For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with “Caddyshack“. This movie was released in 1980, and was one that so many remember that were from “back in the day”.
Caddyshack was one that I know has some racy scenes and things that aren’t the best for kids, but I remember watching it before I really knew what all of that was, and it made me laugh pretty hard. The things that old Carl went through trying to remove the gopher from the golf course, reminded me of the Coyote and Woodpecker. Don’t quit, and keep on trying!!
If, for some reason, you are of an age that makes it difficult to remember the “Caddyshack” movie, here’s a preview of what it was about:
Did you ever watch the Caddyshack movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or Netflix later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Movie:
Caddyshack is a 1980 American sports comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney. It stars Michael O’Keefe, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray. Doyle-Murray also has a supporting role.
This was Ramis’ first feature film and was a major boost to Dangerfield’s film career; previously, he was known mostly for his stand-up comedy. Grossing nearly $40 million at the domestic box office (17th highest of the year), it was the first of a series of similar comedies. A sequel, Caddyshack II, followed in 1988, although only Chase reprised his role and the film was poorly received.
Caddyshack has garnered a large cult following and has been hailed by media outlets, such as Time and ESPN, as one of the funniest sports movies of all time. As of 2010, Caddyshack has been televised on the Golf Channel as one of its “Movies That Make the Cut.”
Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) works as a caddy at the upscale Bushwood Country Club to raise enough money to go to college. Danny often caddies for Ty Webb (Chevy Chase), a suave and talented golfer and the son of one of Bushwood’s co-founders. Danny decides to gain favor with Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight), the country club’s stodgy co-founder and director of the Caddy Scholarship program, by caddying for him. Meanwhile, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), one of the greenskeepers, is entrusted with combatting a potentially disastrous gopher infestation. Throughout the film, Carl tries a variety of methods to kill the gopher (e.g. shooting, drowning) without success.
Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield), a brash and obnoxious nouveau riche, begins appearing at the club. Smails is heckled by Czervik as he tees off, causing his shot to go badly wrong. Smails throws a putter club away in frustration and accidentally injures a member of the club. Danny takes responsibility for the incident, as a ploy to gain Smails’ trust. Smails encourages him to apply for the Caddy Scholarship.
At Bushwood’s annual Fourth of July banquet, Danny and his girlfriend Maggie work as servers. Czervik continues to irritate Smails and the club members, while Danny becomes attracted to Lacey Underall (Cindy Morgan), Smails’ promiscuous niece. Danny wins the Caddy Day golf tournament and the scholarship, earning him praise from Smails and an invitation to attend the christening ceremony for his boat. The boat is sunk at the event after a collision with Czervik’s larger boat. On returning, Smails discovers Lacey and Danny having a tryst at his house. Expecting to be fired or to have the scholarship revoked, Danny is surprised when Smails only demands that he keeps the incident secret.
Unable to bear the continued presence of the crude-mannered Czervik, Smails confronts him and announces that Czervik will never be granted membership. Czervik counters by announcing that he would never consider being a member: he insults the place and is merely there to evaluate buying Bushwood and developing the land into condominiums. After a brief scuffle and exchange of insults, Ty Webb suggests they discuss a resolution over drinks. After Smails demands satisfaction, Czervik proposes a team golf match with Smails and his regular golfing partner Dr. Beeper against Czervik and Webb. Against club rules, they also agree to a $20,000 wager, quickly doubled to $40,000, on the outcome of the match. That evening, Webb practices for the game against Smails and meets Carl, where the two share a bottle of wine and a spliff.
The match is held the following day. Word spreads of the stakes involved and a crowd builds. During the game, Smails and Beeper take the lead, while Czervik, to his disdain, is “playing the worst game of his life”. He reacts to Smails’ taunts by impulsively redoubling the wager to $80,000 per team. When his own ricocheting ball strikes him, Czervik feigns injury in hopes of having the contest declared a draw. Lou, the course official who is acting as an umpire, tells Czervik his team will forfeit unless they find a substitute. When Webb chooses Danny, Smails threatens to revoke his scholarship but Czervik promises Danny that he will make it “worth his while” if he wins. Danny eventually decides he would rather humiliate the selfish, conceited Smails than take the scholarship.
