How Ben Stein Came to Deliver a Lecture in Ferris Bueller's Day Off - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
How Ben Stein Came to Deliver a Lecture in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Today is both #FlashbackFriday and, according to Chicago’s WGN network, the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s quintessential “day off.” Apparently, they figured this out not by determining the date of the Von Steuben day parade (that’s actually in September), but by the date of the Chicago Cubs game Ferris and company attend as part of their Chicago adventure. 

To celebrate at the Spectator, you can do a little #FlashbackFriday of your own. A few months ago, our very own Ben Stein, who delivers an iconic attendance roll (and lecture on the Laffer Curve to a classroom of sleepy kids), detailed in an essay how he came to be Bueller’s least-favorite teacher.

In November of 1985, Michael Chinich said John Hughes wanted me to do a voice over for a new movie called “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Hughes had written the whole movie in one weekend. He was an unbelievable genius.

I went to stage 15 at Paramount (Michael Chinich was by then head of John Hughes Pictures and all interiors were shot at Paramount). We were running late so sat with Chinich and Hughes in their Winnebago just shooting the breeze for hours.

Then, I went on stage to do a voiceover–not on camera–of my taking the roll. “Adams, Adamley, Adamowski, Bueller, Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…” The high school age extras screamed with laughter and so did John. He directed that I do the scene on camera. I did it and got even more laughs. Then he said I should do a scene I just ad-libbed about something I was knowledgeable about and cared about.

In one take, making it up in my head, I talked about the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act and compared it with supply-side economics. The whole crew and cast gathered around the set and applauded when I was done. I have not seen that before or since. Matthew Broderick asked me if I usually worked on Broadway. I told him it was my second acting job ever and he said, “You have a career.”

And the rest, they say, is history.

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