Without The Golden Girls, We Might Not Have Reservoir Dogs

Hollywood is a funny place. The stories behind how films get made are often times worthy of their own movie. Some projects languish in developmental hell for years without ever being made, and others lead to downright bizarre tales. In Quentin Tarantino's case, he can point to a beloved TV sitcom to credit for the debut film that launched his career in Hollywood.

"The Golden Girls" is one of the most beloved sitcoms in television history. The groundbreaking show featured witty writing, edgy characters, and tackled real-life issues facing older women during the late 1980s. The series starred four over-50 women, something unheard of in television, then and now. "The Golden Girls" gave Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia the agency to navigate life as aging women on their own.

So how does Quentin Tarantino figure into all of this? Believe it or not, Tarantino has "The Golden Girls" to thank for the production of "Reservoir Dogs" and his meteoric rise as a Hollywood director.

His love of Elvis played a role

According to Empire, Tarantino hatched the idea for "Reservoir Dogs" while working at a Los Angeles video store. A shelf full of heist films caught his attention, and he thought it would be an interesting genre to redo. In just three weeks he hammered out a script for "Reservoir Dogs." Subverting genre expectations, the script follows events that take place before and after a failed heist, but not the heist itself. Tarantino also paid homage to a French neo-noir classic, a style he would become known for.

With script in hand, the screenwriter had to figure out how to get the movie made. According to Tarantino, the plan was to produce the film himself, funded in part by residual checks from his appearance as an Elvis impersonator on two episodes of "The Golden Girls" in 1988. Can you spot Tarantino in the sea of Elvis impersonators?

Tarantino would discuss the experience with Jimmy Fallon during an appearance on "The Tonight Show." The writer/director told Fallon that he dressed as Elvis in the 1980s, even getting his hair cut at a rockabilly barbershop (only in Hollywood), and his headshot led to the appearance on "The Golden Girls." Because the episode was turned into two parts and put on a "best of" compilation of the show, the money was enough to sustain Tarantino during the pre-production of "Reservoir Dogs."

But the project would also receive an influx of cash from a very unlikely source.

It gave Tarantino a chance to work with his hero

Tarantino had raised $30,000 to make the film, but before production began the script serendipitously found its way into the hands of Harvey Keitel. Tarantino's producer passed the script along to an acting teacher and it eventually found its way to Keitel. He was enamored with the script and contacted Tarantino to let him know that not only did he want to appear in the film but also wanted to be a producer on the project.

Tarantino reflected on his good fortune:

"It was wild, because Harvey had been my favorite actor since I was 16 years old. I'd seen him in 'Mean Streets' and 'Taxi Driver' and stuff. I didn't write the part for Harvey because I thought it'd probably be, you know, my uncle Pete."

Keitel put his money where his mouth was, contributing his own cash to the film's budget and financing a casting trip to New York. The move paid off as a fantastic ensemble cast of Keitel, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Eddie Bunker, Lawrence Tierney, and Tim Roth was assembled. Tarantino pulled double duty as actor and director.

The result was an iconic movie and watershed moment for independent filmmaking. Tarantino would become the face of the 1990s independent film movement that included Kevin Smith, Richard Linklater, and Paul Thomas Anderson. Since "Reservoir Dogs" Tarantino has become one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation. It's a success story that the gals from "The Golden Girls" would no doubt love to tell at the kitchen table over cheesecake.