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Ranger Andy was a real program, airing on WFSB in Hartford. WFSB allowed the filmmakers to use the show, and clips from the program appear inter-cut with footage shot for the film.
Molly Ringwald speaks fluent Parisian French, and learned her French Canadian accent for the film. Siobhan Cohen also learned her Russian, and her Russian accent for the film.
This is the first adaptation of a Wally Lamb novel for the screen. He collaborated with the crew through the entire production, and makes a cameo as the janitor in the opening scene.
The location for the Funicello home was a house that Wally Lamb rented for years as his office. He wrote the novel in the room that appears as Ma and Pa's bedroom. The house contains numerous references to "Bunny", the owner and landlady, who passed away before filming began.
No Catholic church was available for filming, with St. Patrick's Cathedral falling through during the shoot, so Christ Episcopal Church was made to look like a Catholic church, and the confessional scene filmed on the stage, later used for the pageant. Christ Episcopal was very friendly to the production.
Not a lot of boys were available to shoot the Junior Midshipmen photo, so a group of girls, from the hallway scenes, tied their hair back, and pretended to be boys for the photo.
Based on a novella by Wally Lamb, many of the movie's scenes are filmed at Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, Connecticut, a high school at which Lamb used to teach.
The epilogue is slightly different than it was in the novel. Wally Lamb contributed a lot of new ideas for the characters, and includes nods to the cast and crew in the altered stories. Felix, becoming a Professor at Wesleyan University, is a reference to Director Colin Theys and Cinematographer Catherine Goldschmidt, who attended Wesleyan.
Special make-up was applied to Meat Loaf's teeth, to make him look like a chain smoker.
Wally Lamb makes a cameo as the janitor on the ladder in the opening scene. He is not very handy, and picked this cameo as a joke.
Molly Ringwald is fluent in Parisian French, but studied a French Canadian accent for the film.
The commercial that airs prior to the Ranger Andy Show, stars a winner of the Miss Rheingold beauty pageant, a reference to Wally Lamb's next novel, unfinished at the time of this movie's release.
Wyatt Ralff's (Felix's) hair is naturally blond, and was dyed for the movie to make him look more like the character, Dondi.
Molly Ringwald's hair was actually short and blonde at the time of the shoot.
Producer Andrew Gernhard was once Wally Lamb's student at Norwich Free Academy, the school where the movie was filmed.
First appearance of Molly Ringwald and Blanche Baker together in a movie since Sixteen Candles (1984), where they played sisters.
Three Rivers, Connecticut is really a community college, not a town, located in Norwich.
The actress in the commercial, that appears before the Ranger Andy broadcast, is featured in the sequel to Wishin' and Hopin' (incomplete at the time of the film's release) for her role in the Miss Rheingold's competition.
The Funicello house was Wally Lamb's office for several years, and the parents' bedroom, is where he wrote the novel. The late owner of the property is referenced throughout the house as a tribute.
A joke, similar to the one Felix tells, was actually told by a child, live on the Ranger Andy Show, a program that aired on WFSB, in Hartford, Connecticut, around this time. Clips from the show appear in the film, inter-cut with re-creations.