Originally, Frances Fisher was cast as Jill Taylor. During the filming of the pilot, audiences reacted poorly, saying that she made the character of Jill whiney and desperate. She was replaced with Patricia Richardson four days before the pilot episode was taped.
When the show went into syndication in 1995, the producers chose to film a new episode to kick-off the syndicated episodes, a first for a network series. Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson filmed part of the episode at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. In this episode, their characters had a race, driving tanks on a mapped out course. Many Marines of 1st Tank Battalion were then invited to the studios in Los Angeles to watch the filming of the rest of the episode, live from the studio audience.
There is a running gag regarding the Taylors' neighbor, Wilson; his face is always concealed from about the nose down (except in one episode where the top half of his face is covered with papier mache). In most episodes, Wilson was being shot from behind a fence. In later episodes, where he got out more often, camera shots, actor movements, and prop placements were carefully orchestrated so as not to reveal his full face. In fact, during all the curtain calls for the show, except the series finale curtain call, where his entire face was shown, actor Earl Hindman, who played Wilson, would bring a miniature picket fence to hold in front of his face.
The show was originally conceived under the name "Hammer Time", after the show Tim would host. Prior to filming the pilot, Tim's show was re-named "Tool Time" to avoid confusion with M.C. Hammer. Consequently, the show was re-named "Home Improvement" because the creators decided against naming the show after the show-within the show, to avoid confusing viewers.
Binford Tools, as promoted by Tim on "Tool Time", was featured in Toy Story (1995), which also starred Tim Allen. It can be seen in the scene when Woody is trying to help Buzz escape from Andy's evil next door neighbor's room. Woody pushes a red toolbox off the side of the counter and when the toolbox comes into the shot, you can see the Binford logo on the toolbox.
On the show, the actual ages of each of the characters are the following: Brad is 11, Randy is 10 and Mark is 6. The oldest brother Brad, is thirteen months older than the second brother, Randy. However, in reality, Zachery Ty Bryan was 10, Jonathon Taylor Thomas was 10, and Taran Noah Smith was 7. Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Randy, is older by a month and a day than Zachery Ty Bryan, who played the eldest brother, Brad. Since Bryan was considerably taller than Thomas, it gave the illusion that he could be passed off as the older brother. In later seasons, Taran Noah Smith, who played Mark, the youngest brother, had a height advantage over Thomas.
A Super Nintendo video game was based on the television series. As part of the game's gimmick, the majority of the instruction manual was blanked out with the words "REAL MEN DON'T NEED INSTRUCTIONS." The game was only loosely based on the show, and featured Tim fighting through various television sets in the Tool Time studio. The battles consisted of Tim fighting with men dressed up like dinosaurs.
Al is seen wearing a wedding ring on his left hand even though the character is portrayed as unmarried. In real life, Richard Karn is married to Tudi Roche, who had a recurring role as Jill's sister Carrie.
Ashley Judd auditioned for and won the role of Lisa, the Tool Girl. Her agent urged her to pursue movies instead of a television career, and she pulled out a few days before the original pilot was to be taped. This resulted in the casting of Pamela Anderson. The last-minute change necessitated alterations to the original script, in which Lisa was a major character. She was suppose to be a college student, majoring in psychology, who acted as a stand-in for Jill on the Tool Time set.
The label WLS was frequently used to cover up real corporate logos. These were the intials of the series' original property master, Warren Schaffer; the call letters of the ABC owned and operated affiliate station in Chicago, Illinois, and of two radio stations in Chicago owned by Citadel, who bought ABC's radio division.
In 2017, a podcast dedicated to the show Home Improvement (1991) called "Grunt Work", was launched. It had taken its name from Tim Allen's iconic "primitive man" routine, wherein every episode of the show was covered with in-depth analysis.
It is mentioned that Tim's mother, Lucille Taylor, raised five boys (including Tim) by herself. However, during the run of the show, seven brothers of Tim's are mentioned by name: John, Rick, Steve, Brian, Danny, Jeff, and Marty.
For one week in November 1994, while the series was #1 in the Nielsen ratings, Tim Allen also had the #1 movie at the box office (The Santa Clause (1994)) and the New York Times' #1 best-selling book ("Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man").
Patricia Richardson, whose father was a Navy veteran, and Tim Allen were both big fans of the military. Because of their fondness of the Navy, they invited the Blue Angels to sit in on one of their rehearsals. Jimmy Libriola kept the Blue Angels busy, cracking jokes with the team.
A young Michelle Williams appears in an episode One of Michelle Williams first appearances on TV was on an episode of Home Improvement in 1995. A pre-Brokeback Mountain, pre-Dawson's Creek Williams was on the season 4 episode, "Wilson's girlfriend" and played Jessica Lutz, a girl Brad goes on a date with.
On the show, Jill and Tim had three boys: Brad, Randy, and Mark, where Brad was the eldest. In reality, though, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy) was older than Zachery Ty Bryan (Brad). Thomas was born on September 8, 1981, a month before Bryan's birthday, meaning they would have been in the same grade! But Jonathan Taylor Thomas was cuter, and fit into the cute precious little boy role better than Zachery Ty Bryan did; so they cast him as younger.
In 2016, a podcast called "Home Impodcast" was created to recap the show Home Improvement (1991). The show discusses each episode of the series and features interviews from key cast/crew members like Richard Karn, Patricia Richarson, and Carmen Finestra.
If you want to try Hick Peterson's "Stinkie," mentioned in episode 120, prepare for a pricey experiment. These are 2019 prices in Richmond, Va, a very low cost-of-living locale. One block of Limburger, enough for three sandwiches: $5.49 A good bread (rye or pumpernickel, usually): $3.99 If you choose to add meat (liverwurst is the typical choice) $2.99 A package of sauerkraut for five sandwiches: $1:49 Spicy mustard: $1.79 An onion isn't much, but that's already a pricey three sandwiches! As for the Limburger smell, imagine the dog blanket on laundry day. When they call it a Stinkie, they are NOT kidding!
One of the first ladies almost appeared on Home Improvement. There's actually been a long history of this in television: When Betty Ford appeared on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, this was one of three times a first lady has appeared on a sitcom in the history of television. The next time after the Betty Ford/ Mary Tyler Moore incident, would be Nancy Reagan on Diff'rent Strokes, and finally Michelle Obama appeared on the sitcom Jessie, as well as Parks and Recreation. Marla Maples, the former wife of future president Trump, would appear on Spin City in the 90s. The only time a president has appeared on a sitcom was when Donald Trump appeared on Suddenly Susan in the 90s;( although he was not yet president at this point.) Ironically he co-starred with comedienne and future Trump-hater Kathy Griffin. There has been no sitting president that has appeared on a scripted TV show in the history of television. Ronald Reagan, who was a huge fan of the 1980s hit Family Ties, and was considering making a cameo on the Michael J Fox neo-con sitcom; (while he was still president); but that was scuttled at the last minute. Also in 1995, the potential future Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was given the idea by her people to appear on the popular sitcom Home Improvement as a guest role. At the time, Hilary Clinton was the first lady and it was thought that appearing on Home Improvement would make her more likable. But this was also scuttled at the last minute.
Tim buys all his tools and hardware from (and hangs out at) Harry's Hardware. However, in the season one episode Forever Jung (the episode where Tim infamously glues his head to a table!), Tim is specifically mentioned as buying his new reciprocating saw from Kelly's Hardware. Apparently, Tim's relationship with Harry's Hardware is relatively new.