10 Things You Didn’t Know About Saved By The Bell

1. Jennie Garth, Jaleel White, Jonathan Brandis, and Brian Austin Green all auditioned for the show.

2. Lisa Turtle was originally written as a white Jewish princess from Long Island who moves to California, but the producers liked Lark Voorhies, and gave her the part.

3. Mark-Paul Gosselaar had to dye his hair blonde every two weeks while shooting the show.

4. The final “Graduation” episode had already been shot when the network ordered additional episodes. Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley were attached to other projects by that time, necessitating the creation of a replacement character, Tori. The Tori episodes aired in the middle of the other final season episodes to sidestep continuity problems (though the disappearance and later reappearance of Kelly and Jessie, as well as for Tori, went unexplained).

5. Tori was named after producer Aaron Spelling’s daughter, Tori Spelling.

6. Zack, Slater, Lisa and Screech are the only characters to appear in every episode.

7. Elizabeth Berkley originally auditioned for the role of Kelly Kapowski and was turned down in favor of Tiffani Thiessen, but the producers liked Elizabeth so much that they created the Jessie Spano character especially for her to play.

8. Dustin Diamond was three years younger than the rest of the cast.

9. According to producer Peter Engel, at a meeting before the show had been created, NBC President Brandon Tartikoff suggested the show be given a name that used the word bell (such as “When the Bell Rings”). One of Engel’s colleagues then suggested the name “Saved by the Bell”, which Tartikoff liked. Engel disliked the name but, believing that someone else probably owned the rights to the phrase “saved by the bell”, went along with it. As luck would have it, NBC’s legal department discovered that in fact nobody owned the rights to the phrase, and by the next day Engel’s office was covered in large banners that said “Saved by the Bell”.

10. Originally, Zack and Slater were written as bitter rivals for Kelly’s romantic affections. Off screen however, Mario López and Mark-Paul Gosselaar were (and continue to be) very close friends. The writers, sensing the obvious chemistry between the two actors, had the characters re-written as best friends, and they remained that way for the rest of the show.

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