Production History

Originally called The Goon Kids, the original idea for The Goonies, recalls Screenplay Writer Chris Columbus, came from Steven Spielberg. He knew there were a bunch of kids. The concept was: What do you do on a rainy summer day and you're bored? The kids live in the Goon Docks, and each has a strange quirk. Director Richard Donner credits the casting directors, Mike Fenton and Judy Taylor, for finding the right kids. Each of the kids is really his nickname in real life, says Donner. Jeff (Chunk) is chunky, Key (Data) is fascinated with electronics, Mouth (Corey) never shuts up. Spielberg sums up just who the Goonies are: They are often a ridiculous, rag-tag, junk-food bunch of American kids whose biggest enemy is besides the local bullies and snobby girls-is weekend boredom. Never bore a Goony or you'll be facing an adventure bigger then the entire neighbourhood and stumbled upon sheer outrageous accident. To play these rejects, Dick Donner and I saw hundreds of faces. Our selections were made on gnarly behavior, inexhaustible energy, and big quantities of weird humor. Every kid in The Goonies has a mushy, sentimental center. Donner has the mushiest, which is why he worked so brilliantly with them. And speaking of mushy, how about Chunk's Truffle Shuffle? Jeff Cohen describes it. The only way they let me in the Goonies club is if I do this dance. I make rumbling chicken noises and chicken movements with my arms, while moving my stomach in and out.


Pirates and the lure of buried treasure-which could save the Goonies and their homes-are established in this scene.

Chris Columus says he did some research on real pirates but that his screenplay for The Goonies is totally fictional. It is based on many different pirate adventures, he says. One-Eyed Willy is just a name Steven Spielberg and I came up with one day. Creating the pirate look for the movie was Production Designer Riva's chore, and he talks about making the map and doubloon. The map is one of the most important things, because it's the introduction to One-Eyed Willy and it sparks interest in the kids, especially Mikey. We thought it would be interesting if the map folded like Mad magazine so Mikey could discover something when he folds it. This also brings the doubloon into play, as Mikey later discovers. Riva used a Bunsen burner to singe the edges of the map and rubbed mink oil on the paper to give it an aged look. The doubloon is made of oxidized brass.

Mikey's relationship with One-Eyed Willy is the key to the Goonies treasure hunt. The pirate prankster has left a 300-year-old riddle behind and he dares Mikey to figure it out. Production Designer Riva explains how he worked with Director Richard Donner to flesh out this association. We wanted to make Willy an interesting, eccentric character. The job was to translate this into the film with the use of mechanical devices (such as the map and doubloon). We also injected frivolity and humor into his devices. By making Willy more interesting, we made Mikey more interesting, since he discovers all the stuff that Willy is doing. So it really became a challenge between the two characters. In the film, the shot of Mikey lining the doubloon up with the rocks in the ocean is actually a special-effects composite from Industrial Light & Magic. The doubloon and the kids were filmed in front of a blue screen , which was later matched to a shot of the rest of the background.

Chester Copperpot, 50 years earlier then the Goonies, was also hot on the trail of the rich stuff. One-Eyed Willy cooled him off. Luckily, the Goonies don't suffer the same crushing defeat. The intrigue and hair-raising action that mark this sequence combine the talents of set designers and mechanical-effects wizards. Production Designer Riva talks about creating the ambience in the caves. We tried to stay away from the Journey to the Center of the Earth feeling; we didn't want crystals and things like that. Riva adds that lighting was a big challenge. The kids find some lanterns and they create a certain ambient light. We also assumed that close to the surface, there's some light coming through cracks in the ground. Finally, for the benefit of the actors, they contacted a perfume expert and had him make up some fragrances of damp caves and musty old rooms. Matt Sweeney's FX crew added cobwebs - spun like cotton candy from a plastic solvent and spiders made from pip cleaners singed with a torch. They built and rigged the boulders (chunks of painted plastic foam) that fall at the kids' heels, and they shot the 'bats' coming out of an air cannon. Actually, the horde of bats consist of dozens of pieces of crumpled, black crepe paper an impromptu idea or dream up, from Steven Spielberg.

Only if the Goonies had stayed home like a bunch of normal kids. But nooooo they have to go around risking life and limb again and again. This time their choice of demise is to either fall off the devilish mast as waves of water crash over it or to be captured by the gun-toting Fratellis. Some choice! This scene, which the cast and crew dubbed The Bridge Over Troubled Waters, called for some mighty collaborative efforts, as Production Designer Riva recalls. This was an idea that Steven Spielberg played with in his mind on a Saturday afternoon when we were sitting around talking. He mentioned something about how the goonies have to cross over this log in between waves that come up and smash against it. I loved the image of that; the precariousness having to wait for the next wave. I imagined the goonies getting to the middle of the log, hearing the rumbling of the next wave coming and getting and running to the other side before it hit. The special-effects crew cooperated by supplying hundreds of gallons of water. There's an orifice where the water flows underneath the mast, explains Matt Sweeney, the FX Coordinator. That leads up to a chute that has a coupe of 3,000-gallon water tanks in it. We would dump the water by remote control, so it flowed continuously at about 2,0000 gallons per minute. Then, on cue, we dumped the tanks in order to create the huge rushes of water that spray up and over the mast. If you think that's a lot of plumbing, the entire movie used more than 900,000 gallons of water.

