Xanadu Movie Trivia

Xanadu Trivia

Xanadu Picture
Sonny Malone stands in front of THE Pan Pacific Auditorium album cover...

Totally Trivia

Film facts for the 1980 Dance / Music movie starring Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly, Michael Beck More Cast

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Xanadu is often labelled a remake of the 1947 Rita Hayworth vehicle "Down to Earth".
Thanks to Nikki Stuart
In the final ballroom scene, there is a group of breakdancers, one of which is Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quinones a.k.a "Ozone" of Breakin & Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo fame.
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"Grease" was Olivia's third film. She made her movie debut in a unnoticed Australian film called "Funny Things From Down Under" when she was 16 years old and only as a walk-on with a couple of lines. She would make a bigger impact in Britain in the 1970 sci-fi musical "Tomorrow".
Thanks to John Seger
The gross for the movie was around $23 million in the U.S. on a budget of about $12 million. The film made a small profit at the box office, but legend tries to make it seem it failed harder than it actually did. It also made millions more over the years on video, cable t.v. and DVD.
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Although Olivia Newton-John's character calls herself "Kira" in the movie, she was based on the muse "Terpsichore", who is the muse of dance, also known as "The Whirler". In the movie she begins to tell Sonny her real name, but all that comes out is "My real name is Ter...", before he kisses her.
Thanks to Damian
Regarding the decision not to put "3 Olivia's with different colored hair" in the "Dancin" sequence. This was later done in video on 'The Midnight Special' show, which was entirely devoted to promoting 'Xanadu' and hosted by Olivia.
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Xanadu was Gene Kelly's last motion picture role where he played a character. It was also the last picture in which he danced. He sadly passed away February 2, 1996.
Thanks to Ken
The name of Gene Kelly's character in "Xanadu" (Danny McGuire) is the same name he had in the 1944 film "Cover Girl" with Rita Hayworth. Like his "Xanadu" counterpart, the mid 1940's was Danny McGuire's era.
Thanks to Joe Hosking
One of the headlines for the movie review was "Xana-don't"!
Thanks to Lindee
Michael Beck (Sonny) also played Swan, the leader of the Warriors gang in the 1979 movie "The Warriors".
Thanks to Ataru
If you think about it, while there are some people who pass off Xanadu as just '80s fluff (yeah, roller-disco ...'Nuff said), perhaps the one interesting thing about the movie was the 'formula' that would lead to the meteoric rise of Don Bluth as well as a weird foreshadowing for his previous employer, Disney. As mentioned in other trivia posts, the "Don't Walk Away" sequence was his first sequence of animation after leaving Disney, essentially a mini-music video that incorporated aspects of an older age when Disney films had beautiful princesses (well OK, Kira was a mythological diety but close enough) and memorable music. This was in a period when Disney was cranking out animated films sometimes for the sake of making films, many of which weren't as memorable whether for stories or characters compared to their golden age. After "Xanadu", Bluth would begin to make his true mark on the animation world with films such as "The Secret of NIMH", "An American Tail" and "The Land Before Time", as well as animate sequences for innovative video games such as "Dragon's Lair" and "Space Ace".

However strangely enough, this inspiration of the past homaged by Bluth in "Xanadu" would end up leading to the rebirth of Disney. By the mid-to-late 80s, a combination of a rise of new era of animators at Disney as well as the arrival of Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg would lead the studio back on the right path, culminating in 1989's "The Little Mermaid", which returned to a classic formula of memorable music, magic and beautiful princesses. It was the success from this movie on which would make Bluth fall away from the limelight, continuing to make films but many not as successful as the Disney model. (except, ironically, having a hit in "Anastasia", which was closer to the classic Disney story model than most of his other films).

As an added weird note: the usage of ELO on the soundtrack to "Xanadu", including "Don't Walk Away", could also be seen as a possible foreshadowing of Disney themselves also having major musicians write full soundtracks for their films such as Elton John, Sting and Phil Collins ...But that's more of a '90s phenomenon than an '80s one.
Thanks to Fred W
Probably Matt Lattanzi's most noted movie role is the movie "My Tudor" with whom he stars with the oft times naked Caren Kaye in 1983.
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The old building that became the exterior of "Xanadu" was the "Pan Pacific Auditorium" on Beverly Blvd near CBS's Television City, in Hollywood California. It was built in 1935, was closed down in 1972 and was for a moment forgotten and abandoned. Later, it's importance was recognised and then it was slated for renovation. During the 80's, seemingly endless plans were drawn up for the Pan Pacific, done up as a large shopping mall/hotel complex and a major film center that would showcase preserved and independent titles with production offices and facilities. All these plans were for naught; in 1988, a fire engulfed the entire building except the historical facade and yet, the limbo continued. On May 30, 1989, a second fire took care of the rest. The local fire department made an aggressive effort to save the front but the winds and the intensity of the fire was too much for them to handle. Within the hour, large parts of the remaining front began to crash down to the ground, followed by the rest of the facade.
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The Pan Pacific Auditorium was not completely demolished in the 1989 fire. The front of the building still remained up until 1997. The front was very badly burned and the four spirals on top with the leveled forms jetting out, had all crumbled together; however, it was still very much intact. After 1989, the city of Los Angeles, erected a large chain-linked fence around the building because it would easily cause injury.
Thanks to Jacq
The history of the fire. The owner of the building in the mid-80s was approached by the Mid-Wilshire district to build condos in the place where the Pan Pacific was; however, the City would not let this go through because the Pan Pacific Auditorium was a historical landmark. (One of very few in the LA basin.) The owner got so upset with the denial of his demo permit that he set the building on fire. He was later tried and convicted of first degree arson and is still serving out his sentence somewhere in Southern California. Since the rest of the building was removed by the city, a park has been cultivated called the Pan Pacific Park, and there are plans to resurrect the building in the same place the old building once stood. Furthermore, just for note, when I was there in 2000, the lights (2 of them), poles from the original building, still stand. You can tell they belonged to the original building because of the Art Deco detailing as well as they are the same color as the building -- a Art Deco - period green, plus these lights were seen in Xanadu as well as several other photographs of the once, incredible building.
Thanks to Tom
In 2002 a new bulding was erected on the site of the pan-pacific park. Although it has one spire like the old building, it in no way resembles the building that was once there.
Thanks to dep1701
In earlier drafts of the story, it was made clear that Sonny painted the mural from which the muses emerge.

