Jake Rudh's Day Off: tracing the films of John Hughes

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jake rudh cameron frye house ferris bueller
Jake Rudh poses outside the home used as Cameron Frye's house in the 1986 John Hughes film, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off.' (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

I think Ferris said it best – “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

It was with those words in mind that I decided Chicago was the place I’d officially exit my 30s and enter the 40s. Besides, Wally World doesn’t exist.

Like most of us raised in the ’80s, the movies of John Hughes made a big impact on my life, from the content covered in the films to the rad tunes used on their soundtracks (cue Simple Minds).

For close to a decade, I’ve celebrated the work of Mr. Hughes annually by hosting club events where I play iconic clips and unforgettable songs throughout … but now it was time to go see where all the magic happened and visit the actual filming locations of many of these beloved movies.

Some might find this to be an odd way of celebrating one’s birthday. To them I quote Andrew Clark (the athlete) from The Breakfast Club: “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

Many thanks to my wife, who encourages her husband to be bizarre; to Meghann and Chris, the proud, new owners of “The Ferris Bueller house” for the awesomely surreal tour of their beautiful home; and to The Current’s Luke Taylor for his help in putting this together. I hope you enjoy the tour of these iconic filming locations.

Now that I’m officially in my 40s, I must concentrate on those urges to raid Barry Manilow’s wardrobe.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

"I bet Cameron is sitting in his car debating whether or not to go out."

Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

"I love driving it; it is so choice."

Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Jake Rudh strikes a pose similar to actor Matthew Broderick. (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Inside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

"You killed the car."

Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

Outside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Inside the house in Highland Park, Ill., that served as the home of Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

"Here's where Cameron goes berserk."

Glencoe Beach
Glencoe Beach, the location for the scene "where Cameron goes berserk" in John Hughes' 1986 film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

Glencoe Beach
At Glencoe Beach, Jake Rudh re-creates the scene "where Cameron goes berserk" in John Hughes' 1986 film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (courtesy Jake Rudh)

MacBook Pro scene analysis
Jake Rudh carefully re-creating a scene from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

Pointing the way to Glencoe Beach
Sign indicating the direction of Glencoe Beach, a location used in John Hughes' 1986 film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

"Oh, Sloane, dear — hurry along now."
(Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, Ill.)

Glenbrook North High School
Jake Rudh re-creates a memorable scene from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" outside Glenbrook North High School. (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

"So that's how it is in their family …"
(Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Northbrook, Ill.)

Glenbrook North High School
Staircase at Glenbrook North High School, as seen in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

Sloane: “What are you interested in?”

Cameron: “Nothing.”

Sloane: “Me neither.”

(Alexander Calder “Flamingo statue” at 230 South Dearborn Street, Chicago)

Calder Flamingo
Alexander Calder's "Flamingo" frames a scene in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," filmed on location in the Federal Plaza in front of the Kluczynski Federal Building in Chicago. (courtesy Jake Rudh)

“I think I see my dad.”
(Willis Tower, 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago)

Willis Tower
Inside Chicago's Willis Tower, Jake Rudh re-creates a scene performed by Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

Instrumental: “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” – cover by The Dream Academy
(Art Institute of Chicago)

Art Institute of Chicago
At the Art Insitute of Chicago, Jake Rudh admires the painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat, just like the character Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) did in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

“Four thousand restaurants in the downtown area, I pick the one my father goes to.”
(22 West Schiller Street, Chicago)

Schiller Street in Chicago
The exterior of this building on Schiller Street in Chicago served as the façade for the restaurant Chez Quis in the film, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

Sixteen Candles

"Automobile?? … Lake. Big lake."

House in Evanston
This house in Evanston, Ill., served as the Baker family's residence in the 1984 John Hughes film, "Sixteen Candles." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

Music under: “If You Were Here” by Thompson Twins; die-hard Hughes fans will get this.
(Glencoe Union Church at 263 Park Avenue in Glencoe, Ill.)

outside Glencoe Union Church
Jake Rudh re-creates an unforgettable scene from John Hughes' 1984 film "Sixteen Candles" outside the Glencoe Union Church. (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

“Will you please be quiet? We don’t want to announce to everyone that she has her period!”
(Glencoe Union Church at 263 Park Avenue in Glencoe, Ill.)

inside Glencoe Union Church
The interior of Glencoe Union Church, location of the wedding scene in "Sixteen Candles." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

outside Glencoe Union Church
The exterior of Glencoe Union Church, as seen in John Hughes' 1984 film, "Sixteen Candles." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

outside Glencoe Union Church
Exterior of Glencoe Union Church, as seen in the film "Sixteen Candles." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

“Be polite to his parents, OK?”
(“Jake Ryan’s House” — Highland Park, Ill.)

house in Highland Park, Ill.
This house in suburban Highland Park, Ill., served as the exterior of Jake Ryan's house (and its infamous party scene) in the film, "Sixteen Candles." (Jake Rudh | MPR)

“But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

field at Glenbrook North
Jake Rudh thrusts his fist in the air like Judd Nelson in "The Breakfast Club." (Mercedes Rudh for MPR)

Be sure to listen to my archived “Tribute to John Hughes” episode of Transmission from July 24, 2014.