test drive his dream guitar at a music store by playing “Stairway to Heaven,” only to have the salesman point out a sign that bans customers from playing the Led Zeppelin classic. But Led Zeppelin really did deny Wayne the rights to play the tune following its theatrical release, hence the possible confusion if you watched the film on DVD or cable.
14. YES, CARVEY REALLY DOES PLAY THE DRUMS.
In that same scene, Garth launches into a killer drum solo—and yes, that really is Carvey playing the drums. In addition to his comedic chops, Carvey is an accomplished drummer who wasn’t afraid to prove it to a live audience in 1996 on his short-lived talk show, The Dana Carvey Show.
15. WAYNE’S WORLD’S SUCCESS SPAWNED A SPATE OF NEW SNL MOVIES.
The box office success of Wayne’s World spawned eight more skits-turned-features over the next eight years, beginning with Wayne’s World 2 in 1993, which proved to be a bit of a box office disappointment. Coneheads (1993), It’s Pat: The Movie (1994), Stuart Saves His Family (1995), A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), Superstar (1999), and The Ladies Man (2000) followed. In 2010, SNL tried the movie thing again with MacGruber, which failed to earn back enough to cover its modest $10 million budget.
16. WAYNE’S WORLD 2 DID NOT RECAPTURE THE MAGIC.
It didn’t take long for a sequel to Wayne’s World to go into production. The film fell far short of box expectations, with a domestic gross of less than $48 million.
17. WAYNE AND GARTH NEEDED HELP TO NOT GET LOST IN TRANSLATION.
Though its humor is very American, Wayne’s World’s distributors took a chance on releasing the film internationally. Which brought about its own set of challenges, particularly in translating the movie’s catchphrases in a way that would make sense to international audiences: In the U.K., 200,000 mini mock-dictionaries were printed; in Germany, the editors of a popular teen magazine translated the movie into Deutsch slang; in France, a group of young comedians came up with French equivalents of the duo’s most popular expressions, i.e. “Megateuf!” for “Party on!”
18. GAMERS HAD THE CHANCE TO BECOME WAYNE.
In 1993, a video game version of Wayne’s World was released which saw Wayne searching Aurora, Illinois for Garth, who has been sucked into the Zoltar the Gelatinous Cube arcade game.