Unfortunately, rewrites, editing, or poor storytelling decisions caused this plot point to be dropped almost entirely.

All that remained was one line spoken by Sonny when he was bemoaning having to return to 'Air-Flo Records'; " I paint his van...I paint somebody else's mural...".

It's a shame, as the Sonny/Mural connection gave a much stronger motivation for Kira's interest in him. Marvel Comics did retain this plot point in it's comic book adaptation of the film.
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Xanadu was panned by the critics. A movie critic from the London (UK) Evening News panned the film as "the most dreadful, tasteless, movie of the decade. Indeed, of all time."
Thanks to dep1701
Matt Lattanzi also had a small role as one of the bumbling firemen in the Steve Martin / Darryl Hannah romantic comedy "Roxanne".
Thanks to Denny
The Pan-Pacific Auditorium originally had steel letters spelling out PAN-PACIFIC AUDITORIUM atop the roof of the facade. Various photos of the auditorium reveal the following:

1. Before filming began, PAN-PACIFIC was long gone and the R was no longer in AUDITORIUM.
2. By the time filming began, the A was gone.
3. During filming, the T fell off (See the Bloopers section).
4. The M disappeared not long after filming was completed.
5. By the time the Pan-Pacific burned down on May 24, 1989, the remaining letters (U, D, I, O, the other I and the other U) were gone.
Thanks to Mike Martin
The "old movie" sequence was shot in front of the rooftop set from "Suddenly" earlier in the movie. You see the exact same buildings, and the same railing in the background.
Thanks to Andrew MacLaine
All of the muses from the beginning of the movie reappear in the finale number at the end, except for one. The second muse to "come alive" at the beginning is replaced by another dancer who is thinner and has much longer hair.
Thanks to David Lauritzen
One of the muses is played by Sandahl Bergman, who also played a principal dancer in "All That Jazz" and love-interest to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Valeria in "Conan the Barbarian".
Thanks to Andrew MacLaine
The featured zebra-striped dancer that shakes her butt for the camera in Sonny's vision of the club was a lead dancer on "Solid Gold", another 80's trademark.
Thanks to John Edward Kilduff
This was the first movie Joel Silver produced as head of Lawrence Gordon's production company at Universal Pictures (although he was an associate producer on the previous year's "The Warriors", which also featured Michael Beck). This movie was unusual for Silver, once you consider that later in the decade he would produce some major action pieces. You know the titles... "Predator", "Commando", "Lethal Weapon" and "Die Hard". Who would've thought Silver would produce such big-money action pieces after they walked out of the theater on this one? He would keep one foot in the world of fantasy, producing "Weird Science" and the series "Tales From The Crypt", alongside cameo appearances in movies like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".
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Olivia has always said that Xanadu became what it became because there was no finished script when she said "yes" to it. But, given that she was considering whether to take the Xanadu job or the lead in "Can't Stop the Music" (eventually taken by Superman's Valerie Perrine), one can't help concluding that she made the right choice, or at least, the lesser of 2 evils.
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Matt Lattanzi, in 1982, played one of the prep boys in "Grease 2". Beyond his presence in the film and the reference to Michael Harrington (played by Maxwell Caufield who later played one of the Colbys on Dynasty II: The Colbys) as Sandy's cousin, there were no other reminders of Olivia or Sandy in Grease 2. Ironically, Caufield's character also had an Australian accent, which he faked. Ironic, because his leading lady on Dynasty II was Emma Samms, who hid her accent to sound American like Pamela Sue Martin who had played the role of Fallon Carrington prior to Samms. Samms got her start on General Hospital, where her leading man was an Australian hunk.
Thanks to Stefan Andrews
Matt Lattanzi had the starring role in the road race comedy/drama "Catch Me If You Can".
Thanks to Rob Wright
Don Bluth who did the animation on the film also animinated the 80's arcade game Dragons Lair. One of the first laser disc games.
Thanks to Dorrie
Time magazine reviewed the film under the headline, "Oh, shut up, Muse !" They didn't like it.

Bogus Trivia

There's often fake stuff floating round, y'know? -Like the 'ghost boy' that can allegedly be seen in "Three Men And A Baby".

The following trivia for "Xanadu" is apparently bogus. If you disagree or have additional info, please update us.

Myth: Actor Bill Pullman is a Roller Disco Xanadu dude. He has several good shots in the finale scene.

Fact: Bill Pullman is NOT in Xanadu. His first movie was "Ruthless People" in 1986 & Xanadu was released in 1980.
Sonny borrows a motor scooter from a very trusting woman to chase Kira and never returns it after it falls into the water. Perhaps the bike's owner doesn't mind because she is one of Kira's sister muses from the opening number.

HOWEVER Brian Metzgar writes in to say: I'm tired of everyone continually thinking the motor scooter fell into the water... IT DID NOT.. thank you, also this is one of my most favorite movies of all times, and have watched it over 200+ times.
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1980 Universal Pictures
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