The movies The Fugitive and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – both classics, albeit in very different genres - prominently feature the City of Chicago. Because we are looking at two movies, we will only be briefly summarizing each one and exploring some scenes where Chicago plays a meaningful part. We delve into the history of the "L," Chicago's street name and numbering system, two annual parades, some of the historical characters who played their parts.
While discussing our two movies – The Fugitive, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – we'll talk about the Chicago River, the bridges, the L, and parades made famous in those movies. So lots of fun stuff in this episode.
A very quick rundown of these movies: The Fugitive is an excellent film, a thriller mystery, from 1993 starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. Ford plays a doctor wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and he escapes after being sentenced and he’s on the run, all the while trying to collect evidence to find and to prove who is actually guilty. Jones plays the US marshal tasked with bringing the doctor back to prison. Don’t get caught up in why it’s not Chicago or Illinois authorities in charge. It’s explained in the movie. There’s also a good supporting cast.
Movie number two is the 1986 classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a comedy about a suburban Chicagoland high school student, Matthew Broderick, who brilliantly fools his parents that he’s sick so that he needs to stay home from school. There’s the principal and Ferris’ sister, played by Jennifer Grey, who seek to prove the ruse, and Ferris’ BFF and his girlfriend, both of whom Ferris convinces to spend the day with him, partly in Chicago. I watched this movie at an outdoor screening this summer and 99 percent of the two hundred or so people had definitely not been born when this movie came out.
Spoiler alert: Both movies feature a parade in downtown Chicago.
What I like about these two classic movies in terms of this podcast episode is that they are two sides of the same coin. Especially when we discuss the parades, but even as we consider characters moving around in Chicago, which is a good bit of both movies, the city is a backdrop for exploration and adventure – in the Fugitive for hiding, sometimes in plain sight, and in Ferris Bueller, for exuberance and being loud and proud about oneself.
Chas Demster, The Fugitive, Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles (2010) – https://www.itsfilmedthere.com/2010/01/fugitive.html
Jakob Barnes, Harrison Ford was chased through an actual parade in The Fugitive, The Digital Fix (Aug. 2022)
Chas Demster, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles (2010) – https://www.thedigitalfix.com/harrison-ford/chased-through-an-actual-parade-in-the-fugitive https://www.itsfilmedthere.com/2010/01/ferris-buellers-day-off.html
AJ LaTrace, Sara Freund, and Jay Koziarz, A Tour of Ferris Bueller’s Chicago, Curbed Chicago (Apr. 1, 2020) – https://chicago.curbed.com/maps/ferris-buellers-day-off-filming-locations-chicago
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Locations: Parking Garage 5/14, Road Trip Film Productions (Oct. 10, 2014) – https://www.google.com/search?q=parking+garage+attendant+ferris+bueller&oq=GARAGE+ATTENDANTS+FERR&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0i22i30l2j0i390l3.10983j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:38b57c98,vid:CaP0innggfw
Movie Cars: Five Facts About That Ferrari in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Collier’s Automedia (Undated) – https://www.collierautomedia.com/movie-cars-five-facts-about-that-ferrari-in-ferris-buellers-day-off
Baker Vostral, The Ferris Bueller’s Day Off scene that introduced a generation to art appreciation, Art Crime (Jan. 30, 2021) – https://artcrimepodcast.wordpress.com/2021/01/30/the-ferris-buellers-day-off-scene-that-introduced-a-new-generation-to-art-appreciation/
Katie Mastropieri, A Brief History Of Chicago's Flamingo, Culture Trip (Dec. 16, 2016) – https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/illinois/articles/a-brief-history-of-chicagos-flamingo/
Chicago’s St. Patrick's Day Parade
St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, Chicagology, (Mar. 12, 2022) – https://chicagology.com/irishinchicago/stpatricksday/
Von Steuben and Chicago’s Von Steuben’s Day (German) Parade
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – John Highes’ Commentary – Parade, Billy Barnell YouTube (posted Aug. 12, 2016) – https://www.google.com/search?q=parade+scene+ferris+bueller&oq=parade+sce&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i512l4j0i10i22i30i625j0i22i30l4.8601j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:182705ad,vid:rTi-7RuhRs8
Nathan Gibson, Behind The Scenes Of The Famous Parade Scene In 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off’, Ranker (Sept. 23, 2021) – https://www.ranker.com/list/behind-the-scenes-ferris-bueller-parade/nathan-gibson
Andy Lewis, Did ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ Take Place on June 5, 1985?, The Hollywood Reporter (June 5, 2015) – https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/did-ferris-buellers-day-take-800463/
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Wikipedia (Updated Dec. 4, 2022) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Wilhelm_von_Steuben
History of the Board & University of the State of New York, New York State Education Department (Undated) (discussing history of the New York State Regents) – http://www.nysed.gov/about/history-usny.html
James S. Philips, Chicago Loop Bridges, chicagoloopbridges.com (Undated) – http://chicagoloopbridges.com/FAQS12.html#ans2
James S. Philips, Chicago Loop Bridges: Historical Overview, chicagoloopbridges.com (Undated) – http://chicagoloopbridges.com/presentation/knote/present.html
Chicago's Street System
Chicago's Grid System, Chicago Studies, University of Chicago (Aug. 26, 2020) (video on the webpage is by Jack Brandtman, who is and produces “Chicago Aussie” videos) – https://chicagostudies.uchicago.edu/grid
Chicago’s Grid System, Chicago Aussie Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/ChicagoAussie/videos
Daniel Hautzinger, How 16 Chicago Streets Got Their Names, WTTW (Nov. 3, 2017) – https://interactive.wttw.com/playlist/2017/11/03/chicago-streets-names
Patrick T. Reardon, Who was Edward P. Brennan? Thank heaven for Edward Brennan, The Burnham Blog, The Burnham Plan Centennial (Nov. 23, 2009) – https://burnhamplan100.lib.uchicago.edu/node/2561/
Rationalization of Streets, Encyclopedia of Chicago (Undated) – http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/410052.html#:~:text=In%201901%2C%20Edward%20P.,enforced%20beginning%20September%201%2C%201909.
Tom Schaffner, 14 Questions About Chicago’s L Answered, LStop Tours (Jan. 7, 2021) – https://www.lstoptours.com/blog/14-questions-about-chicagos-l-train-answered
Moment in Equity
“Drive Slow” short film – https://www.endangeredpeace.com/drive-slow