Dave and Chuck the Freak

Grease will forever be known for its classic cast of John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing and Jeff Conaway. However, Coach Calhoun, who was played by television icon Sid Caesar, was almost played by a porn star.

This revelation was discussed on a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s It Happened in Hollywood podcast. The episode featured Randal Kleiser, the director of the 1978 film adaptation of the popular stage musical. Kleiser said (as transcribed by The Independent), “Allan [Carr, the producer] wanted to have the porn star Harry Reems play that part.”

Reems, of course, is best known for playing Doctor Young in the 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat. Unsurprisingly, Carr’s casting choice was met with some major resistance.

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Kleiser said, “He actually hired him, and then the studio said, ‘No, no, no. You can’t do that.’ And so they had to fire him.” Apparently, Reems was hoping the role would help him break out of the adult film world and into Hollywood. Kleiser added, “Allan felt so bad that he gave Harry $5,000 out of his own pocket.”

Grease, of course, went on to become a classic. Per Box Office Mojo, the film has grossed over $396 million in theaters worldwide from its initial release and subsequent re-releases in theaters. Its soundtrack has sold 30 million copies worldwide and topped album sales charts in 13 different countries. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Grease soundtrack was certified 8-times platinum selling over 8 million copies in 1984. The RIAA has yet to look into updated figures since, but it’s safe to assume the soundtrack has likely gone diamond — selling over 10 million copies — since then.

 

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.