A deeper look at the Official Goonies Souvenir Magazine…


By Shawn Robare

For today’s post, I wanted to share a little more of the Official Goonies Souvenir Magazine that was published to coincide with the film’s release in the summer of 1985.  All told, I’ve only posted about 50% of the magazine, but you can find the rest over at Vinnie Rattolle’s site, which has all sorts of great nostalgic odds and ends I might add.  I think a good place to start would be the Goony Oath (the magazine tends to use the “y” in the singular):

“I will never betray my Goon Dock friends, We will stick together until the whole world ends, Through Heaven and Hell and nuclear war, Good pals like us will stick like tar, In the city or the country or the forest or the boonies, I am proudly declared one of the Goonies!”

I wonder if the weak rhyme between “war” and “tar” was intentional since it’s supposed to have been written by kids?  Anyway, as I mentioned in the first part, one of the things that was so cool about these magazines was all the little bits of trivia buried inside.  For instance, Spielberg’s initial working title for the film was “The Goon Kids”, which is kind of interesting when you think about the whole Goonies/Goon Docks thing.  It probably comes from a mixture of things, but my guess is that the term stems from the boondocks, which is military slang for rural areas (coming out of the Philippines and the Tagalog word for mountain, bundok.)  My bet is that in coming up with a name for the kids he took the “boon” sound from boondock and then flashed on “goon”, because people treat the kids as if they’re dumb and poor, and it’s a nice self-deprecating moniker.  I’m also thinking he had the 1965 “Down in the Boondocks” song in the back of his mind as well:

“Down in the boondocks, Down in the boondocks, People put me down ’cause, That’s the side of town I was born in…”

There are also some hints to dropped plot points.  On the bottom of the page above there’s an insert with Sean Astin reading a copy of Mad magazine.  The author mentions how easily he solves the Al Jaffee fold-in back cover, and how this will play into the story later.  Thing is, it never does, at least not in the theatrical cut of the film.  There is a deleted scene in a convenience store where Mikey realizes that there is a similar fold-in puzzle with the map, but at the end of the day it’s a throwaway bit.  If you look closely though Mad magazines are strewn about the set though (the most notable is a copy Mikey grabs before sitting on top of Brand when he’s getting depressed about having to move before the rest of the gang comes over.)  Also, the initial design for the Rube Goldberg device that opens the Walsh’s back gate originally featured a rabbit instead of an egg-laying chicken as appeared in the film.

Speaking of the map, there are a number of different map props that show up in the film.  The main one is severely weathered by production designer Michael Riva (who apparently stated in an interview on NPR that to get that aged look he used the natural coloring from coffee and his own blood) and appears in the scene when the kids are searching through the attic (pictured below.)  There’s another version (also pictured below) that pops up in the deleted convenience store scene that’s much cleaner and free of soot and blood.  There’s also a version that appears in the magazine (above) which seems to be somewhere in the middle of the two (weathered-wise), but the actual map itself is different.  The X (which marks the spot of the Fratelli’s hideout) varies from map to map, as do the burn holes in the middle.  Also, according to Sean Astin, he was given the map (I’m assuming the severally distressed one we typically see them with) by the crew, but his mother threw it away years later.  So we can thank Patty Duke for donating that bit of movie ephemera to a US landfill…

Another small detail that comes up in the magazine is a description of Mama Fratelli’s tattoo which is a play on the Looney Tunes stereotypical criminal tat, a heart with the word “son” inscribed across it.   First of all, I love the subtle joke of the tattoo, but it’s also an important aspect of Anne Ramsey’s character.  She loves her boys, all three of ‘em, even if she is constantly barking orders at them.  I also found it interesting that some of my favorite villainous moments were actually adlibs or ideas that the actors came up with to enrich their characters.  When Mama leans against the door after she’s shooed the Goonies out of her hideout and exhaustedly delivers the line, “Kids suck…”, I can’t help but feel her pain.  Similarly, I’ve always found Robert Davi’s sudden bursts of opera singing to be one of the creepier bits in the film, especially when he catches Chunk on the road while he’s fleeing, looking for help.  Just knowing that this was Davi’s idea is cool as he was really into his role and wanted to make it that much more menacing…

Something else I find fascinating is the amazing level of detail that the production has in some instances, yet how simple and crazily effective it is in others.  To help the actors really get into the mood, production designer Michael Riva contracted a perfume company to develop a realistic musky, wet cave-like odor that was sprayed on the sets to add that extra level of realism.  On the other hand, in the scene where a billion bats come flying out of an uncovered tunnel, there were actually no bats involved.  Instead Spielberg had the genius idea to shoot crepe paper out of an air cannon which perfectly mimicked the desired effect!

By far, the most impressive set piece in the film is One-Eyed Willie’s ship, the Inferno. Not only did the production build it practically to scale, they didn’t let the actors know this before hand.  So when the kids come off the water slide bit and gain their footing in the water their reactions to the ship are genuine.  This isn’t a new directorial tactic; Buster Keaton got similar amazed expressions out of his actors when he derailed a train and sent it crashing off a bridge into a ravine during the filming of the General.  But I still think it’s pretty damn cool, and it has to be one of the group’s fondest memories growing up…

The magazine also gave a glimpse behind the make-up of Sloth so kids could get a good look at John Matuszak, the former defensive end for the Oakland Raiders.  We also get a still from another deleted scene, the picture at the top left, with Sloth eating a frozen steak out of the Fratelli’s freezer.  Seems like Sloth was always eating in the film now that I think about it…

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  • Tim L.

    That shot from the octopus scene in this magazine confused me to no end when I was a kid as I knew I had not seen that in the movie. Apparently I didn’t understand the idea of “”deleted scenes”" back then. It’s interesting to think that in less than 25 years, seeing scenes like this has gone from special glimpses in collector’s magazines to expected inclusion on DVD releases.