The Cast Showoff: Though the blues guitar sounds aren't truly coming from Ralph Macchio's fingers, he plays the music of Steve Vai and Ry Cooder note for note. His fingering, slides and bends are precise until the "main" solo, which incorporates Niccolò Paganini's "5th Caprice", where he does not finger the correct locations on the guitar. He mostly uses the same pattern (scale on the top frets, then another one in the bottom frets). The scales shift and change sound, but his patterns remain the same.
Focus Group Ending: The filmmakers shot sad and happy endings and both were tested with audiences; the happy ending was chosen. The unhappy ending had Willie Brown dying.
Inspiration for the Work: In 1981 John Russo's girlfriend, who was working at a rest home, told him that an old black man with a harmonica had been admitted. Fusco went to visit him and on the way dreamt up a story about what would happen if the player was a legendary blues player. This gave him the idea for the story
Posthumous Credit: Robert Judd passed away January 20, 1986 before the movie's release in March 1986.
Write What You Know: The script was an original by John Fusco, who had long been interested in blues music. He worked as a blues singer and musician but had been warned by a doctor to rest his voice.
Banned Episode: A 1960s poltergeist storyline was deemed too scary for a teatime slot and viewers were apparently informed by the announcer that it had been abandoned!
Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: A slight variation: Roger Tonge's health issues led to him needing a wheelchair in real life, and this was written into the show in 1972 when Sandy was paralysed in a car accident. This led to him becoming the first disabled regular character in a British soap and also to the foundation of the real-life Crossroads care agency. Wow.
Missing Episode: The majority of episodes from the 1960s and many up to 1980 were wiped or junked and are no longer known to exist. However, footage continues to turn up. Recent finds include original film sequences from otherwise lost 1960s episodes, and footage from the 1970s as domestic recordings. Occasionally episodes have turned up in other ITV regional archives.
No Budget: There were a surprising number of settings over the years, but they still got a lot of drama out of those reception and sitting room sets. For many years the motel bar was a tiny area right next to reception, with a shelf of bottles, a cash register and one or two stools. The restaurant was so small it made you wonder how they catered for all those big parties who were frequently mentioned. The cast were given allowances to provide their own clothes. Locations tended to be fairly handy within the Midlands, with Vera Downend's barge being on the canal a stone's throw from ATV, and the studio roof becoming the hospital roof following Sandy's accident. More location filming at real hotels was introduced in the 1980s, but much of the action still took place indoors. Even the 2001 revival used the studio car park as the hotel car park. However, the original series did manage location trips to Paris, Venice and even Tunisia.
The Other Darrin: Waitress Marilyn Gates was recast following her marriage to Rev Hope and also underwent a complete character change from happy-go-lucky mini-skirted girl to sensible vicar's wife. Chris Hunter was played by Freddie Foote as a young teenager and then by Stephen Hoye as a young man, with a few years away in between. An unconfirmed viewer recollection had a female character suddenly being played by a different actor one week, with the announcer explaining the usual performer was off sick! Jill's daughter Sarah-Jane was played by Jane Rossington's own daughter Sorrel in the original series and by two different actors as an adult in the 2001 revival (after the first Sarah-Jane was revealed to be an impostor, Louise Dixon).