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Top 10 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Movie Trivia

VO: Rebecca Brayton
This tale of a boy who befriends an extra-terrestrial has become a beloved classic loved by countless fans. Entertaining moviegoers since its release in 1982, the iconic Steven Spielberg picture continues to impress with its countless behind-the-scenes facts that are just as entertaining as what went on in front of the camera. Join, as we explore ten pieces of incredible trivia you'll enjoy about “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.”

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Top 10 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Movie Trivia

This is one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces. Welcome to, and today we’ll be exploring ten pieces of trivia you should know about “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.”

#10: It’s a Kid’s World

Kicking off our trivia list is the unique viewpoint from which Steven Spielberg chose to tell the touching story of a boy and a friendly visitor from another planet: “E.T.” was shot through the eyes of a child. This was achieved in many ways: for example, it was filmed at a kid’s eye-level, and Elliott’s mom was the only adult whose face was shown for the first half of the movie. Spielberg also made the rare choice to film chronologically to ensure a realistic response from the child actors – including the bittersweet ending!

#9: A Family’s Worst Nightmare

“E.T.” is a heartwarming story about friendship and standing up for what you believe in. But did you know the film’s original concept was a dark tale of a family terrorized by aliens? This change helped “E.T.” become a family favorite, and Spielberg was able to use the “family in danger” concept later in the movie “Poltergeist.”

#8: Quit While You’re Ahead

Spielberg originally planned an “E.T.” sequel called “Nocturnal Fears,” where other aliens kidnap Elliott and his friends, and E.T. would save them. In this installment, it would be revealed that E.T.’s name is Zrek and his botany-loving species is at war with these other extra-terrestrials. Zrek? More like dreck – we’re glad this never got off the ground!

#7: The Kiss

Remember the little blonde girl Elliott kissed when he released the frogs that overran his biology class? Well, that was Erika Elaniak. Doesn’t ring a bell? She became a Baywatch babe and a Playboy playmate – way to pick ‘em Elliott!

#6: I Am a Doctor, and I Play One in “E.T.”

You know the scene where doctors and nurses worked furiously to save E.T.’s life? Bet you didn’t know these were real emergency room technicians! They were told to treat the alien puppet the same way they would treat a real patient, to make their actions and dialogue seem real. A masked Spielberg can also be spotted in the scene.

#5: Lights! Camera! Yelling!

At one point during filming, six-year-old Drew Barrymore kept forgetting her lines. Steven Spielberg became so annoyed, he yelled at the young actress. However, he later found out she had come to work with a high fever. Filled with guilt, he apologized while she wept in his arms, and he sent her home. Soon after, Spielberg became Barrymore’s godfather.

#4: “E.T.” vs. “Star Wars”?

According to a Spielberg interview, E.T. is a plant-like creature that is neither male nor female. In any case, his species is ancient, and some of his kind have even met Jedi! During the events of “Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace,” you can see them in the senate – a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

#3: An Alien Concept

E.T. is adorable! Did you know that inside this piece of puppetry was a two-foot-tall stuntman? In fact, the kitchen scenes were shot using a ten-year-old boy who was born without legs, but was an expert at walking on his hands. Still adorable? Wait, there’s more: E.T.’s voice was provided by the elderly Pat Welch, who got her signature voice by smoking two packs a day, and his waddling sound was made by cramming a wet t-shirt full of Jell-O!

#2: I Want Candy

E.T. loves candy. It was originally supposed to be M&M’s that lured him into the house, but Mars turned down the odd request. Reese’s Pieces were used as a replacement, and this appearance resulted in a huge surge in sales. This was also an early example of blatant – and effective – product placement in films.

#1: A Game Destined for the Landfill

Rounding out our “E.T.” trivia rundown is a fun fact about Atari’s 1982 video game adaptation for their home console. Rushed to market after a development period of only five weeks, the game had players guide E.T. through several screens to collect pieces of his interplanetary telephone. Atari bet that the movie’s popularity would make the title a blockbuster, but it turned out to be one of the worst games ever made – and one of the biggest flops ever. It was so bad, countless parents returned it, and millions of unsold copies were buried in a landfill. In fact, this game helped cause the video game crash of 1983 that almost destroyed the entire industry!

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