10 Fascinating Facts About Casablanca

Warner Home Entertainment
Warner Home Entertainment

At no point during Casablanca does any character say, “Play it again, Sam.” Oh, you knew that already? Well then. Here are 10 other facts about Casablanca, which premiered in New York City on November 26, 1942. A roundup of the less usual suspects, you might say.

1. THE ORIGINAL AUTHORS SIGNED AWAY THEIR RIGHTS.

Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, co-writers of Everybody Comes to Rick’s—the unproduced play on which Casablanca was based—made a bit of a gaffe when they signed their contract, signing away all rights to the story and the characters to Warner Bros. for the then-record sum of $20,000. In 1983, the pair filed a suit against Warner Bros., with Burnett arguing that “These characters are a part of me, and I have a great regard for them … I want them back.” The New York Court of Appeals ruled against Burnett and Alison in 1986, but in order to retain their copyright, Warner Bros. later gave the pair $100,000 apiece and the right to produce the original play. Everybody Comes to Rick’s was produced in London in 1991 and closed less than one month later.

2. TWO CASABLANCA TV SHOWS HAVE BEEN MADE.

There have been two short-lived Casablanca TV series, one that premiered in 1955 and another that aired in 1983. The latter show, a prequel, featured Starsky and Hutch star David Soul as a young Rick Blaine and featured Hector Elizondo, Scatman Crothers, and a twentysomething Ray Liotta in supporting roles. It shot five episodes but was canceled after two.

3. THE SHOOT GOT OFF TO A ROUGH START.

The first scene that director Michael Curtiz and company shot was one of the flashback scenes in Paris, which caused some problems for stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Bogart because, in his own words, “I’m not up on this love stuff and don’t know just what to do,” and Bergman because, as the script had not yet been finished, she didn’t know whether her character was supposed to be in love with Rick or Victor Laszlo. Curtiz, who did not know himself, covered marvelously and told her to “play it in between.”

4. IT’S THE MOST QUOTABLE MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

Casablanca is the most quotable movie of all time. And that’s not just an arbitrary distinction: The AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes list, assembled in 2005 and based on the opinions of 1500 filmmakers, critics, and historians, includes six Casablanca quotes, by far more than any other movie. The quotes in question are: “Here’s looking at you, kid” (#5); “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” (#20); “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’” (#28); “Round up the usual suspects” (#32); “We’ll always have Paris” (#43); and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” (#67).

5. PART OF THE POSTER IS FROM ANOTHER BOGIE MOVIE. 

Warner Bros.

In many of Casablanca’s better-known posters, the shot of a trench coat- and fedora-wearing Bogart wielding a gun was pulled almost exactly from a publicity shot from earlier Bogie film, Across the Pacific, by poster artist Bill Gold, who repainted it in a photorealistic style. 

YouTube

6. RONALD REAGAN WAS RUMORED TO STAR.

The first bit of press on Casablanca came on January 5, 1942 from The Hollywood Reporter, which announced that Ann Sheridan (Angels with Dirty Faces) and her Kings Row co-star Ronald Reagan (“General Electric Theater,” the Presidency) had been cast as Ilsa and Rick. Needless to say, the rumors had no truth to them. Reagan was in the U.S. Cavalry Reserve at the time and would be called into active duty before the film even began shooting.

7. THE FIRST SCENE WAS SHOT BY ANOTHER FAMOUS DIRECTOR.

Casablanca’s opening scene, the map sequence with a voiceover explaining how refugees from World War II came to be in Casablanca, was created by Don Siegel, who in later years would direct some classics of his own, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Dirty Harry (1971).

8. EDWARD GOREY’S STEPMOTHER HAS AN UNCREDITED ROLE.

The Café Américain’s nightclub singer, who in the famous "La Marseillaise" scene can be seen strumming away at a guitar, is one Corinna Mura: actress, cabaret singer, and—from 1936 to 1952—the stepmother of American writer and artist Edward Gorey, creator of The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

9. THERE WERE SOME ODD TABLOID RUMORS ABOUT THE MOVIE.

Prior to the release of Casablanca, gossip items circulated that Humphrey Bogart was taking Swedish lessons from co-star Ingrid Bergman and that Paul Henreid had adopted his father’s gardener’s two daughters, refugees from Europe. Neither story, as it happens, was true.

10. FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT TURNED DOWN THE CHANCE TO REMAKE IT.

In 1973, a Warner Bros. executive approached French New Wave icon François Truffaut about directing a Casablanca remake. The director refused, noting that Casablanca “[isn’t] my favorite Humphrey Bogart film, and I rate it much lower than The Big Sleep or To Have and Have Not ... [but] I know American students adore this film, especially the dialogue, and they know every line by heart. I would be equally intimidated by the actors; I can’t imagine Jean-Paul Belmondo and Catherine Deneuve succeeding Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.”

Additional Sources:
Casablanca: Inside the Script, by The Editors of Warner Bros. Digital Publishing

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Feel Nostalgic With the New Hello Kitty-Themed Tamagotchi

Bandai America/Amazon
Bandai America/Amazon

Back in November 1996, Bandai released the cult favorite Tamagotchi, a tiny virtual pet that users could feed, play with, give medicine to, and more. The name itself is actually a combination of two Japanese words, tamago and tomodachi, meaning egg and friend—and it was the toy's egg shape that was key to its distinct design. They could fit in pockets, on keychains, and inside the backpacks of any kid who wanted a distraction during the school day.

According to NME, more than 82 million of these egg-shaped digital pets have been sold since their initial release in the ‘90s, with 10 million of those coming within the first year alone. Now, the handheld pets are back again in the form of a collaboration with another famous Japanese creation, Hello Kitty.

Hello Kitty first took over hearts starting in 1974 when a Japanese company called Sanrio put the design on a vinyl coin purse. More than 45 years later, Hello Kitty (her real name is actually Kitty White) has been developed into video games, cafes, hospitals, wine, and more. This new Tamagotchi is the perfect mixture of two of Japan’s most famous brands, both of which have reached a global audience.

Bandi America/Amazon

In these new editions, Hello Kitty will help you raise your Tamagotchi. You’ll be able to feed them Hello Kitty’s favorite foods, like apple pie or milk, and play a balloon game and piano game. Based on how well you raise your Tamagotchi from an egg to an adult will determine which of the seven surprise characters you receive.

These new Tamagotchis will be released on December 1, 2020, and are available to pre-order in red and white on Amazon for $20.

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