Tubular Bones! One-Eyed Willy has outdone him self this time. The Goonies must play the pirate king's skeletal organ perfectly in order to escape with their own bones intact. We needed a big action sequence at this point, says Screenplay Writer Columbus. And it gives us a little more background on Andy's character; she can play the piano. Actress Kerri Green recalls how her character felt during this breathless scene. In the organ chamber, everybody is depending on Andy. That was really scary. Andy took piano lessons for a couple of months when she was a little girl. Now she doesn't know whether she can play the bone organ or not. But this is where she proves herself, as a Goony and as a stick-through-it type. FX Coordinator Sweeney explains that the organ itself is built from real bones and pieces of bamboo. The actual music that Andy plays was dubbed in later, but Sweeney's crew added wonderful visual accompaniment. We put in little puffs of dust coming gout of the organ tubes. The result of the music, however, make this scene a real cliffhanger.

Everyone is petrified! With but a final note left for Andy to play, the goonies once more stand at the brink of disaster. If she strikes the wrong one, it's bye-bye time. The scenes nail biting tension results from the collaborative efforts of the mechanical-effects crew and the wizards at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).

The bone organ chamber was quite a deal, recalls FX Coordinator Sweeney. We built a large set with six floor sections designed to fall away on cue. They drop bang! Just like that five a half feet. In fact, the whole stage shakes. Patty Blau, Production Coordinator for ILM, explains the special visual effects. There are matte paintings and miniature sets designed to give the organ room a sense of depth and jeopardy to it. When the kids are leaning over the edge, it will look as is they're leaning over a pit that's 100 feet deep. A matte and miniature set will give the sense of looking up at these little kids in this little cave at the top. Rocks falling past the camera will be added later by blue screen. Chris Evans, Frank Ordaz and Caroleen Green are the ILM matte artists.

The Inferno -


Seeing the pirate ship for the first time was a special thrill for the goonies. While the vessel was being built, Director Donner banned the kids from the set. The day we were going to film them first seeing it, he says, we backed them all into the water and set the cameras. On "action" they knew what they were going to see but they didn't know what it was going to look like.. Their reactions are exactly what is seen in the film. The Goony kids give their personal impressions. Josh: "I wanted to laugh, but my jaw was down to my knees." Martha: "I almost started crying." Kerri: "The ship was really a treat. I couldn't believe how big and realistic it was." Key: "It was the most amazing set I ever seen." Corey: "It was amazing. It was a lot older looking than I expected." Sean: "My mouth dropped open. The whole adventure that we'd gone through finally had a happy ending the ship." Overshadowed by the ship, the octopus was another creation of the Burman makeup team. The FX crew maintained its actions, including the breakdancing exit, via pneumatic and hydraulic remote controls and marionetting from above the stage.

The Burbank Studios' Stage 16, the second largest in Hollywood, was the site of the Inferno set. The blueprint and photos show various stages of the shipbuilding.


Paragraph two talks about Data's Intimidator Invention which may be of some use.

Guarding 'The rich stuff' are the remains of One-Eyed Willy and his cohorts. The skeletons are a stark reminder of the final days aboard the Inferno. The ship was damaged. They were trapped. Finally, Willy and his most trusted mates gathered in his cabin to wait. Assistant Art Director Nemec describes the set. We brought in paintings, fine rugs, chalices, jewels, gold bars and other things that we associate with pirates and their loot.

Together at last the Goonies and One-Eyed Willy. The legend of the pirate king is told in Chris Columbus' script by Francis Fratelli. William B. Pordobel, better known as One-Eyed Willy, was one a the most ingenious pirates of the 26th Century. The guy started out as a court jester but was banished from five Spanish courts because of his off-color stories and practical jokes. So Willy formed this pirate band, and they set sail, on the Inferno. Willy and his men marauded hundreds of the King's ships. They accumulated a treasure worth millions. Legend has it that while bein' attacked by three of the King's ships, Willy steered his stricken ship into a hidden, underground cavern, which the British sealed with their cannon fire. Willy and the other survivors spent the next couple of years hidin' out, trying to repair the Inferno. They built a bunch of underground caves, loaded with all kindsa weird booby traps, to protect the treasure. One of his men escaped to tell Willy's story.

For a moment, it looks like the Goonies will inherit the pirates' fortunes, but Mama and her boys have different plans. As she raises her pistol at the kids, Data raises Cain with his Intimidator. FX Coordinator Sweeney describes the workings of the outrageous device. Data's got rubber bladders inside his clothing that make him swell up. They reach a certain point, they pop, and then he shrinks back to normal. Even his shoes raise up. We has a section of the floor with shoe cut-outs, and we had an apparatus that raises him up three inches.

