Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Birthday Mr Candy x

Happy Birthday Mr Candy! So another year has passed and today you would have been 64. 

It is so very hard not to write a similar blog post to last year as every word still stands, if not more so. (If you didn't read last years, here it is )

John, you live on, not just in your body of work but in your family, friends, colleagues and fans.

So to all of your fans I ask this, do something to honour Mr Candy today; watch one of his films, love a little more, laugh a little harder, help someone who needs it and also someone who doesn't, tip a little larger, raise a glass and be kind, always. John can be kept alive in so many ways, not just by remembering him as the comedy luminary and great actor that he was, but by also taking inspiration from his work and life ethic.

Hopefully John by your next birthday the book will be out and I will have done you proud.

Know you are loved and missed by so many,

With love and gratitude always

Tracey x

Friday, 10 October 2014

There is only one Uncle Buck

So this week brings the entertainment news (I specify entertainment as I know there are some very serious issues going on in the world at the moment) that ABC and Universal have partnered up to bring Uncle Buck to the small screen as a sitcom. Rewind to 1990 and this was trialled and unsuccessful, with Kevin Meaney playing Buck and unfortunately for him he didn't even come close to Candy.

Cue the titles;

Uncle Buck TV Show 1990 - watch it through your fingers

I have no clue how they are going to pull it off. John Hughes wrote that part specifically for Candy as he was his muse. John Candy is Uncle Buck!

Even though I find myself wincing I get it. Uncle Buck is a classic, why wouldn't you want to replicate it? At the same time why would you? Some things just need to be left alone. They might do a great job and I may have to eat my hat (it angers a lot of people) and I hope they do. Or at least I hope those who are too young to have seen this brilliant piece of cinema have their attention drawn to it.

It's not just Buck, the casting overall for the film was genius, Hughes always seemed to get the mix right  as well as the writing and Candy being the generous actor he was, would always make the cast feel so at home they just gelled.

ABC and Universal I hope you prove me wrong, but for me there will only ever be one Uncle Buck, no one else could ever come close.

Buck Melanoma

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Things you may or may not know about John Candy: Part Two

The last one I did of these proved more popular than any of my other blog posts, so I thought you might like a part two.

1. In his early days John had a writing partner, Lorne Frohman. They had an office on Young Street, Toronto, which was above a strip club. Needless to say they didn't make it as far as the office most days.

2. John may have been heavy set but he was physically very strong. He once picked up Dan Aykroyd and Dave Thomas (one on each shoulder) and was spinning them around in the air as part of a sketch. He also broke one of Martin Short's ribs doing similar physical comedy.

3. Once at a party John kept Chevy Chase in a headlock for two hours, even with Chevy protesting that it wasn't funny any more, it did not stop him. At that very same party John met Steven Spielberg and told him that he 'liked his movie about the fish', he made an impression on Spielberg and shortly after got a part in 1941.

4. He was hurt an awful lot and due to his extremely kind nature people would take advantage. John was driving home from work one day and sitting at a light, his arm out of the window when a man approached him and asked 'are you John Candy?' when John smiled and nodded the man pulled a gun out on him and demanded he gave him his watch. John was devastated, not because of the watch but mainly because he blamed himself for being too gullible and trusting.

5. In 1985 John was voted one of the top ten sexiest men in America by Playgirl magazine.

There you go, just  a few more facts. This week I have been marvelling at just how much work I have done on this book. I was then hit with a realisation of how much more I have to do. Bitter sweet really as I don't want this project to end. 

Hope you are all well and thanks for your support,

Tracey xx

Friday, 15 August 2014

Another star in the sky.

This week John is joined by another friend and the world mourns the loss of Robin Williams.

A horrific reminder that everybody hurts, we have no idea what others go through and that we should be kind, always.

Robin and John had a lot in common. They were good friends, hilariously funny, brought such joy to the world and left us way too soon.

It is always such a shock when those so full of life can be conquered by death.

RIP Robin, I know John will be thrilled to see you.

Much love and thanks for all the laughs
Tracey x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Why John Candy was (and still is) funny.

I discovered John Candy in my childhood. Splash was my introduction, swiftly followed by Brewster's Millions (thanks to my brother Dave who watched it religiously most weeks when we were kids).

I loved John and his characters then as much as I do now. He has always managed to crack me up and likewise have me blubbing like a baby. Two of my god children, Jake and Macy, love Uncle Buckle as they call him. John appeals to so many age groups, his humour is universal and timeless.

So what makes John so funny?

I think his down to earth character, the fact that he often played the underdog that we could relate to and root for. He seemed to put a bit of himself in each role he played, making everyday occurrences funny by focusing on the small details that we could all recognise in our own lives. A look, an expression, a movement or a line - he had it all and on top of that he was a great dramatic actor.

