Blackstar

As I've mentioned a few times before, I often found myself following in my brother's footsteps. While some people would take great pride in the fact that a younger sibling wanted to be like them, my actions mostly just annoyed my brother. My collection of Blackstar toys is yet another example of a time when I thought something my brother had was cool and I wanted something similar.

The Blackstar toys I had were from the 1983 Series 1 Galoob production. If my memory serves me correctly, a majority of these were purchased at the same time at a discount store in a nearby town. Thanks to Blackstar, I had something that was mine to compare to my brother's impressive Masters of the Universe collection. The funny thing was, I don't recall ever watching the Blackstar cartoon before I got these figures. The only reason I even wanted them in the first place was because they looked like He-Man figures.

So my collection grew to include several figures and accessories -- each came with either a Trobbit or a demon depending on if the figure was a "good guy" or a "bad guy." I recall the Warlock Dragon as a pretty cool toy but the Hobbit Wind Machine being not much more than a glorified beach ball.

My Blackstar collection is gone today. After many years stored in my parents' shed, I believe the figures were lost in a tornado that took a barrel full of toys off to where tornadoes go to die. The Ice Castle met an earlier fate when it fell to the floor of the shed and shattered into hundreds of pieces. Apparently cheap plastic cannot withstand a sudden impact after being stored in various temperatures for long periods of time.

So today my "collection" of Blackstar figures is found only in the snapshot below from the the mid-80's.

My Room

The fact that my parents let me do this is still amazing to me. Somewhat inspired by Ferris Bueller's bedroom, it started with a few pictures here and there and quickly overtook all four walls of my own bedroom. Any time I came across a picture that I found interesting, I would cut it out and add it to my wall using either yellow or blue plastic tack. Unfortunately, photos of only one of the four walls exists -- however, these pictures were taken at different times showing slight changes in the arrangement of my "decor."

I believe the first picture to be the oldest of the two based on the size of my CD collection. This image was taken sometime during my senior year of high school as the caricature drawing in the frame is from the junior trip to D.C. and the pictures stuck around the frame's border are of friends that I met during the summer of 1993. My best guess is that it was taken sometime late in the summer of 1993 or near the start of the 1993-1994 school year.

Interesting things you'll find in this picture if you look closely...
  • At least four pictures of a young Anna Nicole Smith.
  • My prized Nerf baskeball hoop in the last stages of its existence.
  • A drawing of Torn Flesh lead man, Greg Hudson -- just to the left of the closet door.
  • A newspaper article about Jennifer Capriati -- top left corner of the photo.
  • Spike Lee as Mars Blackman -- near bottom right of the closet.
  • The early stages of my CD collection -- only two or three dozen at this time.
  • A small speaker on top of the Nintendo that I don't think was connected to anything.
  • Plastic Cubs helmet I got at Dairy Queen several years earlier.
  • A foil McDonald's ash tray -- to the right of the Nerf hoop.
  • A bag from Hard Rock Cafe.
  • Various celebrities -- Ice Cube, Boomer Esiason, The Monkees, Michael Jordan


Considering my CD collection in this second picture has outgrown the plastic case it was housed in previously, this photo is obviously taken several weeks/months later. My closest estimation puts this picture somewhere around mid-fall 1993 due to the fact that there is a copy of a picture from my senior year homecoming dance framed on top of the entertainment center.

In this picture, you might notice...
  • Full soda cans including a Cherry Coke can from the summer of 1989.
  • Charles Barkley USA Basketball cup from McDonalds.
  • A CD collection that has almost doubled in size since the previous picture.
  • Brady Anderson baseball cards inside framed 1993 tennis team picture.
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
  • Cindy Crawford....Jerry Rice...Bart Simpson...Charles Barkely.
  • The number from a race I didn't run in.


While the pictures from my bedroom wall of yester-year are long gone, I can't say I've outgrown my fascination with creating this type of collage. Currently, about a quarter of one wall in my office at work has a very similar look and is continuously spreading.

