The Cast of ‘Home Improvement’ Open up About What Happened Back Then
The show launched Pamela Anderson’s career
You might not be aware of it but Pamela Anderson was a famous model and even appeared on the cover of Playboy before she became a famous actress. It was her role as Lisa, the Tool Time girl, that launched her career as an actress. She was certainly the perfect sight for sore eyes on Tim Taylor’s Tool Time Show.
Pamela only stayed for two seasons though, before becoming C.J. Parker, the reason most men watched Baywatch to begin with. Curiously enough, on Tim Taylor’s Tool Time Show, they said she left to become a paramedic. Pamela returned to returned to the Tool Time Show for the last season (6th) “The Kiss and the Kiss-off” (1997).
Pamela Anderson was replaced by Debbie Dunning
Pamela Anderson was replaced by Debbie Dunning as Tool Time Girl and her name was Heidi Keppert. She became the assistant for Tim and Al for 6 seasons and she also introduced the show. The first episode where Dunning appeared was “Maybe Baby” (3rd Season) and the audience fell in love with her immediately.
Her role was actually minor in the beginning. By the final seasons she was pretty much considered main cast though.
Ashley Judd didn’t get the role as Tool Time girl because she was “too talented.”
Pamela Anderson was not the first actress considered for the Tool Time Girl role. That honor was bestowed upon Ashley Judd. Her audition was a huge success. Matt Williams, one of the creators of the show, actually loved it but he felt that she was too good an actress for the role and vowed to find a better part for her on the show. The role of Tim’s sister was created exclusively for her. Ashley declined though and she never became part of the show.
Tim Allen sacrificed starring in Turner and Hooch and Dead Poets Society to get his own sitcom
Disney Studios approached Tim Allen and offered him to star in TV versions of “Turner and Hooch and “Dead Poets Society.” Tim refused, because he didn’t believe this shows would be successful. His very own TV show though, a sitcom, was produced by Disney, on the ABC Network.
The creator of Roseanne, Matt Williams was hired for the job!
Frances Fisher was the original Jill
Jill Taylor (Tim’s wife) was not played by Patricia Richarson on the pilot episode. She was played by Frances Fisher, but the audience didn’t find her funny enough. Fisher was known for more serious roles like Ruth DeWitt Bukater, in Titanic. Attempts were made by the producers to make Fisher less serious with her lines but these were futile and they were forced to find someone else for the role.
Allen was only allowed to wear clothes from schools in Michigan
Though Tim Allen was born in Colorado he considers Michigan his home state. On the show, Tim always wears shirts from Michigan schools. Apparently there was some sort of rule about it, because only schools and universities from Michigan would get the free publicity. All the shirts and sweatshirts Tim wore on the show were sent from those colleges and universities.
The show was originally called Hammer Time
The original name of the show was “Hammer Time” and it was under that name that the pilot was shot. The name was changed a year later.
The name was coined with the idea of calling to mind fixing issues at home, both in the house itself and within the family.
There was only one exception to Allen’s Michigan jersey rule and it was an accident
During the episode “Al’s video” aired in 1996, Tim wore a Wofford College sweatshirt. That was a mistake because Wofford College was located in Spartanburg, South Carolina and not in the State of Michigan. It was a mistake. Valerie Levin-Cooper, the costume supervisor for the show, said afterwards “Someone, is supposed to double-check and verify the school, is in Michigan. Obviously, someone, didn’t do their job. Wofford, got lucky.”
Home Improvement was based on Tim Allen’s stand-up comedy
Tim Allen, sold cocaine to an undercover cop and got arrested, when he was 25 years old. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison, 8 months after his arrest. It was during the time between his arrest and his sentence that he started doing stand-up comedy in The Comedy Castle, a club located in Detroit. He continued doing stand-up comedy afterwards and became a regular performer in LA., at The Comedy Store.
Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairmen from Walt Disney Co. & Walt Disney Studios respectively, loved one of his performances and that’s all it took.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas quit the show in the final season and Allen wasn’t happy
Randy Taylor left for Costa Rica during Season 8. He was going to perform an envornmental study in the episode “Adios” aired in 1998. The reason behind this episode, was the resignation of Jonathan Taylor. He quit, to focus more in his studies. Tim Allen was not happy at all. During an interview for TV Guide, he said “He (Jonathan)said it was about going to school. But then, he made some films.” needless to say Allen was not conviced he left “to focus more on his studies.”
Jonathan Thomas only came back for the holiday episode of the final season “Home for the Holidays.”
Wilson’s full name was Wilson W. Wilson
Wilson, the neighbor who was always there for Tim, was never actually seen in the show. Only Tim was featured whenever they had a conversation. Wilson, was always in his own yard behind the fence or backwards (as shown above) and all we ever got to see out of him were his eyes when only the top of his head was shot. The actor behind the faceless role, Earl Hindman and apparently, he didn’t really mind that his face was never shown on the show. Wilson always shared his wisdom whenever the Allen family needed it and it’s easy to see why he needed to be faceless. It made the audience focus more on the man’s wisdom rather than on who he did, which almost always had to do with his yard.
Patricia was a huge US military supporter.
Patricia Richardson was the daughter of a US Navy Veteran and therefore a huge US military supporter and Tim also loved the military. That is why US Navy troops were once invited to sit during a Home Improvement rehearsal. Jimmy Labriola, a member of the cast, did everything he could to keep the entertained between takes.