12 Fun Facts About Turner & Hooch

Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

Turner & Hooch is about a tidy small-town police investigator named Scott Turner who ends up taking in Hooch, a rambunctious Dogue de Bordeaux dog that was the only witness to the murder of his owner, Amos Reed. Hooch ruins most of Turner's possessions, including his car, but helps him meet and fall for the local veterinarian Dr. Emily Carson (Mare Winningham) and solve the case.

Five different writers, including Michael Blodgett (gigolo Lance Rocke in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), were credited with the screenplay for what some thought was a surprisingly violent and dark feature for a "Disney movie." Here are some facts about the movie Tom Hanks later said was "exhausting" to make.

1. PRODUCERS LOOKED AT 50 DIFFERENT BREEDS TO DETERMINE WHICH WOULD MAKE THE BEST HOOCH.

Determining which breed of dog would make the perfect partner for Tom Hanks was no easy task. "We looked at 50 different breeds—Airedales, shepherds, Rottweilers," dog trainer and stuntman Clint Rowe said. "They wanted a dog that was big but not overly big." The filmmakers settled on the Dogue de Bordeaux. Fewer than 300 of the breed were in the United States when the film came out.

2. HOOCH WAS PLAYED BY MULTIPLE DOGS.

Beasley, a 17-month-old pup, played the main Hooch—and he only had five months to prepare. His stunt double was named Igor. In 2013, Hanks said all four of the dogs in the film passed away and "went to dog heaven."

3. TOM HANKS SPENT QUALITY TIME WITH ALL OF THE DOGS BEFORE SHOOTING.

To get the dogs to react to Hanks while filming, he had to spend time with his canine co-stars in the weeks leading up to filming to build a relationship that would be evident on camera.

"We got along well," Hanks said of the dogs. "You know, when you make a movie with a dog, you have to work with the dog for weeks prior to shooting it. Otherwise, he won't take his eye off the trainer. So, I would go off and play with I think actually three dogs that portrayed Turner & Hooch. It was a part too big for one dog."

4. HENRY WINKLER WAS FIRED AS THE DIRECTOR 13 DAYS INTO SHOOTING.

Henry Winkler was the film's original director, but didn't even last two weeks on the set. "Let's just say I got along better with Hooch than I did with Turner," Winkler told People in 1993. Shortly thereafter, Roger Spottiswoode was hired to take Winkler's place. "I did nothing in fact except take the lens cap off each day and enjoy watching Tom—who was brilliant—and the dog, who was also brilliant," Spottiswoode said.

5. HANKS HAD TO USE A CLICKER DURING SHOOTING.

Usually dogs in movies look at the trainer, who is standing next to the camera. "In this case the trainer taught both Hooches to look at the person who had the little clicker that made a noise," Spottiswoode explained. "So before every take, he would give Tom Hanks the little clicker and Tom would make the click and the dog would look at him and until then on until he handed the clicker back, the only person the dog was interested in was Tom."

6. BEASLEY COULDN'T BE TRAINED TO DRINK THE BEER.

When Rowe was asked what the hardest task for Beasley to learn was, he said that teaching the dog to grab Tom Hanks by the throat was difficult, which he didn't expect. "Also, drinking beer," he added. "He can crack the can, but he wouldn't drink the beer. We had to use chicken soup."

7. BEASLEY WAS KNOWN TO MAKE A RUN FOR IT.

Hanks was surprised to see a clip from Turner & Hooch in a montage of his work at a 2013 BAFTA: A Life In Pictures event, and it led to the actor remembering when they shot the bath scene. "We shot it probably 11 times, because the dog often runs off the set," Hanks said. "You can’t keep the dog in the moment, and we weren’t trying to do a thing where the dog’s behavior was shaped by the editing. We said the dog will have to be a dog and I will have to react off that dog being a dog. So it was actually very hard work."

