As if by magic, 25 years have passed since this triumph of modern cinema, this epic tale of good and evil, this movie, Hocus Pocus, was first released in theaters. The film not only defined our childhoods, but is currently defining our adulthoods (it’s no coincidence that we really want a black cat and Halloween is our favorite holiday.) Is it a little weird that this anniversary falls in the middle of summer? Sure, yeah, a little. Does it only add to the mystical power that this film possesses over us? 100% yes. So take a digital stroll with us (if you dare) to Salem in 1993 as we remember together, and learn something new, about one of our favorite films.
1. When filmmakers pitched Hocus Pocus to Disney execs they decorated the conference room with two hanging broomsticks, one hanging vacuum cleaner (all suspended from the ceiling with wire), and 15 pounds of candy.
2. The cemetery and Sanderson Sisters’ house (including the moat) were both built from the ground up entirely on Stage 2 on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA.
3. Dozens of cats each lent their acting skills to the part of Thackery Binx—each with their own special talent. Some could jump, some would sit still, and others would move their paws on cue. Audio-animatronic cats were also used.
4. Mark Shaiman (of Hairpsray! fame) arranged the now-iconic “I Put a Spell on You” number just for the film.
5. The film started as a bedtime story David Kirschner (Hocus Pocus producer) told his kids, which became a published story in “Muppet Magazine” and grew into a feature from there.
6. Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson) ad-libbed his first line, “wench!” in an attempt to convey his characters’ emotional “three hundred years of build-up.”
7. Peggy Holmes (director Kenny Ortega’s assistant choreographer) gave Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy lessons on how to ride their broomsticks. She studied how they drove their cars and transferred their individual steering styles to their brooms.
8. In South America, the film was released under the title “Abracadabra.”
9. The moths that come out of Billy Butcherson’s mouth are real moths, not CGI moths.
[Image redacted because just the thought is scary enough. Yeesh.]
Do you know any Hocus Pocus trivia? Tell us about it in the comments! After reading these fun facts, we’re definitely watching the iconic film again—join us by grabbing your own copy of Hocus Pocus on DVD!