Movie ‘Grease’ Inspired by Local High School High and the Director’s Time as a Student There

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Meet Rydell High's twin. The experiences of 'Grease' director and Radnor alum Randal Kleiser found their way into the 1978 film "Grease."

The musical comedy film “Grease” was inspired in part by Radnor High School and now it’s going to be re-imagined as a series for HBO Max next year, writes Nick Vadala for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

A 1964 Radnor alum, the movie’s director, Randal Kleiser, told the Inquirer in 1998 that “a lot of the stuff we put in Grease is sort of based” on the school.

“I ran the low hurdle, and I put that in where Danny Zuko is running the hurdle and tripped. That happened to me — I was in a race and tripped,” Kleiser said.

The school colors at the fictional Rydell High are the same as Radnor’s. The setting is more suburban than the Broadway musical, which takes place in the city.

A drive-in scene in Grease where Travolta sings the song “Sandy” on a swing set, was inspired by the Main Line Drive-In in Devon.

Despite Radnor High and its surrounding area providing some inspiration, the school didn’t provide a filming location. Filmmakers shot the movie thousands of miles away at Venice High School and Huntington Park High School in California.

Read more about Radnor High School’s connection to “Grease” here.

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