Welcome back to How’d They Do That? Each week, we check out behind the scenes stills and video from the making of some of cinema’s greatest! This week, we’re jumping in the nostalgia machine to check out Richard Donner’s 1985 classic The Goonies.

Written by Christopher Columbus based on a story by executive producer Steven Spielberg, The Goonies is a film that is timeless to one generation, and incredibly dated to another. I have incredibly fond memories of the film, but showing it a bunch of 20-something’s who had never seen it before didn’t have the same effect. The Goonies has all the makings of a classic Amblin film – adventure, comedy and a cast of fantastic child actors! Whilst not an effects powerhouse, there are quite a few unique behind-the-scenes shots that I want to showcase.

Behind every great child actor, is the on-set teacher who’s keeping up their schooling! Below is a picture of the cast doing their classwork on set. Check out that advanced computer!


Next, a famous friend visits the set! Michael Jackson is seen below with young Jeff Cohen (Chunk). Apparently Michael Jackson visited the set multiple times. To get a certain reaction from the kids early on in the film (when The Goonies are banging on the water pipes) director Richard Donner told the cast, right before the take, that Michael Jackson was coming to the set. He wasn’t lying (and he got the shot!)


Below we see the crew shooting the sequence when The Goonies cross a dangerous stream. The craftsmanship on these sets its wonderful (pardon the grainy picture).


The pirate ship featured at end of the film? It was built for real! ‘The Infero’ was 105ft long and took 2-1/2 months to build. The Goonies was shot in sequence, and Richard Donner didn’t allow any of the kids to see the set – to invoke real reactions when they landed in the cavern. He got what he asked for – Josh Brolin dropped a “Holy Sh*t” during the first take and they had to re shoot it.

When filming was done, the ship was offered to anybody who would take it. Unfortunately there were no takers and the ships was sent to Davey Jones locker (i.e. scrapped.)


Below an effects artist makes some final preparations before the miniature ship is shot against a blue screen – to be superimposed against the real Oregon coastline during the finale as One Eye’d Willy’s ship sails away on its next adventure!


Sloth is such a memorable character. Portrayed by NFL player John Matuszak, the character was a combination between of makeup and radio controlled effects. Below shows you how, step by step, this makeup was applied. The droopy eye was puppeteer-ed remotely using radio control. In order to get Sloth blinking realistically, the crew counted down from 5 to sync Matuszak real eye and the fake one.sloth

Finally, lets take a look at two wild sequences that ultimately ended up being deleted from the film. First, is the infamous Octopus that appeared once the kids landed in the pirate ship cavern. Even tho the sequence was deleted, Data still refers to the octopus when reunited with his family. The octopus also appears in the Cyndi Lauper music video for the film. Here we see the Octopus in all it’s glory, designed by Rob Burman.


Finally, a really, really bizarre shot from a deleted scene that I didn’t even know existed. Apparently in one of the first few drafts, two gorillas appear multiple times through the film, and eventually steal Troy’s card. The full story behind this sequence can be read here, but this was too strange to not include! Check out the below shot of the gorillas driving around Astoria!


I hope you enjoyed this journey down memory lane behind the scenes of The Goonies. As always, if you have a film you’d like us to check out the behind the scenes workings of – please let us know in the comments!

Until next time – keep watching, and asking yourself How’d They Do That!