I’m still slightly in New Year’s mode, and almost every year around this time we watch When Harry Met Sally, because it’s got that New Year’s ending. But I don’t just like to watch movies; I like to know as much about the movies that I enjoy.
Now, a lot of people already know some of the details behind the movie, especially the famous scene in the deli. But there are other great tidbits that you might not know about. And keep reading to the end for a Billy Crystal story that only a handful of people on earth know about.
So, that being said, did you know?…
MasterCharge not MasterCard
When Harry and Sally are driving from Chicago to New York in 1977, they go into the diner where they have the famous conversation about whether a man and woman can be just friends. On the door of the diner, there’s a sticker that says “MasterCard.” But in 1977, the company wasn’t called MasterCard. It was MasterCharge. Aha! No soup for you!… Wait, wrong show.
Nora Ephron was the Picky Eater
One of the recurring bits in the movie is that Sally is a really picky eater. That came from the real-life fussiness of the movie’s writer, Nora Ephron, who ordered food in the same way. In fact, one time Ephron was on a plane, and after giving her order, the stewardess said to her, “Have you ever seen the movie When Harry Met Sally?”
Interviews with Old Couples
The movie has all of those great interviews with old couples talking about how they met. Well, the stories are all real, but the people telling them are actors. Who knew?
Auld Lang Syne
At the New Year’s party near the end of the movie, Harry questions the meaning of the song “Auld Lang Syne.” Well, there’s an episode of the TV show All in the Family where Mike Stivic (played by Rob Reiner, director of When Harry Met Sally) also questioned the meaning of that song.
Also, even though the interview stories with the old couples in the movie are real, the “how we met” story as told by Harry and Sally is improvised.
When Billy Met Sean
Okay, so this doesn’t have anything to do with the movie, but it does involve Billy Crystal, and it’s a story that really needs to be told.
A few years ago, Billy Crystal had a one-man show called 700 Sundays. And around this time, my friend Sean had his own reality TV show. You might have heard of it. It was called Storage Hunters, and it aired at first in the United States on TruTV, and then for a few years after that in the UK on a channel called Dave… or Rick, or Carl, or something like that. The station has a weird name.
Well, before Billy’s one-man show hit Broadway, he was doing a preliminary private performance of it in front of friends and family. And a friend of Sean’s in the industry invited him to attend. The thing is, on this particular day, Sean had been working hours and hours and hours. He was exhausted. So he declined and told the guy he really needed to get some sleep instead. But the guy was persistent, “Are you kidding? It’s Billy Crystal. You gotta come!” So after a bit more badgering, Sean agreed to go.
The thing is, Sean suffers from sleep apnea, so he always has to sleep with one of those big, demonic CPAP machines. Otherwise, he has trouble breathing and ends up snoring loud enough to wake up dead people.
So they’re at the theater in their seats. The lights come down and the show starts. And yep… Before long, Sean falls asleep and begins snoring.
FREIGHT TRAIN LOUD.
FOG HORN LOUD.
Well, the show finally ends, Sean wakes up, and in the aftermath people are mingling.
Then, Sean’s friend introduces him to Billy Crystal.
“This is Sean,” he says.
Billy looks at him and responds, “Oh, I think we all know Sean.”
And that’s my Billy Crystal story. I mean, Sean’s Billy Crystal story.
Moral of the story: DON’T GET SLEEP APNEA!!!