John loved people, all types of people, if you were nice to him then he was nice to you. He listened and was interested and it didn't matter who you were. By getting to know people he knew what made them tick, the key to making his characters so human. As Mel Brooks said "Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you".

He was also a very generous actor, all those that I have interviewed have told me how he didn't ever try to steal the limelight, he always saw the film as a team effort and would do what ever was best for the picture.

John was extremely quick and thanks to his training at Second City he was perfect at commedia dell'arte. In many of his roles such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck and Spaceballs, when he was allowed to improvise he was second to none.

I think one of the biggest things that made John so funny (no not his size he was funny regardless) was that he really enjoyed laughing. He had a huge imagination and an even bigger heart.

I interviewed Jon Turtletaub (Director of Cool Runnings) who told me "John wasn't one of those funny guys that was really 'on' all the time. A lot of these guys are always performing and they are not the ones that make the great actors. The most impressive thing for me about John was he was the only hilariously funny famous person who laughed at other peoples jokes. You don't see that in comic geniuses, they either don't react at all or they smile and say "that is funny", but he would delight, laugh and enjoy and make other people feel funny and that is such a gift to give people. 

I think so many of his big films worked because of his warmth and generosity to his co-stars and his compassion to others. I know not every movie John was in was critically acclaimed but I do believe that he made every picture better and surely as an actor, that is all you could hope for. 

Plain and simple John had a gift, I wish I could bottle and sell it but I can't.

He was a true one off.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Things you may or may not know about John Candy...

I haven't wrote a blog post in a while as I am not too well at the moment and pain is giving me writers block. So here are just a few Candy facts that you may or may not know...

1. John was scared of the bear in The Great Outdoors, he had to do a scene where the bear was chasing him for 15 seconds so they could get the shot. There was no CGI in those days and he probably never ran so fast in his life!

2. He was kind, courteous and sweet to everyone he met. Many times John would go to a restaurant and end up in the kitchen helping the staff and serving customers.

3.  John was originally going to play the part of Louis Tully in Ghostbusters, he pulled out due to character portrayal differences and the part was rewritten for Rick Moranis.

4. He wanted to be a footballer not an actor, but due to a knee injury he could never be a professional. Later on in 1991 he did however become a co-owner of the Toronto Argonauts, something he always dreamed of.

5..During the horse riding scenes in Delirious John's parts were filmed using a mechanical horse.

6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was written by John Hughes in a weekend, the original cut was over four and a half hours long. I have only ever found one deleted scene, I would have loved to have seen the others. (You can see that deleted scene here

7. John had a Golden Retriever called Keema, whom he studied for his part of Barf in Spaceballs.

8. John Candy and Conrad Dunn taught their co-stars in
Stripes the words to Do Wah Diddy Diddy as nobody else knew them.

9. John filmed his scenes for Home Alone as a favour to John Hughes. He worked solidly for 24 hours to film them all and got into trouble several times with Chris Columbus for encouraging The Polka Band to play when they should have been filming. 

10. The death of John Candy was one of the reasons that John Hughes left Hollywood.

Oh and not a John Candy fact as such but one related - Sanka's egg was made of rubber! 

I will write a much bigger blog post soon.

Thanks for all your support,
Tracey x

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Like your job, love your wife.

Planes, Trains was on TV last night and I never tire of watching it. This film makes me laugh out loud, snigger and smile like a Cheshire Cat, but it also never fails to break my heart. Watching Del Griffith talk about his wife with such love... "Love, love isn't a big enough word" to then find out at the end that she passed away eight years ago (yeah OK I knew it was coming but it still gets to me every time).

I was recently very lucky to interview Howard Deutch who directed John in The Great Outdoors. Not only did he have some lovely memories of John and anecdotes from the movie, he was able to tell me a lot about John's relationship with John Hughes, their love for each other and how John Candy was a muse for John Hughes' work (Candy is in eight
of Hughes' films, he worked with him more than any other actor). Hughes had a love for characters who didn't quite fit in, the underdog - and Candy was brilliant at playing them.

I know from talking to John's old friend Jonathan O'Mara that John often despaired of his weight and feared that he would never be normal and I think this gave him empathy with those characters he later brought to life.

Anyway I digress... this weekend one of my close friends got married to one of my old friends (I introduced them) and the love in the room not only between them, but friends and family too was palpable.

This made me think of John and how Tony Rosato described to me how John was so excited "like a little kid" on his own wedding day. Watching Del Griffith last night, I am sure every time he talked with such love in his eyes about his wife that John was thinking of  his true love Rose Candy (nee Horbor) whom he married in 1979.

