15 Vintage Facts About That '70s Show
With an impressive group of future television and movie stars, That '70s Show graced the Fox airwaves for eight seasons (almost a full decade!) beginning in 1998. Here are some facts about how the Point Place, Wisconsin cheese was made.
1. TOPHER GRACE WAS DISCOVERED PERFORMING IN A HIGH SCHOOL PLAY.
Co-creators Bonnie and Terry Turner were the parents of a cast member of a high school production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Their attention gradually turned to the lead, Topher Grace. The Turners asked him to audition the following year for their new show.
2. ASHTON KUTCHER WAS A MODEL BEFORE AUDITIONING.
He got the part of Kelso after playing him “naive” at his audition, while everybody else played him as dumb. But Kutcher had never acted: "The first five episodes of That '70s Show, I was convinced I was going to be fired, because I was terrible," Kutcher told Rolling Stone.
3. MILA KUNIS LIED ABOUT HER AGE AT HER AUDITION.
The then-14-year-old reasoned that the producers wouldn't want to cast someone too young because of work hour restrictions for minors, so "I told them I was going to be 18," Kunis told People. "But I didn't tell them when I was going to be 18!"
4. KUNIS’ FIRST KISS WAS ON THE SHOW, WITH KUTCHER.
She enjoyed some other firsts on the show, not all of them with cast members she ended up marrying: Wilmer Valderrama taught her how to drive. Danny Masterson took her to her first club and bought her her first drink. He was also her prom date.
5. MASTERSON’S ROLE IN THE FACULTY WAS CUT SHORT SO HE COULD SHOOT THE PILOT.
All the actor was told about his character, Hyde, was that he is a “deep theorist stoner type.” Masterson figured out how to play his character “by episode four or five.”
6. KURTWOOD SMITH BASED RED FORMAN ON HIS STEPFATHER.
Smith's stepdad passed away shortly before the pilot was filmed. Smith also has the distinction of being the only regular cast member who was actually born in Wisconsin.
7. THE ORIGINAL TITLE FOR THE SHOW WAS TEENAGE WASTELAND.
The Who songwriter Pete Townshend refused to allow his lyric from “Baba O’Riley” to be appropriated for the show; the same went for the proposed title of The Kids Are Alright. After Feelin’ All Right was presented as the name of the program to advertisers, Bonnie Turner realized that no matter what they called it, everybody would just to refer to it as “that '70s show.”
8. THE CO-WRITER OF THE THEME SONG WAS PAID $70 EVERY TIME THE SHOW WAS ON TV.
Big Star singer Alex Chilton co-wrote “In the Street,” which was covered in season one by Todd Griffin before Cheap Trick’s version kicked things off starting in season two. With the name of the show in mind, Chilton found the dollar amount ironic.
9. LEO WAS WRITTEN WITH TOMMY CHONG IN MIND.
Chong claimed in 2003 that his stoner character Leo was starting to get written out more because of 9/11. After disappearing for a few seasons while serving a jail sentence for selling “drug paraphernalia,” Mickey “Leo” Chingkwake returned, and was credited as a series regular in the show’s eighth and final season.
10. WILL FORTE TURNED DOWN PERFORMING ON SNL TO CONTINUE WRITING ON THE SHOW.
Forte enjoyed the job security of his writing/producing gig on That '70s Show and feared failure on Saturday Night Live. One year later he changed his mind.
11. THE SMOKE IN THE "POT CIRCLE" SCENES WAS STRAWBERRY-SCENTED.
Laura Prepon, Kutcher, and Masterson hid their lit cigarettes below the table before those scenes so that they could partake in their habit in between takes.
12. LATER SEASONS HAD BAND-THEMED EPISODE TITLES.
Season five episodes all shared titles with Led Zeppelin tunes. For season six, The Who was honored. The Rolling Stones were represented in season seven. For season eight, it was Queen.
13. KEVIN MCDONALD GOT THE ROLE OF PASTOR DAVE BECAUSE OF HIS DOG AND TOPHER GRACE .
Grace drove by one day while The Kids in the Hall cast member was walking his dog and said he was a huge fan. It led to him playing Pastor Dave for six episodes before the character unceremoniously disappeared. McDonald believes the show forgot about him because co-creator Mark Brazill left to work on the failed spinoff That ‘80s Show.
14. THERE WAS A U.K. REMAKE CALLED DAYS LIKE THESE IN 1999.
It was the first time an American company (Carsey-Werner) produced both the American and British versions of the same show. Days Like These used the same scripts as That '70s Show, switching out American references with British ones, like David Bowie replacing a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders poster, and Prince Charles visiting instead of President Gerald Ford. Only 10 episodes were aired.
15. LAURIE FORMAN SUFFERED A TRAGIC END.
Lisa Robin Kelly was taken off the show halfway through season three, returning in the fifth season only to be replaced by actress Christina Moore. "I was guilty of a drinking problem,” Kelly said in 2012. “And I ran.” Kelly passed away on August 13, 2013, after entering a rehabilitation facility; the coroner ruled the cause as being from multiple drug intoxication.