My room wasn't always as "decorative." I can't say it was always clean but it was certainly tidier in my younger years. Still, there are plenty of gems to take note of in the 1986 picture below. A sharp eye will see...
  • My name cross-stiched on a small piece of fabric.
  • A St. Louis Cardinals pocket schedule.
  • An NFL bed spread set (matching curtains not pictured).
  • A red comb used to ensure proper feathering of my hair.
  • A index card box used to catalog whatever I was cataloging at that time (probably baseball cards).
  • An orange plastic straight-edge from my Crayola art kit.
  • Plastic Goofy light switch cover.
  • The early stages of my music collection.
  • A record player/stereo I got from a garage sale two doors down.
  • Bumper stickers from local radio and TV stations.
  • Calendar from local bank -- what better verification of the year this picture was taken than a calendar on the wall?!?

Ferris Bueller's Bedroom

UPDATE 2/25/16: The original version of this article was posted in June 2010. In the time since then, suggested updates and edits have come in from all over the world. With the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller's Day Off knocking on our doors, I thought it only fitting that I clean up the post and offer a more manageable look at Ferris's bedroom. With many thanks to Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s for his contributions to this article, here's a definitive look at the bedroom every child of the 80s wanted for our own!

There are plenty of gaps yet to be filled. Anyone with further updates to offer, please feel free to drop me a line at any time!


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There is no question...Ferris Bueller had the coolest bedroom in the history of bedrooms. I remember a time when I would draw up plans on paper to recreate a similar set up in my own room if I were given an unlimited amount of money. I would have a killer stereo, state of the art computer, a keyboard, and walls absolutely plastered with posters. While I did accomplish the wall-plastering, my other hopes and dreams for this bedroom of bedrooms never came to be.

Supposedly, John Hughes decorated this room himself, but what exacctly made Ferris Bueller's room so cool?

Plenty.

Let's take a look.

First, in the opening sequence of the movie, we get a great look at the room as we face the door leading to the hallway. In this shot alone, there is tons to look at.


1 "Get Stuffed" poster for Blancmange's Mange Tout. IMAGE
2 Overcoat, hat, and glasses worn later in front of the school IMAGE
3 Mannequin used to take Ferris' place in his bed
4 Industrial EXIT sign above the door
5 Flag: United Kingdom IMAGE
6 Poster: Simple Minds Don't You Forget About Me IMAGE
7 Animal head with pig snout and otherwise deer-like features.
8 Animal head wearing a life preserver IMAGE
9 Flag: United States of America IMAGE
10 E-mu Emulator II synthesizer IMAGE
11 Poster: Bryan Ferry -  Slave to Love IMAGE

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Throughout the movie, we get closer looks at this side of the room.


1 Several small plastic toys on the dresser
2 E-mu Emulator II synthesizer IMAGE
3 Poster: Blancmange's single The Day Before You Came IMAGE
4 Elvis Presley photo from 1956 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show IMAGE
5 Thorens TD147 Turntable IMAGE
6 Model car (a Ferrari, maybe?)
7 Carver M-500t (power amp) IMAGE
8 Audio Source EQ-ONE (equalizer and spectrum analyzer) IMAGE
9 Carver DTL-100 (CD player) IMAGE
10 Carver Receiver 2000 IMAGE

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Ferris' door is bordered with a variety of small images.


1 ?
2 ?
3 ?
4 ?
5 ?


1 ?
2 ?
3 ?
4 ?
5 Buddy Holly & the Crickets photo (lining the left side of the door) IMAGE


1 Photo of The Clash


1 Elvis Presley photo from 1956 performance on the Ed Sullivan Show IMAGE
2 ?
3 Photo: Pete Townshend

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We also get a better look at the dresser itself.


1 A small stop sign
2 The top half of a naked female
3 The near-naked bottom half of another female
4 Diet Pepsi can IMAGE
5 Lamp matching another found on the other side of the room
6 Kewpie Doll Chalkware plaster bank (made by A.N. Brooks, 1966) IMAGE
7 Brass dog horn that is shaped like a beagle

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A wider shot of the corner near the window gives a good look at a few more posters.


