"Midnight Cowboy" is now half a century old, and it's aged very gracefully. It's still a career highlight for stars Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman and is regarded as one of the best and most important films of the 1960's. Celebrate this big anniversary by learning more about the making of "Midnight Cowboy."
1. While he plays a Texan unfamiliar with life in New York City, Jon Voight is actually a native New Yorker. In fact, he had trouble getting a handle on his character's southern accent and resorted to recording native Texans to use for research.
2.Lee Majors was originally cast as Joe Buck before Voight, but Majors had to drop out due to his commitment to the TV series "The Big Valley."
3. Both Elvis Presley and Warren Beatty also voiced an interest in playing Joe Buck.
4. According to Hoffman, the iconic line "I'm walking here!" was improvised and was the result of his genuine anger when a taxi cab interrupted an otherwise perfect take. Hoffman chose to stay in character even as he took out his anger at the driver.
5. However, producer Jerome Hellman disputes Hoffman's account, saying the line was included in one draft of the screenplay.
6. Hoffman put pebbles in one of his shoes in order to ensure that Ratso's distinctive limp remained consistent from scene to scene.
7. Filming outdoors was complicated both by the lack of a permit to shoot on the city streets and because Hoffman was regularly mobbed by fans of 1967's "The Graduate."
8. Director Jon Schlesinger reportedly wanted to include a sex scene between Hoffman and Voight's characters, but studio executives rejected the idea.
9.Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" was written specifically for the"Midnight Cowboy" soundtrack, but Dylan wasn't able to complete it in time.
10. "Midnight Cowboy" is the only X-rated film ever to receive an Academy Award, though the MPAA later granted the film an R-rating upon its re-release in 1971.
11. Both the movie and James Leo Herlihy's original novel were initially banned in Ireland.