After all, the Australian travel pitchman cleverly designed the movie (released 30 years ago this week, on September 26, 1986) as part travelogue, part send-up of popular stereotypes. The comedy's plot -- about a fabled Australian outdoorsman and a New York newswoman who survive the challenges of each other's jungles -- and Hogan's winning performance made "Crocodile Dundee" the most successful imported film in U.S. box office history.
Still, as many times as you've watched Hogan cheerfully flash that giant Bowie knife, there's plenty you may not know about "Crocodile Dundee." Here's the behind-the-scenes story, and it's no croc(k).
1. Hogan came late to show business. He was a 32-year-old rigger and painter on the Sydney Harbor Bridge when his mates dared him to try out for an Australian TV talent show. He won and was soon writing and starring in his own sketch comedy show.
2. After a decade of small-screen success, Hogan and his behind-the-camera team decided to make a movie, something none of them had ever done before.
3. The real-life Crocodile Dundee was an Aussie named Rod Ansell, a hunter who, in 1977, famously survived seven weeks in the wild while stranded in a remote corner of Northern Australia. When he came to Sydney to talk about his adventure, he appeared on a TV interview barefoot and stayed in a luxury hotel, where he slept on the floor and was mystified by the bidet.
4. Hogan and his co-screenwriters clearly drew much of Mick Dundee's character and exploits from Ansell. The character was also a canny brand extension of the character Hogan had played in Australian tourism commercials, the ones that had made him moderately famous on this side of the Pacific for his offer to "slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you."
5.Linda Kozlowski, the lone Yank during the Australian portion of the shoot, was a Juilliard classmate of Val Kilmer's who'd appeared on Broadway with Dustin Hoffman in "Death of a Salesman." Nonetheless, the 26-year-old was largely unknown on either side of the ocean before she landed the role of reporter Sue Charlton.
6. The wilderness section of the movie was shot in Kakadu, a national park roughly the size of Germany. The only crocodile Hogan and Kozlowski ever tangled with was the mechanical croc built for the film (above). Nonetheless, the animatronic prop was realistic-looking enough that someone reported the crew to the authorities as suspected poachers.
7. Hogan got a lot of comic mileage out of the bidets in the Plaza Hotel during the Manhattan section of the film. In real life, however, there are no bidets at the Plaza.
8. There were two versions of "Crocodile Dundee": an Australian version, and an international version. In the latter, the incomprehensible Australian slang dialogue was snipped out, resulting in a cut 10 minutes shorter.
9. In America, distributor Paramount advertised the film as "'Crocodile' Dundee," with extra quotation marks to make clear that it was a movie about a man nicknamed "Crocodile," not a movie about a crocodile named Dundee.
10. The film cost about $10 million to make. Not only did it become the biggest domestic hit in Australian history, but it was a smash all over the world. In the U.S., it earned $175 million, making it the second-highest grossing film of 1986, behind only "Top Gun."11. Hogan, Ken Shadie, and John Cornell were nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. They lost to Woody Allen (for "Hannah and Her Sisters"), but Hogan did win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture.
12. "Crocodile Dundee" made Kakadu into a popular tourist attraction. The film's success prompted developers to build a hotel there shaped like a crocodile.13. Hogan and Kozlowski fell in love for real on the set. She continued to play love interest Sue in sequels "Crocodile Dundee II" (1988) and "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" (2001). Unfortunately for the couple, Hogan was already married, to Noelene Edwards, whom he first wed in 1958, the year Kozlowski was born. They had five children together, divorced in 1981, and remarried in 1982. Their second split was considered one of the ugliest celebrity divorces in Australian history.
Shortly after their second divorce became official in 1990, the 50-year-old Hogan married the 32-year-old Kozlowski. They had a child of their own, son Chance. They divorced in 2014.
14. At one time in the early 1990s, Paramount was considering a crossover sequel with one of its other big 1980s franchises: "Crocodile Dundee Meets Beverly Hills Cop." Fortunately, Eddie Murphy nixed the idea.15. Now 76, Hogan is the subject of a forthcoming small-screen bio, an Australian mini-series starring Josh Lawson (known to American audiences from "Anchorman 2") as Hogan. The mini-series will be called "Hoges," which is the nickname Hogan is known by Down Under.
A New York reporter heads to Australia to interview the living legend Mike Dundee (Paul Hogan). When she finally locates him, she is so taken with him that she brings him back with her to New York. In New York, Mike Dundee is amazed by the wonders of the city and the interesting people there. Read More