In the growing list of things that make us feel older than we want to, February 14th, 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Mike Myers comedy classic Wayne’s World. We stand firm in our opinion that the movie is one of the best comedies of all time. Elements of it, the original SNL sketches, and even just the Wayne’s World theme song are permanently burned into our memories.
Myers and co-star Dana Carvey head-banged their way onto the big screen (and into our hearts) a quarter of a century ago and kept us reciting lines, making “not!” jokes, and straining our necks to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” every time we hear it.
It’s only fitting that in honor of its silver anniversary, the film is returning to the silver screen for a short time. Through Waynesworld25 you can see where the movie is being shown at theaters all over the US and experience it in all its '90s glory. Here at Screen Rant, we thought we’d celebrate Wayne’s World being old enough to rent a car without a cosigner by taking a deep dive into some things you just might not know about the film.
A-screen-rant-reader-says-what? Party on, readers, with these 15 Things You Never Knew About Wayne's World.
15 Wayne's World video games were all pretty bad
It’s not uncommon for video game companies to try to capitalize on the success of a film but these attempts rarely result in worthwhile games. With the handful of Wayne’s World video games that were created, this was… most certainly the case because they’re all pretty lackluster. Some movie plots just don’t translate to action/adventure game format and Wayne’s World was no exception.
The NES game was particularly weird and involved Wayne karate-kicking his way through bad guys while Garth’s mode of attack was a trusty laser gun. Don’t remember that part of the movie? Come on, everyone should remember the classic comedy scene where Wayne and Garth fight their way through a music store full of sentient musical instruments.
Injecting this sort of nonsensical action certainly wasn’t uncommon for video games at the time but strange when applied to a movie like Wayne’s World. Designers had to produce a playable game and-- as with a lot of games back then-- there were certain standbys to give a game more meat. It’s just a bit odd to see the protagonists in this instance having to deal with countless giant spiders.
14 “No Stairway? Denied.”
Walk into any store that sells musical instruments, wait about 20 minutes, and you’ll have heard a reference to this scene at least a dozen times. In the film, Wayne picks up a guitar at a music store and begins to play Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” only to be stopped and shown a sign prohibiting that very thing. Oddly enough, the scene had consequences in the real world and the film needed to be altered after its theatrical release. This was due to Wayne actually being prohibited from playing the song by the band.
It turns out that Led “we’re the kings of lawsuits” Zeppelin threatened legal action and the song had to be removed from future cuts. Theater goers were able to hear the initial “Stairway” intro but further iterations of the film had to be edited.
In a stroke of cosmic justice, it was recently discovered that the melody for the song’s guitar riff has been in the public domain since as far back as 1630 and could mean future versions of Wayne’s World can be restored.
13 The VCR Game was also pretty bad
A little background: years ago, there were VCR board games that required playing along with a VHS tape. Wait. Let’s back up. Years ago, there were things called VHS tapes that were like single-serve YouTube videos that were played on machines called VCRs.
For a time, these types of games were all the rage in home entertainment. Players would play a board game but instead of directions on cards, landing on certain spaces would require you to un-pause a VHS tape for a moment or two to receive instructions from the characters of the movie or show the game was about. (Sometimes it was a Klingon!)
Because it was the '90s, Wayne’s World also had its own VCR game and boy, was it bananas. Granted, we’re taking the video completely out of context by watching it decades later and without the game but we can’t make heads or tails of it at all. Why on earth are there were so many instances of Wayne and Garth “listening” for the player’s answers and what was it like filming this thing?! What we would we give to be a fly on the wall back then.
12 A cast of familiar faces
One of the great things about movies like Wayne’s World is the large cast full of familiar faces that we continued to see acting over the years. Most will usually point to actors like Rob Lowe, Chris Farley, Ed O'Neill, Brian Doyle-Murray, and even Meatloaf as the faces that pop up in just about everything-- but there are a few others you may not have noticed.
Actor Lee Tergesen played Terry the main cameraman for Wayne's public-access show who went on to play some other notable roles. He played General Rahm Tak on SyFy’s short-lived alien series Defiance, and is currently playing the role of demon-possessed Blake Morrow on Cinemax’s Outcast. However most will remember him as Tobias Beecher on HBOs hit series Oz.
Another familiar face you’ll now never be able to un-see is Wayne’s slightly troubled ex-girlfriend. "Stacy" is played by none other than Lara Flynn Boyle, played the big baddie Serleena in Men In Black 2.
