Here are some of the interesting facts about The Wonder Years, the coming-of-age drama set in the 60s that became a massive hit during the 80s and 90s.
It didn’t take the series’ creators Neal Marlens and Carol Black too long to pick the perfect actor to play the lead character Kevin Arnold. All five casting directors unanimously recommended wunderkind Fred Savage, who had just finished working on the comedy film Vice Versa.
A lot of girls auditioned for the part of Winnie Cooper, the love interest of Kevin Arnold. Eventually, it was down to Danica McKellar and her sister Crystal. Just days before shooting the pilot episode, the producers finally chose Danica for two reasons: she was older (there would be a kiss involved) and she was brunette (compared to Crystal’s blonde). The producers thought Danica’s brown locks would match well with Savage’s own hair color.
Danica’s role of Winnie Cooper was originally intended to be a just a guest-star, but she eventually became a series regular.
It was in the pilot episode where Savage and McKellar were required to kiss. He was 11 and she was 12 at the time.
Into the early days of the series, the two actors had actually a crush on each other, but McKellar herself later revealed that their relationship eventually turned to a brother-and-sister one.
In The Wonder Years’ final episode, Kevin and Winnie didn’t end up together. It’s because in real life, most people never end up with their first loves.
Marlens initially wanted the series to be set in Long Island, the place he grew up. But ABC, the network that aired the show, wanted the location to be more generic so the name of the town was not mentioned.
However, the house of Kevin Arnold and his family shown the series’ opening sequence was a real home, which was located in Burbank, California.
The characters went to McKinley Senior High, Lincoln Junior high and RFK Junior High — all named after assassinated figures.
In The Wonder Years’ final episode, Kevin’s best friend Paul (left) became a Harvard graduate and a lawyer. Josh Saviano, who played Paul, graduated from Yale and became a lawyer in real life.
A height difference was one of the reasons of Kevin and Winnie’s on-again and off-again relationship. McKellar had a growth spurt, making her noticeably taller than Savage. That’s why the onscreen couple were kept apart long enough before Savage managed to catch up on McKellar’s height.
The series’ narrator was Daniel Stern, who provided as the voice of the adult Kevin. But Stern wasn’t the narrator on the pilot episode. The original narrator was Ayre Gross.
The Wonder Years won an Emmy for “Outstanding Comedy.” ABC wanted the first season to have 13 episodes, but the show’s producers only managed to have only six.