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Juicy, odd '90210' trivia is a soap opera in itself


90210 -- if you don't know what zip code this is, you aren't a teen or the parent of one. "Beverly Hills, 90210," which debuted ++ in October 1990, is celebrating its 100th episode tonight.

In the beginning, the show didn't make much of a splash. The title didn't indicate it was about high school students, no one had ever heard of the stars, and it was on the tiny Fox network. Critics mostly ignored it.

But gradually, the show built a following with young viewers. By the summer of 1991, it was a certified hit.

The idea was to show the real-life problems of teens, from their perspective. Well, it's realistic. Somewhat. While the show has dealt with teen sex, drinking, shoplifting, drug addiction, etc., the characters drive Corvettes, get drunk on exotic drinks and belong to private pool clubs.

To help celebrate the 100th episode milestone, not to mention amaze your friends with your knowledge of pop culture trivia, here are some miscellaneous facts about the show:

* When the actors have to be wet because they supposedly came in from the rain, the make-up people spray the performers with Evian water (what, you expected tap water in Beverly Hills?).

* Part of the idea for the show came from Fox owning the merchandising rights to the real Beverly Hills High School (yes, in Beverly Hills, the schools have merchandising rights). However, Fox discovered that their rights did not include using the school in a TV show, so they named the school that Brenda and Brandon Walsh (Shannen Dougherty and Jason Priestley) attend West Beverly" high school.

* Series creator Darren Star was inspired by his own life. Mr. Star and his sister attended the affluent Walt Whitman High School in Montgomery County, so he knew what it was like to suddenly attend a prestigious school.

* The original title of the show was "The Class of Beverly Hills."

* Tori Spelling's first big acting break was playing nerdy Violet Bickerstaff on that other teen show, "Saved by the Bell." Soon after, she got the part of Donna Martin on "90210" (gee, you don't think the fact that her dad, Aaron Spelling, produces the show had anything to do with that?).

* Brian Austin Green (David Silver) has a band called Peaceful Journey; they are working on their first rap album.

* Jason Priestley might not have played Brandon Walsh. He originally played Todd Mahaffey on a short-lived show called "Sister Kate" when he did the pilot for "90210." If "Sister Kate" hadn't been canceled, the producers would have had to find another Brandon.

* Luke Perry was not in the original pilot. At first the producers thought they had enough characters, but then they decided that a darker, more brooding male lead was needed to counterbalance Brandon, the "moral center" of the show, so the character of Dylan McKay was added.

* Being from Vancouver, Jason Priestley includes hockey among his hobbies, and he plays in the Los Angeles County Hockey Association as well as with the Celebrity All-Stars, who raise money for charity.

* Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea Zuckerman) was originally considered for the part of Brenda.

* Cast members nicknamed Jason Priestley and Brian Austin Green (David Silver) "The Bones Posse" because they're both so skinny.

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