Did 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' Take Place on June 5, 1985?

Some say today is the 30th anniversary of the best day of hooky in American history.
Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

Ferris Bueller skipped school thirty years ago today. Or did he?

Through some detective work the folks at Baseball Prospectus say the game Ferris, his girlfriend Sloane Peterson and his best friend Cameron Frye attended during their infamous fun in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was the June 5, 1985 clash between the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves.

The movie shows Cubs pitcher Lee Smith (No. 46) pitching against the Braves. Baseball Prospectus says the foul ball Ferris catches was hit by Atlanta right fielder Claudell Washington in the top of the 11th with the game tied 2-2 (not 0-0, as the pizza guy says to Principal Rooney who spots Ferris on TV as he’s eating a slice).

Ferris and pals headed to Wrigley after lunch at a posh Chicago restaurant where Ferris claimed to be be Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago. First pitch at Wrigley was at 1:25 p.m., plenty of time to get from downtown to the ballpark.

As Baseball Prospectus notes, the actual game ended at about 4:30 p.m., meaning Ferris, Sloane and Cameron managed to hit the art museum, the lake and perform two musical numbers during the parade, while still making it home by 5:55 p.m. Whew, that’s a lot to cram into 90 minutes.

Other clues — notably the Von Steuben Day Parade — suggest Ferris skipped school in September. The parade, which honors the service of Prussian general Baron Friedrich von Steuben in the American Revolution, takes place around his birthday on Sept. 17 (and according to Wikipedia is “generally considered the German-American event of the year”).

According to Ken Collins, the second assistant director on the film, both answers are right. The filming of the baseball scenes took place on Tuesday, Sept. 24 during a Cubs game against the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals). The Von Steuben Day parade took place the following Saturday, Sept. 28.

In editing, John Hughes mixed in footage of the earlier game to create the impression that Ferris was at the June 5th game.

I’ll just take a “Danke Schoen” for clearing up that little mystery.

And enjoy Ferris at the parade:

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