Thursday, 24 December 2015

It's just not Christmas without Candy

I love this time of year, I love Christmas and the feeling it brings. I used to work twelve hour shifts alone on Christmas Day and it would surprise me every year how I could feel Christmas in the air, it was palpable, even though I was on my own. There is a universal goodwill that effects everything. It's like the scene in Ghostbusters 2 where everyone is singing 'Higher and Higher' after the Ghostbusters have goo'ed the Statue of Liberty to combat negativity, it's contagious.

I am aware that Christmas isn't always like this for everyone and if that is you please know that you aren't alone, this too shall pass and things can change in a blink. Keep hope, don't give up (I have had a few like that myself too).

But ultimately for me, Christmas isn't Christmas without some re runs of John Candy films. Just this week all over social media people have been commenting about Home Alone, Uncle Buck, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Cool Runnings, all the classics. People really miss John and marvel (especially at this time of year) just how awesome he is.

There have been some amusing theories recently about John Candy's character in Home Alone, Gus Polinski (Polka King of the Midwest), actually being the devil. When Catherine O'Hara's character, Kate, says to the airport clerk at Scranton Airport (right by the crossroads - a popular place to summon Satan) that she would literally sell her soul to the devil to get home - Gus intervenes to offer her help. He also mentions in the van/clarinet scene how he once left a child in a funeral parlor. Plus he plays the clarinet - a woodwind instrument (woodwind being favored by the devil). This is backed up with thoughts of Del Griffith also being the devil trying to make Neil Paige late home for Thanksgiving in PTA - in the scene where Del is driving the wrong way and they have a near miss with two lorries, he literally turns into the devil for a few seconds.

By the way my head had to think about these theories but my heart still says no.  Although I think both Candy and Hughes would be amused that their work is still being talked about today (and they would probably give some ambiguous comment to keep it fun), in my eyes John Candy was nothing but an angel, a sweet funny one at that.

Watching Uncle Buck is a must for me every year, OK it isn't a Christmas film, but to me it represents everything Christmas is about. Love, fun, family and cooking up garbage. I get goosebumps from the title music alone and by the end I am always in tears. It should be compulsory for everyone to have their very own Uncle Buck.

So make sure (if you haven't yet already) that you tell someone you love them, look out for each other, help someone who needs it and watch a Candy movie.

If you need some last minute help with Christmas prep check out SCTV's Pre-Teen World Christmas Special Pre-Teen World Christmas

Thanks for all your support as always and a Merry Schmenge Christmas to you all!

See you on the other side,

Lots of love
Tracey xx

PS During the holidays do yourself a favor and make sure you have a listen to Popcorn With Candy. It's a great podcast from Octopus/Caveman and Peter, who are going through the films of John Candy one at a time

Monday, 30 November 2015

Thanksgiving, Popcorn and a little bit of Patience

So I haven't blogged for a few weeks and I thought I better fill you in on what has been going on...

Firstly a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate in the US, I hope you had a wonderful time and I am pretty sure most of you watched the wonderful Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which has become a huge tradition for so many at this time of year. I recently got to read the original script for PTA and I learnt why Dell has a black eye in the scene after they get pulled over by the State Trooper. In the original script the duo actually get arrested too, on leaving the station Neil proclaims that at least the car is the rental company's problem, Del then has to confess that he was trying to save Neil money and didn't take out any insurance, hence Del getting slugged by Neil. 

Myself, well I'm thankful for a lot of things, for John, for you guys reading my blog, for the people who have taken time to help me and for the friends I have made along the way. 

Two new friends include these amazing brothers, Octopus/Caveman and Peter, who have recently started a podcast called Popcorn With Candy. They are going through the films of John Candy in chronological order and it's a great listen. So far they have covered Class of '44, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, Tunnelvision, The Clown Murders and have just put up an interview they did with me. Please go and support them, they are funny, entertaining and big John Candy fans, follow this link Popcorn With Candy. My apologies to them both as I was nervous as hell and got total verbal diarrhea - the last thing I want to be remembered as is an annoying Blabbermouth! I'm not that used to being interviewed but they put me right at ease and I even gave away some of the stories in the book. They have since had me back on for their episode about The Silent Partner which should be up soon. 

Well today is the day the book was originally due to come out and if you didn't know already it has been put back a couple of months. I could have rushed but it wouldn't have done it justice. I am also due for surgery any day now so I thought I would wait in case I was releasing the book whilst also being cut open (it would have made things pretty hard). I hope you guys don't mind and I'm so sorry it will take a little longer, patience is not a virtue I have but I am trying to work on that. In a way I think it will work out for the best, some interviews are still coming in. My good friend Joe Shooman (biographer/writer extraordinaire - check out his work Joe Shoo), has advised me that the book will never really be finished, it is a living entity in its own right - there will always be new information, new people to interview, so another couple of months it will be with us and then I have no doubts a second edition will be due over the years to come. 

