15 Facts About Teen Wolf On Its 35th Anniversary

Michael J. Fox stars in Teen Wolf (1985).
Michael J. Fox stars in Teen Wolf (1985).
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Teen Wolf is turning 35! Here are some hirsute bits of knowledge about the Michael J. Fox cult classic that never goes away.

1. Teen Wolf was given the greenlight because of Valley Girl.

Atlantic Entertainment Group wanted a small, high school movie of their own once they noticed that Valley Girl was an inexpensively produced movie that made a big profit. Recent Columbia film school grads Jeph Loeb and Matthew Weisman successfully pitched Teen Wolf in 10 to 15 minutes. They had to write the script in three weeks in order Michael J. Fox—who was busy with both Family Ties and Back to the Future, which had premiered approximately six weeks earlier—to approve it.

2. Teen Wolf wasn't the first high school teenage werewolf movie.

Susan Ursitti and Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf (1985).20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Both 1957’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf and 1981’s Full Moon High beat Teen Wolf to the punch.

3. Michael J. Fox became famous during production on Teen Wolf.

It was over the course of the shooting of the movie that NBC moved Family Ties to a new Thursday night time slot, launching it from the 17th most watched show in America to the second. After Fox became a superstar, a scene took longer to shoot than normal because female extras joyously screamed when the star walked out of the school.

4. Rod Daniel was hired as the director of Teen Wolf because he understood that it was about more than a teenage werewolf.

While other directorial candidates told Fox that the movie was about a werewolf, Rod Daniel said it was about a father and son. Rod’s son Lucas later said he had a great childhood because his father worked out his issues with his own dad by directing Teen Wolf.

5. James Hampton initially auditioned to play Coach Finstock in Teen Wolf.

James Hampton in Teen Wolf (1985).20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

After reading for the role of Coach Finstock, Fox asked James Hampton to read for the part of his father, too. Hampton might have regretted doing that; the werewolf makeup made him feel claustrophobic, and it took four hours to apply.

6. Some moviegoers were a little too familiar with the actress who played Rhonda.

Lynda Wiesmeier was Playboy’s “Playmate of the Month” in July 1982. She also appeared in Real Genius, which was released just a few weeks before Teen Wolf.

7. Teen Wolf's famous van surfing scene was based on something one of the writers actually did in college.

But it was called “urban surfing.” Jerry Levine (who played Fox's best friend, Stiles) was actually on top of the van, secured with a wire.

8. An NFL player legally changed his name to Stylez after Teen Wolf's release.

In 2008, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Greg White changed his name to Stylez White because he loved the Teen Wolf character so much.

9. Mark Arnold was killed off his soap opera in order to promote Teen Wolf.

Mark Arnold, who played Mick, played Joe Perkins on Santa Barbara after shooting Teen Wolf. Since his contract on the series was expiring, and he wanted to be available to promote the movie when it was released, the show’s producers decided to have his character get shot and fall out of a window.

10. Michael J. Fox wasn't a very good basketball player.

Yes, even with two weeks of basketball coaching, Michael J. Fox wasn't a gifted athlete. Loyola Marymount sophomore basketball player Jeff Glosser was much better, so he was hired as Fox's hoops double. He sometimes wore the werewolf makeup for 12 hours, and could only eat milkshakes or soup. When they initially misspelled his name in the credits, it was Fox who made sure that the error was corrected.

11. The studio wanted Michael J. Fox's charactre to dress like Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Fox was satisfied with the clothes Scott Howard was working with, and shut down any further talk of changing his style.

12. Scott Howard was supposed to appear on The Tonight Show.

The only scene in the script that wasn’t shot was one in which the teen wolf would have a sit-down with Johnny Carson. Daniel decided to keep the movie exclusively set in Nebraska (even though all scenes were shot in California.)

13. Nobody noticed the naughty extra who infamously exposed himself until years later.

Nobody involved with production noticed the basketball game attendee who briefly exposed himself until it was mentioned on VH1 several decades later.

14. Italy and Brazil shamelessly tried to capitalize on Michael J. Fox's Back to the Future success when promoting Teen Wolf.

