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Monday, May 07, 2012


I don’t know about anybody else, but for the most part, I have a strong dislike for golf.

To me, golf is one of those sports that I haven’t any interest in.  I may have enjoyed playing the odd game of miniature golf in my youth, but miniature golf was fun!  Trying to avoid windmills, pitfalls, and rainbow coloured obstacles was my idea of fun.

It’s the adult version of golf that I don’t enjoy.

And this isn’t a slam against professional golfers such as Arnold Palmer, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, Phil Mickelson, or Tiger Woods.  All five of those men have earned much respect in the sport of professional golf, and are widely respected in the world of sports.

It’s just that I always saw golf as being one of those sports that ended up being a great cure for insomnia.  For whatever reason, I find that watching the sport of golf on television bores me to tears.

The same deal goes for entertainment based on the sport of golf.  I tried playing golf themed video games only to turn it off fifteen minutes later in favour of Tetris.  I tried watching golf themed television shows, and ended up changing the channel.

And there are all of those golf-themed movies that have been released over the years.  In most cases, I find most of these golf movies to be just as uninteresting as the sport itself.  “Happy Gilmour” had that lovely scene where Adam Sandler and Bob Barker got into a catfight, but that was the only moment of that film that stood out.  “Tin Cup” was a movie that didn’t garner much of an impact at all on me.  And, I would comment on “The Legend Of Bagger Vance”, but I think that movie ended up putting me in a coma.

Try as I might, there was no way that I could make the sport of golf entertaining or interesting.  Not even the world of pop culture could change my mind about the sport...

...or could it?

It wasn’t until I watched a particular movie on a cable channel that made me look at the sport of golf at a different angle.  I didn’t get a chance to see the film when it originally came out (it was released in 1980, which was the year before I was born), but watching this film for the first time, I found it quite funny.  To my surprise, the film actually made golf seem fun.  And, the film itself didn’t just focus on golf.  It had a decent story (aside from the crude humour peppered throughout the film), a fantastic cast, and iconic scenes that everybody remembers...such as this clip in which a “Baby Ruth” candy bar ended up causing so much trouble.

I’m sure that you know what the movie we’re discussing is by now, but here’s one more clue.

“Caddyshack” was released in the summer of 1980, and starred Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Michael O’Keefe, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray.  The film was written by Douglas Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray (who also had a minor role in the movie), and was the directing debut of Harold Ramis.  And what made the film stand out was that the plot was largely based on the real-life experiences of both the writer and director of the film.

For instance, you know the Baby Ruth scene that I showed you earlier?  That was based on a real-life incident that occurred at the high school that Doyle-Murray attended in his youth!  So, believe it or not, that scene was inspired by a true story!  Who would have thought it?

Truth be told, the whole plot of Caddyshack was based entirely on one of Doyle-Murray’s first jobs.  He worked as a caddy at a Illinois country club, and as it turned out, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray also had experience working as caddies.

TRIVIA:  I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now, but Brian Doyle-Murray and Bill Murray are brothers. 

I actually have a lot more trivia that I’ve found out about this movie, but I want to save that until the end of the blog.  For now, here’s a brief summary of the plot.

We’re introduced to Danny Noonan (O’Keefe), a teenager who is eager to get into college.  Problem is, his family can’t afford to send him, and his grades were too poor to get an academic scholarship.  His only hope was to get a job and raise the money himself.

So, he gets a job at Bushwood Country Club working as the caddy for Ty Webb (Chase), the playboy son of one of the club founders.  At first, the pairing worked great, as Ty taught Danny all about the finer things in life in between practicing trick shots.

But then Danny started to caddy for Judge Elihu Smails (Knight), the stuffy co-founder of the club.  The reason Danny did this was to seek the approval of Smails, in hopes of netting the Caddy Scholarship, which could make his dream of going to college a reality.

Soon, Danny is suddenly surrounded by Smails’ golfing group, which includes his obnoxious grandson, Spaulding, Bishop Fred Pickering, Dr. Beeper, and Smails’ niece, Lacey Underall, who is visiting for the summer.

At the same time, a subplot is happening which has Carl Spackler (Murray), the assistant of the Bushwood Country Club head greenskeeper searching for particular one mischievous gopher who likes to dig tunnels underneath the green.

