Rock 'n' Roll High School/Fun Facts
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
- During the Ramones' concert sequence at The Roxy near the end of the film, Darby Crash, late singer of seminal Los Angeles punk band the Germs, can be seen in the front row.
- Roger Corman's original title for the film was "Disco High" until Allan Arkush heard The Ramones and decided to use them in his movie.
- The building blown up in the ending is the condemned Mount Carmel High School in the South section of Los Angeles, California. The explosion was five times bigger than it was supposed to be, and since the filming was at 3am, a lot of frightened neighborhood residents charged out of their homes, not knowing what had happened.
- As an inside joke regarding producer Roger Corman's notoriously stingy budget on the movie, sounds of birds going "cheap, cheap, cheap" can be heard as the New World Pictures credit appears onscreen.
- Dee Dee Ramone was such a bad actor that his lines were cut from five down to two, in the dressing room after the concert: "Hey, pizza!" and "Hey, pizza! It's great! Let's dig in!"
- On the last day of shooting, Allan Arkush was hospitalized for exhaustion, and Joe Dante was tapped to direct the remaining scenes, which were the scene in the gym where P.J. Soles sings her version of "Rock 'n' Roll High School", the long take in the bathroom, and the scene involving the telephone booth.
- The Ramones were recording their "End of the Century" album while working on this film.
- The notoriously cheap Corman, also a publicity genius, invited music journalists to work as extras in return for getting to be on the set and interview the principles.
- When The Ramones are backstage after the concert and Riff gives them her song, in the background on the wall is a picture of Cherie Currie, formerly the lead singer of The Runaways. The Runaways and The Ramones toured together.
- The romantic theme song heard under the credits, "Did We Meet Somewhere Before?" is sung by Paul McCartney and Wings. McCartney wrote it as the theme to Heaven Can Wait (1978), but Warren Beatty decided not to use it. Allan Arkush, the director, then swung a deal whereby he was able to use the song for only $500 provided McCartney did not receive screen credit.
- Originally, Todd Rundgren was to star as the musical act, but both sides could not come to an agreement. Next, Cheap Trick was contacted, but a similar situation happened. After that, talks were conducted with Warner Bros. Records, where Allan Arkush had a connection, to decide on which band they should use in the film. The first suggestion was Devo, but Arkush decided that they had too much of their own concept. Another band considered for the movie was Van Halen, but Warner execs warned Arkush that they were raucous and would be difficult to handle. Finally, an exec name-dropped the Ramones, who recorded for Sire Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. Arkush, being a huge fan of the band, agreed, and the rest is history. To this day, Rundgren regrets passing up the role he was offered.
- Hand-written posters visible on the walls during the Ear Mail sequence include a recruiting poster for the People's Temple offering free Kool-Aid and a film club poster advertising a double-feature showing of Death Race 2000 (1975) (directed by Paul Bartel) and Hollywood Boulevard (1976) (directed by Allan Arkushand Joe Dante).
- Allan Arkush tried for several years to get the film produced under various rough draft titles: "High School Spirit of '76", "Heavy Metal Kids", "Girls' Gym", "California Girls", and "Disco High". After Todd Rundgren, Cheap Trick and Tom Petty declined the project, Arkush settled on the Ramones for the band in the film.
- The Ramones were paid a total of $25,000 for appearing in the film, and had to play shows in southern California to help pay their hotel bills. During the 21-day shoot, Dee Dee Ramone got arrested for fighting with a roadie, overdosed in jail, and wound up in Cedars Sinai Hospital with a $3,000 medical bill.
- The role of Eaglebauer was originally written for Eddie Deezen. However, Deezen was busy working on Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979), so the role was handed to Clint Howard.