16 Out-of-this-World Facts About Roswell

20th Century Fox Television
20th Century Fox Television

Based on a young adult book series by Melinda Metz, Roswell was a series about a group of teenage aliens posing as humans in present day Roswell, New Mexico, trying to keep their identities as extraterrestrials a secret from everyone other than their new human friends and lovers.

During its three seasons on the air, the series acquired a devoted, cult following thanks to its unique mix of teen drama and science fiction. The intense starring performance of Jason Behr, and the efforts of future stars Katherine Heigl, Shiri Appleby, and Colin Hanks, didn’t hurt either. On the 15th anniversary of the series' finale, we're taking a look back at the cult series.

1. THE BOOK SERIES AND TV SERIES WERE DIFFERENT.

Melinda Metz wrote the Roswell High book series. Metz and her editor Laura J. Burns were hired as staff writers during the show’s third season. The two were credited as TV writers for the first time in the episode “A Tale of Two Parties,” which aired on New Year's Day in 2002. Metz and Burns noted that the books were aimed at 10- and 11-year-olds, whereas the TV series was for 17- to 18-year-olds. Also, Liz’s last name was changed from Ortecho to Parker, Alex from Mannis to Whitman, and the character of Jesse was created exclusively for television.

2. HEATH LEDGER AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF MAX EVANS.

Executives were hesitant to hire Ledger after the failure of his short-lived series, Roar. Jason Behr was chosen instead, in part thanks to his performances on other teen shows 7th Heaven and Dawson’s Creek.

3. SHIRI APPLEBY AUDITIONED FOR ALL THREE MAIN FEMALE ROLES, MANY TIMES.

She got the part of Liz at the end of her sophomore year at USC; she spent her time in the waiting room before her fifth audition studying for a final exam.

4. BRENDAN FEHR MOVED FROM CANADA TO PLAY MICHAEL.

The Winnipeg-raised young actor was shocked when a burger he ordered on his first day in the U.S. cost him $15. "I couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks,” recalled Fehr.

5. THE PILOT WAS THE HIGHEST TESTING PILOT AT 20TH CENTURY FOX IN HISTORY.

It was shot on a $2 million budget in 12 days. Director David Nutter was happy he was able to shoot something that was like a high school version of The X-Files (which was another show he directed on occasion). The pilot was shot in mind for the Fox network, but The WB offered a 22 episode order, leading creator Jason Katims and producers to decide to go to the new channel instead.

6. NICK WECHSLER WAS NERVOUS DURING THE PILOT.

The actor was not sure how to play Kyle Valenti in the beginning. "I would try to entertain myself," Wechsler explained. "I would find moments to do weird sh*t, or give it a slightly weird read … I look back on this time so fondly, because I loved not knowing any better."

7. JASON KATIMS ADMITTED THAT THE WRITERS DIDN’T SPECIFICALLY PLAN A LOT DURING SEASON ONE.

The general beats of the inaugural year were plotted out. On a day-to-day basis though, the show's creator/executive producer admitted that the writing staff was “totally winging it.”

8. STAR TREK'S COMMANDER RIKER WAS AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER.

Jonathan Frakes played himself in three episodes, and directed five. When the series ended, Frakes admitted that he felt that too many of the characters knew the aliens on Roswell were aliens.

9. A FAMOUS STAR TREK LOCATION WAS USED IN THE SERIES.

The Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce, California was where the Metrons staged the Captain Kirk/Gorn showdown in the episode "Arena." The location was used for three other episodes of the Star Trek original series, and it was planet Vulcan in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Blazing Saddles and many other TV shows and movies also shot there. It’s where Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess crash landed. Most of the rest of the series was shot in the California town of Covina. The Crashdown Cafe is now a Casa Moreno Mexican Grill.

10. AFTER WRITING FOR STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, AND BEFORE RUNNING BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, RONALD D. MOORE WAS BROUGHT ON IN SEASON TWO.

