While Adam Sandler’s Hubie Halloween is receiving unusually decent reviews for a Sandler Netflix film (51 percent on Rotten Tomatoes is 51 more percentage points than The Ridiculous 6), it’s also fun to remember one of the movies that originally made Sandler a movie star. Happy Gilmore came out 24 years ago, and it remains one of the most rewatchable and most quotable comedies of all time, not to mention one of the better sports movies ever.
Of course, the most iconic scene from that movie is the fight on the golf course between Adam Sandler’s character and then host of The Price is Right, Bob Barker, who also elicited from Sandler the most famous line from that movie, “The price is wrong, b*tch.” According to Sandler, it didn’t actually take a lot of cajoling to convince Barker to appear in the movie. Barker had only one condition, he told Sandler, according to the IMDb’s That Scene with Dan Patrick podcast. Barker insisted that he win the fight. Barker took boxing seriously, on account of the fact that his next-door neighbor was Chuck Norris, who helped train Barker. “I trained with Chuck,” Barker told Sandler. “We trained every night. He helps me with my punches and my kicks, but I have to win this fight.” To accommodate that, Sandler actually rewrote the script — because Sandler had won the fight in the original script.
What Sandler revealed that came as something of a surprise, however, is that despite him being absolutely perfect for the role, Bob Barker was not his first choice for that scene. “Well, [Tim] Herlihy initially wrote Ed McMahon,” Sandler told Dan Patrick, referring to the longtime sidekick to Johnny Carson and spokesperson for the Publisher’s Clearing House.
“I remember being so young and cocky then,” Sandler continues, “that we would literally say when we sent it to Ed McMahon, we thought, ‘Of course he’s going to do it. It would be good for him. It’d be good for his career to be in a movie with me and get in a fistfight.'” McMahon, however, didn’t even pass on the role. He never even responded.
One other interesting note from that scene: the iconic line, “The price is wrong, b*tch,” actually came from Judd Apatow, the writer/director of Knocked Up, Funny People, and 40-Year-Old Virgin. At the time, he was Sandler’s Los Angeles roommate. “Judd came up to Vancouver and did a couple of months of jamming with us,” Sandler told Patrick, saying that the line came out of those sessions. That more than makes up for the two-and-a-half hour slog that was Funny People.