Behind The Scenes Of Troop Beverly Hills: Fun Film Facts And Catching Up With The Actors
It’s been 30 years since Troop Beverly Hills hit the big screen. For the first time since 1989, the cast recently reunited for Entertainment Tonight. They met at the Beverly Hills Hotel to reveal little-known-secrets from the show. In honor of this, we pulled together some rare facts about the movie, as well as what the actors have done since then. Do you know which songwriter made a cameo in the movie, or which Troop 332 member later directed their leader? If you’re a Troop Beverly Hills lover, strap in for some intriguing movie facts!
Velda Was Betty Thomas’s Last Acting Role
Although the film kicked off acting roles for future Beverly Hills, 90210 stars, Betty Thomas dropped acting after playing Velda Plendor. “I quit acting after that, I was like, ‘Help me!'” joked Thomas. She left her last acting role to move behind the camera as a director.
Betty Thomas directed some well-known classics, including The Brady Bunch Movie, John Tucker Must Die, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. In 2001, she won the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award from the Women in Film Organization.
Shelley Long Won Two Golden Globes Later
The most fabulous troop leader, Shelley Long skyrocketed her acting career after Troop Beverly Hills. She is best known for playing Diane Chambers in the sitcom Cheers, which won her five Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe Awards.
Long has also starred in several movies, including The Brady Bunch Movie and its 1996 sequel. She even played The Wicked Witch in Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Dede Pritchett in Modern Family. For Family Guy, she voiced Carol Brady.
This Line Subtly Hints At Shelley Long’s Future Role
In Troop Beverly Hills, when Velda visits the Beverly Hills Hotel and asks, “Is this what you call roughing it?” Phyllis replies, “One bathroom for nine people? Yes!” Weirdly enough, Shelley Long (who played Phyllis) would later play Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie, where the family literally had one bathroom for nine people.
Even stranger, The Brady Bunch Movie was directed by Betty Thomas, who played Velda in this exact scene! The two actresses reunited their roles in the most bizarre way possible.
The Film Was Partly Inspired By The Producer’s Own Experience
Ava Ostern Fries was one of the producers of Troop Beverly Hills who also wrote the story’s screenplay. Years before, Fries took the job as Brownie leader of her seven-year-old daughter’s Girl Scout troop in Beverly Hills. When it rained one day during their camping trip, they retreated to the Beverly Hills Hotel, where they roasted marshmallows at the fireplace.
Her stories became a hit at dinner parties. Her husband, veteran producer Charles W. Fries, implored her to write the stories down. Fries wrote the screenplay and took it Weintraub Entertainment Group, creating the fan-loved film.
The Girl Scouts Refused To Endorse The Film
The Girl Scouts refused to endorse Troop Beverly Hills, which is why you can’t see any official names or uniforms in the film. A spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts didn’t comment much on it beyond, “the script was read and we decided that it wasn’t for us.”
However, the writers understood why the Girl Scouts withheld their support. “We include a bad troop in the story — Shelley Long’s rivals, so to speak,” Margaret Oberman told The LA Times. Even so, the studio did not take this refusal to heart and continued the movie.
Carla Gugino Lied About Her Age To Play Chica
Carla Gugino was 16 when she auditioned to play Chica, but told everyone she was 14. Three weeks into production, knowing that it was too late to replace her, she finally admitted her age to director Jeff Kanew.
Gugino later said, "I thought for sure he was gonna be like, ‘No big deal.’ But he was like, ‘Gasp! I would’ve never hired you if I knew you were 16.’" Nonetheless, Gugino got emancipated later that year as a legal adult. Her role as Chica launched her acting career.
The Studio Shortened Carla Gugino
Because Carla Gugino turned 16 while she was playing Carla, she was quite a bit taller than the other girls. Throughout the movie, you can catch certain scenes in which the producers try to mask her height.
During the dance numbers, Gugino often slumps in the back row to appear shorter. In one scene, all girls sit on the floor of the living room for their troop meeting. Every girl around Gugino sits on a pillow to make them all appear similar in size.
Continuity Errors Litter The Title Sequence
John Kricfalusi, who created the title screen, did a phenomenal job but also let some errors slip through. For instance, some of the actors’ names cut off around the edges. At the 2:15 mark, a troop member disappears with no explanation.
“It’s a job that I hardly remember getting notes on,” title supervisor Bill Kroyer recounts. “That’s the strangest thing. That whole production, it was rushed to get it done, and they really liked the look of the art…I think they were just so excited about that so the little things about the staging or composition, they just didn’t mention.”
"Cookie Time" Boutique No Longer Exists
Remember “Cookie Time?” That bright yellow Giorgio boutique, home of “Cookie Time”, sat at 295 North Rodeo Drive. Unfortunately, it no longer exists. Now it’s a Louis Vuitton storefront. Viewers can still tell it’s the same spot, because a block down the road lies the Regent Beverly Wilshire, where they shot Pretty Woman.
Fortunately, most of the locations — including the Beverly Hills Hotel itself, City Hall, and even the Nefler house — all look the same as way back then. In fact, the Nefler house sits one block over from the Hotel. No wonder Phyllis took her girls there!
Writer Of "Cookie Time" Made A Cameo
Speaking of “Cookie Time,” the actress/songwriter Hilary Shepard made an appearance in the movie. She was the sales associate who sold Phyllis the dress missing a bead. If you want more of her songwriting work, you can easily find it!