During a golf game, Smails is constantly picked on by the larger-than-life Al Czervik (Dangerfield), a real estate tycoon, who boasts that he will wager a thousand dollars that Smails will miss the putt.  Czernik’s loud speech attracts a crowd of spectators, which makes Smails incredibly nervous.  He misses the putt, and is so angry that...well...this happens.

Unfortunately, the clip cuts out before the end, but long story short, the club hits a woman, and Smails thinks that he will get in serious trouble.  But Danny, in an effort to get Smails to respect him, takes the blame.  Smails is impressed that Danny would do such a thing, and encourages him to apply for the Caddy Scholarship.  Shortly after that, Danny and his girlfriend Maggie are working as servers for the 4th of July banquet where Danny instantly takes notice of the sensuous Lacey.  Maggie warns Danny that Lacey is very promiscuous, but Danny doesn’t seem fazed by it.  In fact, Danny isn’t the only one who seems to be taken in by Lacey’s good looks, as Ty is also left smitten by Lacey.

Some time passes, and Danny ends up winning the Caddy Day golf championship, seemingly sealing the deal for his scholarship for school.  Smails is thrilled for Danny, and immediately invites him to the christening of his new yacht.  During the christening, Danny and Lacey slip away towards Smails house as Smails takes his new boat out for its maiden voyage.

Too bad it ended up being the LAST voyage.

As if Smails day wasn’t bad enough, imagine his surprise when he arrives back home to see Lacey and Danny in bed together.  A furious Smails chases Danny around the room and tries to beat him up with a golf club!  Goodbye scholarship...

...but wait!  Smails decides to give Danny the scholarship anyway...provided that he didn’t say a word of the embarrassing incident involving Lacey to anybody.  And when Czervik announces his plan to buy the country club to erect condominiums on the site, Ty Webb comes up with the idea to have a golf match contest for $20,000.  Both men agree to the terms, and the competition goes ahead.  Czervik and Ty against Beeper and Smails.

But when Czervik ends up tanking terribly after nine holes, he realizes that if the match was to go on, his team would lose.  So he stages an accident which would force Ty to choose a replacement.

And Ty decided to choose Danny for his replacement, and Smails is not happy about it.  He even threatens to take away Danny’s scholarship if he went along with Ty’s request.

So, what’s a guy, who has an entire scholarship riding on this game to do?

Well, first off, watch the movie.  You’ll love it.  There’s even a twist in the ending that involves the gopher subplot that I’m sure that all of you will love.  Just trust me on this one.

So, that’s Caddyshack in a nutshell.  I’d recommend this movie highly, and if you can get around the adult humour, it really does have a great story to it.  Hey, if it can give me a new appreciation for the sport of golf, it has to be good, right?

Now, as promised, some trivia about Caddyshack, courtesy of Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia...

1 – The film took eleven weeks to shoot, taking place during the autumn of 1979.

2 – The scene in which Ty Webb’s golf ball crashes into Carl Spackler’s house was not originally included in the movie.  Ramis noticed that in Caddyshack, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray didn’t share one scene together, so he ended up adding it into the movie after the three met for lunch one day.

3 – This movie is the only movie that has Chevy Chase and Bill Murray sharing a scene...they reportedly were feuding back when both appeared as cast members on Saturday Night Live.

4 – Bill Murray’s Cinderella story scene was completely improvised.

5 – Cindy Morgan (who played Lacey) is legally blind without contact lenses or glasses, so there was some concern about the scene where she was to dive into a pool from the diving board.  Morgan climbed up the ladder to the board, but a stunt double was used for the actual dive itself.

6 – Tiger Woods has listed Caddyshack as one of his favourite movies of all time.  I wonder if he still feels that way considering the reports of how his marriage ended...

7 – If the gopher’s voice sounds familiar, it’s because the same sounds were used for the 1960s television series “Flipper”.

8 – The movie made almost $40 million at the box office.

9 – A sequel to Caddyshack was released in 1988, but wasn’t as successful as the original film.

10 – The main theme song for Caddyshack was the first of many film soundtrack appearances by singer Kenny Loggins, who also released songs for the soundtracks of “Top Gun” and “Footloose”.  To end this entry off, here’s the song from Caddyshack that he released.

ARTIST:  Kenny Loggins
SONG:  I’m Alright
ALBUM:  Caddyshack Motion Picture Soundtrack
RELEASE DATE:  September 1980

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