It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 25 years since the gang from Bayside High first made their television debut on “Saved by the Bell.”
Well, maybe not their debut. As any true “Saved by the Bell” fan will tell you, Zack, Lisa, Screech and Mr. Belding were all characters on the ill-fated Disney sitcom “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” before (inexplicably) transferring from Indianapolis to L.A. for the NBC premiere of “Saved by the Bell” on August 20, 1989. But it’s a good thing they left, because it wasn’t until they met up with Jessie, Slater and Kelly that their characters really came into their own, cementing their status as the coolest kids in school (and one slightly out-of-touch principal).
In celebration of the show’s neon silver anniversary, we’ve gathered ten little-known trivia tidbits about everybody’s favorite Saturday morning sitcom:
1. The original pilot for “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” was created for NBC (and aired a full two years before “Saved by the Bell”), but the studio ultimately passed and instead made a deal to produce 13 more episodes for the Disney Channel. Unlike the ‘GMMB’ episodes that aired on Disney, however, the NBC pilot featured a completely different cast playing the students, including Brian Austin Green (of future “90210” fame), Jonathan Brandis (“Seaquest”) and Jaleel White (who would go on to play Steve Urkel in “Family Matters”).
2. With the exception of co-creator Peter Engel and NBC president Brandon Tartikoff, the show’s crew wasn’t thrilled with Tiffani Amber Thiessen’s casting as Kelly Kapowski (and that includes Elizabeth Berkley, who originally auditioned for the role of Kelly). “No one wanted Tiffani but Brandon and I,” remembered Engel on comedian Barry Katz’s podcast. “My staff was up in arms … I said, ‘I know. She can’t walk, she can’t talk, she can’t chew gum at the same time. But she’s gonna be a major star.'”
3. Peter Engel wasn’t a fan of the name “Saved by the Bell.” One of his writers, Tom Tenowich, suggested it during a meeting with Brandon Tartikoff, who liked the way it sounded. As soon as the meeting was over, Engel remarked to Tenowitz that it was the “stupidest ****ing idea I ever heard,” but went ahead with it anyway, believing that NBC would never be able to secure the rights to the phrase. Perhaps bitter over being wrong, Engel later hired five separate composers to pen the show’s theme song, and instructed each not to use the phrase “saved by the bell” in the lyrics or incorporate the sound of ringing bells in the recording. “The first four guys, it was nothing special, [then] Scotty Gale comes in, and the bell rings [at the beginning of] his recording,” said Engel. “My staff thinks I’m going to kill him … [but] I go, ‘That’s it!'”
4. Mark-Paul Gosselaar never had naturally blond hair; his dark locks were dyed lighter for the show. “I can’t believe I have hair now,” he remarked on a 2014 episode of “Live With Michael and Kelly,” adding that he had been “putting toxins on [his] head for six years.”
5. The “Saved by the Bell” spin-off “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” ran for more seasons (seven) and produced more episodes (143) than “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” “Saved by the Bell” and “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” combined. (“Good Morning, Miss Bliss” ran for one season and produced 13 episodes; “Saved by the Bell” ran for four seasons and produced 86 episodes and one made-for-TV special; and “The College Years” ran for one season and produced 19 episodes.)
Head over to Fox News Magazine for more fun facts about “Saved By the Bell.”
This article originally appeared on Fox News Magazine.
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