Bette Midler Officially Sets the Record Straight on That Hocus Pocus Quote Debate

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Bette Midler Clears Up Hocus Pocus Lyric CONFUSION

Bubble, bubble, we're successful trouble—because it turns retired we haven't been incorrectly quoting Hocus Pocus this full time. 

At Sept. 27's Hocus Pocus 2 premiere, Bette Midler, who plays Winifred Sanderson successful the beloved classic, put rumors of a misquote to rest. 

"Salem, not sailors!" she clarified exclusively to E! News, referencing her greeting that prefaced the film's iconic "I Put A Spell On You" performance. "Why would I accidental 'Hello, sailors'? No, no, it's Salem—'Hello, Salem.'"

Midler went connected to quip that "sailors" wouldn't marque immoderate consciousness due to the fact that "there's nary h2o there." Well, that's 1 enigma solved. 

All this hocus pocus first began moving amok connected Sept. 23 erstwhile Midler herself incorrectly quoted the film connected Instagram, writing, "Hello sailors. My name's Winifred, what's yours?" But fans of the movie couldn't assistance but announcement the supernatural slip-up. "Wait… it's sailors not Salem??" 1 spectator wrote, portion different quipped that they were "today years aged erstwhile I learned she says 'Sailors' alternatively of 'Salem.'"

Clearly, viewers are inactive precise invested successful the movie astir 30 years later—and Midler explained wherefore she thinks fans stay truthful progressive contempt the clip spread betwixt the 1993 archetypal and this year's sequel, which some prima Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as Winifred's wacky witch siblings. 

"It's precise sweet," she said of the Halloween classic. "Even though they're killers, it's truthful sweet. There's thing astir the enslaved betwixt the sisters."

Plus, Midler said she loves the "looney" broadside characters astir of all, calling them "crazier than the witches!" 

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Disney

It was Midler herself who pushed to resurrect the Sanderson Sisters for a sequel aft noticing the film's ongoing popularity, adjacent being called to formal up arsenic Winifred for foundation galas passim the years.  

"As I watched it progress, I'd telephone the workplace erstwhile a twelvemonth to ask, 'How astir it?'" she recalled to Entertainment Weekly Sept. 13. "It wasn't until astir 3 years agone that they advocated for it, and question started."

Watch the magic hap when Hocus Pocus 2 premieres connected Disney+ Sept. 30, and work much astir behind-the-scenes secrets of the archetypal movie below.


1. The archetypal rubric was Halloween House, but eight years and about 11 writers later, it became a overmuch little scarier, much kid-friendly movie truthful a name-change was successful order.

2. Production initially started retired successful Salem successful November earlier finishing connected dependable stages successful Los Angeles. Great for autumn foliage. Not truthful large for decorations.

"The happening I emotion astir the Salem worldly is erstwhile we went there, it was getting into Christmastime, and truthful radical were starting to enactment up their Christmas ornaments," Tobias Jelinek, who played the bully Jay, told E! News. "They were having to wage them retired artifact by artifact to instrumentality down each their decorations truthful we could get each the Halloween stuff."

Walt Disney Pictures / Buena Vista Home Video

3. According to Doug Jones (Billy Butcherson), Bette Midler had a unsocial request successful her contract: Her feet had to beryllium shown on-screen. 

"A small known information there, I heard a rumor that Bette Midler had written into her contracts that determination had to beryllium an isolated changeable of Bette's shoes and her feet walking determination successful the film," helium alleged, pointing to the iconic "I Put a Spell connected You" country for reference.

"So you'll spot 2 shots successful the enactment scene, 1 erstwhile she's entering the country walking guardant toward the camera," helium said. "Another 1 connected stage, it's a speedy blip of her feet going from 1 broadside to the different portion she's walking crossed the stage. If you look astatine it quickly, it's like, wherefore would they adjacent fuss to enactment that clip successful there? Well, it was contractual."


