There are perennial Christmas movie watches, those films that you have to watch every holiday season. Be it Gremlins, Krampus, A Nightmare Before Christmas, hell, even Santa’s Slay if you’re horror-inclined. A film I think it would be safe to say would be on many a watch-list is as beloved as the story it is based on. It also celebrates its 30th anniversary this year – Richard Donner’s Scrooged. I have taken this opportunity to compile some lesser-known Scrooged facts for you and some interesting morsels of trivia on this spooky comedy classic. Here are 10 facts you may or may not know about Scrooged.
1: Carol Kane Injured Bill Murray on Set
Carol Kane is fantastic in Scrooged as The Ghost of Christmas Present. Kane spends much of her time in Scrooged kicking Frank Cross’s (Murray’s) ass, and in reality this isn’t too far from the truth either. In one scene Kane grabs Murray by the lip and leads him, she did this so hard on one take that she torn that little piece of skin that connects your lip to your gum, OUCH! Filming actually had to stop for a while so Murray’s gum could heal. Talk about suffering for one’s art!
2: Kane Also Had A Hard Time Shooting Scrooged
In direct relation to Murray’s injury, Kane did not enjoy her time working on Scrooged and reportedly broke down on set numerous times due to having to strike Murray repeatedly, and having actually injured him, delaying shooting.
3: Murray At First Turned Down The Role of Frank Cross
Initially, Murray had no interest in starring in Scrooged. In a self-imposed exile from Hollywood, Murray had remained elusive since his cameo turn in Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and showed little desire to return to a starring role, something he hadn’t undertaken since Ghostbusters (1984). Murray was initially offered the part of Cross in 1986 but turned it down. Murray insisted that the script be re-worked before he even considered the part. Murray was eventually happy to sign on the dotted line for Scrooged.
4: Murray Was Worried He Couldn’t Carry A Film On His Own
Part of the reason that Murray didn’t take the part in Scrooged was that he didn’t believe he could carry the film as its sole lead. More accustomed to being part of an ensemble, Murray worked outside his comfort-zone on Scrooged. In an interview with Starlog, Murray laid his concerns out.
“Scrooged was harder [than Ghostbusters] because I was by myself, really. Even though there are a number of people in the movie, they only had cameos. They would stroll in for a day or two and split. I was there every day, and it was like flunking grade school again and again.”
Looking back now, it seems insane Murray didn’t consider himself strong enough to lead the movie as its impossible to picture anyone but him in the role of Frank Cross.
5: “I’m sorry, I thought you were Richard Pryor”
One of the funniest Murray ad-libs in Scrooged references a real life event that made the joke darkly hilarious and very close to the bone. In 1980, after freebasing cocaine, Pryor poured 151-proof rum over himself, set himself on fire and ran down a busy Los Angeles Street in a moment of drug induced psychosis. It may have seemed in poor taste if Pryor didn’t regularly make fun of the incident himself.
6: Murray’s Pratfall
Another classic Murray ad-lib, if a completely unintentional one: As Cross exits the restaurant, trying to salvage what little dignity he has left after dousing a waiter with water, he slips on his way out the door. This was a completely unintentional accident as the floor was wet from Murray throwing the water and he genuinely slipped on the floor. It really is a serendipitous moment as it makes an already funny scene funnier.
7: A Donner Christmas-fest
Is Richard Donner a big Christmas fan? It certainly seems that way. Scrooged marked the second film in a row directed by Donner to be set at Christmas time. Donner’s Lethal Weapon (1987) was also set over the holiday period.
8: The Best Christmas Street Musicians Ever!
During an early scene in Scrooged, we see a number of musicians performing We Three Kings in the street – and there are some recognizable faces in their numbers. The eagle-eyed, music-loving viewer will spot Paul Schaffer (Late Show with..), guitarist Larry Carlton and jazz musicians David Sanborn & Miles Davis. Miles Davis is in Scrooged!
9: The Brothers Murray
Scrooged is quite the Murray family affair. Alongside Bill are his brothers Brian, who stars as Frank’s father in the movie, John who plays his brother James Cross and Joel who cameos as a party guest. Scrooged is a Murray-fest!
10: SNL reunion
Murray enjoyed something of a mini SNL reunion on Scrooged – as veteran Saturday Night Live writers Mitch Glazier & Michael O’Donoghue served as writers on Scrooged.