Was Ferris Bueller Really At A Cubs Game At Wrigley Field?

There's a Baseball Prospectus article posted two days ago by Larry Granillo, more famous for his wezen-ball baseball site, in which he makes the case that Ferris Bueller and his pals from the classic film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" were actually in attendance at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field on June 5, 1985. He goes through his reasoning based on the play-by-play heard on a TV while the school principal is at a pizza parlor. And it's clear that play-by-play matches the game action, as Granillo writes:

Ferris Bueller and his pals were at the June 5, 1985, tilt between the Cubs and the Braves. The foul ball that Ferris caught was hit by Atlanta rightfielder Claudell Washington (#15) in the top of the 11th inning. The game was tied at two (not scoreless, like the pizza guy claimed) and backup second-baseman Paul Zuvella (#18) was being held on first by Leon Durham (#10) after a leadoff single (the fourth hit of the game, and Atlanta's first hit since the fifth). Washington would end his at-bat with a flyball to leftfielder Davey Lopes. The next batter, Rafael Ramirez, would wind up hitting a two-run home run and the Braves would go on to win 4-2. The movie, however, cut away before that happened.

But were Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara actually in the stands on June 5, 1985? I would argue no. Follow me past the jump to find out why.

On July 12, 1985, the Chicago Tribune reported:

Matthew Broderick, among the hottest young film stars, will star in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," to be directed by John Hughes, of "The Breakfast Club" fame.

The youthful comedy will be produced by Hughes and Tom Jacobson, with principal photography beginning in Chicago in September for Paramount Pictures.

A Tony Award winner for his performance in Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs," Broderick recently starred in "Biloxi Blues" on Broadway. He made his movie debut as Jason Robards' grandson in "Max Dugan Returns" and became a full-fledged star in "War Games."

So the announcement of the filming of "Ferris Bueller" wasn't made until more than a month after the June 5, 1985 game was played. The article says filming would begin in Chicago in September, and the parade in which Bueller jumped onto a float and sang took place during a real parade on Sept. 28, 1985.

It appears clear, then, that the three actors (and some extras) were at Wrigley Field sometime in September, likely on a Cubs off day -- the Cubs have often allowed film crews to shoot at Wrigley, most notably for the 1992 films "Rookie of the Year" and "A League of Her Own" -- and the long shot, which shows the actors from the back and baseball action on the field in the distance, was probably edited, rather than actually experienced. (Scroll to 2:17 into the video for the scene in question. Here's a direct link to the 2:17 mark in the video.)

You can clearly see that when the foul ball heads over into the stands on the TV footage, that part of the stadium is in shade -- but when Ferris catches the ball, he's in bright sunshine, thus proving those scenes were not filmed on the day of the game.

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