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3rd Rock from the Sun (TV Series 1996–2001) Poster

(1996–2001)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (1)
John Lithgow's son, Ian, played Dr. Dick Solomon's student Leon throughout the series.
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When William Shatner first appeared as The Big Giant Head, he says he saw something on the wing of the plane. John Lithgow replies, "The same thing happened to me!" Shatner's character from The Twilight Zone: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (1963), on the original The Twilight Zone (1959) series, saw a strange creature on the wing of the plane he was on. Lithgow reprised Shatner's role in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and saw the same thing. Oddly enough, an episode from the original television series was titled The Twilight Zone: Third from the Sun (1960).
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French Stewart came up with the distinctive Harry squint.
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Jane Curtin originally signed on for just seven episodes in the first season. When she finished taping her fifth appearance, she decided she wanted to stay, and remained on the show as a series regular for the rest of the show.
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The pilot was originally shot for ABC, but they didn't put it on their fall schedule. NBC took a look and liked what they saw.
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Physicist Brian Greene wrote some of the dialogue for Dr. Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), who worked as a college professor teaching physics.
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One of John Lithgow's reasons for doing this television series was to allow him a "family friendly" work schedule, which he was unable to manage in theatre with an 8 p.m. curtain time, and movies, which required location shooting. Lithgow wanted to be at home with his family and this show allowed that.
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Out of one hundred thirty-nine episodes, one hundred nine have a title playing on the name "Dick".
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During its five-year run on primetime, the show underwent more than fifteen time-slot changes.
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt only appeared in a little over half of the show's episodes in the final season (including the series finale) so he could concentrate on his Columbia University studies. The former child star told Details how he was "scared and depressed" for a time, fearing that he wouldn't be able to find acting work ever again.
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The house where the Solomons live has three sets of washers and dryers. There is one seen in the attic off of the rooftop, one on the ground floor by the back door to the garage, and one in the basement where Dick was trapped in the end of the first season.
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The three main male characters' names are Tom, Dick, and Harry. "Tom, Dick, and Harry" is a phrase used as a synonym for "everyone" or when referring to "a set of nobodies; persons of no note" (from "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable").
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Officer Don's (Wayne Knight's) co-workers Rico and Rusty were rarely played by the same actors between episodes.
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Kristen Johnston suffered from depression throughout the show's run. She said she didn't tell anyone what she was going through, but she found it difficult to remain happy even when the show achieved so much success. Johnston stated, "You can't be sad when you're being celebrated. So it was a big conflict and there's no shrink that can understand it."
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The Solomons live at 417 Pensdale Road. Rutherford, Ohio.
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John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, and French Stewart are the only cast members who appeared in all one hundred thirty-nine episodes of the series.
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The coffee house frequented by the main characters, "Johnny Foam's", was named after Costume Supervisor Johnny Foam.
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Eight days after the airing of the season three finale, Phil Hartman was tragically murdered. When the episode re-aired a week before the following season's premiere, Hartman's scenes were re-shot with a different actor as a different character, so the resolution to the cliffhanger involving Hartman's character wouldn't seem awkwardly re-cast or possibly considered disrespectful.
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The character Dick Solomon was ranked number twenty-four in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (August 1, 2004 issue).
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In scene breaks, there was often an image of Earth spinning, as seen from space. Just before the final credits it appeared again, only then spinning backwards.
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The show was cancelled on April 8, 2001 due to falling ratings in its final season.
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In the first episode, the Solomons entered their attic apartment from a door off of the living room. Later in the series, this door leads to Dick's bedroom, with the entrance to the attic changed to a set of stairs.
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A lot of the sets were used more than once, hence the similar designs in some places. For example, the classroom used for Harry's (French Stewart's) night school was also Dr. Mary Albright's (Jane Curtin's) classroom.
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The Big Giant Head was first the leader of the galaxy, and then later the whole universe.
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Actors of Breaking Bad (2008) (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Bob Odenkirk) guest-starred on this show.
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To make sure the character was authentic, Brian Greene, the author of Quest for the Ultimate Theory helped John Lithgow with his lines.
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The series' title came from country singer Joe Diffie's song of the same name.
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The two-part season two finale, "A Nightmare on Dick Street", was shot on a budget of one and a half million dollars, and ten million dollars was spent on the promotional campaign for Barq's root beer and Little Caesars Pizza to help distribute the necessary eyewear to watch it.
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The aliens first are said to have come from fourteen light-years away, but later, it was said they came from a different galaxy. The nearest galaxy, Segue 1, is 75,020 light-years away.
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Kristen Johnston and Wayne Knight appeared on The Exes (2011).
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt first worked with Carsey-Werner Productions on four episodes of Roseanne (1988), as one of D.J.'s (Michael Fishman's) friends.
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In the episode where they go to New York City to start a different life, Harry gets a job as the President of NBC. As President, he arranges a new schedule for the spoof of Will & Grace (1998) (which is produced by NBC).
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Kristen Johnston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and French Stewart appeared in live-action movie versions of famous cartoon shows. Johnston played Wilma Flintstone in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), Gordon-Levitt played Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), and Stewart played the title character in Inspector Gadget 2 (2003).
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Jane Curtin worked on the show because of Coneheads (1993). Series Creators Terry and Bonnie Turner had written Coneheads (1993) with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Davis. Curtin trusted the two because of her relationship with them.
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There is a theory that the main characters are not actually aliens, but rather, crazy people who think they are aliens.
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Kristen Johnston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt appeared with Anne Hathaway in different projects. Johnston in Bride Wars (2009) and Gordon-Levitt in Havoc (2005) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

On NBC, the series two-part finale "The Thing That Wouldn't Die" ended with the four aliens beaming back to their home planet, leaving Dick's beloved Mary behind. In the alternate ending that was filmed in case the show got a reprieve from its cancellation, Dick returns to take Mary with him. The scene is a special feature on DVD.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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