'That Thing You Do' 25 years later
Fun facts about the hit film by Tom Hanks
That Thing You Do appeared in theaters in October 1996 and this year is number 25 since the film's was released. It’s hard to believe that a quarter century has gone by for this gem of a movie. I am going to celebrate the entire year because the film as well as the title song, are among my all time favorites. I was not even aware of this movie when it first debuted and I only learned about That Thing You Do! years later from my daughter who told me what a fun movie it was. I rented it on DVD several times and also watched it at least 8 or 10 times on cable. I can’t help but dance every time the theme song is played.
Tom Hanks, wrote, directed and starred in this hit which was his directorial debut. This is just one more way Hanks has proven his creative genius, but I believe his s best work was as Woody in the Toy Story movies. As the film tells the story of the rise and fall of the fictional 1960s one-hit wonder pop band The Wonders, you really feel as if you have been transported back to that decade, That Thing You Do also stars Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Obba Bobetunde and Charlize Theron.
The song That Thing You Do was written and composed for the film by Adam Schlesinger, the bassist for Fountains of Wayne and Ivy. The recording was released on the movie's soundtrack, and became a genuine hit. In 1996 the song peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100,#24 on the Top 40 Mainstream charts, #22 on the Adult Contemporary charts, and #18 on the Adult Top 40. The track was nominated in 1996 for a Golden Globe Award as well as a 1996 Academy Award for Best Original Song. The lead vocalist for the Wonders was Mike Viola of The Candy Butchers.
The soundtrack album was released under the Play-Tone name in conjunction with Epic Records and was also a hit. It peaked at #21 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and the artwork on the CD is a replica of the fictional Play-Tone label used in the movie. The liner notes were done in a mockumentary style, as if the Wonders had been an actual group and the events of the film had really taken place. Many of those who watched the movie assumed that Play-Tone was a real business. Tom Hanks later used the success of That Thing You Do! as a springboard to launch the actual Play-Tone Records label.
This only added to the confusion of those who could not tell what was real and what was just for the movie. Hanks utilized Play-Tone as the place where the soundtracks of all his subsequent films, and also other movies and televisions and n shows like Bring It On and The Sopranos, were released as albums. Although the music on the movie had an authentic 1960’s sound there was not one song from that actual decade that was used. By 2996 it would have been too expensive, even to use B side songs. Hanks was especially troubled because Forrest Gump used original songs from the 1960s and 70s without any problems.
Tom Hanks said he often got to the set at 4:15 AM and was there until after 11:00 PM. He was so tired one day that he did not even recognize his wife Rita Wilson who was playing a cocktail waitress in the movie. Hanks also hired his son Colin to play an usher who escorts Liv Tyler’s character to her sea at the Hollywood Showcase. Peter Scolari, who co-starred with Hanks on the sitcom Bosom Buddies from 1980 to 1982, was also in the movie. He portrayed Chesterfield, the host of The Hollywood Television Showcase, which took place on stage 33 which is where The Price is Right is filmed.