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That Thing You Do! (1996) Poster

Trivia

The state fair entertainment circuit of the mid-60s (upon which Hanks based the movie) actually existed until the mid-80s. Midwestern fair managers (and probably other geographic areas) would work together on routing and negotiate lowered performers' fees as a group.
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Film debut of Tom Everett Scott. Tom Hanks was initially opposed to hiring Scott because of Scott's strong resemblance to a younger Hanks. He was finally convinced by his wife, Rita Wilson, who thought Scott was cute.
Tom Hanks named the beach band (Capn' Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters) after two seafood restaurants near Beaufort, South Carolina, where many scenes in Forrest Gump (1994) were filmed. Captain Geech's was on Lady's Island, but is now closed. The Shrimp Shack is still open for business on St. Helena Island.
Steve Zahn was best man at Tom Everett Scott's wedding.
Steve Zahn is an accomplished singer/guitarist. He played guitar and sang in both this movie and Saving Silverman (2001).
The four actors playing The Wonders rehearsed as a band for eight weeks to get the feel of performing - but most of their performances in the film were dubbed by other musicians.
Adam Schlesinger, the bassist of Fountains of Wayne, penned the title song in response to a contest being held by the studio. Their song won, being used in the movie. The movie was released shortly after their first album.
The bass player played by Ethan Embry is never explicitly named. All references to him in the film are as, "the bass player", and in the credits he is listed as "T.B. Player".
Including full versions, alternative versions, live versions and snippets, the song "That Thing You Do" is heard eleven times in the movie.
Tom Hanks claimed that he wrote the script while on the promotional tour for Forrest Gump (1994) due to his boredom doing non-stop interviews.
Tom Hanks named his production company Play-Tone after the fictional record label in the movie.
When the Oneders are playing at Boss Vic Koss' show in Pittsburgh, one of the other band names on the theater marquee is "Marilyn Lovell & The Geminis". This is a tribute to the wife of Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks in Apollo 13 (1995)) and the NASA space program.
Tom Hanks's writer-directorial film debut.
The FFA (Future Farmers of America) loaned strictly member-only jackets so the state science fair would look more authentic.
According to Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron was the first actress to audition for her part and the first person to be cast in the movie.
Only film to date (2016) to feature Tom Hanks, wife Rita Wilson, son Colin Hanks and daughter Elizabeth Hanks.
The waitress character played by Rita Wilson is named Marguerite. Wilson's birth name is Marguerita Ibrahimoff.
Parallels with The Beatles: (1) The Wonders' original band name (The Oneders) is a play on words involving music nomenclature. (2) "That Thing You Do" is a sped-up version of a slow ballad ("Please Please Me" for The Beatles). (3) In The Beatles' appearance in The Ed Sullivan Show: Episode #17.19 (1964), a shot of John Lennon is accompanied by the caption "Sorry Girls, He's Married". In this film, Mattingly is shown with the caption "Careful Girls, He's Engaged" during their national TV debut. (4) Both acts first reached fame after replacing their original drummer. (5). Each group loses its original bass player (The Beatles' original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe died and The Wonders' bassist joins the Marines). (6). Last-minute, temporary replacement: The Wonders' bassist had to be replaced after he disappeared; during part of The Beatles' 1964 world tour, drummer Jimmy Nicol had to sit in for Ringo Starr, who was undergoing an emergency tonsillectomy. (7) In the extended cut, it's shown that the group's manager, Mr. White, has a boyfriend. The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, was also gay. (8) When The Wonders are running to their cars in Wisconsin to catch a plane to "the coast", Faye (Liv Tyler) gets mistaken for a female fan and stopped by the police from following the band. A similar incident happened when The Beatles were traveling to see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While running to board a train, John Lennon's then wife, Cynthia Lennon, was stopped because she was mistaken for a female fan. Unlike the film's version, no one came back to retrieve Cynthia before the train left the station.
The exterior shots for Erie, Pennsylvania, the hometown of the band, were actually filmed in Orange, California.
During the montage of clips while a song plays, we see the band cavorting on a large map of the United States. At one point, one of the characters falls off of his bicycle at approximately the location of Cleveland, Ohio. This is because before becoming famous, Tom Hanks spent years there acting in local theater, and remains to this day a die-hard Cleveland Indians fan. The "stumble" therefore represents his time spent there on his way to national stardom.
Homeland Security Director (and Erie native) Tom Ridge, then the governor of Pennsylvania, visited the set during production and presented Tom Hanks with a Zippo lighter that was engraved with the film's logo (Hanks collects Zippos, which are manufactured in Pennsylvania.)
The part of Troy Chesterfield is played by Peter Scolari, Tom Hanks' co-star in his old sitcom Bosom Buddies (1980).
The guys are shown drinking Koehler Beer, which was a real brand produced by the Erie Brewing Company on State Street in Erie, Pennsylvania.
While trying to decide on a name for the band, the names glimpsed in Jimmy's notebook are: The Dollars, The Lords of Erie, The Pistunes, The Thorns, The Mozarts, The Echoes, The Ticks, The Didoctics, and The Flannels.
The scene where The Wonders perform live on The Hollywood Television Showcase was filmed at the Bob Barker Studio (Studio 33) at CBS Television City in Hollywood, California where the long-running hit game show The Price Is Right (1956) is taped.
Tom Hanks is an Oakland Raiders fan, and named the pizza place (out by the airport), where the band is the house band, "Villapianos" after former Raider linebacker Phil Villapiano.
The characters Jimmy Mattingly (played by Johnathon Schaech) and Lenny Haise (played by Steve Zahn) of The Wonders, have the same last names of the two astronauts Ken Mattingly and Fred Haise in the movie Apollo 13 (1995), which starred Tom Hanks.
Tom Hanks' character name is Andy White. Andy White was a studio/session drummer in the 60s, known for replacing Ringo Starr on The Beatles' first single "Love Me Do."
On the May 12, 2015 broadcast of Hallmark Channel's Home & Family (2012), Johnathon Schaech recounted a story that described how he made up the "I quit" song on the spot during his audition, and it got him the job.
The story of the Wonders continued in the liner notes of the film's soundtrack album. It was revealed that following the group's appearance on the "Hollywood Television Showcase", "That Thing You Do!" rose to #2 in "Billboard". Jimmy's career with the Heardsmen was also detailed a little further, indicating that they recorded "I Need You (That Thing You Do)" and "She Knows It", the songs heard over the movie's end credits. The liner notes are attributed to A.M. White (as in Mr. White), who supposedly later became president of the Playtone label.
During the Hollywood Television Showcase, Bryan Cranston plays NASA astronaut Gus Grissom. He would later play astronaut Buzz Aldrin in HBO's From the Earth to the Moon (1998), Executively Produced by Tom Hanks.
U Thant (oo-'tant), whom Guy mentions in the hotel coffee shop, was the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971.
The television commercial that is shown on the Hollywood Showcase before The Wonders appear is for the new Ford Mustang at the 1964 World's Fair. It was broadcast on all three major networks simultaneously on April 19, 1964.
The contest in the beginning of the movie was filmed at Mercyhurst College, in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Major Motion Picture director is played by Jonathan Demme, who directed Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (1993).
In the theatrical version of the film, Guy's sister Darlene only has one line - after her father announces that Guy left them "in a lurch" and promotes her, she asks: "Does that mean that you will start paying me?". In the extended cut however she has more lines, including berating Guy for mentioning their competition's name in home appliances when he pitches Tina's idea to their father at the shop.
In the extended cut of the film, when Phil Horace goes to Patterson's to tell Guy about the showcase, the song that can be heard playing in the background is the same song that the trio is playing at The Blue Spot, later on.
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The Wonder's song debuts at 93, then climbs to 71 and 49 in successive weeks, as shown on edited Billboard Hot 100 lists from July 1964. The actual songs that were replaced on these lists were "All My Loving" by The Hollyridge Strings (93 on 7/4/64), "I Can't Hear You" by Betty Everett (71 on 7/11/64) and "Share Your Love With Me" by Bobby Bland (49 on 7/18/64).
The bass player in the all-female folk band during the talent show audition is Jennifer York, a morning helicopter traffic reporter for KTLA Channel Five in Los Angeles, California.
The film takes place in 1964.
The main song "That Thing You Do" is only heard in its entirety twice: At the talent show (the band's first gig) and the Television Showcase (their last gig). All other playings are incomplete cuts.
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The Wonders' appearance in "Weekend at Party Pier" parallels the frequent appearance of Dick Dale in the American-International Beach Party (1963) series.
Toni Basil, who recorded the song Mickey (1981) was the choreographer. In Mickey, she sings the line "You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand." The Chantrellines sing "I want you to know, when you hold me hand, you hold my heart."
Mr. White's (Tom Hanks) first name is 'Andy'. (revealed only once; when Play-Tone President, Sol Siler, (Alex Rocco) is interrupted by Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech) while Sol stuffs himself with a deli sandwich and angrily retorts: "ANDY, What in the bloody hell is this? Auditions during my lunchtime?..."; at that point, Mr. White pulls Jimmy away.) (Andy is also the name of the boy in the Toy Story movies, whose favorite toy is "Woody", voiced by Tom Hanks.)
Frequent Tom Hanks collaborator, Ron Howard's, brother Clint Howard plays a DJ in the film. It's Howard's director hallmark to feature his brother in his work.
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Dwight Twilley was originally commissioned to write the title track but his song was never used.
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Other potential band names were: Mom's Hot Dish, The Lords of Erie, Jimmy in This and Jimmy in That, The Hanks, and Faye's Addiction.
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During the scene where the members of the Oneders hear their song on the radio for the first time inside the Patterson's Appliances, the same couple walks in front of the store at the beginning of the scene and then again at the end of the scene.
In real life, no film producer would ever allow a group like the Wonders with a hot hit record to appear in a teen-oriented movie under a fake name, such as 'Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters'. The Frankie and Annette Beach Party movies of the era, as well as all their many imitators, always included hit recording artists in abundance. Little Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, the Righteous Brothers, the Animals, Sonny & Cher, and many more appeared in period beach party movies, increasing the marquee value of such films.
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Tom Everett Scott (Shades) says he was "stationed in Germany" referring that he is a military veteran. Elvis Presley was stationed in Germany during his tenure in the Army.
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Another parallel to the Beatles: Jimmy's stance is identical to John Lennon's in early performances.
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The character names Haise and Mattingly are references to Apollo 13 (1995), which also starred Tom Hanks.
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The version of "That Thing You Do!" that was played at the Hollywood Showcase in the film, has a much louder and more arena sounding crowd on the soundtrack CD. In reality, it would have had a much smaller studio audience sound.
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Once their single charts, the boys are shown playing new instruments that are historically accurate. TB Player has a Fender Jazz Bass, Lenny has a Fender Jaguar and Jimmy plays a Rickenbacker 360/12 (Model 360, 12 string). The 360/12 was introduced in 1964 with one of the first instruments presented to and played by George Harrison of the Beatles.
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When the group is visiting the DJ, he is announcing an appearance at a car dealership on Saturday and Sunday, August 21st & 22nd, which was incorrect for 1964; those days were Thursday and Friday.
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Boss Vic Koss' secretary is played by Kathleen Kinmont, and is named Abby. In her scenes, Kinmont has a striking resemblance to her mom, Abby Dalton, who was a major television star in the 60s, when That Thing You Do! was set.
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Cameo 

Colin Hanks: Tom Hanks' son plays the usher who seats Faye late in the movie.
Rick Elias: Contemporary Christian singer and songwriter, Rick Elias as the guitarist seated behind Jimmy during Diane Dane's rehearsal. Elias is also co writer on four songs from the film, "I Need You (That Thing You Do)", "She Knows It", "All My Only Dreams", and "Dance With Me Tonight".
Howie Long: In the director's cut, Long makes a brief appearance as Lloyd, Mr. White's assumed boyfriend.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

According to the soundtrack's liner notes; Jimmy Mattingly ended up recording a hit song called "She Knows It" (heard over the closing credits) for The Heardsman, and became a producer for Play-Tone artists, and Mr. White was promoted to president of the Play-Tone label.
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This movie also parallels the Bryan Adams song "Summer of '69". There is a line in the song "Jimmy quit, Joey got married". In the movie, Jimmy quit and Lenny got married.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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