Katims and company wanted, and succeeded at, putting in many more science fiction storylines to the series in the second season. To help, Katims assembled an almost completely new writing staff. The new writers believed it would ramp up the stakes for the personal relationships, too. Ronald D. Moore ended up writing 10 episodes of the series, including a co-writing credit with Katims on the series finale. He also became a co-executive producer.

11. THE TABASCO SAUCE WAS ACTUALLY V8 BERRY SPLASH JUICE.

The aliens on the show enjoyed putting Tabasco sauce on their food and in their drinks. Fehr claimed the actors usually tried to avoid actually eating any food in any scene. Once, the actors tried to use the actual Tabasco sauce. The take ended with the actors in tears and running for water.

12. FANS SENT NETWORKS TABASCO SAUCE TO KEEP THE SHOW ON THE AIR.

In an attempt to convince the WB to renew the show for a second year, fans sent bottles of the stuff to network executives (in addition to spending $2,500 on a full-page ad in Variety.) The next year, a reported 12,000 bottles were sent to UPN to convince them to pick up the series.

13. ALEX WAS KILLED OFF BECAUSE COLIN HANKS NEEDED TO FOCUS ON A MOVIE.

Tom Hanks’s son was killed off in order to co-star with Jack Black in Orange County.

14. THE ACTORS DATED ONE ANOTHER.

Behr and Heigl played siblings on the series, but dated in real life. Fehr and Majandra Delfino (Maria) initially didn’t get along, but ended up having an on-again, off-again relationship for two years.

15. FEHR ONCE PEED HIS PANTS ON SET.

Fehr was too lazy to get up to use the facilities, and Behr said he would pay Fehr $100 if he went number one in his pants. Delfino was an accidental witness to Fehr following through and earning his money, which he still has framed.

16. SNOOKI FROM JERSEY SHORE IS A HUGE FAN.

She traveled all the way from New Jersey to Austin, Texas to witness the show’s reunion at last year’s ATX Festival. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi asked the cast if they believed in aliens (Appleby and Delfino said yes).

8 Surprising Facts About James Stewart

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

For a good portion of the 20th century, actor James Maitland “Jimmy” Stewart (1908-1997) was one of Hollywood’s most popular leading men. Stewart, who was often called upon to embody characters who exhibited a strong moral center, won acclaim for films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Vertigo (1958), and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). In all, he made more than 80 movies. Take a look at some things you might not know about Stewart’s personal and professional lives.

1. Jimmy Stewart had a degree in architecture.

Acting was not James Stewart’s only area of expertise. Growing up in Indiana, Pennsylvania, where his father owned a hardware store, Stewart had an artistic bent with an interest in music and earned his way into his father’s alma mater, Princeton University. There, he received a degree in architecture in 1932. But pursuing that career seemed tenuous, as the country was in the midst of the Great Depression. Instead, Stewart decided to follow his interest in acting, joining a theater group in Falmouth, Massachusetts after graduating and rooming with fellow aspiring actor Henry Fonda. After a brief turn on Broadway, he landed a contract with MGM for motion picture work. His film debut, as a cub reporter in The Murder Man, was released in 1935.

2. Jimmy Stewart gorged himself on food so he could serve the country in World War II.

Colonel James Stewart leaves Southampton on board the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth, bound for home in 1945.
Express/Getty Images

Stewart was already established in Hollywood when the United States began preparing to enter World War II. After the draft was introduced in 1940, Stewart received notice that he was number 310 out of a pool of 900,000 annual citizens selected for service. The problem? Stewart was six foot, three inches and a trim 138 pounds—five pounds under the minimum weight for enlistment. So he went home, ate everything he could, and came back to weigh in again. It worked, and Stewart joined the Army Air Corps, later known as the Air Force.

