The Surprising Story Behind Kevin Bacon’s Cameo in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’

It’s one of the most beloved and acclaimed comedies of the 1980s, headlined by two A-list actors and helmed by one of the decade’s leading writer-directors. John Hughes‘Classic, Planes, trains and automobileswith Steve Martin And John’s cake, has been a holiday staple for over 36 years and continues to make audiences laugh out loud today. Martin, known for his brutal slapstick style in movies like The Jerk And All of meSurprise the audience by playing “straight man” with candy, the former SCTV Film members who have just started to make a successful film career in the film Shadows like Summer rental And Space ball.


With Hughes behind the camera, Hollywood “it” guy who struck gold Sixteen candles, Breakfast ClubAnd Ferris Bueller party, Planes, trains and automobiles It is virtually guaranteed to be a major and box office hit. It became the 29th highest-grossing film of 1987, and it won the Candy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture at the 1988 American Comedy Awards. So why would a movie written and directed by one of the industry’s heaviest hitters and starring two stand-up comedians come out of nowhere, 1 minute and 8 seconds, without dialogue from another 80s icon, feet hands Star Kevin Bacon? It’s not like the film needs a star boost to get it across the finish line, and it certainly doesn’t need “stunt casting” to get noticed. What’s the story behind Bacon’s strange – and hilarious – cameo?

RELATED: Why ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ Was My Family’s Last Thanksgiving


Cameo is Kevin Bacon’s idea

Kevin Bacon is a taxi driver in 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles.'
Image via Paramount Pictures

Interestingly, it was Kevin Bacon himself who gave Hughes the idea to cast him Planes, trains and automobiles. Hughes is filming this movie and She is having a baby, another picture shown by Bacon, at the same time. Bacon enjoyed working with Hughes so much he told the director that he would have a part in the Martin-Candy film, albeit as a special. Bacon was living in Manhattan at the time, so Hughes took the young actor up on his offer when it came time to film the location, and Bacon’s light cameo in the film was part of the lightness of the entire filmmaking process. Steve Martin plays Neal Page, a strictly business ad man trying to get from New York to Chicago on Thanksgiving Day. When he crosses paths with shower curtain salesman Del Griffith (Candy), it’s another surprising disaster. But it is Bacon’s appearance at the beginning of the film that foreshadows the disaster that is yet to come for Neal.

Trying to catch a cab to the airport so he wouldn’t miss his home, Neal left the meeting in midtown Manhattan. Anyone who has ever attempted to hail a taxi in New York City at the height of rush hour, let alone rush hour the day before a holiday, knows that it’s a feat that requires the courage of a superhero, not to mention a great deal of luck. While frantically searching for a yellow four-door Ford, Neal spots a taxi with its “Available” sign. That’s when Bacon enters the picture. Credited only as “Taxi Racer” in the film, Bacon’s character, standing on the opposite side of 6th Avenue from Martin’s Neal, spots an empty cab, then spots Martin’s Neal looking at the same vehicle. The pair exchanged a look that said “bring it on,” and the frenzy began. For 30 seconds, Neal and Taxi Racer race down crowded sidewalks, dodging passers-by, delivery carts, and other speeding obstacles, determined to be the first to reach the car that will send them out of the New York holiday hell. Season. Neal almost hails a taxi to his prized destination, until he stumbles and falls into the trunk of a Del Griffith sedan left on the road. Taxi Racer emerged victorious, pausing to give Neal a wry smile and “Look at you, suck!” Congratulations before getting into the cab and riding away. That brief scene is the highlight of the film, because it’s such a powerful moment, the first of many unfortunate events that will happen to Neal when he becomes involved with the crude but good-natured Del. Any random actor can play. Taxi Racer, but seeing Bacon in that role made the audience laugh a lot, and it’s not hard to believe that director Hughes knew exactly what he was doing when he cast the freshman. In fact, the whole scene is a wink and a nod to the beginning of Bacon’s 1986 film. Quicksilver, about a down-and-out stock market trader forced to live as a bicycle messenger. In the film’s opening, Bacon, as a taxicab passenger, urges his driver to race a bicycle delivery man through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Bacon’s van loses the race to the driver (Nelson Vails), who gave a similar “So long, loser!” Admire Bacon’s character as he pedals away.

Bacon’s Character May Be a Crossover from ‘She’s Having a Baby’

Kevin Bacon in 'She's Having a Baby.'
Image via Paramount Pictures

Although shot at the same time, Planes, trains and automobiles was released three months ago She is having a babyon Thanksgiving Day 1987. However, when Bacon’s film, the story of two newlyweds facing the challenges of their first year of marriage, was released in February 1988, some viewers believed that Bacon’s Taxi Racer character was actually Bacon’s character Jake Briggs from. She is having a baby. In that film, Briggs is an up-and-coming advertising writer who travels by train to Chicago each day, a newspaper tucked under his arm. In planes, trains and automobiles, Bacon’s taxi is a traveler trying to get from point A to point B, carrying a newspaper. Taxi Racer even wears the same clothes as Jake Briggs. It can be guessed that the character is Briggs on a business trip to the big city, and like Martin’s Neal Page, is determined to return to Chicago to celebrate the holidays with his new bride Kristy (Elizabeth McGovern). It is certainly not out of the question that director Hughes will find a way to overlap the two films in this way. Hughes really Yes Put the two films together in one scene Planes, trains and automobiles, but the audience needs to be particularly skilled and have exceptionally good listening to catch it. In one episode, Neal’s wife Susan (Laila Robins) alone in bed, watching TV, while she waits for her husband to come home. Although not shown on screen, the TV couple can be heard arguing. each other Susan is watching the scene from She is having a babyIn the character of Bacon and McGovern have a fight with the guests of their night.

Hughes used many tie-ins with his other films

Planes-Trains-and-Automobiles-Steve-Martin-Neil-Face-John-Candy-Dale-Griffiths
Image via Paramount Pictures

And the tie-ins don’t end there. During the closing of the credit She is having a babyJohn Candy appeared briefly as his character Chet Ripley from The great outdoors, a 1988 comedy written by Hughes, rattling off possible names for the newborn Jake and Kristy. Candy’s is one of dozens of celebrity appearances during the film’s final minutes, some of which are from previous Hughes films, including Matthew Broderick And Cindy Pickett (Ferris Bueller party), Ally Sheedy And Paul Gleason (Breakfast Club), and Edie McClurgFamous for her expletive-laden car rental scene with Martin in Planes, trains and automobiles. After Hughes’ untimely death in 2009 at the age of 59, people who worked with him often spoke of how Hughes considered the cast and crew of his films to be part of his family. That Hughes often used the same actors in several films shows that he is a true director of actors, and the fact that Bacon, a bankable actor, will be content to create a shadow of Hughes, is. Witness the joy that actors feel to be part of the award-winning director’s showbiz family.

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