Even after 180 episodes of this amazing American sitcom, you can’t forget the fun you had watching it. The Golden Girls was created by Susan Harris and originally aired on NBC on September 14, 1985, ending on May 9, 1992, concluding the seventh season. The half-hour episodes kept many people’s attention throughout the years, and it has become a vintage classic, with many younger people also falling in love with the show years later. In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Golden Globe number 54 on the list of the 60 Best Series of All Time. Even after so many years, there are still things to find about the show.
Here are 20 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know. Yet.
1. First choices
From the beginning, Lee Grant was the first choice for Dorothy. However, Lee was unenthusiastic about playing a grandmother, so the part was eventually offered to Bea Arthur.
2. NBC was against Bea Arthur
NBC was originally against casting Bea Arthur for the role of Dorothy. Harris actually wrote the role of Dorothy with Arthur in mind. The then-NBC president (Brandon Tartikoff) was against the idea, stating Arthur’s “Q” score as the reason. The “Q” score is a rating system of a performer’s audience appeal. Obviously, Bea’s score was extremely low. She was far from “loveable.”
3. Rue McClanahan pushed Bea Arthur to pursue the role.
Rue McClanahan convinced her reluctant Maude co-star to give The Golden Girls a try. Apparently, she phoned Arthur and asked, “Why are you going to turn down the best script that’s ever going to come across your desk as long as you live?”
4. How the cast passed their time
Betty White found a kindred spirit in Rue McClanahan when it came to word puzzles. These two frequently played alphabet games in between takes throughout the taping of episodes.
5. Age gap
It first took the makeup department 45 minutes to transform Getty into Sophia Petrillo. The aging process was even more complex when Getty turned up looking even younger when season two began.
6. Stage fright
During tapings, Getty would often freeze on camera. It was because she had the least experience and got intimidated. In a 1988 interview, she stated that she felt like a fraud and worried that the fans would “find out” that she wasn’t as good as her co-stars.
7. McClanahan’s favorite episode was ‘Journey To The Center Of Attention’
This is the episode where Dorothy uncharacteristically becomes popular at The Rusty Anchor, Blanche’s favorite place for meeting men. At McClanahan’s request, the producers hired choreographer Gregory Scott Young to stage the scene where Blanche sings “I Want to Be Loved by You”.
8. Royal fans
Queen Elizabeth invited the stars of the show to perform live at 1988’s Royal Variety Performance in London. The ladies reenacted two of their kitchen table scenes. The Queen Mother was giggling at Dorothy’s question to Blanche about how long she had waited to have sex again after her husband had died. “Until the paramedics came.” Hilarious!
9. Three chairs in the Miami house
Some fans have probably noticed that there were four women living in the Miami house, but there were only three chairs around the famous kitchen table. That was in fact due to the limitations of filming. Producers wanted to avoid squeezing all four actresses shoulder-to-shoulder. Bea was always given the center chair because of her height and in order to catch her priceless facial expressions. Interesting, right?
10. The placement of the characters
The placement of the other characters around the table depended upon the particular situation, and which character needed to exit the kitchen.
11. Hand me down
The iconic Golden Girls set was leftover from another short-lived Harris sitcom called It Takes Two.
12. Borrowed names
Dorothy’s last name was borrowed from the stage manager, Kent Zbornak. He worked as the stage manager for the show for the entire run of the series.
13. Betty White’s favorite episode was ‘A Little Romance’
In this episode, Rose is reluctant to introduce the ladies to her new boyfriend, psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Newman. This is because he is a little person.
14. Clip on earrings
Dorothy wore clip-on earrings. Actually, she hated that her ears were numb with pain by the end of the day.
15. Deadly fear
Estelle Getty was terrified about dying. This was truly a handicap when starring in a show about four senior women.
Rue McClanahan had a clause in her contract that allowed her to keep all of Blanche’s custom-made clothing. Reportedly, she had 13 closets full of Blanche’s clothes. Lucky woman!
The two-part episode entitled “Sick and Tired” was based on Susan Harris’ real-life struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. Dorothy was struggling to find a doctor who would take her symptoms seriously.
18. Miami in LA
Even though the official address was 6151 Richmond Street in Miami, Florida, the original exterior shots of Blanche’s house were of a home located at 245 North Saltair Avenue in Los Angeles, California.
19. Flat shoes
The nearly 5-foot-10-inch actress once stated in an interview that when she was younger she wished she could wear heels. However, if she did she would have been taller than any of her dates in high school. Arthur later found that she couldn’t balance properly or walk in one-inch heels.
20. A new word introduced
The Golden Girls introduced a new word to non-Floridian viewers: lanai. A lanai is a porch or veranda with a cement floor and an awning. But for those who didn’t know that, we had Sophia on hand to introduce us to it.
Dorothy: We are throwing a surprise birthday party for Blanche. I want you to go out to the lanai and mingle with the other guests.
Sophia: Check! …What’s a lanai?
Dorothy: The porch!
Sophia: Excuse me, Krystle Carrington!