1 Poster: Cabaret Voltaire Micro-Phonies
2 Poster: Jean and Francois Clouet's "Francis I of France" IMAGE

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Shifting to the bed-side of the room, there's more to see.


1 Poster: Killing Joke
2 Poster: Flesh For Lulu - Blue Sisters Swing
3 Poster: Flesh For Lulu - Baby Hurricane
4 Poster: The Rave-Ups - Positively Lost Me IMAGE
5 Poster: 1951 Red Cross Poster IMAGE
6 Statue of a hula girl which is missing its left hand
7 Classic radio (under boom box)
8 Boom box stereo
9 Photo: ????

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1 Fender Blackface Bassman & 2x2 Speaker Cabinet IMAGE
2 The Town and the City by Jack Kerouac IMAGE
3 Poster: Self-portrait by Frederic Bazille IMAGE
4 Poster: ????
5 Poster: Charlie Sexton's Pictures For Pleasure IMAGE
6 Photo: Possibly Sloan Peterson?

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Then to the back wall of the room...


1 Lamp with a shade that matches the one found on the dresser
2 IBM XT 5150 PC
2 Taxan Vision Monitor 210/220IMAGE
3 Trophy used to rig the mannequin in Ferris' bed
4 Master Craft Loose Nuts Product sign
5 Video camera (seen at the bottom of the screen to Ferris' right) pointed at...

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1 ...a chair with a horse on it (this shows up again in a minute)
2 Gretsch White Falcon guitar IMAGE
3 Dart board
4 Window curatins apparently crafted from a parachute

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A closer shot of the horse chair also shows a small collection of books as well as some wires connected to a battery.


A close look later in the movie shows that this battery operated contraption is actually the doorbell/intercom set-up used when Mr. Rooney arrives at the house.


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Moving on around the room to the fourth and final wall...


1 Poster: The Damned -- Phantasmagoria
2 Bose 901 speaker IMAGE
3 Red Bell telephone IMAGE
4 Poster: Snake Charmer by Jah Wobble, the Edge, and Holger Czukay. IMAGE
5 Submarine toy
6 Pepsi can IMAGE
7 ?
8 Bertoia side chair IMAGE

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1 Fatigues/waders hanging from the closet door
2 Boxing gloves

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And on the entertainment center...


1 Carver M-500t Power amp IMAGE
2 Audio Source EQ-ONE Equalizer and spectrum analyzer IMAGE
3 Carver DTL-100 CD player IMAGE
4 Television with closed-circuit shot from the video camera (model unknown)
5 Bryan Ferry LP -- Boys and Girls IMAGE
6 The rest of Ferris' record collection below the TV
7 Quasar VP5748XE VCR / Quasar VA66YE Frequency Synthesizer Tuner IMAGE

There you have it, folks. Let me know if you've got anything to add!

Rooney eats it.

Ferris Bueller Curiosities

According to my esitmation, I have seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off somewhere between 300-400 times in my life (yes, I'm serious). In fact, during the summer of 1986 or 1987, there were very few days that I did not watch it at least once. I can't pinpoint one specific reason that this movie appeals to me so much -- but it has always been one of my favorites.

As I have watched Ferris Bueller throughout the years, there are many things that have stuck with me -- some more significant than others. For example, Ferris' comment at the beginning and the end of the movie: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." This line has been quoted countless times over the past few decades (and even misquoted once by a First Lady) almost to the point of becoming somewhat cliche. At the same time though, the truth behind this quote still helps to put life in persepective for me when I feel the days passing me by.

On the other hand, less significant things have stuck in my mind over the years. When I was a kid, I was watching this movie once with my Aunt Louise. After Grace says to Mr. Rooney, "Oh, Ed. You sounded like Dirty Harry just then," Mr. Rooney responds with a slight smirk. At that point, my aunt said to me something along the lines of "He kind of liked that a little bit." To this day, everytime I see this part of the movie, I still think "He kind of liked that a little bit."