Well I hope you are all really well, I would love to hear what you have been up to! 

Much love and thanks for all the support
Tracey xx

PS Chris, John's son, is one of the leads in Bar America, an independent film that has just been released on Amazon. It will make you laugh and cry and is a must watch, especially for all the creative types doing it for themselves. Chris is wonderful in it, occasionally he will do something on screen and you will see John in front of you, however Chris also stands up in his own right as a brilliant actor. More on this soon xx 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy 65th Birthday John

John, today you should be 65, instead you are 43 forever. Happy Birthday, I wish you could see how your fans have swamped the internet with memories of you, you would be so proud.

Wherever you are thank you, you have helped me more than you will ever know.

I wrote something for Huffpost that can be read here Happy Birthday John, We Miss You x

Much love to you and all those that miss you, peace be the journey

Tracey xx

Saturday, 24 October 2015

R.I.P Maureen O'Hara

I never got to interview Maureen O'Hara, she gracefully declined through her manager John Nicoletti. Maureen felt she had made her feelings about John clear in her autobiography, 'Tis Herself, and she was right. 

In every interview, before and after Candy's passing, Maureen oozed nothing but love, respect and admiration for John. Until working on Only the Lonely Maureen had retired from her acting career twenty years previous and was determined she would not go back to it. However Chris Columbus had written the role of Rose Muldoon especially for her. It took a while for Chris to track her down and convince Maureen she should read it, luckily for us she eventually did. She agreed to do the shoot if she met and liked Chris as a Director and John who would be playing her son. It took her only a few minutes of meeting them in Chicago to decide, she loved them both straight away and she turned to John and said "All right, I will be your Mother". 

"The depth of John Candy's talent did surprise me. I didn't expect it to be so great. It didn't take long for me to see that his reservoir of emotion was deep, and that he was not only a comedic genius but an actor with extraordinary dramatic talent. I'm sure that even he didn't fully understand how good he really was. He reminded me a great deal of Charles Laughton." 

The love and respect was mutual, John was thrilled to be working with such a huge Hollywood star and they remained good friends for the rest of John's life. 

I didn't get to speak to Maureen, but I did get to speak to two wonderful Chicago cops who were security on the filming of Only the Lonely. Marie and Patty, who, like Maureen are wonderful strong women, feisty and warm, gave me their time to tell me their story. I am pleased to now call them my friends. Maureen complemented them both, saying it was great to see women in jobs like theirs, she knew they were cops as their guns were always showing. 

Only the Lonely is one of my favourite Candy films and the rapport between him and Maureen was just so sweet and funny. John's friend from school, Jonathan O'Mara (whose Dad coincidentally went to school with Maureen) always tells me that Danny Muldoon was the closest character John ever played to himself, a sweet, shy, considerate man who loved his family. 

Although I am saddened to hear about Maureen passing today, 95 is a wonderful age, she has left a huge legacy and led one hell of a life, may we all live so long and full. 

Thank you Maureen, give the big man a kiss from me, he'll be thrilled to see you x

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Things you may, or may not know about John Candy: Part 3

Sorry I promised this a couple of weeks ago! Better late than never eh?

So seeing as Part 1 and 2 went down quite well, I thought I would write a part 3.

1. John was a very loyal friend, if you worked well with him and he liked you, then you had a job for life. Frankie Hernandez who was known as John's driver and personal assistant, helped John early in his career and stayed with him until the end. Other members of Team Candy included; Ben Nye Jr (Make Up Designer), Silvio Scarano (Costumer and Dresser) and later, Robert Crane (PR). Frankie referred to John's team as "The Chango's" which is Spanish for "The Monkey's".

2. Whilst filming Uncle Buck, Jean Louisa Kelly (Tia Russell) turned 17. John brought her gifts and
ordered in a large birthday cake which had "She was just 17, you know what I mean" iced on it.

3. Although we would all love to believe that John's favorite drink would have been an Orange Whip, it was actually a rum and coke.

4. John loved music, according to his agent Catherine McCartney if you didn't leave an event with John before the band started, you didn't leave. John had a fantastic sense of rhythm and was very light on his feet!

5. One of his favorite TV series according to Dave Thomas was Victory at Sea, John would always want to watch a few episodes after a night out. Victory at Sea was a series filmed in the 1950's about the US Navy in World War 2.

6. John had so much integrity and huge love for his wife and kids. In the early days of his career John worked with Walter Olkewicz whilst filming 1941 (in fact he and Walter were in every scene together). During filming there were a lot of beautiful women on set and some of the actors were cheating on their girlfriends and wives. Not John though. Walter told me John had said why would he want a hamburger when he had steak at home? "Rosie was his bride, she would always be his bride". He never wanted anyone else and couldn't understand anyone cheating.