Recently I also know of relationships that have been sacrificed for career. As I get older I learn more and more how love is the only thing we should aspire for. So for today, Del's words of wisdom ring true more than ever (and it works vice versa).

"Like your job, love your wife."

Monday, 3 March 2014

Not forgotten...

John Candy 31/10/1950 - 4/3/1994

Twenty years ago today the world lost a magical man who was full of kindness and brimming with talent. Not just a comedic genius, but a great dramatic actor, loyal friend to many, a brilliant role model and proud husband and Father. We lost the nicest man ever to grace Hollywood.

John Candy died from a massive heart attack whilst in Durango, Mexico where he was being filmed in Wagons East. He went to bed on 3rd March and in the early hours of 4th March he left us.

I don't want to dwell on John's tragic passing today, instead I would like to share some final memories people had of him during that shoot.

I have been privileged to talk to Mark Jennings and Donna Meyer who were part of the crew working with John on that production. They shared many stories of John, the joy of working with him and his generosity. Mark told me that every three weeks John would put on a party for the crew and cast, they were far from home and John wanted to make everyone feel welcome. According to Mark every party had a guest bar tender, which was of course always John dressed up as somebody else. On Valentines Day he gave all the ladies roses and candy and the gentlemen twelve glow in the dark condoms.

Donna shared another memory of John's kindness with me. "On Ash Wednesday, we were going to be shooting an hour or so out of town. He knew that most of the Mexican crew was Catholic and that with our very early morning calls and long days, most of them would not be able to get to church. So he made arrangements with the priest of the church he had been attending to travel out to where we were shooting to bless and give ashes to any of the crew members who wanted it. It was the most thoughtful thing I'd ever seen."

So today I am thankful, so very, very thankful that John made his impact and continues to make his impact on the world. Thank goodness there is such a full body of work, thank you even for the 'not so great' films  - for without these we would not have as much footage of John, which also gave us an example that he didn't mind working hard and taking risks, even if they didn't always pay off. Then there were the roles he played that will live with us forever, Del Griffith, Buck Russell, Dean Andews, Irv Blitzer, Danny Muldoon, Gus Polinski, Johnny La Rue, Chet Ripley, Yosh Shemenge... let's face it I could go on forever.

Whatever the reason for John's passing, he has left a hell of a legacy. John Candy still has a world wide affect today. He makes people laugh and cry on a daily basis.

My thoughts today go out to John's family as well as thoughts and thanks to all those people who have given me their time to talk to me about John, I know you all loved him and still miss him daily.

I think in my interview with Carl Reiner he put it best "I could not believe he had died, how could he die? He was so full of life!"

Legends like John never really die for they leave an impact on the world too big to shake and too timeless to forget.

To the man that made everyone want to become a better person,

Thank you John.

I was very sorry to hear that John's friend and fellow comedic genius Harold Ramis passed last week. May you both be enjoying a drink and a laugh together wherever you are. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Believe in yourself...

It's hard being a sensitive person, you worry about what others think of you, your confidence can hold you back and the knocks really hurt, you can carry them around like a life sentence.

I have been having a moment of doubt recently, wondering what I am doing in life? worrying that I am not writing this book fast enough or that I am going to let Mr Candy down.

John struggled with these issues too, he would take rejection to heart and wear it like a covered up tattoo he never wanted to show.

Lorne Michaels (Creator and Producer of Saturday Night Live) went down to The Old Firehall in Toronto to watch John, Dave Thomas and Joe Flaherty perform as part of the legendary improv group, Second City. Lorne had gone to scout for new talent after Chevy Chase had left SNL and John was desperate to impress. As it was, nerves got the better of them and they performed a terrible show. Joe and Dave brushed it off but John hung around to see what Lorne thought. Lorne told him " don't give up the day job", that cut him like a knife, he was crushed. Dave Thomas told me that John was so giving, that he would also get hurt more than most as he would put himself out there. Luckily the faith others had in him and his talent kept him going. Of course Lorne couldn't have been more wrong and John later starred in Saturday Night Live on a couple of occasions as a guest host.

From talking to Tommy Swerdlow (Writer on Cool Runnings) I know that even when John's career was going well he still struggled with insecurity. This is probably one of the reasons that he came across as so human and was so widely loved. In his personal life he never wanted anyone to feel the same hurt he had experienced, if you were his friend he would go to the end of the earth to protect you.

This week I have seen people around me take some knocks, sometimes I think life sends us these trials to make us more determined and give us focus on what we really want.

Never give up if you really want something, there is nothing to fear except fear itself.

I wonder how many people give up on their dreams? I am so glad John never did.