The Waterboy was released in theaters on November 6, 1998, and been a cult classic every since. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Waterboy, here are 15 things you didn’t know about Adam Sandler’s classic comedy football movie. These fun facts are perfect for trivia with your friends about the highly quotable The Waterboy. Just make sure you have some high-quality H20 so you are properly hydrated.
1.) The original plot had the football team originating from New England set in the 1950s and filmed in black and white. “It would’ve been a very different movie. I don’t know about the New England college football scene. It would’ve been different, for sure,” writer Tim Herlihy says. However, Sandler and Herlihy went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and decided to go from New England to New Orleans.
2.) The Waterboy was written by Sandler’s college roommate. Tim Herlihy was double majoring in accounting and international business at New York University and he also was Sandler’s roommate at Brittany Hall dormitory at NYU. Sandler and Herlihy developed a friendship and appreciation of comedy. When Sandler became an SNL cast member, he brought Herlihy with him and he wrote iconic characters such as Cajun Man and Canteen Boy. Herlihy, who had been working as a securities lawyer, was hired as a full-time writer on Saturday Night Live in 1993 and stayed on for seven years. Herlihy wrote or produced over 20 Sandler movies including Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Mr. Deeds, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Bedtime Stories, and The Waterboy. He even appeared in many of the movies, twice as a bartender.
3.) The inspiration for the movie came from different Adam Sandler characters and songs. Bobby Boucher was an amalgamation of his Saturday Night Live characters Canteen Boy and Cajun Man as well as his song The Lonesome Kicker.
4.) Adam Sandler modeled Bobby Boucher’s football prowess after Lavar Arrington. Sandler went to Happy Valley so that he could watch LaVar Arrington in action. Sandler was even able to watch a Penn State football practice to get the proper tackling techniques down.
5.) The Waterboy was not filmed in Louisiana. Despite the movie being about Cajun football, the flick was actually filmed in Florida. The movie was filmed in Florida areas around Orlando, Daytona Beach, DeLand, and Lakeland. The South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs actually played at the Spec Martin Municipal Stadium in DeLand, Florida, and DeLand High School’s football stadium. After production, Disney paid for the school’s football stadium to be refurbished. The “Bourbon Bowl” game was actually played at the Camping World Stadium, formerly Florida Citrus Bowl, in downtown Orlando. The first exterior shot of the University of Louisiana Stadium is actually EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and the flyover view is Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. The cheerleader outfits were real and donated by Boone High School in Orlando, Florida.
6.) Academy Award-winning Kathy Bates wasn’t going to do the movie until her niece told her to. “Well, my agent sent me the script, and actually, she didn’t want me to read it because she didn’t like it,” Bates said. “But they made an offer, so legally, she had to send me the script. And I read the first 12 pages, and it was about football, and it was kind of silly, so I tossed it in the trash next to my bed. And my niece, who worked for me, saw this script lying in the trash, and she said, ‘What is this?’ and she picked it up. And it had Adam’s name on it, and she said ‘ADAM SANDLER! Don’t you know who Adam Sandler is!?'”
7.) Henry Winkler wanted to be in The Waterboy because he was mentioned in an Adam Sandler song. Winker AKA “The Fonz” showed interest in the quirky football flick because he was honored that Sandler name-dropped him in the 1995 smash hit The Chanukah Song. While at first it seemed that Winkler was doing Sandler the favor of being in his movie, the truth is that Henry hadn’t really appeared in any noteworthy TV show or movie since Happy Days went off the air in 1984. Since his appearance as Coach Klein, Winkler has acted in Click, Little Nicky, Arrested Development, BoJack Horesman, Parks and Recreation, and King of the Hill.
8.) Rob Sneider was the first movie that he debuted his iconic catchphrase. Sneider is a staple of Happy Madison movies, but his first appearance was in The Waterboy as Townie, who screams, “You can do it!”
9.) Two mules were needed for the movie. Steve the mule refused to “bray excitedly,” so producers were forced to bring in a second mule solely as a voice actor to make the correct mule noises they were looking for.
10.) This was the third movie that Sandler’s movie girlfriend had a similar characteristic. Boucher’s love interest in the movie is Vicki Vallencourt, who has the initials of “V.V.” just as Veronica Vaughn in Billy Madison and Virginia Venit in Happy Gilmore.
11.) Vicki Vallencourt has a tattoo that made her irresistible to Bobby Boucher. Vicki, played by Fairuza Balk, has a tattoo of an upside-down triangle in the movie which is the alchemical and Wiccan symbol for water.
12.) Fictitious wrestler Captain Insano was a real wrestler. The 7-foot-tall, nearly 400-pound WWE seven-time world champion wrestler the Big Show, real name Paul Wight, was the wrestler in the movie who broke Bobby’s heart.
13.) Star Wars made people go see The Waterboy. The football comedy launched in theaters on November 5, 1998, which was the same time that the first trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace debuted in theaters. Star Wars fanboys flocked to see The Waterboy for the sole purpose of being the first to witness the first Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Many Star Wars fanatics bought their ticket, watched the trailer, and then left.
14.) The Waterboy is the highest grossing sports comedy of all-time. Sandler’s funny football movie made $161,491,646 at the box office, edging out Sandler’s other funny football movie, The Longest Yard, which raked in $158,119,460.
15.) The Walt Disney Company was sued because The Waterboy allegedly ripped off another movie. In 2000, Suzanne Lloyd Hayes filed a $50 million dollar lawsuit claiming that The Waterboy stole the premise from her grandfather’s 1925 silent film, The Freshman that starred Harold Lloyd. The lawsuit was thrown out of court two years later.
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16.) They actually make Booby Boucher jerseys. Last month, adidas got the rights from Disney and started selling Bobby Boucher Mud Dogs replica jerseys. There’s also Coach Klein’s varsity jacket, an SCLSU hat, and SCLSU water bottles.