I hope you are all doing really well! The book's release is still on course for the end of November.

Much love to you all and thanks for all the support
Tracey xxx

PS If you missed Part One you can find it here Things you may, or may not know about John Candy
and Part Two here Things you may or may not know about John Candy: Part Two

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Hold the Front Page...

I am sorry for not blogging more regularly, I promise to post a proper entry soon! I just wanted to share this with you, if you haven't seen it already, here is the front cover of the book. It has been lovingly created by Gary McGarvey at and I love it - thank you Gary!

I am still on track for a November release, if you would like to pre-order a printed copy you can do so at Because I am self publishing I will only be ordering enough printed copies for those who have pre-ordered (or I have promised a copy to), however the book will also be available via KDP if you prefer an e-book.

I hope you are all really well, I would love to hear what you think of the cover? I hope John would like it.

Many thanks as always
Tracey xx

Friday, 5 June 2015

Writing about John is an education

I am not sure I realised how much I would have to learn when I started this book about John. Sure I needed to hone my research techniques, my grammar (always working on that one), to learn so much about John and his world, but I didn't realise how much I would learn about so many others. Whilst researching a person, you have to research the people around them, their career and how on earth you can possibly get in touch with them.

Did you know Jay Underwood who played Bug in Uncle Buck is now a Pastor? That Lonette McKee, Angela Drake in Brewster's Millions, is big on animal rights and is writing a book on her love for birds? One fact, one piece of research and one person always leads to another and it is fascinating.

I have been asked a lot of questions about John since the start of this process, one of the most common ones is about John being rumored to play Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle in a film about Roscoe's life story. Well it was true it was offered to John, however he declined. Personally from my research I believed John passed because he was worried about misrepresenting Arbuckle, John was always very respectful of people.

A few months ago I spoke to Rob Salem who is an old friend of John's, as well as being a renowned writer and journalist. Rob told me "I wanted him to do the Fatty Arbuckle story. I think he was afraid of it. I think he was afraid of where it would take him, out of all the Second City people he got the furthest and the fastest and the most so he didn’t really have the comfort zone that they have of his precedence before them. So that whole fame trap, he was aware of that and very wary of that, and that is what killed Fatty Arbuckle. He told me he was afraid to go there."

Although I knew about Arbuckle, I didn't know his story in full. To understand what John was afraid of I am now reading and researching Arbuckle and I am finding it heartbreaking. A naive and sweet man, made and ruined by Hollywood. The problem is people love scandal, whether it is true or not is irrelevant to most and although it is seen as tomorrow's chip paper, it ruins lives and breaks hearts. So I get it John, but I am with Rob and I think you would have done Arbuckle justice with a phenomenal performance.

I have also learnt you have to earn people's trust and that the kindness of strangers picks me up daily. I am more confident than I thought  but possibly not as confident as I need to be (again working on this one). That if you don't ask you don't get (sometimes you can ask and not get but at least it stops you from wondering what if) and that I couldn't have picked a better role model and moral man to write about.

The book is coming along nicely and the support I am receiving helps no end, so thank you.

Much love to you all
Tracey x

Friday, 1 May 2015

"Whoever said nothing is impossible obviously hasn't tried nailing Jell-O to a tree."

So Del Griffith was wrong. OK you might not be able to nail Jell-O to a tree but you can stick it up there another way. Glue? Sticky tape? Special Jell-O holder?

I have crowd-funded the money I need to self publish the book! Would you believe it? It was rough going for a while, first campaign didn't make it. However, if at first you don't succeed, reduce the print run, change the paper, lower your budget and try again. Campaign number two has finished today and I am 109% funded!

I need to thank everyone who pledged, shared and supported a million times over, it is like a dream come true and all feels a little surreal.

This has been a work in progress over the last four years but I feel the hard work starts right now, I no longer have to just worry about doing a good job for John,  but now for all of those people who believed in me too. When I interviewed Malik Yoba (Cool Runnings) for the book he said that it should be about more than John Candy, it is about reaching out to people and them helping, being knocked down and getting back up.

John was all about dreams and making them a reality, he did it for himself, he did it for others and now I feel like he is doing if for me.

