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Playing Hooky with Ferris Bueller

Wikimedia Commons / Andre Natta

Playing Hooky with Ferris Bueller

Two things many Chicagoans hold dear: the Chicago Cubs and John Hughes movies. Hometown hero Hughes often set his movies in the city and its suburbs, and as for the Cubs, well – the Cubs are just the sort of underdogs he often portrayed in his funny tales of high school angst.

Hank Ludwig (Photo via Chicago Sun-Times)
Hank Ludwig
(Chicago Sun-Times)

Before his recent death at age 90, one local man got great seats to Hughes’s movies as well as at least one notable Cubs game. That lucky guy was Hank Ludwig, who had the distinction of being father-in-law to the famous director and was a big supporter of his son-in-law’s work. A Chicago Sun-Times obituary by Maureen O’Donnell recalls Ludwig’s glee at meeting stars like Walter Matthau and John Candy – and it details the especially wonderful moment when Ludwig got to be an extra in cult favorite Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As Ferris and friends take in a Cubs game during their epic day of hooky-playing, Ludwig sits behind them, with two of his grandchildren at his side. Look behind actress Mia Sara – Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend – in this clip and you’ll see the proud papa-in-law.


In addition to being Hughes’s father-in-law, Ludwig was a WWII vet, a salesman for U.S. Gypsum and Material Service Corp., a fan of Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller, and apparently one tough cookie (he once drove himself 20 miles to the hospital for bypass surgery when he began experiencing heart attack symptoms). His obituary is worth a read as it tells these and more stories about the life of a good Chicagoan.