11 Stan Mikita's Donuts was a spoof of another famous coffee shop
What might come as a disappointment to anyone venturing into Aurora, IL in search of movie landmarks is that the donut shop where Wayne and Garth hung out with their crew isn’t a real place. Stan Mikita’s Donuts was constructed for the Wayne’s World movies as a spoof of the real life Canadian chain created by hockey player Tim Horton.
There are some conflicting accounts of how this spoof exactly came about, but an interview with Mikita from 2009 recounts the location change from Aurora, Ontario, Canada where things would be filmed at a Tim Horton’s to the US location of Aurora, IL.
With the film now being set just outside Chicago, filmmakers decided to contact hall-of-famer Mikita to use his name and image to construct the Tim Horton’s analog as an homage to the city and fans of his old team the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite not being a real location, one has to wonder where that statue and the fiberglass drive-thru face ended up after production.
10 "That's what she said" was Wayne's before it was Michael Scott's
Part of the staying power of Wayne’s World-- and any Mike Myers movie for that matter-- is the massive amount of quotable lines. Wayne’s World has the distinction of quite a few and often rely on simple timing and inflection. A proper pronunciation of a Wayne “excellent” or a timid “I like to play” in Garth’s voice can start a whirlwind quote-off with any group of super-fans.
Others, like the highly energetic “We’re not worthy!” or the somewhat inappropriate erectile onomatopoeia “Shwing”, are certainly classics, but the one with real staying power is “that’s what she said.”
Long before Michael Scott used it at every opportunity on The Office, and even before David Brent used the similar “as the actress said to the bishop” on the original BBC version-- it was Wayne Campbell who really popularized the term. And while it would seem pointing out unintended double entendres would be a modern pastime, the use of the original phrase can be traced as far back as the early 1900s.
9 It put "Bohemian Rhapsody" back on the charts
No list about Wayne’s World would be complete without at least a few mentions of the music... and one song in particular. Beyond the fame (or infamy) of the “Stairway to Heaven” controversy, the song that etched its way into each and everyone’s brains is “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the legendary British rock band Queen.
Originally released 17 years earlier, the song saw new life after Wayne’s World and its famous head-banging scene. It rose back up on charts around the world and beat out its original peak placement on Billboard Hot 100. The highest the song had ranked in 1975 was the number 9 spot, but it climbed to number 2 after the film. Refreshed popularity like that for a song is generally unheard of. To put things in perspective, imagine if one of this year’s movies revitalized the popularity of a song like “Everything You Want” by Vertical Horizon.
Amazingly, if it weren’t for Mike Myers’ persistence, we might not even know that thunderbolts and lightning are, in fact, very, very frightening, because…
8 Audiences almost rocked out to a Guns N' Roses song
If you loved the iconic head-banging “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene then you have Mike Myers to thank for it. Turns out that if the powers in control of the film had their way, that scene would have been performed to a Guns N' Roses song. In a 2014 interview on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, Mike Myers explained that the studio was pushing for a Guns N' Roses song because the band was so very, very popular at the time.
In the interview, Myers notes that he recognized that Queen had been out of the limelight for a while but that he had a vision for the scene and was even willing to halt production entirely if his musical pick wasn’t used saying “...I always loved ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ I thought it was a masterpiece. So I fought really, really hard for it. And at one point I said, ‘Well, I’m out. I don’t want to make this movie if it’s not “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
7 The soundtrack was incredibly popular
As we’ve already pointed out, one of the more memorable things about Wayne’s World is the strength of the music used in the film. We’ve gone over the importance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” but even if we had to deal with a Guns N' Roses song in its place, the soundtrack would still be quite admirable for a buddy comedy.
Appropriately named Music from the Motion Picture Wayne’s World, the soundtrack has songs from Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Eric Clapton. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in 1992 and was certified double-platinum by the RIAA in 1997.
That level of popularity is impressive considering the album is also peppered with a few songs we’ve forgotten (like Rhino Bucket’s “Ride With Yourself”) and that one of the 14 tracks is Myers and Carvey singing the Wayne’s World theme song. Awesome as it may be, it's not exactly a song that would go on a lot of playlists.
6 Wayne's World had a Sesame Street parody
How do you measure the success of something? Money? Awards? The adulation of millions? Sure, those are all well and good, but history will likely show that having Sesame Street parody your work is the highest honor that can ever be bestowed. Although not entirely related to the movie, the “Telly’s Town” parody of Wayne’s World appeared on a 1995 episode of Sesame Street.
