If you don’t watch Groundhog Day at some point today, you’re doing it wrong. C’mon man. It’s one of the most iconic comedy films ever made. And in its honor, here are some fun facts about the film that you might not know.
It actually wasn’t filmed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Nope, the filming location was actually in Woodstock, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.
And if you ever go there, look for a couple of plaques downtown.
One says, “Bill Murray stepped here,” alluding to the spot where Murray put his foot in the puddle.
The other one says “Ned’s Corner,” named after the spot where the Ned Ryerson character keeps harassing Phil Conners.
Also, notice the Woodstock Jewelers store in this scene. See? Woodstock, Illinois. Bazinga.
Honorary Grand Marshals
The real location for the Groundhog Day celebration (Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania), has a grand marshal every year. And Bill Murray, Harold Ramis (director), and Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson) have all been honorary grand marshals.
Whenever you have Bill Murray in a film, you know there’s going to be a certain amount of ad-libbing, and those moments often turn out to be some of the most memorable lines in the movies.
One of these ad-lib moments is when Murray is kidnapping the groundhog and tells it, “Don’t drive angry, don’t drive angry” when the groundhog was trying to crawl over the steering wheel. Right after this happened, the groundhog bit Bill Murray and he had to get medical attention.
Another ad-libbed line is where Phil Conners says to Ned Ryerson, “I don’t know where you’re heading, but can you call in sick?” Which caused Ned to run away.
Also in the Running
Bill Murray wasn’t the only actor considered for the role of Phil Conners. Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, and John Travolta were also in the running. Why didn’t any of them get the part? Reportedly, they were all considered to be “too nice.”
Remember the kid who falls out of the tree and is caught by Phil Conners? His name is Shaun Chaiyabhat, and he became a local TV reporter when he grew up. Coincidence? I think not.