Universal celebrates 100 years of genre hits

Universal recently hit its 100 year anniversary. At first, the studio was most famously the house of horror, home to genre favorites like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf-Man, and the Creature From the Black Lagoon.

Although Universal put out a lot of B movies, they basically reinvented the movie division in the early 70’s with such favorite hits as The Sting, American Graffiti, Jaws, and more.

To celebrate the anniversary, Universal is restoring thirteen of its  greatest movies, including To Kill a Mockingbird, the aforementioned Jaws, along with E.T.

As noted on Moviefone, Universal also put out a trivia list to celebrate its centennial anniversary, and we thought we’d share some of our favorite little pieces of movie knowledge on the list.


First of all, I had no idea the company name Universal was inspired by Universal Pipe Fittings. Studio founder Carl Laemmle saw one of their delivery trucks passing by, and took the name. What was the first movie Universal put out? Traffic in Souls. Being a big Animal House fan, I wasn’t all that surprised to learn that John Belushi made a hole in the wall of the sigma Nu frat house when he smashed a guitar, and the damage was framed as a monument to the film.


Some trivia you may already know: the shark in Jaws was named Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Rahmer, and the script title of E.T. was A Boy’s Life. Here’s another good one, the DeLorean in Back to the Future was a real licensed, registered car in California, American Graffit’s budget was reportedly $777,777.77 (Francis Ford Coppola was one of the producers, and 7’s his lucky number.)


The Munsters house on 1313 Mockingbird Lane was actually built for a 1946 movie So Goes My Love. Universal’s first movie in 3D was 1953’s It Came From Outer Space. E.T. is still the biggest money-maker in Universal’s history, and I also didn’t know that the MPAA wouldn’t allow Universal to call the Meet the Parents sequel Meet the Fockers unless they could prove Focker was a real name.


What’s the first movie that ever showed a flushing toilet? Psycho. What was the gun Al Pacino called his “little friend” at the end of Scarface? An M16 assault rifle with an M203 40mm grenade launcher. When did the Universal Studios Tour open? 1964, when an adult ticket was $2.50, and over a hundred million people have taken the tour.


I also didn’t know that the Firebird in Smokey and the Bandit had a Chevy engine to make it more powerful, or that the cake at the end of the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles was made of cardboard. I also didn’t know that Robert Redford’s character in The Sting was named after blues artist John Lee Hooker.


I also didn’t realize that Bela Lugosi only played Dracula twice in movies. He of course played him on the stage, but the two films he played Dracula were the ’31 Dracula and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. (Lugosi played other vampires throughout his career, but only played the famous count twice onscreen. Dracula was also played by other famous horror alumni Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine in other Universal monster flicks.)


And the last bit of trivia I found interesting about Universal is that John Ford, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Norman Jewison, Ben Stiller, Robert Zemeckis, John Hughes, Amy Heckerling, Spike Jonze, Zack Snyder and Judd Apatow all made their first movies there.