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Top 10 To Kill A Mockingbird Trivia

VO: Rebecca Brayton
This Pulitzer Prize winning novel became one of the history’s most inspiring films. Produced shortly after the release of the instantly beloved literary classic, this film has serves as a shinning beacon for heroism and justice in the face of steep odds and an era when racism prevailed. Join as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, cinema's most inspirational film classic by exploring ten pieces of trivia you didn't know about the classroom staple.

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Top 10 To Kill A Mockingbird Trivia

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel became one of the history’s most inspiring films. Welcome to and today we’ll be exploring ten pieces of trivia you should know about “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

#10 – Inspired by Actual Events

Kicking off our trivia list is a factoid about the origins of Harper Lee’s iconic story. The protagonist, Atticus Finch, was modeled after the author’s father, as he was an attorney who once defended black clients. Further inspiration came from the 1931 “Scottsboro Boys” trial, when nine young black teens were found guilty of raping two white women, with little evidence to support the verdict.

#9 – Alabama Connection

Harper Lee’s story similarly takes place in 1930s Alabama and centers on a rape charge against a black man. Lee penned the novel to explore the racism she witnessed in her childhood. During those years, she became good friends with fellow author Truman Capote, who was the basis for her character Dill, and who wrote classics like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” However, he was perhaps best known for his true crime novel “In Cold Blood,” which Harper Lee herself helped him research extensively.

#8 – The Reclusive Albino

The 1962 film version of the story included Robert Duvall in his first major movie role. To prepare for his part as the reclusive and misunderstood Boo Radley, Duvall avoided sunlight for six weeks and dyed his hair blond. Radley was thought to be an albino, since the sun hurt his eyes and he only ventured out at night. Like all of the story’s character, Boo was inspired by a boy Lee knew in her youth, who lived in a dilapidated house.

#7 – Kids Will Be Kids

In the film, the role of Jem Finch went to Phillip Alford; however, he only auditioned for the part to miss school! Pretty ironic since the film became a classroom staple. During filming, he developed a close relationship with his on-screen sister, Mary Badham who played Scout – the two fought and played like real siblings, which came across during their scenes together.

#6 – Town Re-Creation

The fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama stood in for Lee’s hometown of Monroeville in the story. But Maycomb existed mostly in a studio back lot! At a cost of $225 thousand, the set included over 30 buildings, many of which were bought, relocated and recycled from housing that was scheduled for demolition to make way for a Los Angeles freeway. This realism helped the film win an Oscar for Best Art Direction.

#5 – Emotional Trial

Brock Peters, the actor who played black defendant Tom Robinson, got caught up in the emotion of this poignant story while shooting the testifying scene. When he unexpectedly began to cry, Gregory Peck avoided looking him in the eye so he wouldn’t choke up himself. It was scenes like that which made this Peck’s favorite project ever – yes, he ranked it higher than his turn chasing Moby Dick!

#4 – Men of Steel

Even superheroes were touched by this tale: in the Superman comics it was revealed that “To Kill a Mockingbird” was Clark Kent’s favorite movie. Ironically, the American Film Institute chose Atticus Finch as the twentieth century’s greatest movie hero – and he didn’t need tights or a cape to do it; just a strong moral compass and the courage to pursue justice.

#3 – Lack of Hollywood Interest

Harper Lee’s novel won 1961’s Pulitzer Prize, but film studios were uninterested in buying the story’s rights due to its lack of action or romance. Thankfully, producer Alan J. Pakula saw its merits and persuaded director Robert Mulligan that it would make a good film. Gregory Peck was convinced after just one reading that the role of Atticus Finch was an exceptional one and signed on immediately.

#2 – Raising the Creative Bar

One high-profile creative force who expressed his admiration for 1962’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” was Walt Disney. It inspired him to produce a film of similar caliber, instead of his family comedies like “The Parent Trap” and “The Absent Minded Professor.” The result was 1964’s beloved children’s classic “Mary Poppins.”

#1 – Inspirational Speech

Taking the top spot on our trivia list is a behind-the-scenes factoid about Gregory Peck’s nine-minute summation speech. By nailing the entire thing in one take, and giving an impressive performance in the rest of the film, Peck won his only Oscar for Best Actor. But, he never imagined he would win over his friend Jack Lemmon’s portrayal of an alcoholic in “Days of Wine and Roses.”

What’s your favorite “Mockingbird” factoid? For more informative and entertaining trivia videos, be sure to subscribe to

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