John Hughes' greatest flick took a long time to get to cinemas, with ideas for the script stretching back to his youth.
In that time, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise all came close to playing Ferris.
"The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him." So let's find out how a righteous dude got to take a day off school...
1. The youthful Inspirations
While he's gone on the record to deny being directly responsible for inspiring Ferris Bueller, lawyer/speechwriter Edward McNally can lay claim to some of the elements that would eventually show up in the speculative slacker.
McNally and Hughes grew up in Northbrook, Illinois, and attended Glenbrook North, where Hughes would one day film scenes featuring Sloane (Mia Sara) being comforted over the fake death of a relative.
Bueller's ability to score days off from school is easily beaten by McNally's own - while Ferris had nine days out, the future legal eagle managed 27, primarily thanks to sick notes written by his sister, Sheila.
In fact, when his younger brothers brought notes from their actual mother, the dean of the school refused to believe them, thanks to the different handwriting. Now that's comedy...
McNally used his absences for school for Bueller-alike escapades, including one trip into Chicago with friends that involved him borrowing his own father's car - a purple Cadillac.
After putting 113 miles on the odometer, the lads jacked the car up, just like as happens with Cameron's father's Ferrari in the movie, and span the tires back to take off the drive time.
While the car didn't end up crashing into a ravine, it quickly took off 10,000 miles. Yes, McNally senior did notice.
Oh, and McNally had a best friend shared with Hughes. His name? Buehler.
A seed was sown, but first Hughes needed some more life experience...
Next: The path to Ferris