After the editor turned it into a "kooky" bath montage, Hanks suggested to Spottiswoode that it would be better and funnier if they just used the entirety of the one good take instead. "He put it in there and it ended up working pretty good."

8. BEASLEY SLOBBERED SO MUCH HE RUINED A CAR SEAT.

Using four cameras, Spottiswoode shot Hanks and Beasley continuously for one hour for the stakeout scene. After the hour, they discovered that the new car's seat had eroded from all of Hooch's slobber. The director claimed Beasley was "sort of sinking" into the seat, which had to be cut and replaced.

In 2001, Hanks told Larry King that filming Turner & Hooch was the hardest work he ever had to do, physically and emotionally, and specifically brought up the stakeout scene. "I'm staking out a scene of a crime with my dog Hooch ... We had a car on the set that was surrounded by bungee-cams, literally cameras that were hanging from bungee-cords. And the whole thing was about, whatever this dog does, I react to. We will not ask the dog to do anything specifically, this dog will just do things ... And I will react. That was the hardest I've ever worked."

9. THERE'S AN ALTERNATE ENDING.

One test screening featured Hooch making a miraculous recovery from taking a bullet. In another screening, held half an hour later in the same multiplex, Hooch died. Screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. claimed there was no difference in the ratings from the two audiences, but the group that saw Hooch die was more "passionate."

"Some were saying 'I hated that, that was terrible,' whereas others were 'but there were puppies at the end!'" Petrie said. "It provoked this passionate response. The other screening? None of that. It was all positive, but muted."

Disney head Jeffrey Katzenberg left the decision up to Spottiswoode. "I thought about it for a day," he said, "I didn't really want to make the decision." He talked it over with the writers and Petrie and decided to kill him off like it was originally written. When he returned to England, friends and neighbors asked Petrie how he could kill a dog.

10. HANKS TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR KILLING HOOCH, AND SAID IT WAS A MISTAKE.

If you weren't a fan of the controversial ending, you now know who to blame.

"I have to make a confession: I was the main proponent of killing Hooch," Hanks said during a BBC Radio 5 interview. "It was a Disney movie and when we were putting it together I stood up at a table and pounded my fist and said, in the grand Disney tradition of Old Yeller, 'Hooch must die ... ' and so they killed Hooch. We killed Hooch and we never should have. We should have I guess kept that doggy alive, so we wouldn't have made the children cry."

11. HOOCH GOT HIS OWN LEARJET.

Beasley had it written into his contract that he would get his own Learjet for transportation. The arrangement, Spottiswoode noted, was fine until there was one bumpy ride and Beasley—out promoting the film—wasn't wearing his safety belt because it didn't fit. "The pilots completely freaked out," Spottiswoode said. "Not that Hooch did anything wrong, but they were in this little Learjet and there was this huge dog and it started to bounce and Hooch apparently was looking not pleased about the situation and he was not strapped down. And the pilots dove down and didn't want to fly him after that."

12. HANKS YELLING AT HOOCH OVER EATING THE CAR WAS USED IN A TOY STORY ANIMATION TEST.

In working out what Hanks might look and sound like as Woody in Toy Story, Pixar used a clip from Turner & Hooch. When Hanks saw the footage, he couldn't stop laughing and made Pixar's John Lasseter play back the video multiple times. He then signed up to play Woody.

10 People Who Have Misplaced Their Oscars

Jeff Bridges accepts the Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart during the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010.
Jeff Bridges accepts the Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart during the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Winning an Oscar is, for most people, a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Unless you're Walt Disney, who won 22. Nevertheless, owning a little gold guy is such a rarity that you'd think their owners would be a little more careful with them. Now, not all of these losses are the winners' fault—but some of them certainly are (we're looking at you, Colin Firth).

1. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie with her Oscar in 2000.
HO/AMPAS

At the 2000 Academy Awards ceremony, after Angelina Jolie planted a kiss on her brother and made the world collectively squirm, she went onstage and collected a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Lisa in Girl, Interrupted. She later presented the trophy to her mother, Marcheline Bertrand. The statuette may have been boxed up and put into storage when Marcheline died in 2007, but it hasn't yet surfaced. "I didn't actually lose it," Jolie said, "but nobody knows where it is at the moment."

2. Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg with her Oscar.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg sent her Ghost Best Supporting Actress Oscar back to the Academy to have it cleaned and detailed, because apparently you can do that. The Academy then sent the Oscar on to R.S. Owens Co. of Chicago, the company that manufactures the trophies. When it arrived in the Windy City, however, the package was empty. It appeared that someone had opened the UPS package, removed the Oscar, then neatly sealed it all back up and sent it on its way. It was later found in a trash can at an airport in Ontario, California. The Oscar was returned to the Academy, who returned it to Whoopi without cleaning it. "Oscar will never leave my house again," Goldberg said.

3. Olympia Dukakis

Olympia Dukakis with an Oscar statue.
Steven Henry/Getty Images

When Olympia Dukakis's Moonstruck Oscar was stolen from her home in 1989, she called the Academy to see if it could be replaced. "For $78," they said, and she agreed that it seemed like a fair price. It was the only thing taken from the house.

4. Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando in 1957.
Keystone/Getty Images

"I don't know what happened to the Oscar they gave me for On the Waterfront," Marlon Brando wrote in his autobiography. "Somewhere in the passage of time it disappeared." He also didn't know what happened to the Oscar that he had Sacheen Littlefeather accept for him in 1973. "The Motion Picture Academy may have sent it to me, but if it did, I don't know where it is now."

5. Jeff Bridges

Actor Jeff Bridges, winner of Best Actor award for
Jeff Bridges, winner of the Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart, poses in the press room at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards on March 7, 2010.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

In 2010, Hollywood legend Jeff Bridges won his first-ever Oscar for his portrayal of alcoholic country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, but it was already missing by the time next year's ceremony rolled around, when he was nominated yet again for his role in the Coen brothers's True Grit

When asked about his year-old statuette, Bridges admitted that "It's been in a few places since last year but I haven’t seen it for a while now." Finding the MIA Oscar seemed even more urgent when Bridges lost the 2011 Best Actor Oscar to Colin Firth for The King's Speech. "I'm hoping it will turn up, especially now that I haven't won a spare," Bridges said. "But Colin deserves it. I just hope he looks after it better." 

6. Colin Firth

Colin Firth with his Oscar in 2011.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Perhaps Jeff Bridges secretly cursed Colin Firth as he said those aforementioned words, because Firth nearly left his new trophy on a toilet tank the very night he received it. After a night of cocktails at the Oscar after-parties in 2011, Firth allegedly had to be chased down by a bathroom attendant, who had found the eight-pound statuette in the bathroom stall. Notice we said allegedly: Shortly after those reports surfaced, Firth's rep issued a statement saying the "story is completely untrue. Though it did give us a good laugh."

7. Matt Damon

Actor Matt Damon in 1999
Brenda Chase/Hulton Archive

When newbie writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck took home Oscars for writing Good Will Hunting in 1998, it was one of those amazing Academy Award moments. Now, though, Damon isn't sure where his award went. "I know it ended up at my apartment in New York, but unfortunately, we had a flood when one of the sprinklers went off when my wife and I were out of town and that was the last I saw of it," Damon said in 2007.

8. Margaret O'Brien

Child actress Margaret O'Brien.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1945, 7-year-old Margaret O'Brien was presented with a Juvenile Academy Award for being the outstanding child actress of the year. About 10 years later, the O'Briens' maid took the award home to polish it, as she had done before, but never returned. The missing Oscar was forgotten about when O'Brien's mother died shortly thereafter, and when Margaret finally remembered to call the maid, the number had been disconnected. She ended up receiving a replacement from the Academy.

