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Trivia / The A-Team

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  • Acting for Two: Quite often, especially among actors playing villains. Notable examples include George Peppard playing Hannibal, and a mook that Hannibal fights in the episode "Judgement Day."
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Dwight Schultz designed Murdock's t-shirts himself.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "I pity the fool!" Although this was pretty much Mr. T's personal Catchphrase outside the show, B.A. never actually said it. It's actually a pretty simple case of misattribution, since T's character Clubber Lang actually did say it in Rocky III. ("No, I don't hate Balboa. I pity the fool!")
  • California Doubling: As the team goes all over the USA and overseas, this trope applies in most episodes (the pilot is a rare exception, as some shooting (both kinds) did take place in Mexico where most of it takes place).
  • Career Resurrection: George Peppard had gone from a big movie star of The '60s to an actor for hire in The '70s, compounded by disenchantment with the Hollywood system for hyping him up as a leading man when he himself was uncomfortable with the idea. This show becoming massively successful in The '80s brought him back from the brink and ensured he remained on top up to his death in 1994.
  • Cast the Expert: Four cast members have prior U.S. military experience: George Peppard served as an artillery Sergeant in the Marines, while Eddie Velez served in the Air Force, and Mr. T was an MP in the U.S. Army. Robert Vaughn was a drill Sergeant in the Army as well.
  • The Danza:
    • Tia Carrere played a character named Tia in the season 4 finale, and was set up to become a member of the team, but that ended up never happening.
    • The Mexican Spanish dub of the series changed the name of B.A. Baracus with Mario Baracus, who was named after his voice actor, Mario Sauret (who later voiced Majin Buu).
  • Harpo Does Something Funny:
    • Dwight Schultz has said one of the scariest things during the filming was how blank the scripts would often be.
    • Also, the writers frequently would not write the tag and then would just say to the actors "just make something up," or told Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict to loosely write up a tag.
    • George Peppard would do last-minute script edits before shooting (often consisting of, "I'm not saying that, that, or that, pal.")
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Mr. T and George Peppard didn't get along very well on the set. Arguments were fed by the fact that Mr. T became the real star of the show despite Peppard's being a "proper movie actor". Things got even worse when Peppard learned that Mr. T was paid more than he was. It got so bad that Peppard wouldn't even speak to Mr. T directly, using Dirk Benedict to relay messages between the two. It was reported that they were able to patch up things before Peppard's death in 1994.
    • Dwight Schultz recalled that when he first met Peppard, he introduced himself, then the veteran actor replied, "Very good. I'm George Peppard and I am not a nice man."
    • Peppard made it clear to both Melinda Culea and Marla Heasley that he didn't want their characters on the show. On Heasley's first day on set Peppard took her aside and told her "We don't want you on the show. None of the guys want you here. The only reason you're here is because the network and the producers want you. For some reason they think they need a girl." Ironically or not, on her last day of work Peppard took her aside again, saying: "I'm sorry that this is your last day, but remember what I said the very first day, that we didn't want a girl, has nothing to do with you. You were very professional, but no reason to have a girl." While the other male actors weren't as hostile towards Culea or Heasley as Peppard was, they ended up siding with him on the issue, with Dirk Benedict later remarking...
      It was a guy's show. It was male-driven. It was written by guys. It was directed by guys. It was acted by guys. It's about what guys do. We talked the way guys talked. We were the boss. We were the God. We smoked when we wanted. We shot guns when we wanted. We kissed the girls and made them cry...when we wanted. It was the last truly masculine show.
    • Culea was also reputed to be difficult on-set, often demanding more action-based roles. This led to the producers unceremoniously dropping the character, unlike Heasley, whose character was at least given a proper exit. According to the Reunion special, Peppard commended Heasley on her last day, praising her professional attitude.
    • Even though he was hired specifically because it was thought his friendship with Peppard and his offscreen affability would help get Peppard and Mr. T back on the same page, Robert Vaughn stated in a late career interview that Peppard had warned him that T was "crazy". Vaughn thought that Peppard was exaggerating at first, but stated "Mr. T would come in to work at 7AM with his entourage and he would be talking (Vaughn then did an impression of a motor mouthed Mr. T) and then when we would finish the day's shoot at 7PM or later, he was STILL talking. I think he was clinically insane". While Vaughn didn't actively dislike T, it was clear that he grated on his nerves.
  • I Am Not Spock: Mr. T was asked at a press conference if he was as dumb as B.A. He quietly responded, "It takes smart to play dumb".
  • Missing Episode: The penultimate episode, "Without Reservations", was never shown in the original syndication run, only popping up two years later in the March 1987 reruns. Strangely, the networks chose to air this lost episode after the Grand Finale episode "The Grey Team", resulting in a case of Out of Order.
  • Money, Dear Boy: George Peppard was attracted to the series partially due to Hannibal's Master of Disguise nature allowing him to play multiple characters and partially because he needed the money.
    It's the first time I ever had money in the bank. Four California divorces and 25 years of alimony will see to it you have no money in the bank. It was a giant boost to my career, and made me a viable actor for other roles.
  • The Other Darrin: In the feature-length pilot episode, Face was played by Tim Dunigan. The role was recast after the pilot as Tim Dunigan was much taller than the rest of the cast and the producers felt after the fact that he was simply too young to play a Vietnam veteran (as Dunigan noted, the war ended when he was still in high school). Since Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell had written the role with Dirk Benedict in mind (NBC hadn't wanted him - or George Peppard - initially), Dunigan's miscasting may have been on purpose...
