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August 20, 2022

20 Rarely Seen Behind the Scenes Photographs From the Making of the Film ‘Grease’ (1978)

Grease is one of the most iconic films ever made. It was first released in 1978, and decades later, the movie is still as celebrated as it ever was. It starred the likes of John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, and Stockard Channing.

The opening beach scene of the film was shot at Malibu’s Leo Carrillo State Beach, making explicit reference to From Here to Eternity. The exterior Rydell scenes, including the front parking lot scenes, the auto shop, the “Summer Nights” bleachers number, Rizzo’s “There Are Worse Things I Can Do” number, the basketball, baseball, and track segments, and the interior of the gymnastics gym, were shot at Venice High School in Venice, California, during the summer of 1977.

The Rydell interiors, including the high school dance, were filmed at Huntington Park High School. The sleepover was shot at a private house in East Hollywood. The Paramount Pictures studio lot was the location of the scenes that involve Frosty Palace and the musical numbers “Greased Lightning” and “Beauty School Dropout.” The drive-in movie scenes were shot at the Burbank Pickwick Drive-In. The race was filmed at the Los Angeles River, between the First and Seventh Street Bridges, where many other films have been shot. The final scene where the carnival took place used John Marshall High School. Furthermore, owing to budget cuts, a short scene was filmed at Hazard Park in Los Angeles.

The actors often visited the set to watch each other’s performances. Sometimes they were given cameos: Kenickie for example appears in the background, working on his car, when Rizzo sings “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.” That was suggested by Jeff Conaway, the actor who played Kenickie. The awkward moment when Kenickie and Danny hug was also Conaway’s idea by the way. A good director listens to their actors. Lots of improv took place during the filming of Grease really—the stuff with Putzie, Doody and Sonny, almost all that was improvised.

Here, below is a selection of 20 amazing behind the scenes photographs during the making of Grease.


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