21 Facts About The Breakfast Club On Its 35th Anniversary

Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

On February 15, 1985, John Hughes made his first foray into more adult territory when he gathered together a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal to spend an entire day together and realize that, despite their labels, they weren't so different from each other. On the 35th anniversary of The Breakfast Club's debut, we're looking back at some surprising facts about the film.

1. One of The Breakfast Club's key scenes was improvised.

The film’s gut-wrenching heart-to-heart, where all five kids spill deep, dark secrets, was ad-libbed.

2. The Breakfast Club was supposed to be the first movie in a new film series.

The movie was initially conceived of as a franchise-starter, with subsequent entries “checking in” on the characters.

3. The Breakfast Club originally included a dream sequence.

A dream sequence, in which Allison (Ally Sheedy) imagines Andrew as a gluttonous Viking, Bender as a prisoner, Claire as a bride, Brian as an astronaut, and herself as a vampire, was cut from the final version.

4. The Breakfast Club originally featured a scene between two of the school's teachers.

Another scene, that featured a pair of high school teachers—Dr. Lange, a social studies teacher, and gym teacher Robin—was also chopped from the final version.

5. The Breakfast Club's janitor, Carl, had once been a star student at Shermer High School.


Universal Home Pictures Entertainment

As a student, Carl the janitor was Shermer High's 'Man of the Year.'

6. Rick Moranis was originally cast as one of The Breakfast Club's key characters.

Rick Moranis was originally cast as the janitor in The Breakfast Club, but was eventually replaced due to "creative differences" (he wanted to play the part as an over-the-top Russian stereotype). The role was ultimately played by John Kapelos.

7. The Breakfast Club's actors took a Broadway-like approach to rehearsals.

The film was rehearsed in a manner more similar to that of stage plays.

8. Emilio Estevez was originally going to play The Breakfast Club's bully.

Emilio Estevez was originally slated to play Bender, but Hughes couldn’t find anyone else who was right for the Andrew role, so Estevez ultimately switched and the Bender gig went to Judd Nelson.

9. Molly Ringwald was originally asked to play Ally Sheedy's role.

Similarly, Molly Ringwald was first asked to play Allison, but she wanted the Claire (named "Cathy" in the first draft of the script) role. Hughes eventually let her have it.

10. A lot of now-A-listers auditioned for The Breakfast Club.

Other actresses that could have played Claire? Robin Wright, Jodie Foster, and Laura Dern, who all auditioned for the part. Meanwhile, John Cusack was considered for the role of Bender, as was Nicolas Cage.

11. The Breakfast Club was a family affair for Anthony Michael Hall.


Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Anthony Michael Hall’s mother and sister appear as his character’s mother and sister in the beginning of the film.

12. John Hughes made a cameo in The Breakfast Club.

Another parent to look out for? Hughes, who had a cameo role as Brian’s father at the end of the film.

13. Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy played high school students in The Breakfast Club and college graduates in St. Elmo's Fire in the same year.

A still from 'St. Elmo's Fire' (1985).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Brat Pack members Sheedy, Estevez, and Nelson starred (as college graduates) in St. Elmo’s Fire the same year that The Breakfast Club hit theaters.

14. Cheese stood in for the "snow" in Ally Sheedy's hair in The Breakfast Club.

Allison’s dandruff, which she sprinkles to “make it snow,” was made of Parmesan cheese.

15. The Breakfast Club's location is a familiar one to John Hughes fans.

Like a number of other Hughes films, including Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and National Lampoon’s Vacation, the film is set in the fictional Chicago suburb of Shermer, Illinois.

16. Not all of The Breakfast Club's cast members were quite high school-aged.

Judd Nelson was the oldest cast member at the time of filming; he was 26.

17. Ally Sheedy didn't speak until a third of the way through The Breakfast Club.

Ally Sheedy in 'The Breakfast Club' (1985).
Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Ally Sheedy doesn’t speak for the first 33 minutes of the film, which has a 97-minute runtime.

18. The Breakfast Club cast members each took a piece of the library home with them.

As an end-of-filming present, Hughes gave each actor a piece of the “library’s” banister.

19. John Hughes had wanted The Breakfast Club to be his directorial debut.

Hughes had planned for The Breakfast Club to be his directorial debut, but the studio went for Sixteen Candles first.

20. Though The Breakfast Club takes place in Illinois, Brian must have been born in Connecticut.

Brian’s social security number, as filched by Allison, indicates that he was born in Connecticut.

21. Oregano stood in for an illegal substance in The Breakfast Club.

Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club (1985)
Anthony Michael Hall stars in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

The marijuana the kids smoke in the film was actually oregano.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

17 Facts About Airplane! On Its 40th Anniversary

Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays (with Otto) in Airplane! (1980).
Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays (with Otto) in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Shot on a budget of $3.5 million, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker wrote and directed Airplane!, a movie intended to parody the onslaught of disaster movies that graced movie theater screens in the 1970s. The comedy classic, which arrived in theaters on July 2, 1980, ended up making more than $83.4 million in theaters in the United States alone, and resurrecting a few acting careers in the process. Here are some things you might not have known about the comedy classic on its 40th anniversary.

