In the Fall of 1973, I was fortunate enough to work as a speechwriter for Richard M. Nixon, the Peacekeeper, at the White House. My father, Herbert Stein, worked there in a far more exalted position as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (sic).
In those Halcyon days, William L. Safire, one of the greatest columnists ever at the New York Times, and until recently a speechwriter for Mr. Nixon, gave two big parties each year at the occasion of the Jewish High Holidays. I was blessed enough to be invited to the one marking the end of fasting for the Holiday of Repentance, Yom Kippur. At that party, along with many Jewish bigwigs from D.C., there was a brilliant man named Eddie Bleier. He had been Bill Safire’s college roommate and then worked at Warner Brothers TV.
I had a long talk with him in which I tried to convince him to remake Rebel Without a Cause and this time it would star Martin Sheen. He liked the idea and sent me to his colleague, a very young exec name Steve Greene, with whom I became fast friends although nothing came of the sequel to Rebel.
When I moved to Los Angeles in 1976, Steve Greene and I became even closer friends and he introduced me to his dear friend, Michael Chinich, a huge name in casting and then a high official of Universal. Michael and I became inseparable pals. He was VERY good to me.
In the early 1980s. Michael became head of the John Hughes Company, named for its owner and boss, the mega genius youth comedy writer/director/producer of such jewels as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. John and I were introduced and became fast friends, largely because we were lonely Republicans in solid leftist Hollywood.
In 1985, John and Michael decided to give me a tiny part in a movie they were quietly working on. The movie was called Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I was to play a teacher of economics calling the roll off camera. My main job was to call out “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller” in a mournful tone as I realized that the little devil had once again skipped class. I also gave a lecture about supply-side economics and about tariffs.
The student extras on the set laughed hysterically and Matthew Broderick, Ferris himself, told me I had a future on Broadway. I had never had a class in acting and no ambitions that way. Nevertheless, the scene became a major classic of cameos. Soon, and for every hour afterwards, people came up to me at airports and asked me to say “Bueller.”
Time passed and now, this year, my home team, the L.A. Dodgers, got into the NLCS for the World Series. One of their star hurlers is named Walker Buehler and he even looks a lot like Ferris. The Dodgers, via Fox Sports, called me in to make a commercial of me calling the roll of the Dodger team with emphasis on “Buehler.” That commercial was shown many times during the playoffs and I became famous again, especially now that the Dodgers are in the Series.
I’m told my commercial will run during the Fall Classic when Buehler starts. So, I’m in the World Series. And it all started with Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon got me into the World Series. How many other big fat old nerds can say that and have it be true?
GO DODGER BLUE !!!! And God bless the Peacemaker, Richard Nixon.