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14 Moving Facts About Planes, Trains and Automobiles

There are few feature films specifically about Thanksgiving, the best of which is the 1987 film Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It stars Steve Martin  as a businessman trying to get home for the holiday and John Candy as the goof trying to help him. Meanwhile, everything about their trip goes wrong. It was sort of based on a true story.

1. JOHN HUGHES ONCE HAD A HELLISH TRIP TRYING TO GET FROM NEW YORK CITY TO CHICAGO.

Before he became a screenwriter, Hughes used to work as a copywriter for the Leo Burnett advertising agency in Chicago. One day he had an 11 a.m. presentation scheduled in New York City on a Wednesday, and planned to return home on a 5 p.m. flight. Winter winds forced all flights to Chicago to be canceled that night, so he stayed in a hotel. A snowstorm in Chicago the next day continued the delays. The plane he eventually got on ended up being diverted to Denver. Then Phoenix. Hughes didn’t make it back until Monday. Experiencing such a hellish trip might explain how Hughes managed to write the first 60 pages of Planes, Trains and Automobiles in just six hours.

6. IT WAS ALL MEANT TO BE SHOT IN CHICAGO, BUT THERE WASN’T ENOUGH SNOW.

Some exterior scenes were filmed in Buffalo, New York. Martin said that the cast and crew pretty much lived the plot of the movie. “As we would shoot, we were hopping planes, trains, and automobiles, trying to find snow.”

There's plenty more to learn about the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles at Mental Floss.


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