By the time they reach the final hole, the score is tied. At the climax of the game, with Danny about to attempt a difficult putt to win, Czervik again redoubles the wager to $160,000 per team ($458,000 today). Danny’s putt leaves the ball hanging over the edge of the hole. At that moment, Carl, in his latest attempt to kill the gopher, detonates a series of plastic explosives that he has rigged around the golf course. The explosion shakes the ground and causes the ball to drop into the hole, handing Danny, Webb and Czervik the victory. Smails refuses to pay, so Czervik beckons two hulking men, named Moose and Roco, to “help the judge find his checkbook.” As Smails is chased around the course, Czervik leads another wild party attended by all of the onlookers at the match, shouting, “Hey everybody! We’re all gonna get laid!” The gopher emerges, unharmed by the explosives, and dances to the closing song amid the smoldering ruins of the golf course.
Some of the Characters:
Chevy Chase (Ty Webb) was born Cornelius Crane Chase in Lower Manhattan, New York, to Cathalene Parker (Browning), a concert pianist and librettist, and Edward Tinsley “Ned” Chase, an editor and writer. His parents both came from prominent families, and his grandfathers were artist and illustrator Edward Leigh Chase and admiral Miles Browning. His recent ancestry includes English, Scottish, Irish, and Danish. His grandmother gave him the nickname “Chevy” when he was two years old. Chase was a part of the Saturday Night Live cast from its debut in 1975 until 1976, and then embarked on a highly successful movie career. He scored in the eighties with hits such as Caddyshack (1980), the National Lampoon movies and the Fletch movies. All his films show his talent for deadpan comedy. Sadly, his career has generally worsened throughout the nineties, starring in disappointments such as the mediocre Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), and Cops and Robberson’s (1994).
Rodney Dangerfield (Al Czervik) was born in Deer Park, New York in 1921. His birth name was Jacob Cohen. Jacob Cohen began writing jokes at the age of 15, and started performing before he was 20. He took his act to the road for ten years, his stage name was “Jack Roy”. While working as a struggling comedian, Rodney Dangerfield worked as a singing waiter. His first run at comedy was to no avail. Rodney Dangerfield married Joyce Indig, in 1949 and had two children: Brian and Melanie. During the 1950s, Rodney was an aluminum siding salesman, living in New Jersey. The comedian made another attempt at stand-up comedy, this time as Rodney Dangerfield. In 1961, Rodney divorced from his wife. When he appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” (The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), Rodney Dangerfield made Ed Sullivan laugh. Few people ever provoked any kind of reaction out of the legendary Ed Sullivan. Dangerfield had the image of a lovable disgruntled everyman type that became a hit all across nightclubs in the 1960s. Dangerfield also made many appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) and The Dean Martin Show (1965) in the 1970s. Rodney Dangerfield snatched a minor supporting part in the movie, The Projectionist (1971), in 1971. By the mid 1970s, he had cemented his image as a comedian constantly tugging at his red tie, always proclaiming he gets no respect. His big break came with many appearances on Saturday Night Live (1975), bringing himself to a much wider audience and proving hysterical on many occasions. In 1993, he married Joan Dangerfield (aka Joan Child), a woman thirty years younger than him, and a Mormon. He died on October 5, 2004, after falling into a coma following heart surgery.
Ted Knight (Judge Elihu Smails) was born on December 7, 1923, in Terryville, Connecticut and died August 26, 1986, in Los Angeles, CA from colon and bladder cancer. The Connecticut-born actor was christened Tadeusz (Theodore) Wladyslaw Konopka, the son of a Polish-American family in his native town of Terryville, Connecticut. A high school dropout, he enlisted for World War II duty and eventually became a decorated member of the A Company, 296th Combat Engineer Battalion. During his tour of duty, Ted developed an interest in acting, returning home in the post-war years to study his craft in Hartford, Connecticut, at the Randall School of Dramatic Arts. A fascination with puppetry and ventriloquism led to his first steady paycheck, as the host of a children’s radio show (WJAR) in Providence, Rhode Island (1950-1955). Following this, Ted found more work (WROW-TV) in Albany, New York, hosting a children’s variety show while playing radio announcer for its sister radio station, WROW. Heading west to Los Angeles, California in 1957, Ted spent most of his early years providing slick commercial voiceovers and earning minor roles on television (Sea Hunt (1958)) and film (Psycho (1960)). Knight was initially diagnosed with cancer in 1977, for which he was treated over an extended period of time. In 1985, the television star’s conditioned worsened and the 62-year-old actor died on August 26, 1986, following surgery for a growth in his urinary tract. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California (his marker reads Theodore C. Konopka), and was survived by his wife of 38 years, Dorothy Knight (nee Smith), and their three children, Ted Knight Jr., Elyse Knight and Eric Knight.