The smoke is created with simple pyrotechnics. Does hits mean the the Goonies entire adventure has just blown up in there faces.

Moviemaking magic brings this scene to life. Just when the Fratelli's think they've got One-Eyed Willy's treasure in their bag, they get bagged by Sloth and Chunk's heroics. The forgotten Fratelli has learned a thing or two from watching those swashbuckling TV adventures. His spectacular knife ride down the sail, swinging rescue of Stef and Mouth, and sword fight with Jake and Francis are classic moments. All were made possible through the combined efforts of the FX team and expert stunt work. For the knife ride, a counterbalanced traveler that moved up ad down via a cable, was assembled under the supervision of FX Foreman John Belyeu. Sloth's stunt double, Randy Widner, was harnessed to the apparatus, with Chunks double Jerry Riley, on his back. Once on deck, Widner deposits Chunk and grabs a rope for the swinging rescue. The rope is actually a pendulum-like rod wrapped with rope. Unusual double stood in for Stef and Mouth. The double are very light Styrofoam mannequins, says stunt Coordinator George Robotham, with exact replicas of the actors; faces on them. They also animated so they have motion. Robotham brought in fencing experts to coach Sloth, Jake and Francis for their derring duel. Errol Flynn would be proud of them all.

"Simulating the dynamite blast, which allows the Goonies to escape from the pirate-ship cavern, required careful work from the FX crew and convincing acting from John Matuszak. As real as the explosion looks, explains FX Coordinator Sweeney, it is performed non-pyrotechnically no real explosives. We did it all with air for the safety aspect, he says. It's much more controllable (than real explosives), too, so we can do the scene over and over, The device consists of large air tanks attached to funnel-like containers filled with debris. We let off a quick acting valve and it blows all the stuff out. It looks like a real explosion and it's very safe. We used a lot of pyrocel rock, which is a form of crumbly plaster." Lucinda Strub, FX crewmember and wife of Matt Sweeney, coordinated the design and construction of the set for the kids' escape and Sloth's boulder-holding feat. "She built a metal framework", her husband says, "which was covered with fiberglass. She also made a complicated hinge apparatus so the huge boulder can start out in one place, teetering beside the opening of the escape tunnel, and then it teeters back to block the opening. The boulder itself is a hollow, six-foot diameter chunk of painted fiberglass. Even so, Sloth looks pretty awesome holding it up so the Goonies can scoot through his legs to safety. "Oh, it's a monster," says Sweeney. You'll say, "How could John Matuzsak ever lift that?!"

Achieving the dramatic shot of the Inferno sailing off in the horizon called on the optical-effects and model-building talents at Industrial Light and Magic. A five-foot replica of the Inferno was constructed from wood and plastic, with silk sails. It resembles the full-scale vessel perfectly, right down to the cannonball hole on it's side and the rips in the sails. Actual footage of the ocean, combined with ILM animation, allow the miniature Inferno to ride the high seas as the credits roll. Director Donner contemplates this inspiring closing scene. "There's a treasure out there for all of us. I don't just mean wealth, but the treasure of life. One-Eyed Willy is sailing off from his captivity that he's been in for hundreds of years. Your dreams can come true." Steven Spielberg talks about the overall effect of The Goonies. "What it's really about is friendship. And sticking together. It's every kid's dream, I think, to be in control of his or her own destiny, if only for one Saturday. This is a 'wouldn't-it-be-great-if' movie. The magic is less a part of what the Goonies actually discover as much as what they become to each other in real emotional ways." In other words, after seeing this movie, everyone will want to join the adventure and take the oath. 'I am proudly declared one of the Goonies!'

Sweet romance has been an undercurrent throughout The Goonies, Mikey is infatuated with Andy, who has a crush on Brand. The younger brother even sneaks a blind kiss from Andy back in the tunnels. Now, safely on shore, away from the claustrophobic caves, Brand makes his move. Another 'thing' has been brewing between Mouth and Stef. It takes her touching gesture on the plank to move Mouth to words free of sarcasm. The Goony kids talk about the romantic entanglements in the movie. "Andy has a boyfriend, Troy," says Josh Brolin. "But they're on the wealthy side of the tracks and the Goonies are on the other side. She and I have something going; lots of looking at each other. We did the kissing scene on the beach at Bodega Bay (California). We got an applause for it." Kerri Green talks about Andy's predicament. "She has a crush on Brand, and Mikey has a crush on Andy. But Andy's main role besides getting through all this alive, is to kiss Brand." Corey Feldman explains Mouth's view of Stef. "I think she's the greatest thing in the world, and through the course of the movie she starts liking me more but neither of us wants to admit it. Until on the pirate ship when she offers me her air." Martha Plimpton gives Stef's side of the story. "Stef's relationship with Mouth is a real love/hate kind of thing. We don't get along unless we're in a life-and-death situation."