3. Jimmy Stewart demanded to see combat in the war.

Thanks to his interest in aviation, Stewart was already a pilot when he went to war; he received additional flight training but wound up being sidelined for two years stateside even though he kept insisting he be sent overseas to fight. (He filmed a recruitment short film, Winning Your Wings, in 1942, which was screened in theaters in the hopes it could drive enlistment.) Finally, in November 1943, he was dispatched to England, where he participated in more than 20 combat missions over Germany. His accomplishments earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf clusters, among other honors, making him the most decorated actor to participate in the conflict. After the war ended, he returned to a welcome reception in his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania, where his father had decorated the courthouse to recognize his son’s service. His next major film role was It’s a Wonderful Life.

4. Jimmy Stewart kept his Oscar in a very unusual place.

After winning an Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story in 1940, Stewart heard from his father, Alex Stewart. “I hear you won some kind of award,” he told his son. “What was it, a plaque or something?” The elder Stewart suggested he bring it back home to display in the hardware store. The actor did as suggested, and the Oscar remained there for 25 years.

5. Jimmy Stewart starred in two television shows.

Actor James Stewart is pictured in uniform
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

After a long career in film through the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, Stewart turned to television. In 1971, he played a college anthropology professor in The Jimmy Stewart Show. The series failed to find an audience, however, so was short-lived. He tried again with Hawkins in 1973, playing a defense lawyer, but that show was also canceled. (Stewart also performed in commercials, including spots for Firestone tires and Campbell’s Soup.)

6. Jimmy Stewart hated one version of It’s a Wonderful Life.

While Stewart had just as much affection for It’s a Wonderful Life as audiences, one alternate version of the film annoyed him. In 1987, he sent a letter to Congress protesting the practice of colorizing It's a Wonderful Life and other films on the premise that it violated what directors like Frank Capra had intended. He described the tinted version as “a bath of Easter egg dye.” Putting a character named Violet in violet-colored costumes, he wrote, was “the kind of obvious visual pun that Frank Capra never would have considered.” Stewart later lobbied against the practice in person.

7. Jimmy Stewart published a book of poetry.

In 1989, Stewart authored Jimmy Stewart and His Poems, a slim volume collecting several of the actor’s verses. Stewart also included anecdotes about how each one was composed. His best known might be “Beau,” about his late dog, which Stewart read to Johnny Carson during a Tonight Show appearance in 1981. By the end, both Stewart and Carson were teary-eyed.

8. Jimmy Stewart has a statue in his hometown.

For Stewart’s 75th birthday in 1983, his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania honored him with a 9-foot-tall bronze statue. Unfortunately, the statue wasn’t totally ready in time for Stewart’s visit, so they presented him with the fiberglass version instead. The bronze statue currently stands in front of the county courthouse, while the fiberglass version was moved into the nearby Jimmy Stewart Museum.

Top 50 Best-Selling Artists of All Time

Paul McCartney of The Beatles and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones sit opposite each other on a train at London's Euston Station.
Paul McCartney of The Beatles and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones sit opposite each other on a train at London's Euston Station.
Victor Blackman, Express/Getty Images

Who are America’s all-time favorite musicians and bands? When it comes to the best-selling artists of all time, The Beatles still rule—yes, even a half-century after their breakup. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), these are the 50 best-selling artists of all time.

1. The Beatles

American television host Ed Sullivan smiles while standing with British rock group the Beatles on the set of his television variety series, New York, February 9, 1964. Left to right: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Sullivan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Albums sold: 183 million

2. Garth Brooks


Cooper Neill/Getty Images for dcp

Albums sold: 148 million

3. Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley is seen playing the guitar in his 1966 film, 'Spinout'
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Albums sold: 146.5 million

4. Eagles

The Eagles in concert, "History of the Eagles" tour, Grand Rapids, September 2014. Doolin-Dalton
Rachel Kramer via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Albums sold: 120 million

