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'Splash' turns 30: Five things you didn't know about the Tom Hanks classic (and what John Candy says in Swedish)



Long before Ron Howard was directing movies about space travel, car racing and mentally unstable mathematicians, he was in the business of producing heart-warming rom-coms, like Splash, which turns 30 years old this week.

Released on March 9, 1984, Splash gave Tom Hanks his first starring role on film (though he'd already found success with TV's Bosom Buddies). Daryl Hannah was the bigger star at the time, having already appeared in Blade Runner and Summer Lovers. The movie follows a mermaid (Hannah) who is reunited with a man (Hanks) whom she had saved from drowning as a young boy. The film is credited with popularizing the girl name "Madison," which is the name Hannah takes as her human name after wandering down Madison Avenue.

Splash was produced on a budget of just $8 million, most of which it made back on opening weekend on its way to being the 10th highest-grossing film of 1984. It also holds the distinction of being the first movie released under Disney's Touchstone Pictures label, which was created so the studio could release more adult-oriented fare. Though it retains a 92 percent "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, not every movie critic was smitten. Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, the late Roger Ebert wrote: "There is a funny movie lurking at the edges of Splash, and sometimes it even sneaks on screen and makes us smile. It's too bad the relentlessly conventional minds that made this movie couldn't have made the leap from sitcom to comedy."

Here are five more things you probably didn't know about Splash, according to


1. In his review, Ebert also blasted Tom Hanks: "He is conventionally handsome and passably appealing, and he would do in a secondary role. He'd be great, for example, as the straight-arrow brother. Instead, they make him the mermaid's lover." Hank's role had already been turned down by Michael Keaton and John Travolta. Hanks claims to this day that he was the 11th person offered the part.

2. The role of Madison fell to Hannah after it had been turned down by Tatum O'Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Melanie Griffith, Diane Lane, Kathleen Turner and Sharon Stone.

3. In the restaurant scene, where Madison eats the lobsters for dinner, that's not real lobster. Hannah, a devout vegetarian, refused to eat lobster meat, so the crew had to dig out the meat and replace it with tofu. Hannah reported sobbed after each take because of all the lobster deaths required in the scene.

4. The fountain from the movie -- the one Madison buys for Allen -- now resides at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. The mermaid fin Hannah wore is behind the bar at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney.

5. What does John Candy really say in Swedish to the scientists in the movie? "Hey Roring, jag har en tums penis." Well, "roring" roughly translates as "agitation." Candy probably meant to say "raring," which is "honey." The rest of it, you can probably figure out for yourself.

[Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2014 1:19pm]


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