4. While Dani (Thora Birch) was a smitten kitten erstwhile it came to Binx, Birch wasn't arsenic enamored with the feline IRL.

"There were 7 antithetic unrecorded cats, 2 antithetic animatronic ones and thing that didn't adjacent exist, it was similar an X connected a lamppost and they were like, 'There's Binx!'" Birch E! News. "I ne'er knew precisely what I was coming into it, and information beryllium told, don't fto anyone know, I'm not a feline person!"

5. Birch, however, was decidedly a instrumentality of the histrion who portrayed Thackery Binx successful the flesh: Sean Murray, who present stars connected CBS' NCIS and has remained a definitive '90s heartthrob contempt lone being successful a mates of scenes. 

She admitted to having a tiny infatuation during filming, saying, "He was dreamy! He was cute, definitely!" 


6. Birch wasn't the lone young miss nursing a crush connected set. Amanda Shepherd (a.k.a. Binx's beloved sister Emily) ended up processing a relationship with Elijah Wood aft she snuck disconnected to research the Disney lot.

"So each of abrupt these boys were playing basketball, and I'm like, 'I don't cognize however to play basketball,' and close distant I saw Elijah Wood and had an instant miss crush connected him, due to the fact that I deliberation astatine the clip helium was shooting Huck Finn," Shepherd said. "And past we became friends and I had a huge, ridiculous crush connected him."

She continued, "I can't judge I was that aggressive, I was like, 'I privation to play! Can I play?' I didn't adjacent cognize however to play basketball—I conscionable wanted to speech to Elijah, I conscionable wanted to conscionable him. Thankfully, astatine the wrapper party, everyone astatine the Disney batch went to Disneyland and we managed to go friends astatine that point, truthful helium rode with maine and my mom, due to the fact that my ma had to drive. But I don't deliberation helium was interested. But I inactive similar him!"


7. While Murray played Thackery Binx, it was actually Jason Marsden who voiced the character—both the quality and feline version. 

8. Vinessa Shaw, who played Allison, told E! News the teen actors "were benignant of much similar brothers and sisters. We conscionable had fun, similar amusive friends together. We decidedly were goofing astir connected acceptable each the time. I deliberation we were inactive not mature capable to bash immoderate pranks connected anyone, we conscionable loved each other. It was a precise saccharine time!"

9. The movie unit really built the Sanderson's iconic cottage and the surrounding graveyard, a rarity for astir sets. And for Birch, it's what she remembered astir astir filming the movie, on with a formed travel to Salem.

"It was the largest, astir elaborate acceptable I've ever been on," she said. "That was a existent idiosyncratic Disney moment. I heard Tinkerbell flying around!"

Disney; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration

9. Legend has it that Leonardo DiCaprio was this close to being cast as Max, the movie's starring man. And it's sort of true.

"Well, helium wasn't astir Max. I was told earlier helium came into conscionable maine that you're not going to beryllium capable to person him, but helium wanted to travel successful and met you," manager Kenny Ortega explained to E! News. "It was truthful great. I was grateful to person met him astatine that clip successful his life. It was close astatine the beginning—he went connected to do [What's Eating] Gilbert Grape and [This] Boy's Life. I emotion that I got a accidental to conscionable him and helium came successful to spot me."

Omri Katz yet landed the role, with Ortega saying, "I was ever truthful grateful that we recovered Omri and [he] is beauteous successful the film."


10. The infamous bullies Ernie a.k.a. "Ice" (Larry Bagby) and Jay (Jelinek) were conscionable arsenic adjacent off-screen arsenic they were erstwhile they were stirring up occupation on-screen.

"I was 15, truthful for the archetypal period of so, my ma had to travel with me. He turned 18 portion we were filming, truthful we convinced by ma to fto him motion arsenic my guardian," Jelinek revealed. Yep, Ice was Jay's ineligible guardian during filming.

"We were 2 kids with excessively overmuch per diem having a batch of fun," Jelinek added, noting Hocus Pocus was his archetypal audition ever. Tubular!

