‘The Wonder Years’ just got a little more wonderful
The Wonder Years will never, ever get old. It was the best show on TV for years and it still holds up. The minute that Joe Cocker song kicked in to introduce the cast, we were down for greatest half hour of the night. Now that the series is getting re-released on DVD, the cast and crew of our favorite 80’s/90’s-show-set-in-the-60’s sat down with Rolling Stone to dish on the show oral-history-style and we were elated all over again. Below, facts you never knew about your favorite show from yesteryear.
1.) The Married Creators Based The Show On Their Childhoods
Coming off a stint on Growing Pains, husband-and-wife-team Neal Marlens and Carol Black next dreamt up Wonder Years.
As Marlens explains:
“I think the [creative] impetus came from our personal experience of having come of age in a period when there was so much turmoil in the world; and yet, the experience of being a middle-class suburban kid really wasn’t that much different than it was five or 10 years earlier. It’s just that it was in a whole new context as you got older and as the implications of that started to get closer and closer to home.”
2.) Fred Savage Was Basically Always Going to Be Kevin
As Marlens tells it: “Every casting director we interviewed said, “Whether you hire us or not, you really need to see this kid Fred Savage in Chicago for the role of Kevin.” We flew him out and read him with the other actors — and it was a no-brainer.”
3.) Danica McKellar Was Up Against Her Sister For The Role Of Winnie
They were the final two girls considered for the role.
4.) And Danica Thought Fred Was Cute At Auditions
It’s totally fine, you can take a minute to fangirl out before you continue reading
5.) Dan Lauria Got His Audition As Jack Arnold Because. . .
He was dating the mom from “Growing Pains”! As he tells it:
“I literally couldn’t get in [to audition], but I was dating Joanna Kerns, who played the mom on Growing Pains. She said, “Did you get in for Neal and Carol’s series?” I said, “Nah, my agent can’t get me in.” She went in the next morning and called Neal, and she came out — “He wants to see you tomorrow at 10 a.m.” I went in with nine million other guys, and we auditioned, but I had a bit of an inside track. If it wasn’t for Joanna Kerns, I probably never would have gotten the show.”
6.) Olivia D’Abo Didn’t Wear A Bra To Her Audition
And yes, she got the part of Kevin Arnold’s older sister Karen, so, maybe that says something about bras and auditions? Take from that what you will.
7.) When The Wonder Years Premiered, It Was the Only Show With A Narrator
8.) The First Season Was CRAZY
The network asked for thirteen episodes, the team didn’t think they’d have enough time to do thirteen great episodes so they negotiated down to six eps, the show premiered after the 1988 Superbowl and won an Emmy with a six episode first season. That is CRAZY. Good crazy. But CRAZY.
9.) No Cursing Was Allowed On Set
The head grip Skip Cook enforced the “no cursing” rule when the kids were on set. Set Dad, Set Dad, someone was a super good Set Dad!
10.) Kevin Arnold And Winnie Cooper’s First Kiss Was ALSO Fred Savage And Danica McKellar’s First Kiss
As McKellar tells it:
“I had my first kiss on that show. It was [Winnie’s] first kiss and my real-life first kiss, too. I had a crush on Fred and he had a crush on me. I think the anticipation of that kiss nearly killed us both.”
Stop it hurts too cute.