In the 1980s, Hilary Shepard sang and played drums in the all-female group American Girls. Her band released the album American Girls in 1986. She also acted in the Power Rangers franchise, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Scanner Cop.
Jenny Lewis Stole A Hat From The Set
To this day, Jenny Lewis has kept one hat from the set that her character didn’t even wear. "I have the hat that Kellie Martin’s character [Emily Coleman] wore," Lewis told Glamour in 2014. "It’s a little white hat with a pink flower, but I don’t know why I still have it."
Unfortunately for fans, Lewis has not worn that hat in any of her performances or music videos. But she does reportedly keep the adorable hat as a keepsake from the set.
The Studio Shot Two Films At Once
While the studio produced Troop Beverly Hills, they were shooting another project at the same time. As the camera rolled for Shelley Long, a second camera crew worked on a low-budget video for the Second Assistant Directors Program that is offered in Hollywood.
The tape included several interviews with cast and crew, including the team working on Troop Beverly Hills. To save money, they also shot this film on the same sets as Troop Beverly Hills. This video is still shown to students wanting to enter the program.
A 77 Sunset Strip Easter Egg Appears In The Movie
Edd Byrnes, who played Ross Coleman in Troop Beverly Hills, purposefully appeared on the Swiss army knife’s comb in the movie. This was the director’s little Easter egg referencing Byrnes’s character Kookie in the detective drama 77 Sunset Strip.
From 1958 to 1964, Byrnes played the unlicensed, protégé detective Kookie. Kookie’s signature move was to comb his hair — sparking the novelty song “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.” The filmmakers threw in the small reference for anyone who recognized Edd Byrnes from his first hit series.
Jenny Lewis Became A Rockstar
Jenny Lewis, who played Hannah in the film, went on to form the rock band Rilo Kiley. She joined a fellow child actor Blake Sennet from Boy Meets World and sang while playing rhythm guitar. She even nodded to Troop Beverly Hills in her 2015 music video, "She’s Not Me."
In 2014, Lewis and Sennet disbanded Rilo Kiley and went their separate ways in music. Lewis has released four solo albums since then, and has played as a member in The Postal Service and Jenny & Johnny.
Jamie Was Tori Spelling’s First Film Role
Most of Tori Spelling’s career cast her in television shows, but Troop Beverly Hills was her first movie casting ever. After Troop Beverly, Spelling went on to play roles in Scream 2, Scary Movie 2, and Kiss the Bride.
Spelling’s most famous television appearance was her role as Donna Martin in Beverly Hills, 90210. She has also voiced animated characters, such as Kim in American Dad! She was even a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. As if she couldn’t get cooler, she has also written six books. Her autobiography, sTORI Telling in 2008, was a New York Times Bestseller.
Annie Went From SNL To All Over TV
Before she played the shy assistant troop leader Annie Herman, actress Mary Gross worked on Saturday Night Live for four years. From 1981 to 1985, you could see her as a co-anchor of SNL’s Weekend Update.
Perhaps Gross is most known for her voice acting and participation in TV shows since then. Gross played both Mrs. Quick and Judy in That’s So Raven!, the school nurse in Hey Arnold! and Aunt Raylene in General Hospital. Since 2012, Gross has not taken any more roles.
Fred Nefler Is Also Mr. Incredible
Craig T. Nelson, who played the cheating but ultimately endearing Freddy Nefler, has starred in many more films and shows since Troop Beverly Hills. Most popular might be his role as Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles and in its 2018 sequel.
You may also recognize Nelson if you watched the Poltergeist series, in which he played Steven Freeling. Other roles include The Devil’s Advocate and Blades of Glory, as well as TV shows such as Parenthood and Raised by Wolves.
Carla Gugino Became A Household Name
Since Carla Gugino cried that her parents were in Monte Carlo on her birthday, she rose to much higher roles than Chica in Troop Beverly Hills. Most movie fans likely have seen her in some other parts since then. She has acted in the Spy Kids trilogy, Watchmen, Sin City, Night at the Museum, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and The Space Between Us.
Gugino has been with Sebastian Gutierrez since 2005, whom she worked with during Karen Sisco and Rise: Blood Hunter. The two have never married, but live comfortably together and still work on movies.
Kellie Martin’s Life Goes On
The year Kellie Martin played Ellie, the daughter of an unemployed actor in Troop Beverly Hills, made her debut in the TV series Life Goes On. Martin would continue to act in Life Goes On up until the show ended in 1993.
Martin continues to act and even contributed to the 2019 Lifetime Movie Death of a Cheerleader. Martin also played roles in Mad Men, the Hailey Dean Mystery series, and the Mystery Woman series. For a while, she even joined Emily Schulman in her series Christy.
Tiffany Now Teaches Acting
Emily Hope Schulman did not branch out her career much after playing the spoiled Tiffany Honigman. Schulman continued to act in TV shows and movies until 1995. After ending her role as Ruby Mae Morrison in Christy, she left acting to become a commercial agent.
After 13 years working in the commercial business, Schulman moved from commercial agent to acting instructor. Today, she still teaches drama in Connecticut. In 2002, Schulman married Derek Webster, and the pair have four children.