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Historic toilet flushes, a lucky 7 budget, Dracula's cape and other trivia

To mark the official centenary of Universal Pictures (Apr 30), the venerable studio has published a list of 100 “fun facts” for film buffs to enjoy.

Ever ready to promote trivia, we at Screen have reproduced a few of these entertaining nuggets below:

Universal Film Manufacturing Company was officially incorporated in New York on April 30, 1912.  Company legend says Carl Laemmle was inspired to name his company Universal after seeing “Universal Pipe Fittings” written on a passing delivery wagon.

The first feature filmed at Universal City was Damon and Pythias in 1914.

The working title for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was A Boy’s LifeET: The Extra Terrestrial is Universal Pictures’ all-time highest grossing film. 

In the movie All Quiet on the Western Front, the Greek writing on the blackboard in the schoolroom is the beginning of Homer’s Odyssey:  “Tell me, oh Muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide.”

American Graffiti’s budget was exactly $777,777.77, and it was delivered on time - and on budget.

The infamous apple pie in the movie American Pie was purchased by the production from Costco. 

When Bela Lugosi, star of the monster classic, Dracula, died in 1956, he was buried wearing a black silk cape similar to the one he wore in the film.

The Universal sound technician, Jack Foley, developed the method of creating and recording many of the natural, everyday sound effects in a film. Today this method is named after him. 

When you hear the sound of the crowd cheering, “Spartacus! Spartacus!” in the movie Spartacus, it was actually a pre-taped recording from a 1959 football game at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium. 

In the infamous shower scene in Psycho, the sound of the knife-stabbing actress Janet Leigh was made by plunging a knife into a melon / The first American film to show a toilet flushing on screen was Psycho.  

More here.

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