1. Airplane! was almost a direct parody of the 1957 movie Zero Hour!

Shorewood, Wisconsin childhood friends Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker grew up and moved to Los Angeles, where they were responsible for the sketch comedy troupe Kentucky Fried Theater. The trio made a habit of recording late-night television, looking for commercials to make fun of for their video and film parodies, which is how they discovered Zero Hour!, which also featured a protagonist named Ted Stryker (in Airplane! it's Ted Striker). In order to make sure the camera angles and lighting on Airplane! were matching those of Zero Hour!, the trio always had the movie queued up on set. Yes, the three filmmakers did buy the rights to their semi source material.

2. Universal thought Airplane! was too similar to their Airport franchise.

Universal released four plane disaster movies in the seventies: Airport in 1970; Airport 1975 (confusingly in 1974); Airport ‘77; and The Concorde ... Airport ‘79. Helen Reddy portrayed Sister Ruth in Airport 1975 and was game to play Sister Angelina in Airplane! before Universal stepped in and threatened to sue. Instead, the role went to Maureen McGovern, who sang the Oscar-winning theme songs to The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno—two movies that were also “disaster” movies, albeit ones not involving a plane.

3. David Letterman, Sigourney Weaver, and other future stars auditioned for Airplane!

In early conversations regarding Airplane!, Paramount Studios suggested Dom DeLuise for what would eventually become Leslie Nielsen’s role, and Barry Manilow for the role of Ted Striker, but they were never asked to audition.

4. Chevy Chase was mistakenly announced as the star of Airplane!.

Chevy Chase was erroneously announced as the star of Airplane! in a 1979 news item in The Hollywood Reporter.

5. The role of Roger Murdock was written with Pete Rose in mind.

Pete Rose was busy playing baseball when Airplane! was shot in August, so they cast Kareem Abdul-Jabbar instead.

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got a pretty swanky carpet out of his Airplane! gig.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Graves, and Rossie Harris in Airplane! (1980)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rossie Harris, and Peter Graves in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s agent insisted on an extra $5000 to the original offer of a $30,000 salary so that the basketball legend could purchase an oriental rug he'd had his eye on.

7. Peter Graves thought the Airplane! script was "tasteless trash."

Peter Graves eventually found the humor in the film, including the pedophilia jokes, and agreed to play Captain Oveur. Graves's wife was glad he took the role; she laughed throughout the premiere screening.

8. No, the child actor playing young Joey didn't know what Peter Graves was actually saying.

Rossie Harris was only 9 years old when he played the role of Joey, so did not understand the humor in Turkish prisons, gladiator movies, or any of Oveur’s other comments. But by the time he turned 10 and saw the movie, Harris had apparently figured it out.

9. Airplane! marked Ethel Merman's final film appearance.

"The undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage” played a disturbed soldier who believed he was Ethel Merman. Merman passed away in 1984.

10. Michael Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul was in Airplane!.

Jonathan Banks plays air traffic controller Gunderson.

11. Airplane!'s three-director setup caused legal problems.

The Directors Guild of America ruled that Abrahams and the two Zuckers couldn’t all be credited for directing a movie, nor be credited under the single “fictitious name of Abrahams N. Zuckers.” A DGA rep was on set to make sure that only Jerry Zucker spoke to the actors. What he saw was Jerry Zucker next to the camera, who would then go to a nearby trailer where the other two were watching the takes on a video feed, and come back to give notes to the actors after conferring with his partners. A DGA executive board eventually gave the three one-time rights to all share the credit.

12. A BIT ABOUT BLIND POLISH AIRLINE PILOTS WAS WRITTEN AND FILMED.

Blind singer José Feliciano, and lookalikes of blind singers Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, played Polish airline co-pilots. The Polish-American League protested, and it was determined by the writer-directors that the idea wasn’t funny enough to stay in the movie.

13. Robert Hays was starring in a TV show at the same time he was filming Airplane!

Robert Hays, the actor who played Ted Striker, had to race back and forth between the sets of Angie and Airplane! for two very busy weeks. The theme song to Angie was performed by the one and only Maureen McGovern.

14. Robert Hays was—and is—a licensed pilot.

He can even fly the ones with four engines.

15. Leslie Nielsen had a lot of fun with his fart machine.

Leslie Nielsen sold portable fart machines for $7 apiece on set, causing a brief epidemic of fart noises emanating from most of the cast and crew and delaying production. When they were shooting Hays’s close-up, Nielsen used the machine after every other word of his line, “Mr. Striker, can you land this plane?”

16. Stephen Stucker came up with all of Johnny's lines.

Lloyd Bridges and Stephen Stucker in Airplane! (1980)
Stephen Stucker and Lloyd Bridges in Airplane! (1980).
Paramount Home Entertainment

Stephen Stucker was a member of the Kentucky Fried Theater. His line “Me John, Big Tree” was part of an old riff he used to do, which continued with him going down on his knees and putting an ear to the ground to hear when a wagon train was arriving.

17. The original rough cut of Airplane! was 115 minutes long.

After screenings at three college campuses and two theaters, the film was cut down to 88 minutes.