20 Far Out Facts About “That '70s Show”

Updated on September 2, 2018
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

That '70s Show debuted on August 23, 1998, and it focused on a group of teenagers growing up in the 70s in the fictional town of Point Place, Wisconsin. The series became a surprising hit, being the only show on Fox to survive cancellation that year. The show's unexpected longevity made for a slow-down in the timeline for the series, and quickly became a fan-favorite among audiences. Let's take a look at some groovy and far out facts about the hit show.

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1. The show was initially going to be named after The Who song “Teenage Wasteland.”

2. Topher Grace got scouted at a high school play. Co-creators Bonnie and Terry Turner were attending their daughter’s school play A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, where they spotted Grace as the lead.

3. Kurtwood Smith based Red off his step-father. He was also the only regular cast member to be born in Wisconsin.

4. The co-writer of the theme song was paid $70 every time the show aired. Big Star singer Alex Chilton co-wrote the song “In The Street”, which was covered by Todd Griffin in season one before Cheap Trick’s version took over. Chilton was amused by the dollar amount he earned.

5. The character of Leon was written in with Tommy Chong in mind. In 2003, Chong claimed his character was written out more due to 9/11, though he became a series regular for the final season.

Topher Grace as Eric Forman.
Topher Grace as Eric Forman. | Source
Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman.
Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman. | Source
Tommy Chong as the loveable hippie Leo.
Tommy Chong as the loveable hippie Leo. | Source

6. The smoke in the “pot circle” scenes was actually strawberry scented. Laura Prepon, Ashton Kutcher, and Danny Masterson were all smokers and hid their lit cigarettes in between takes, so they could indulge in their habit.

7. Mila Kunis’ first kiss was with Ashton Kutcher, who would later go on to become her husband. Interestingly, Wilmer Valderrama taught her to drive and Danny Masterson was her prom date.

8. Before auditioning for the show, Ashton Kutcher was a model and had no prior acting experience. In the early episodes of the show, Kutcher was worried he would be fired due to his lack in skills.

9. Chuck Norris almost played Red Forman, but was unable to audition due to his show Walker, Texas Ranger.

10. Josh Meyers (Randy) was originally going to replace Topher Grace as Eric. Writers would explain his change in appearance due to his time away in Africa and becoming a man. However, this ludicrous idea was tossed out and the actor became Randy instead.

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The Red that almost was: Chuck Norris almost portrayed the iconic character.
The Red that almost was: Chuck Norris almost portrayed the iconic character. | Source
Josh Meyers & Topher Grace.
Josh Meyers & Topher Grace. | Source

11. Eric’s Vista Cruiser license marks the passage of time. Though the show was on nearly a decade, only 4 years of fictional time had passed.

12. Mila Kunis’ heigh caused some framing issues. Kunis stands at a petite 5’4” to Laura Prepon’s 5’10”, therefore causing issues when filming scenes together. Kunis wore platform heels to make up the heigh difference.

13. Jackie is the only character to call everyone by their first names. This was to show she was less laid-back then the other characters.

14. Some of the cast members were not as close as their on-screen counterparts. Topher Grace and Laura Prepon were reportedly extremely close while filming, while Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson and Wilmer Valderrama had their own boys’ club.

15. Donna dyed her hair blonde because her portrayer Laura Prepon had to for her movie Karla, based off the life of serial killer Karla Homolka.

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Donna went from "Big Red" to "Big Blonde."
Donna went from "Big Red" to "Big Blonde." | Source

16. Tanya Roberts (Midge Pinciotti) left the series in 2001 abruptly in order to care for her ailing husband, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

17. Lisa Robin Kelly (Laurie) struggled with a drug addiction, which led to her character to stop appearing on the show and ultimately being replaced in season 6. Sadly, the actress passed away in 2013 from a drug overdose.

18. Three guest stars had roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Alyson Hannigan, Eliza Dushku, and Seth Green.

19. The name Fez actually stands for Foreign Exchange Student, and his home country is never mentioned.

20. In order to get the part of Jackie, Kunis lied about her age. Cast members had to be at least 18, while Kunis was only 14. She said she would be 18 on her birthday, but didn’t mention that wouldn’t be for another 4 years.

Tanya Roberts as Midge Pinciotti.
Tanya Roberts as Midge Pinciotti. | Source
Lisa Robin Kelly (left) and her replacement Christina Moore.
Lisa Robin Kelly (left) and her replacement Christina Moore. | Source
Seth Green, Eliza Dushku and Alyson Hannigan.
Seth Green, Eliza Dushku and Alyson Hannigan. | Source
Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart.
Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart. | Source

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