The slivovitz (a.k.a. "block and fall") the immigrant brothers recall their father drinking ("he never drank water, only slivovitz") is a real type of high-proof Hungarian plum brandy or schnapps made with the same kind of plums that give Sloe Gin its flavor. Slivovitz is not a brand name, but a generic term for this type of drink, and a definition of it can be found in some dictionaries.
The streetcar wreck scene was staged with a plywood replica of a Baltimore PCC streetcar, with assistance by Baltimore-area streetcar historians. The location of the "wreck" actually was on an original Baltimore streetcar route.
Some of Barry Levinson's relatives appear in the scene of Eva's funeral, which is based on the funeral of his own grandmother. When he started directing them, one of his cousins said, "Barry, we know what to do - we did this once before already."
This picture featured a number of scenes with Baltimore Transit Co. 7407, the only original Baltimore PCC streetcar that is still complete and in running condition. It was built by Pullman-Standard in 1944, and was the last PCC to run on the streets of Baltimore, on November 3, 1963. It was purchased by a Mr. John Engelman and presented to the Museum. It has since undergone two restorations; the second was performed in the old Carroll Park shops by the Maryland MTA and had been completed when Barry Levinson filmed "Avalon", which used 7407 for some night scenes and interior shots, but he had a wooden rubber-tired PCC replica built for the scenes on Baltimore streets, including the derailment scene. The replica was thereafter donated to the museum.