During the spring of my senior year in high school, my best friend and I decided that our own Ferris Bueller day was in order. While we did cut a few corners such as having our parents excuse us from school, we did head to the city (St. Louis) for a baseball game and a day of freedom from high school (May 12, 1994 - Cubs over the Cardinals on a 9th inning home run from Shawon Dunston).

 

Several years later, I had completed my college degree and was working as a high school social studies teacher. Always trying to find new ways to keep the attention of my students, I offered up a challenge when it came time to take the course final. Each student was allowed to bring in one question about Ferris Bueller's Day Off. If the class could stump me on 20% or more of their questions, they would be allowed a cheat sheet when they took their final. In the four semesters I worked at that school, my students were never allowed a cheat sheet.

Thanks to multiple sources on the internet, I have read about several mistakes and inaccuracies found in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Some people have picked apart the day minute by minute and claim that the places Ferris visited in the film would be impossible to go to all in the timeframe of one school day. Others, however, have taken note of visual inaccuracies and curiosities in the movie. Below are screenshots as evidence of several of this interesting observances.


COMPUTER SCREEN DETAILS

First, any fan of Ferris Bueller's Day Off knows that "so far this semester, [Ferris] has been absent nine times." But how about Ferris' daily schedule at school? How about his home phone number? What kind of a student was Ferris? While these things were never directly discussed in the movie, pausing and zooming in on a few scenes in the film can provide viewers with all of this information.

 

A close-up on the screen during the scenes above tells a great deal about Ferris Bueller including his class schedule, home telephone number, and school grades. Below is the information seen on the computer screens:


This information reveals that...

...Ferris is a solid student (either that or he has changed his grades to make it appear so).
...his school is on a tri-mester schedule as well as a somewhat modified block daily schedule.

At the same time, though, it creates a question in the timeline of the movie. While attending an afternoon game at Wrigley Field, Ferris suggests that they should be in gym class which lines up with his class schedule...but...early in the day, Ferris' name is called by the economics teacher played by Ben Stein. According to his schedule, Ferris does not have Econ at all -- let alone as a class in the morning.

PROP RADIO

Twice in the film, we see the same boom box used as a prop. The girl following Jeannie down the hall carries the same radio [00:12:13] used later by Ferris and his friends [01:15:25].


 

SHERMER BULLY

Also in the hallway at Shermer High School, a quick eye will see a smaller students just over Jeannie's right shoulder apparently being bullied between classes [00:12:10].


STEREO CONTROLS

As Ferris prepares his bedroom for his absence in case anyone were to check in on him during the day, he makes some adjustments to the levels on his stereo [00:03:57] in order to control the volume of his "snoring". Only a few seconds later [00:03:58] as the camera angle changes, the controls have magically returned to their original settings.

 

MOVING BOX

This next one is hard to pick up on, but once you see it, you'll notice it every time you watch the movie from now on. As Ferris talks with the freshman at school [00:12:44], a small rectangular box can be seen just to the left of the keyboard. The shot alternates from Ferris' bedroom to the school payphone and seven seconds later [00:12:53], the box is gone. Changing shots a few more times, another eight seconds passes [00:13:01] and the box is back but is now laying on its side.

 


MOVING PEPSI CAN

Again, another one you may never notice unless it's pointed out to you. During the scene where Ferris is talking on the phone with Cameron, there is a Pepsi can sitting inches away from the keyboard and a glass behind Ferris' hand [00:15:23]. Seconds later, the Pepsi can is moved further back on the desk [00:16:06] having never been touched by Ferris.

 

CLOUDY SKY

Looking at the reflection on the windows outside the school as Mr. Rooney comforts Sloan, a sky full of puffy white clouds can be seen [00:28:50]. The weather in Chicago must change quickly because less than a minute later, when Ferris arrives posing as Sloan's father, the clouds are flat and graying [00:29:28].