11. For Bagby, having to shave "ICE" successful the backmost of his caput wasn't precisely the easiest hairstyle to person astatine the time. "I went to religion with my ma and dada and I had to deterioration a chapeau backwards mostly to screen it," helium recalled. "But past you spell to church, you can't deterioration a hat! Everyone was like, 'Oh, what's happening with that Bagby kid? Has helium gone disconnected the heavy end?! helium indispensable beryllium successful 1 of those caller gangs oregon something!'"

12. While they referred to the Sanderson Sisters arsenic "ugly chicks" successful 1 of their scenes with the trio, some Bagby and Jelinek were successful awe of Sarah Jessica Parker portion filming, with Jelinek revealing Bagby had a "major crush" connected her. "Still do!" Bagby added.

"The information that she was Ferris Bueller's girlfriend! That blew my mind," Jelinek said, referring to SJP's now-husband Matthew Broderick. "I conscionable retrieve however chill she was. She had that hippie chic happening going on."

13. The scenes with Winifred, Mary and Sarah flying connected broomsticks were basically real, arsenic Katz said helium was amazed by "how [the crew] operated to get the witches to fly. There was nary CGI! There were 4 dudes moving them!"

And Jones revealed that 1 Sanderson sister truly took to the experience.

"The 1 idiosyncratic who truly loved it was Sarah Jessica Parker," helium said. "I had nary thought what went connected there, however she was strapped successful that made it truthful comfy and blessed for her. But she loved flying, whereas astir radical don't."


14. That country where William "Billy" Butcherson, Winifred's dormant ex who stepped retired with Sarah, cuts his rima unfastened to yet talk lone to person moths alert out? Those were existent insects successful Jones' mouth. And it was a hard task to get it close pre-CGI advancing to what it is today.

"That took immoderate enactment due to the fact that if they get moist they don't fly. Mouths are thing but saliva, truthful we had to support them from the moisture of my mouth," Jones, known for his show successful the Oscar-winning movie The Shape of Water, explained. "So we enactment a dental dam successful determination and a latex sheath and they enactment the moths successful with tweezers and we had to bash it astatine the past infinitesimal erstwhile the cameras were rolling truthful I could chopped the stitches open, cough retired the particulate and moths and they would fly."

He continued, "The archetypal instrumentality I did it though, a airy broke close aft they got it each acceptable it up...they yet get it fixed existent speedy and I chopped it unfastened and what comes retired but a watercourse of mud and these moths conscionable benignant of surfing connected it. Take two, we got it right!"

15. Jones' audition process to play Billy was beauteous unusual: He was brought into a creation workplace with Ortega, a celebrated choreographer, who wanted to spot what Jones was physically susceptible of. 

"He said, 'You're going to aftermath up successful that presumption determination and locomotion implicit to present aft 300 years, go!' So I conscionable had to travel up with an enactment connected my ain connected the spot," Jones said. "He loved everything I did. He laughed hysterically. And by the clip I got location I had the part!"

16. While Billy's mummified hairsbreadth and make-up looked similar it would instrumentality a agelong time, Jones said helium was amazed by however speedy the process was.

"They had it down to 1 prosthetic portion they they glued connected beauteous quickly," helium said. "They conscionable had to glue it connected and interaction it up, truthful they got it down to an hr and a half. For prosthetic, that's nothing! Beauty make-up takes longer. I got disconnected casual connected that one." 

Valerie Durant/Freeform via Getty Images

17. Katz's adjacent relation aft playing Grateful Dead instrumentality Max Dennison was a Deadhead...but for real. However, the nickname Max was fixed successful the movie by bullies Ice and Jay did widen beyond the Hocus Pocus set.

"Right aft making this movie I went and followed The Grateful Dead for similar 3 oregon 4 years and that was my Grateful Dead batch name: Hollywood," Katz told E! News. "Everybody utilized to say, 'What's up, Hollywood?!'"

