February 8, 2011
Ferris Bueller Follow-Up
Boy, that Ferris Bueller post from this weekend was popular! I'm so glad everyone enjoyed it so much.
One of the points that was brought up by a number of people (most notably Al Yellon over at SB Nation Chicago) is that, although the game we see in the movie is clearly from June 5, the shooting schedule for the movie did not begin until September 1985 so it cannot be the date that the Wrigley Field scenes were filmed on. To some, I think, this means that the June 5 date is wrong.
I disagree. In the context of the film, the June 5 game is the game that Ferris Bueller, the character, is attending. Lee Smith is pitching to Claudell Washington while Leon Durham tries to hold on Paul Zuvella at first, and it's Claudell Washington who smacks a foul ball into the left field corner. Yes, we know Matthew Broderick, the actor, is at a different game when he pretends to catch a foul ball, but it shouldn't matter. Matthew Broderick does not exist in Ferris Bueller's world.
So what game did they actually film at? It's not the easiest thing to figure out. As Al points out, the parade scene was filmed on September 28, which puts the film crew in Chicago that week. Considering the blue, Braves-like uniforms we see on the field, we know that it must be a home game versus either the Braves or Expos, since they were the only two teams in 1985 with that uniform combination. Looking at the schedule, we see that the Cubs played two games against the Expos the week of September 24, 1985. Could those be our filming days?
I was the second assistant director on the film. That's me sitting in front of Ferris and Cameron wearing Raybans and a Cubs hat. I put myself into the scene as an extra. Being an L.A. guy, I wanted to wear a Dodgers cap but John Hughes said no way! Our shooting schedule in Chicago started on September 9. We definitely shot in Wrigley on a game day. We got there about 10am and started filming actor dialogue and closeups with our extras in a specially designated area of the bleachers. When the game started, we got a couple of shots over the actors to the field action and then we pulled out and moved a couple of blocks up the street to continue filming another scene. We left a camera behind to pick up some miscellaneous shots. We were close enough to hear the roars from the stadium and a lot of us continued to listen to Harry call the game on the radio. The day got colder and windier and the game degenerated into a typical Wrigley slugfest and there were over 30 runs scored. I can't be 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure the game was played on Sept. 24 against the Expos (powder blue road unis) and the Cubs lost 15-17. I think that we filmed the Ferris' famous 'Danke Shoen- Twist & Shout' scene at the Von Steuben's Day parade on the following Saturday. It's been a long time since this happened, but I think this is right.
So there you have it. The game, within the Ferris Bueller universe, was on June 5, 1985, against the Braves. The game, in the real world, was filmed on September 24, 1985, against the Expos. Reconcile that contradiction how you will, but it feels pretty clear to me.
I hope this clears up any questions you may have had!