Before you get all “Hold up!” on me, yes, the title of this article is a false address. However, within the realm of a John Hughes fanatic, the term “Shermer, IL” is as plausible and lucid as, say, the caves of Fraggle Rock are to a Jim Henson groupie.
Anyway, 6 years ago, I went “film location” hunting around my home turf – the northern suburbs of Chicago, nestled along Lake Michigan, a hub that bred a handful of ’80s films that I hold close to my heart in a multitude of ways. Really. The opening credits to Sixteen Candles could be a video brochure for a new religion and I’d blindly sign myself up. Perhaps this post is a long time coming. And I apologize. But, love is slow! And I do love Samantha Baker and Jake Ryan. I love Farmer Ted, Bender, Ferris, and Duckie, too, even though Duckie was over in LA. And we’re keeping this strictly midwest. So, without further adieu, I bring you my Hughes Hall of Nostalgia.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986):
School scenes: Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Glenbrook, IL (Also, Hughes’ alma mater).
“Save Ferris” water tower: North of Glenbrook Station – between Cedar Lane and Meadow Rd.
Cameron’s home: 370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL (between Linden Ave. and Wade St.).
(Linden Ave. was home to Tom Cruise in Risky Business.)
The Breakfast Club (1985):
School scenes: formerly Main North High School, today it is the Illinois State Police Station, 9511 Harrison St., Des Plaines, IL. The library was built inside the school’s gym. (All of the actors were given a piece of the banister on their last day of work)
Final scene: football field of Glenbrook North High.
Sixteen Candles (1984):
Church scene: Glencoe Union Church, Park Street, across from Metra Station, Glencoe, IL.
Party scene: Jake Ryan’s house, 1407 Waverly Rd. in Highland Park, IL.
Sadly, the exterior and interior shots used for the school scenes are no longer accessible. Niles East High School, at 7770 Lincoln Ave. in Skokie, IL was torn down in ’92.
It was also used in Risky Business and Weird Science.
Now. For the avid fan, a little trip like this is worth the many moments of vicariousness we share when we’re marveling in the philosophy of Hughes. So if you live nearby, or find yourself in the Chicago area, go! When I stood where Sam sees Jake appear after her sister’s wedding, I wanted to hum “...just like the rain, I’ll be always falling, only to rise and fall again..” but, you know, it was hot outside. And when I was at the Ryan household, there was no toilet paper strung from the trees, but I did wonder if his father’s Rolls Royce was still parked in the garage, and if pizza was still spinning on the turntable. (Okay, no, I didn’t…just deal with my sarcastic, fake naiveness.) And when I creepily hung out around Glenbrook North’s campus, while 15 year old boys playing soccer had no concept of why I was taking pictures of empty parking lots, I inducted myself into the club for breakfast. When I ventured to Cameron’s home (when Cameron was in Egypt’s land…), I wanted to jump up and down and sing “Oh Yeah” by Yellow. Then, I stood on the bridge beyond the house where I had a perfect view of the home’s back window, and I peered down into the ravine for a solid 10 minutes trying not to drool. The fact remains, life moves pretty fast…and we all know what’ll happen if we don’t stop to look around.