Bill Murray (Carl Spackler), the fifth of nine children, was born on September 21, 1950 in Wilmette, Illinois, to Lucille (Collins), a mailroom clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, who sold lumber. He is of Irish descent. Among his siblings are actors Brian Doyle-Murray, Joel Murray, and John Murray. He and most of his siblings worked as caddies, which paid his tuition to Loyola Academy, a Jesuit school. He played sports and did some acting while in that school, but in his words, mostly “screwed off.” He enrolled at Regis College in Denver to study pre-med but dropped out after being arrested for marijuana possession. He then joined the National Lampoon Radio Hour with fellow members Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi. However, while those three became the original members of Saturday Night Live (1975), he joined Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell (1975), which premiered that same year. After that show failed, he later got the opportunity to join Saturday Night Live (1975). He is a partner with his brothers in Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, a restaurant located near St. Augustine. He also resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is a very active community member. He is a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints independent semi-pro baseball team and occasionally travels to Saint Paul, Minnesota to watch the team’s games. He also owns part of the Charleston RiverDogs, Hudson Valley Renegades, and the Brockton Rox. He invested in a number of other minor league teams in the past, including the Utica Blue Sox, Fort Myers Miracle, Salt Lake Sting (APSL), Catskill Cougars and Salt Lake City Trappers. Being very detached from the Hollywood scene, Murray does not have an agent or manager and reportedly only fields offers for scripts and roles using a personal telephone number with a voice mailbox that he checks infrequently. This practice has the downside of sometimes preventing him from taking parts in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Monsters, Inc., The Squid and the Whale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Little Miss Sunshine. When asked about this practice, however, Murray seemed content with his inaccessibility, stating, “It’s not that hard. If you have a good script that’s what gets you involved. People say they can’t find me. Well, if you can write a good script, that’s a lot harder than finding someone. I don’t worry about it; it’s not my problem.”
Did You Know?
Bill Murray improvised the “Cinderella story” sequence from two lines of stage direction. Director Harold Ramis simply asked Murray to imagine himself announcing his own fantasy sports moment. Murray simply asked for four rows of ‘mums and did the scene.
The famous scene that begins when Ty Webb’s golf ball crashes into Carl Spackler’s ramshackle house was not in the original script. It was added by director Harold Ramis after realizing that two of his biggest stars, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray (who did not get along due to a feud dating back to their days on Saturday Night Live (1975)), did not have a scene together. The three met for lunch and wrote the scene together. Although it has nothing to do with the plot, it is widely regarded as the funniest scene in the movie. This is the only time that Chase and Murray have appeared in the same scene together.
The movie was inspired by writer and co-star Brian Doyle-Murray’s memories working as a caddy at a golf club. His brother Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis also worked as caddies when they were teenagers.
After filming wrapped each day, most of the cast and crew spent the nights partying, which eventually took its toll before the end of filming as cast and crew began to show up late for morning calls, holding up filming for hours at a time.
In the scene where the Bishop (played by veteran actor Henry Wilcoxon) is having his best round of golf ever during a thunderstorm, he misses an easy putt, looks skyward and yells “rat farts!”, and is immediately struck down by a bolt of lightning. The background music in this scene was from Cecil B. DeMille’s classic The Ten Commandments (1956), in which Wilcoxon played the part of Pentaur.
A big hill was built from scratch for the climactic 18th hole scene because the country club did not want their course blown up. They used too many explosives, which completely destroyed the hill and caused planes flying by to report the explosion as if a plane had crashed there.
Bill Murray filmed all of his scenes, including the famous scene with Chevy Chase, in six days. (Many people expected them to have another confrontation as they had had during Chase’s return to Saturday Night Live (1975) years before. They were professional and didn’t show any signs of their alleged previous feud.
The gopher sequences were written and filmed after most of the movie was shot. Originally, director Harold Ramis wanted to cast a live animal to play the gopher. When that did not work out, the animatronic gopher and its tunnels were built by John Dykstra.
Unsurprisingly, the movie is a huge favorite among golfers and golf fans. Tiger Woods so adores the movie, he played Carl Spackler in an American Express commercial that included references to many of the movie’s most famous scenes.
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