This year marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of one of the most iconic TV shows in television history. It created such devotion amongst its viewers, that fans of the show became commonly known as “X-Philes,” a term coined from the Greek root “-phil-” meaning love or obsession. No surprise then that when the series ended in 2002, it had run for 202 episodes making it the longest-consecutive running science fiction series in U.S. television history. This record was only surpassed years later by Stargate SG-1 in 2007 and Smallville in 2011. In honour of a television show, which made a whole generation see the world in a surprisingly different way, we’ve unearthed twenty unusual facts to show the truth really is out there.
1. When the series started on Sept. 10, 1993 by declaring “The truth is out there.” Entertainment Weekly replied, “We know — this show’s a goner.”
2. Screenwriter Chris Carter travelled the world as a writer for Surfer magazine before coming up with the idea for the X-Files.
3. He was inspired to write the series after reading a report that 3.7m Americans may have been abducted by aliens.
4. Acclaimed X-Files writer James Wong originally studied engineering but later switched to film after seeing Apocalypse Now.
5. During the casting process, everyone from Bruce Campbell, to Adam Baldwin, Dean Cain and Lou Diamond Phillips auditioned for role of Mulder.
6. Fox originally wanted a “taller, leggier, blonder and breastier” actress to play Scully than 24-year-old Gillian Anderson.
7. During the early stages of production, Carter began to plan for filming the pilot in Los Angeles. However, unable to find suitable locations for many scenes, he decided to “go where the good forests are” and moved production to Vancouver, Canada.
8. The beloved opening theme for the series was created almost by accident, after composer Mark Snow rested his elbow on the keyboard with the “echo” function on. He like the creepy vibe, and used it to make the theme we all know and love.
9. The theme song’s famous whistle effect was inspired by the track “How Soon is Now” from The Smiths’ 1985 album Meat Is Murder.
10. Club versions of the theme song have charted in France, the UK (40) and Australia, where a remix by Triple X became a number 2 hit in 1996.
11. Gillian Anderson spent most of her time on the series standing on a box — due to the fact that she’s just a little over 5 feet tall — and a full 10 inches shorter than David Duchovny.
12. Mulder’s first words to Scully, when she found his office in the FBI basement were “Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.”
13. Gillian Anderson based her matter-of-fact FBI character on Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs.
14. Agent Mulder’s cell phone number in the series is 555-0199. The same number is used by the Burnhas in “American Beauty”, and Al Pacino leaves this number in “the Insider”.
15. Long before Survivor and Fear Factor (in the second season, in fact), Gillian Anderson put a live cricket in her mouth. She spit it out when the scene ended.
16. The series featured a host of stars, including two famous Lucys (Lawless and Liu) and Lili Taylor and Lily Tomlin. Other guest stars have included Jerry Springer, Alex Trebek, Ed Asner and Burt Reynolds. The sixth season had four former Saturday Night Live people — Victoria Jackson, Michael McKean, Charles Rocket and Nora Dunn.
17.Conrad Strughold, played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, was named after the real Strughold, a Nazi scientist who conducted experiments on prisoners during World War II.
18. Both stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, have directed episodes. Duchovny wrote scripts or stories for eight episodes. His brother was in two episodes; Ms. Anderson’s teen sister, Zoe, played the teen-age Dana Scully in one.
19.The legendary “Cigarette Smoking Man” owns a cigarette lighter with the inscription, “TRUST NO ONE”.
20. In 2008 several props from the series and the film The X-Files: I Want To Believe were donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.