In Italy, Scott was renamed Martyyou know, like Marty McFly, Fox’s Back to the Future character. In Brazil, the movie was titled O Garoto do Futuro, which translates to The Boy of the Future (there is no time travel in Teen Wolf). In the United States, Teen Wolf came in second on its opening weekend; only Back to the Future made more money (even though Back to the Future was in its eighth week of release).

15. The writers and director of Teen Wolf were pretty sure the movie was going to bomb at the box office.

The cheaply made movie ended up grossing an impressive $33 million (in 1985 dollars). But when Loeb, Weisman, and Daniel went to an afternoon screening on opening day, only four people showed up. After a depressing dinner they went to Westwood, a “college town,” for a 7:30 p.m. showing, and discovered it was sold out. That audience—and the filmmakers—had a great time.

This story has been updated for 2020.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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6 Too-Cool Facts About Henry Winkler for His 75th Birthday

Getty Images
Getty Images

Henry Winkler thumbs-upped his way into America’s hearts as the Fonz in Happy Days more than 40 years ago, and he hasn’t been out of the spotlight since—whether it’s playing himself in an Adam Sandler movie, a hospital administrator with a weird obsession with butterflies in Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital, the world's worst lawyer in Arrested Development, a pantomiming Captain Hook on the London stage, or the world's most lovable acting coach to a contract killer in Barry

1. Henry Winkler made up a Shakespeare monologue to get into the Yale School of Drama.

After graduating from Emerson College, Winkler applied to Yale University’s drama program. In his audition, he had to do two scenes, a modern and a classic comedy. However, when he arrived at his audition, he forgot the Shakespeare monologue he had planned to recite. So he made something up on the spot. He was still selected for one of 25 spots in the program. 

2. HENRY WINKLER’S FATHER INSPIRED “JUMPING THE SHARK.”

CBS

In the fifth season of Happy Days, the Fonz grabbed a pair of water skis and jumped over a shark. The phrase “jumping the shark” would become pop culture shorthand for the desperate gimmicks employed by TV writers to keep viewers hooked into a show that’s running out of storylines. But Winkler’s water skiing adventure was partially inspired by his father, who begged his son to tell his co-workers about his past as a water ski instructor. When he did, the writers wrote his skills into the show. Winkler would later reference the moment in his role as lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn on Arrested Development, hopping over a dead shark lying on a pier.  

3. Henry Winkler is an advocate for dyslexia awareness. 

Winkler struggled throughout high school due to undiagnosed dyslexia. “I didn't read a book until I was 31 years old when I was diagnosed with dyslexia,” he told The Guardian in 2014. He has co-written several chapter books for kids featuring Hank Zipper, a character who has dyslexia. In 2015, a Hank Zipper book is printed in Dyslexie, a special font designed to be easier for kids with dyslexia to read. 

4. Henry Winkler didn't get to ride Fonzie's motorcycle.

On one of his first days on the set of Happy Days, producers told Winkler that he just had to ride the Fonz’s motorcycle a few feet. Because of his dyslexia, he couldn’t figure out the vehicle’s controls, he told an interviewer with the Archive of American Television. “I gunned it and rammed into the sound truck, nearly killed the director of photography, put the bike down, and slid under the truck,” he recalled. For the next 10 years, whenever he appeared on the motorcycle, the bike was actually sitting on top of a wheeled platform. 

5. Henry Winkler has performed with MGMT. 

In addition to his roles on BarryArrested Development, Royal Pains, Parks and Recreation, and more, Winkler has popped up in a few unexpected places in recent years. He appeared for a brief second in the music video for MGMT’s “Your Life Is a Lie” in 2013. He later showed up at a Los Angeles music festival to play the cowbell with the band, too.

6. Henry Winkler won his first Emmy at the age of 72.

The seventh time was a charm for Henry Winkler. In 2018, at the age of 72—though just shy of his 73rd birthday—Winkler won an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as acting teacher Gene Cousineau on Barry. It was the seventh time Winkler had been nominated for an Emmy. His first nomination came in 1976 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Happy Days (he earned an Emmy nod in the same category for Happy Days in 1977 and 1978 as well.

This story has been updated for 2020.