Monday, February 16, 2015


Remember the hit 1989 John Hughes comedy that starred the late John Candy?  There was a failed TV sitcom version in 1990.
Well...he's coming back to television.  He's slated to be on ABC.  And this time, according to Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411 online, "Uncle Buck will be black."  The casting notices reportedly seek actors for its all African American cast.  Uncle Buck will be "a free-wheeling force of nature."  He will have a serious brother who has 3 kids.  Out of work Uncle Buck will became the kids' male nanny.
Wow!  I couldn't be more excited.

Why?  Because this will mark the first time that black actors have gotten significant roles in a John Hughes project.

Yes, I know he was a beloved filmmaker.  His movies starring Molly Ringwald, John Candy, Matthew Broderick and little Macauley Culkin were fun.  But, c'mon.  Seriously.  Look at 1985's hit teen tale of high school detention angst, The Breakfast Club directed by Hughes...
...  and 1986's popular high school comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off, also directed by Hughes...
...and the huge box office hit comedy Home Alone, written by John Hughes.

Those comedies have action that takes place in Chicago or in the Chicago suburbs.  I spent a lot of time  in and around Chicago in the 1980s.  There were definitely black folks present.  Lots of them.  Remember Oprah's daytime talk show?  We saw black folks in her Chicago audiences every weekday.  Compare the Hughes entertainment mentioned above to the 1975 comedy Cooley High which The New York Times praised and called "the black American Graffiti."  It takes place on the North Side of Chicago.

In the John Hughes comedies, where were the black actors -- even in supporting roles?  The only ethnic actor/character from a John Hughes movie I can immediately recall is actor Gedde Watanabe from 1984's Sixteen Candles. And he played a high school geek called Long Duk Dong.
Black filmmaker Michael Shultz directed Cooley High.  A Milwaukee native, he also directed the big screen releases Car Wash (1976) and the big budget Hollywood musical Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).  He's now a respected TV director having helmed episodes of such top network shows as Ally McBeal, The Practice, Brothers & Sisters and Black-ish.

John Hughes' The Breakfast Club turns 30 this week.  It'll be released on Blu-ray on March 30th.  Showbiz 411 also reports that The Breakfast Club will have special anniversary cineplex screenings on March 26th and March 31st.

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