6Howard's "gloves" were extremely painful for Gale
Ed Gale experience some negative consequences from playing Howard. His fingers had to be taped together to fit into the three-fingered "glove" that was the duck's hand. Being repeatedly contorted this way caused his fingers to stay like that for months after filming ended. In an interview on the DVD, Gale recounts how unpleasant the process was.
He also tells of a huge upside. In the post-Howard days, he had an occasion to meet with the legendary Mel Brooks about an upcoming project. When Gale told Brooks that he'd been inside the Howard costume, the Blazing Saddles director told him, "Anyone who's in Howard the Duck can be in my movie!" Apparently, he was an admirer of the film's offbeat comic approach. Just like that, Gale was cast as Dink in Spaceballs.
5Cherry Bomb was a real band
Since Beverly's all-girl band, Cherry Bomb, plays a significant role in the story, the filmmakers knew that music was going to be crucial to Howard the Duck. To help craft the band's songs and image, they brought in British musician Thomas Dolby, whose song "She Blinded Me with Science" was a Top Five smash a few years prior. Dolby utilized quirky humor in his lyrics, which made him a natural for such an offbeat movie.
Dolby knew it was imperative Cherry Bomb come off as authentic onscreen, so he sought to ensure that would happen. He coached Lea Thompson in her vocal performance, made her and the actresses portraying the rest of the band learn how to play their assigned instruments credibly, and put them through choreography rehearsals. Dolby did a good enough job that a plan to possibly replace Thompson's voice was scrapped, and Cherry Bomb actually looked like a real band.
4Fans could call a Howard the Duck hotline
Studios have utilized a wide array of gimmicks to promote movies over the decades. There was a time in the 1980s when hotlines were used semi-regularly. The practice sprang out of the "party line" fad that was all the rage back then. People would pay money to be placed on a line with several strangers to talk about whatever their hearts desired. Hollywood co-opted -- and slightly altered -- this concept to plug certain films.
Universal established a number, 1-900-410-DUCK, that fans could call to hear one of four prerecorded messages from Howard himself. In them, he conducted conversations with other characters from the movie, performed a rap, and engaged in an assortment of dumb duck puns. Because callers had to pay by the minute, they made sure the messages were elongated.
Of course, the number has long since been decommissioned, but the audio has been preserved on YouTube.
3The movie inspired a comic book series
Hold on, because we're going to get all "meta" on you here. Howard the Duck is a movie that was inspired by a comic book. We all know that. But did you know that there was a comic book based on the movie?
It's true! From late December 1986 through February 1987, Marvel released a three-issue series that was, as the cover proudly proclaimed "the official comics adaptation of the blockbuster new movie from Lucasfilm." So it was a comic that was inspired by a movie that was inspired by a comic.
That's not all! In 2016, the self-referential vibe took another step with Chip Zdarsky's Howard the Duck comic book series. Issue #9 features a cameo from Lea Thompson herself. In the story, she teams up with Howard to fight noted X-Men villain Mojo. The actress even gets to see a little action, busting some martial arts moves on Mojo's henchmen. It's all a big, crazy adventure that plays with Howard's history on both the page and the screen.
2It led directly to the creation of Pixar
If you enjoy Pixar movies, you should probably thank the makers of Howard the Duck. The company wouldn't exist had the movie been a blockbuster.
At the time Howard opened and promptly tanked, George Lucas was having a bit of a money problem. Personally, he was reeling from a costly divorce. Professionally, sales of Star Wars toys had dipped, and the construction of his Skywalker Ranch put him into some debt. He had to take drastic action to stay afloat.
Lucas opted to sell the computer animation division he'd recently established. The buyer was none other than Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple. He paid Lucas a reported $10 million. Now free of the Lucas empire, the newly independent company began seriously advancing the art of computer animation, eventually settling on the name Pixar for their endeavor. The rest is history.
1Lea Thompson wants to direct a remake
Although reviled at the time, Howard the Duck has garnered an appreciative following in the intervening years. Screenings of the movie are almost always popular events -- and sometimes they yield incredible nuggets of information.
One such example took place recently. Howard the Duck screened at L.A.'s Beyond Fest, one of the biggest genre festivals in the country. They somehow snagged a 70mm print, giving fans a chance to see it in a format that few ever have. Lea Thompson turned out for the event and participated in a Q&A afterward.
It was during this time that she dropped a bombshell. The actress said that she felt inspired by a female director, Patty Jenkins, taking the helm of a great big, successful comic book movie, Wonder Woman. With that in mind, she is thinking of going to Marvel and asking them to let her direct a remake of Howard. Maybe Thompson was only joking. Hopefully, though she was serious. We would totally pay to see that!
Which camp are you in when it comes to Howard the Duck? Do you love it or hate it? Why? Give us all your thoughts in the comments.
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