In it, Telly and Big Bird pretend to be doing a show that’s quite similar (in the way of graphics and vocabulary) to the Wayne’s World public-access program. Not one to miss out on his own parody, Mike Myers makes an appearance as a tuba deliveryman (in character as Wayne) who eventually helps the pair out with their missing musical guests.
The segments are a joy to behold for so many reasons (including a very Garth-like puppet toward the end) but there’s something particularly special about Big Bird pronouncing “excellent” with the perfect Wayne’s World inflection.
5 Wayne's World is the most successful SNL film
While everyone will always have their own personal preference on which Saturday Night Live film is the best in their own minds, the one thing that can’t be debated is success at the box office. To most people, it’ll come as no surprise Wayne’s World has made the most money over the years, but what may be a shock is how much more it's made than the others.
According to the rankings on Box Office Mojo of SNL films, Wayne’s World pulled in a whopping $121,697,323 while the The Blues Brothers comes in second at $57,229,890. What makes that gap even more impressive is the fact that The Blues Brothers was made for ten million dollars more than the twenty million it took to make Wayne’s World.
It would seem this isn’t some sort of fluke, as Myers and company struck gold again a year later, with the film’s sequel, Wayne’s World 2, coming in at third place for SNL films with a box office gross of $48,197,805.
4 It was Mike Myers' (and Chris Farley's) first movie role
Hollywood, and acting in general, can be a hard road for a lot of people, and often lacks the glitz and glamour traditionally associated with it. Ask anyone who has auditioned professionally and you’re likely have your ear talked off about how arduous the process can be. Most actors work for years in hopes of getting a career-defining role to launch them into stardom.
For Mike Myers, the process went a bit differently, since Wayne’s World was actually his first big-screen role. There was, of course, a long line of television roles and years spent writing for SNL before major success came his way-- but being the creator and star of the first film you’re in is a pretty awesome way to start a movie career.
Wayne’s World also saw the first film appearance for SNL co-star and legendary comedic actor Chris Farley, who played a security guard that gave a particularly large amount of plot exposition away to Wayne and Garth.
3 Dana Carvey: drummer extraordinaire
Entertainment has the tendency to give us the ol’ switcheroo with certain talents. As much as we’d like to think actors can embody everything about a character, some skills are outside of their reach.
Christian Slater grows a foot and (literally) becomes Tony Hawk while skating in Gleaming the Cube, Jennifer Beals transforms into a male breakdancer for a second or two in Flashdance, and--as much as it pains us to admit--Animal isn’t really drumming on The Muppets.
This, however, isn’t the case for Wayne’s World's epic drum solo which Garth performs in the music store. Actor Dana Carvey is a pretty decent drummer and was actually playing the drums for the scene. And while Carvey’s penchant for drumming worked its way into Church Lady sketches and even lead to performing alongside U2 (as Garth)-- the sweet and timid way the solo appears in the movie (and knowing it’s real) will always go down as one of our favorite things about the film.
2 They produced a trailer to be shown specifically before The Addams Family movie
The idea of advertising a film like Wayne’s World doesn’t seem like it would be too tough, which is why it’s odd to see this incredibly specific campaign filmed on the set of an entirely different movie. This trailer was created to be shown before The Addams Family and we can only wonder what the reasoning behind it was.
Our best guess is that filmmakers thought The Addams Family would have a larger cross section of adults and children who like the sketch.
Still, it’s hard to put ourselves back in the general mindset of the '90s and even harder to remember what day-to-day commercials were like. With movie trailers being so easily accessible outside theaters via TV and the internet, we tend to forget that there was a time you’d only be able to see them before another movie. We’ve all been spoiled by YouTube but, thankfully, it’s where these forgotten Wayne’s World gems can live on.
1 Mike Myers was doing Wayne sketches before SNL
It’s not uncommon for Saturday Night Live performers to bring characters with them that they’d been performing before they made it on the show.
Wayne was one persona that Myers had been cultivating for a good while on the CBC Television series It's Only Rock & Roll. The heart of the sketch, “Wayne’s Power Minute”, is generally the same as every future iteration of Wayne’s World, with the exception of doing his show from a wicked '80s van most of the time, presumably still being Canadian, and the obvious absence of Dana Carvey’s Garth. The young Myers seemed to play Wayne a little more energetically than what we saw in future versions, but he’s still the sardonic metal-head we all know and love.
In these clips, he waxes poetic in his own special way about life, music, babes, and partying with some undeniably sincere ear-to-ear smiles. Perhaps Mike Myers knew, even back then, that this was the character that would help him conquer the comedy world.
What are your favorite Wayne's World memories? Share them in the comments!