  • Out of Order: "The Grey Team" was always intended to be the show's final episode, and it was for a couple of years. This changed in March of 1987 when the season 5 re-runs decided to include a Missing Episode, that being the original un-aired penultimate episode, "Without Reservations". However, the re-runs showed this episode after "The Grey Team" and the DVD set for season 5 also puts it at the end. Amusingly, Murdock's t-shirt in "The Grey Team" bears the Latin phrase "FINI" or "THE END", while his t-shirt in "Without Reservations" says "Almost FINI".
  • Post-Script Season: The final season, which resolved the main premise of the show - the team is pardoned by the government, and works for them instead of hiding out in the L.A. underground. In turn, it also had a post-script finale.
  • Recycled Script: Several times, mostly due to the lack of scripts due to being Screwed by the Network.
    • While other details are different, the season 2 episode "Recipe For Heavy Bread" and the season 4 episode "Mind Games" bear many similarities. The villains are both Viet Cong war criminals turned mob bosses, both named General Chow (despite being separate characters), and the plot of both episodes revolves around the team trying to trick this elusive General Chow into revealing himself so he can be taken down. Both episodes, indeed, came from Stephen J. Cannell's typewriter.
    • Season 3's "Double Heat" and season 4's "Judgment Day" also share similar aspects, namely both episodes involve mobsters kidnapping the daughter of a character played by Dana Elcar, in order to manipulate a court decision. Like the above example, they did at least have the decency to change other details.
    • Season 1's "The Out-Of-Towners" and season 3's "The Big Squeeze" are both about the team being called in to fight off a mob running a protection racket, but when they arrive the shop owners being extorted tell them to go away, so they open their own fake shop in order to attract the mob's attention.
    • The pilot episode, "Mexican Slayride" involves the team going to Mexico to rescue a Distressed Dude who is being held captive by a bandit played by Sergio Calderón. They defeat the bandit with ease only to then be captured themselves when he calls in his heavily armed and well organized reinforcements, at which point they discover that the dimwitted bandit is actually hired muscle for an extremist guerilla group. They break out and fight to take down both the bandits and the guerillas. Season 3's "The Bend in the River" follows roughly the same plot, even having Calderón as the villain again, except replacing the Lacandon jungle in Mexico with the Amazon river basin in Peru (with Calderón's character being a river pirate instead of a jungle bandit), and the extremist guerillas are replaced with Nazi diehards trying to rebuild the Third Reich.
  • Screwed by the Network: More like Actively Sabotaged by the Network. The show was considered politically incorrect (showing a positive view of Vietnam veterans, among other things) and its success completely unexpected; it was subjected to Invisible Advertising, the network officials and producers actually badmouthing the show to the press, it was made a 'bad move' to write for, so despite its popularity it eventually succumbed to cancellation.
  • Stunt Casting: A special appearance by the game show Wheel of Fortune, in which Murdock won a truck and a trip to Hawaii.
  • Throw It In!:
    • An extremely frequent occurrence, if grudgingly. There was a heck of a lot of Improv going on by the actors, notably Dwight Schultz, and though the writers frequently got mad by how the actors would go off-script or ad-lib lines, they often (if grudgingly) agreed that it should be kept in.
    • The now-famous moment where Face has a passing encounter with a Cylon while at Universal Studios wasn't scripted, and only happened because Dirk Benedict saw an opportunity and pestered the episode's director into shooting it.
  • Troubled Production: It didn't start out as one, but it sure flamed into one in a hurry. For starters, George Peppard, who had a reputation for being notoriously moody, made clear that he (and the other stars, with the exception of Dwight Schultz) did not want Melinda Culea (or any female) to be added as full on team members. Then, budgets were cut and scripts would be handed out with varying degrees of completeness. Finally, with ratings tanking, relations between Peppard and Mr. T grew so toxic that producers hired Peppard's friend, Robert Vaughn to try and smooth things over. It didn't work and the show was cancelled. T and Peppard eventually buried the hatchet before Peppard's death.
  • Uncredited Role: Producer John Ashley is uncredited as the narrator for the opening sequence.
  • Underage Casting: Tim Dunigan was too young to realistically play Vietnam veteran Templeton "Faceman" Peck, who he played in the pilot episode. Dunigan was only 28 when the series started, and he was 17 (and still in high school) when the United States officially withdrew from Vietnam.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • James Coburn was originally considered for Hannibal. Robert Conrad was also considered.
    • Tia Carrere was supposed to join the cast in the fifth season as Tia, the daughter of General Fulbright. Carrere was under contract to General Hospital, and couldn't get out it. The role was soon dropped.
    • NBC executives originally wanted the character of Murdock to be removed from the show because they felt that he was too over-the-top. However, test audiences for the pilot loved Murdock and gave him the highest ratings. The executives had to relent.
    • In his autobiography, Hulk Hogan wrote that the producers wanted him to make more appearances, because he was one of the few guys that got along with both George Peppard and Mr. T. He was unable to commit due to his schedule with the World Wrestling Federation.
    • Dwight Schultz revealed that he had an idea to shoot the show's finale in advance, and have the A-Team on a mission where, for once, the plan did not come together. The other members of the A-Team disappeared one by one, and ended on Hannibal like Davy Crockett in The Alamo. Nobody he bounced the idea off wanted to do it.
    • There was some talk about an A-Team reunion, a TV movie where the A-Team was given a full pardon, but the idea was dropped after George Peppard died in 1994.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Jack Ging played single episode villains in two different episodes ("A Small and Deadly War" and "Bad Time on the Border") before taking on the role of recurring character General "Bull" Fullbright.
    • Clifton James also appeared as two different characters.