5. Led Zeppelin


Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Albums sold: 111.5 million

6. Billy Joel

Albums sold: 84.5 million

7. Michael Jackson


Getty Images

Albums sold: 84 million

8. Elton John

Elton John plays a concert in 2008.
LENNART PREISS/AFP/Getty Images

Albums sold: 78.5 million

9. Pink Floyd

Albums sold: 75 million

10. AC/DC

Albums sold: 72 million

11. George Strait

Albums sold: 69 million

12. Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand
Terry Fincher, Express/Getty Images

Albums sold: 68.5 million

13. The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones in concert
Getty Images

Albums sold: 66.5 million

14. Aerosmith

Aerosmith performs on stage during the Operation Tribute to Freedom, NFL and Pepsi sponsored “NFL Kickoff Live 2003” Concert on the Mall
U.S. Navy, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Albums sold: 66.5 million

15. Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen performs during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games 2017 at Air Canada Centre on September 30, 2017 in Toronto, Canada
Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Albums sold: 66.5 million

16. Madonna

Albums sold: 64.5 million

17. Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey performs during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Albums sold: 64 million

18. Metallica

Albums sold: 63 million

19. Whitney Houston

American singer Whitney Houston performing on Good Morning America (Central Park, New York City) on September 1, 2009.

Albums sold: 58.5 million

20. Van Halen

Albums sold: 56.5 million

21. Fleetwood Mac

Trade ad for Fleetwood Mac's album Rumours
Warner Bros. Records - Billboard, page 86, 25 Jun 1977, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Albums sold: 54.5 million

22. U2

The Edge and Bono of the rock band U2 perform at Bridgestone Arena on May 26, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Albums sold: 52 million

23. Céline Dion

Albums sold: 50 million

24. Neil Diamond

American pop singer-songwriter Neil Diamond relaxes with his guitar. Diamond is shortly to make his film debut in a remake of 'The Jazz Singer'
Keystone/Getty Images

Albums sold: 49.5 million

25. Journey

Albums sold: 48 million

26. Kenny G

Kenny G performs onstage during the "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall
Noam Galai, Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Albums sold: 48 million

27. Shania Twain

Albums sold: 48 million

28. Kenny Rogers

Albums sold: 47.5 million

29. Alabama

Albums sold: 46.5 million

30. Eminem

Eminem performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on TBS, TNT, and truTV at The Forum on March 11, 2018 in Inglewood, California
Kevin Winter, Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Albums sold: 46 million

31. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Photo of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
By American Talent International, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Albums sold: 44.5 million

32. Guns N’ Roses

Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators At Whisky a Go Go
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Albums sold: 44.5 million

33. Alan Jackson

Albums sold: 43.5 million

34. Santana

Trade ad for Santana's album Santana III
By Columbia Records, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Albums sold: 43.5 million

35. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift performs onstage at 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango presented by The JUVÉDERM® Collection of Dermal Fillers at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 01, 2019
Rich Fury, Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Albums sold: 43 million

36. Reba McEntire

Albums sold: 41 million

37. Eric Clapton

Albums sold: 40 million

38. Chicago

Albums sold: 38.5 million

39. Simon & Garfunkel

Pop duo Simon and Garfunkel, comprising (L-R) singer, Art Garfunkel and singer-songwriter, Paul Simon, performing on ITV's 'Ready, Steady, Go!', July 8, 1966
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Albums sold: 38.5 million

40. Foreigner

Albums sold: 38 million

41. Rod Stewart


Getty Images

Albums sold: 38 million

42. Tim McGraw

Albums sold: 37.5 million

43. Backstreet Boys

Albums sold: 37 million

44. 2 Pac

Albums sold: 36.5 million

45. Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Evening Standard/Getty Images

Albums sold: 36 million

46. Def Leppard

Albums sold: 35.5 million

47. Queen

 Freddie Mercury (1946 - 1991), lead singer of 70s hard rock quartet Queen, in concert in Milton Keynes in 1982
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Albums sold: 35 million

48. Dave Matthews Band

Albums sold: 34.5 million

49. Britney Spears

Britney Spears performs at the 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2016
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Albums sold: 34.5 million

50. Bon Jovi

Albums sold: 34.5 million

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