Beverly Hills, still a thrill.
A few weeks ago my colleagues found out I had never seen Troop Beverly Hills; there was shock, awe, and horror at my neglect of such a creative, colorful, American classic. So that night I fired up the old Fandango account and watched it, and have been singing "Beverly Hills, what a thrill" ever since.
As the best movies tend to do, it inspired quite a few Google searches, which naturally led me down some wandering rabbit holes of movie trivia and '80s inspired fashion. Here, a few things I learned about this absolutely iconic film.
You can still see the house—and stay next door.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is conveniently located down the street from the house that starred as the Nefler house in the movie. See the Nefler’s peachy home at 901 N. Camden Drive then head down Sunset Blvd. to check in at the iconic “Pink Palace”.
It’s outrageous—but based on real life.
In his memoir, executive producer Chuck Fries notes that the narrative was inspired by creator and producer Ava Ostern Fries' “true-to-life anecdotes” of her daughter joining the area brownie troop. It rained on their first camping trip, and lo and behold, where did they check into other than The Beverly Hills Hotel.
A white lie made one of our favorite characters possible.
Carla Gugino told the A.V. Club in a 2015 interview that she lied about being 14 to get the role of Chica Barnfell—she was really 16 at the time. “…It’s the only time I’ll ever be taller than my peers. I was three years older than everybody, but nobody knew,” she told them.
The whole one-bathroom thing is a bit of an (accidental?) theme.
Betty Thomas, who played the stern, straight-laced, and obsessively competitive rival troop leader Velda, went on to direct The Brady Bunch movie, which starred Shelley Long (Phyllis Nefler) as Carol Brady. As IMDB keenly points out, this is a bit ironic. During Troop Beverly Hills, Velda visits the Beverly Hills troop at the hotel and inquires, “Is this what you call roughing it?” to which Phyllis replies “One bathroom for nine people? Yes!” In the Brady Bunch movie, they once again find themselves with one bathroom for nine people.
The costume designer gets a clever shout-out.
In a movie worth watching for the visuals alone, the costumes are huge. In the court scene, Phyllis says her flashy ensemble is “Van Runkle,” which is a little nod to Theadora Van Runkle who was the movie’s costume designer.
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Sadly for now, that's all I've got; or at least until I find a good source for that pink, feathered robe. But I'll definitely be re-watching again and again. Until then, it's all khaki wishes and cookie dreams.