Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making of “Lean On Me”

June 23, 2014 ‐ By
Source: Warner Bros

Source: Warner Bros

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Lawrence Young covering “Fair Eastside,” the school song in the now classic movie, Lean On Me. And then I wondered, have I done a “Bet You Didn’t Know” article for this fan favorite? I had not. So it’s about time. And as luck would have it, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the film. You know the plot, you love the soundtrack and Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Joe Clark is something iconic. But we bet you didn’t know these behind the scenes secrets. Check them out on the following pages.

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  • Cheryl

    I am from Paterson and I still live in Paterson, the city in which Eastside H.S. is located and the comment that the School was never in danger of being taken over by the state is FALSE. The State of NJ DID take over the ENTIRE Paterson School District in the mid 1980’s sometime around 1984 or 1985, it is STILL under state control until this very day nearly
    30years after the takeover and the Paterson school system is STILL failing it’s students.

  • therealnumber1

    When did Joe’s wife leave him in the movie??? He had a wife in the movie???? The picture you all have up is the scene of the assistant principal quitting…

    • naynay11206

      I was saying the same thing what are they talking about we didn’t see the same movie they saw lol

  • Vandellish

    Even as a junior high student when this movie came out I knew it was a lot of BS.
    Seriously, the view from the window of his cell just happened to look right outside where the students were marching in protest? Then just as ‘Crazy Joe’ comes out to calm the crowd those coveted test scores are delivered that very moment?
    As many a preacher would say, ‘C’mon somebody!’

  • Tracey Ratchford

    He definitely cleaned up the Youth House…new building and gave those boys a sense of purpose. He comes back every year to visit.. he turned that place around… Thank you Joe for what you did for our youth and community..BRICK CITY LOVES YOU…

  • Cleveland Cutie

    My favorite movie of all time!

  • cantcommittoahairstyle

    “So cheeeeer for dear ole Eastside High, lead oooonnnnn to victorryyyy”….

  • Melissa

    You obviously need to watch the movie again. Ms lavies I believe that was her name was assistant principal. There was no wife leaving him in the film. There wasn’t a wife portrayed at all. Now the assistant principal threatened to resign but she changed her mind. Maybe that’s what you’re speaking of.

    • sammi

      Its funny because I read that part and was thinking “what wife…did I miss that part of the movie” lol. Thank You for unconfusing us lol

      • Tubie

        Said the same thing…

    • GeDon Davis

      In the movie I do remember Joe or his school board friend mention that his wife left him. I believe its around the scene where that same guy goes to recruit Joe from the elementary school.

    • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

      I had to re-read that like 12 times and just gave up after i couldnt recall that part.

    • SaBrea

      They did mention. ..very briefly… that his wife left him in the movie. I remember it…it was in the scene when he was talking to Dr. Napier and he yelled at Joe Clark for all of the chaos he was causing at the school. He said to him your wife left you in that scene. I have the movie on dvd so I pretty much know the dialog by heart lol.

    • Cleveland Cutie

      Right! This is my favorite movie, I know there was no wife!

  • gl

    Fair Eastsiiiiiiiideee ;D
    One of the classics

    • sammi

      Loyalty, loyalty, loyaltyyyyy 🙂

    • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

      Live on in victory. All aboard, all aboard…..

  • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

    You like to smoke crack dont cha?!!?!

    • sammi

      Best part of the movie lol. Was his name Sams or Simms?

      • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

        Thomas Samms

    • Steve Stone

      Dam* that isht was funny

    • Rochelle

      Did not read through this list. But i will tell you that most people don’t know that this movie is almost completely fiction and very sensationalized. Joe Clark really cleaned up (got the gang members to drop out and brought some order to the school) East Side. However, he never brought the test scores up and Paterson WAS taken over by the state of NJ soon after he left. He was only principal there for 4 years and left the school the year after this movie came out. He did some nice things, but he did not “save” that horrid school. No principal can do that. And yes, a school is considered “bad” or under par if they cannot pass simple state test. East Side is still and always was that school.

      • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

        Most of what you said was on the list. Da*n.

        • Rochelle

          Read the list. It said that East Side was not taken over by the state. Yes Paterson Public Schools was taken over by the state because of continually failing test scores. Also he didn’t expel any students. He just gave a whole lot of suspensions. He didn’t fire any teacher, because a principal has no authority to do that. They can just recommend non renewal. I just hate when outsiders (people outside of the education field or know nothing about it) say “Bring in Joe Clark.” Even sarcastically. J. Clark really wasn’t all that great in terms of education. Discipline yes. Education no.

          • Momma Dee Tha Q.U.E.E.N

            I misread read ur 1st comment, but yeah it’s crazy how the movie wasn’t as factual as it appeared to be.

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