There's a happy ending to this story, though. In 1995, a couple of guys were picking their way through a flea market when they happened upon the Oscar. They put it up for auction, which is when word got back to the Academy that the missing trophy had resurfaced. The guys who found the Oscar pulled it from auction and presented it, in person, to Margaret O'Brien. "I'll never give it to anyone to polish again," she said.

9. Bing Crosby

Barry Fitzgerald (left) holds his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor while American actor Bing Crosby holds his Oscar for Best Actor, both for their roles in Going My Way; 1945.
Barry Fitzgerald (left) holds his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor while American actor Bing Crosby holds his Oscar for Best Actor, both for their roles in Going My Way; 1945.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For years, Bing Crosby's Oscar for 1944's Going My Way had been on display at his alma mater, Gonzaga University. In 1972, students walked into the school's library to find that the 13-inch statuette had been replaced with a 3-inch Mickey Mouse figurine instead. A week later, the award was found, unharmed, in the university chapel. "I wanted to make people laugh," the anonymous thief later told the school newspaper.

10. Hattie McDaniel

A publicity still from 1939's Gone with the Wind; at the 1940 Academy Awards, Hattie McDaniel (left) won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and Vivien Leigh (right) won Best Actress. Olivia de Havilland (center) was also nominated for Best Supporting A
A publicity still from 1939's Gone with the Wind; at the 1940 Academy Awards, Hattie McDaniel (left) won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and Vivien Leigh (right) won Best Actress. Olivia de Havilland (center) was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Hattie McDaniel, famous for her Supporting Actress win as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, donated her Best Actress Oscar to Howard University. It was displayed in the fine arts complex for a time, but went missing sometime in the 1960s. No one seems to know exactly when or how, but there are rumors that the Oscar was unceremoniously dumped into the Potomac by students angered by racial stereotypes such as the one she portrayed in the film.

The Most Successful Entertainment Production in History Might Just Surprise You

Goran Jakus Photography/iStock via Getty Images
Goran Jakus Photography/iStock via Getty Images

Last year, Marvel Studios capped off an unprecedented run of success with Avengers: Endgame, a movie promoted as the culmination of over 10 years of storytelling. The film made $2.8 billion, unseating 2009’s Avatar and knocking 1997’s Titanic down to third place. With nearly $3 billion in ticket sales, you would think Endgame would count as the most successful entertainment production of all time—be it a single movie, book, album, or video game.

It isn’t.

While it earned a staggering amount of money, Endgame is hobbled by the fact that theatrical runs last just a few weeks or months. To really roll in the dough, it helps to have a combination of high ticket prices and a show that runs almost in perpetuity. That’s why it’s another Disney production, the Broadway adaption of The Lion King, that can make a credible claim to being the most financially rewarding entertainment effort of all time. Since debuting in 1997, the stage show has grossed $9.1 billion. (The 1994 film, 2019 live action remake, and merchandising aren’t included in that total. If they were, the number rises to $11.6 billion.)

A theater sign for 'The Lion King' is pictured in New York City in March 2003
Mario Tama, Getty Images

The musical, adapted by Julie Taymor, follows the story of the animated original, with lion cub Simba learning to accept his role as king of the Serengeti Plains. It’s estimated the show has been mounted 25 times globally in nine different languages, with more than 100 million people purchasing a ticket to see it.

Does that make Endgame a distant second? Not quite. Another long-running musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, has grossed more than $6 billion since its 1988 debut. The 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto 5 cleared $6 billion in 2018. And if one were to account for inflation, 1939’s Gone with the Wind made $3.44 billion.

The Lion King does have one asterisk, however. If inflation is taken into consideration, then 1978’s arcade classic Space Invaders comes out the winner. The popular coin-op game—which was later ported over to the Atari 2600—was a smash hit. By 1983, it had made $3.8 billion. Accounting for inflation, it earned $13.9 billion. What’s even more impressive is that unlike big-ticket movies and stage shows, Space Invaders did it one quarter at a time.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER