45 Eerie Photos Captured Behind-The-Scenes

By Jack Ripley | March 15, 2023

The 'L' Was Penny Marshall's Trick To Remind Viewers Of Laverne's Name

A peek behind the scenes or an untold story can reveal so much more about our favorite shows and movies. Why did Mary Tyler Moore wear that silly wig on her new show, and who were those Hanson brothers in Slap Shot? These are the mysteries of the screen (big and small) that stay with us for years, seemingly never to be solved. But there are explanations and anecdotes -- everything has some back story or secret origin. What was in the bottle before Barbara Eden (Jeannie) moved in? What's George Harrison doing in that Monty Python movie? And what is up with the mask that Michael Myers wears -- is it really a Star Trek thing? Take a moment to dig deeper and you might find the fact or tale that makes you enjoy a series or film even more.

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Source: IMDB

You could depend on audiences to know (or at least guess) that a show called Laverne & Shirley would be about two women, one named Laverne and the other Shirley. But would they remember, week-to-week, which one was Laverne and which was Shirley? Arguably not -- and when this is a concern, writers often will work a character's name into the opening lines of a show to establish who's who.

It's a clumsy bit of exposition, and actress Penny Marshall felt there had to be a better way. She decided upon a visual clue: Laverne's famous "L" monogram. Just as Batman doesn't really need to say "I'm Batman" (although, for some reason, he does) because he has a big bat icon on his chest, Laverne never needed to remind the audience that she was Laverne -- it was always right there in that flowing script "L."

Yvonne Craig Did Her Own Fight Scenes On 'Batman,' Unlike Adam West And Burt Ward

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Source: LA Times

Yvonne Craig joined the Batman TV series in its third season, playing the dual role of Barbara Gordon and Batgirl -- and the new blood was just what the show needed, as its popularity had begun to flag. Craig was a dynamic presence on screen, and not just because she was drop-dead gorgeous. She brought a physicality to her performance that was years in the making.

Craig had studied ballet since she was 10 years old, and had been very successful at it, attending the School of American Ballet in New York. At just 17 years of age, Craig was the youngest member of the touring Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She ditched ballet for acting, doing guest spots on TV shows and appearing in two Elvis movies before getting the Batman gig. 

Working on the show was physically taxing, and while Adam West and Burt Ward had stunt doubles for the run of the series, Craig insisted that she do her own stunts. Her ballet training was integral to her work on the show, and it’s one of the reasons that she was able to convince the producers to let her jump around on camera.