 

WRIGLEY FIELD BULLPEN

I'm guessing a baseball fan noticed this next one. Ferris scores some pretty nice seats off the left field line at Wrigley Field for an afternoon Cubs game. The game is on the TV in the pizza parlor and the foul ball hit to Ferris goes over the heads of two pitchers warming up in the Chicago bullpen [00:49:30]. As the scene cuts to Wrigley Field, the bullpen is empty [00:49:57].

 

CURB PARKING

When Mr. Rooney first arrives at the Bueller home, his car is parked six inches or so from the curb [00:50:57]. Later, although Mr. Rooney has not returned to his car, the officer places a ticket on the car which is visibly closer to the curb [01:08:27].

 

FERRARI INSTRUMENT PANEL

With the Ferrari being a pretty significant part of the Ferris Bueller plot, I feel like this mistake is a pretty big one. You can see that as the garage attendants speed off in the Ferrari [00:54:48], the speedometer is divided into increments of 10 MPH. Later on, as Ferris starts the car when they pick it up from the garage [01:09:28], the speedometer is in increments of 20 MPH.

 

POLICE JACKET

During the scene where Ferris appears on the parade float, Cameron and Sloan approach the float in order to keep Ferris out of the public eye. In the street, they are immediately met by a police officer wearing a jacket [01:01:33]. Seconds later, as the camera angle changes to an overhead shot [01:01:39], the police officer is no longer wearing his jacket.

 

GET OUT OF THE SHOT!

If movie extras are paid based on their ability to blend into a scene, I'm guessing the girl in the white (bottom left of the screen) during the scene below didn't make much money. As Cameron and Sloan walk along pondering their futures, an extra walks behind them and leaves the shot [01:02:23]. Within seconds the camera catches up ad she realizes she's still in the shot [01:02:28]. In somewhat of a hurry, she quickly leaves the picture once again [01:02:30].

 

FERRIS' HAIR

Relaxing in a hot tub [01:15:25], Ferris' hair is parted and dry. Seconds later [01:15:40], it is wet and brushed back.

 

POOLSIDE CHAIR

Another careless oversight on the part of the movie editors. Watch as Cameron falls into the pool [01:15:24] -- seated in a chair on the diving board, the chair stays in place as Cameron takes the plunge. However, as he sinks [01:15:27], the chair can be seen behind him in the water.

 

REARVIEW MIRROR

Another careless oversight in the scene where Jeannie is speeding home from the police station in hopes of catching Ferris red-handed. One second, the car is fully equipped with a rear-view mirror [01:30:44], the next it's gone [01:31:03]. Apparently Jeannie's lead foot caused the mirror to fall from the windshield.

 

VICE GRIPS

While there's a possibility that this is only be visible in the widescreen edition of Ferris Bueller, a pair of vice grips clamped to the left side of the hood on Mr. Bueller's car can be seen for a quick second in one of the film's later scenes. This clamp was likely used to secure a camera used for an alternate angle.


THE SIDEWALK

As the credits roll, Mr. Rooney is coerced onto a school bus. As he approaches the bus, he steps from the sidewalk onto a patch of grass [01:40:05]. As the camera angle changes and the bus pulls away the sidewalk has instantly moved itself against the street [01:42:03].

 

THE LICENSE PLATES

Film makers have been known to include small details in their movies which reference their previous works. For example, R2D2 can be found in a scene from one of the Indiana Jones movies. Along those same lines, John Hughes cleverly referenced three of his other films in Ferris Bueller's Day Off through the use of license plates. The plate on Mr. Rooney's car reads "4FBDO" (4 Ferris Bueller's Day Off) while Mrs. Bueller's plate has the letters "VCTN" (Vacation) and Mr. Bueller's license plate references the movie Mr. Mom with the letters "MMOM." Finally, the most recognizable license plate from the movie does not reference a previous film but rather the nature of Cameron Frye as the Ferrari's plate reads "NRVOUS" (nervous).

   

OFFICER SHERMER

In one other small reference to his previous work and his own background, John Hughes quickly shows the badge of an "Officer Shermer" in the scene where Jeannie is at the police station. For those familiar with the Breakfast Club, Shermer High School was the school referenced in that movie's opening scene.