And no, helium didn't clasp onto Max's tie-dye garment from the movie to wear. "I was making my own, man," helium said. 

18. The young trio from the film—Katz, Shaw and Birch—have remained adjacent passim the years, particularly aft reuniting for the 20th Anniversary astatine the Walt Disney Studio Lot successful 2013. "It was like, 'Oh wait, we emotion each other, wherefore aren't we hanging out?!'" Shaw said. "[We] went retired for meal 1 Halloween, it was perfect. We're inactive connected aft that." 


19. The bullies were astir chopped from the film, but yet made the last mentation erstwhile the producers saw however aboriginal audiences responded to Ice and Jay.

"At 1 constituent they had chopped our characters retired completely, and it didn't trial arsenic well, Kenny had told america that," Bagby explained. "He said, 'There was thing astir you guys, oregon possibly the bullies being enactment up successful cages and the kids could subordinate to those bullies.' I conjecture a spot of a comic alleviation to what immoderate of the scary worldly was."

20. Throughout the shoot, Bagby captured a batch of his ain footage connected his idiosyncratic camera. But 1 of the stars wasn't thrilled to beryllium documented during a interruption from filming. 

"The large happening I retrieve from those scenes with the cages was the time that Larry brought his camcorder and Bette Midler was adjacent her cauldron," Jelinek said, "and Larry broke it retired and started filming and she saw him and got upset. Pre-TMZ infinitesimal wherever she spotted you. It wasn't cool."

Bagby added, "It wasn't pleasant. You don't privation Bette looking astatine you."


21. Despite his paparazzi infinitesimal with Midler, Bagby did accidental the legendary star's singing enactment everyone astatine easiness connected set.

"I'm reminded of a communicative I heard from Thora astir 1 of her top memories erstwhile they were doing the flying things, that successful betwixt takes Bette conscionable started singing 'Wind Beneath My Wings,' and she said it was truthful soothing," helium said. "I'm definite it wasn't amusive being up connected those things each time long. They did each their ain flying, it was earlier exertion had the quality to bash that."

22. While Birch and Shepherd were the 2 youngest actors connected the cast, they never became friends.

"OK I'll accidental this, I've ne'er said this… I was intimidated, I was intimidated by her due to the fact that she was truthful assured and experienced," Shepherd admitted. "She'd locomotion into the constitution country like, 'I don't request anyone doing my makeup. I tin bash my constitution myself, convey you.' So I was intimidated by her, but I really, truly liked her. I was benignant of successful awe of her." 


23. Jelinek auditioned for a antithetic portion earlier producers decided to person him effort speechmaking for different quality aft seeing him in-person.

"We went successful for the archetypal audition and they primitively had maine auditioning for Max and past I came successful with my long, surfer hairsbreadth and they were like, 'Why don't you work for this character, Jay?'"

24. While the formed mostly stuck to the script, Jones did uncover 1 enactment helium changed portion filming a scene.

"The archetypal publication had maine cutting my rima open, coughing retired each the particulate and moths and looking astatine Bette Midler and saying, 'B--ch!'" That's each it was," helium detailed. "And I felt like, hmmm, a Disney kids film. This is wherever I request to beryllium to the kids I'm connected their team, I'm a bully guy. I‘d similar this infinitesimal to play retired a small otherwise if I could. So I suggested what I accidental successful the movie: 'Wench! Trollop! You buck-toothed, mop-riding firefly from hell!'"


25. Despite being a movie each astir Halloween, Hocus Pocus was initially released successful July 1993. And it didn't precisely scare up large container bureau numbers astatine the time.

"Of course, I was disappointed erstwhile it didn't travel retired of the gross stronger, but I mean it was released successful July, And I was inactive young and coming into the manufacture arsenic a director, and was like, well, possibly idiosyncratic knows thing that I don't know," Ortega said. "But no, we made a Halloween movie! There's thing bigger that screens during this vacation than Hocus Pocus!"