Much love and thanks go to the following for pledging; 
Ellen Green, Jason Freer, Louise Walford, Kris Abrams, Mike Mangone, Kathryn Rowe, Allen Ward, Kristian Haring, Sarah Hayes, Millie de Leeuw, Rene Riva, Mike Harper Lee, Andy Scott, Michael Beard, Helen Martland, Rebecca Hindle, Amy Tuitt, Sorrell Norfolk, Kerri Jackson, Matt James, Aaron Russell MacKenzie Nagy, Joe Kroger, William Worthern, Sophie Archard, Randy Willett, Laura Miller, Matt Clarke, Martin Gordon, Bob and Liz Morgan, Andrew Daley, Holly and Kris Keogh Jones, Andy Cresswell, Chris Davies, Anonymous, Erica Shaw, Karen Booth, Steve Oliver, Jeanette Lucas, Anonymous, Anonymous, Jon Evans, Harrison Scott, Isac Nordgren, Gareth Jones, Eve Morton,Toni Oliver, Simon Morris, Shaun Tomkiss, Simon Whittaker, Jeff Shelan, David Evans, Claire Thompson, Moneygunn, Philippa Kitchen, Lyons and Tigers, Carole Morgan and Richard Bailey, Mark Corbett, Michele Knight, Neil and Emma Byrne, Alex Hall, Anonymous, Mistermantis7, Lisa Williams, Catherine Williamson, Ben Davies, Max Ludwig, Lynette Howell Taylor, Sue Jones, Colin Creed, Kelly Shackleton, Jo Fisher, Anonymous, James Kelly, Mimusiku, Dave Taylor, Russ Beech, Aidy Spillet, Paul Rafferty, Nellie Saunders, Anonymous, Damian McGarrigle, Marc Jones, Chris L, Deb Bolger, Oran Woody, Jennifer Whitfield, Nicholas Holroyd, Sarah Carr, Ben Ohmart, Charlotte Davies, James Watt, Chris Williams, Rosie Greaves, Anita Cash, Robert Whiteley, Alice Sweeting, Helen Hollingdale, Anonymous, Stu Pickering, Jason Weiss, Jeanette Lucas, Robin Lomas, Darren Taylor, Miriam Sanchi, Jon Raffe, Chris Ball, Juul Haalmeyer, John Brown Jr, Janet Elvidge, Steve Jones, Jame Olines, Rebecca Davies, Allan O'Marra, Ella Steel, Glen Lovelock, Olga Rorke, Anonymous, Tim Aldred, Emma Steele, Rob Salem, Katie Jennings, Sarah Wellstead, Elle and Elliot Howells, Steve Oliver, Will, Becky, Edward and Carolyn Dorrell at Hoo Farm, Steven Andrew, Christopher Taylor, Davey Sloan, Vicky Garvey, Jon Anslow, Laura Gallen, Joe Shooman, Mandy Odandiee, Kenn Stewart, Karin Stryuk, James Fisher, Jo Bloodworth, Maddie Newbury, Ed Cook, Kevin Burgess, Julian Bennett, Donna Meyer, Mark Darbyshire, Richard Teixeira, Joan O'Mara, Sean O'Mara, Jonathan O'Mara, Sim Burton, Justin Evans, Craig McKay, Anonymous, Andrew Pritchard, Kate Hobbs, David Morgan, Christina Kennedy, Al Puente, Shawn Bonning, Sara Edwards, Kathryn Walsh, Steve Swain, Sarah Zacharek, Jodie Foster, Tapemeasureman, Rhys Perry, Mick Perry, Sarah Wilson, Kat Davies and Michelle Partington.

Better get my head down, there is still a lot to do!

Much love to you all 

Tracey xxx

PS Hoping to have some artwork to show you in the next week or two :) 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

21 years on

John Candy 31.10.50-4.3.94 
If you added up every waking hour and everything he achieved, John Candy lived the life of an eighty year old.

One of the early interviews I did for the book was with Second City Alumni, Dave Thomas. Dave told me he had a conversation with Dan Aykroyd at John's funeral, where they discussed exactly that. John lived a lot; he worked a lot, went out a lot, stayed up a lot, ate a lot, laughed a lot, loved a lot. He lived his life, a lot.

On a day like today when we realise John left us 21 years ago, this thought always gives me a lot of comfort. Yes we would still love him to be here, we miss him and he had a lot more to give us. However, he lived life like we all should. John did not waste a second. As Peter Kaminsky said to me, "John consumed the world".

Go out and do something nice today. Go follow a dream or help  someone else achieve theirs. Go watch one of John's movies and marvel at his gift to us.

My love goes out to John's family and friends and all those that miss him. My thanks, as always, goes to John.

Raising my Orange Whip

Tracey x

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

They can kill you but they can't eat you

So recently, in terms of publishing I have decided I will self publish (unless of course a like minded publisher rears their head).

I have been told many times that John Candy is wonderful, my book will be wonderful, but unfortunately John's life is just not scandalous enough and he doesn't have a big enough following.

John Candy was one of the nicest people in Hollywood and so talented to boot! It makes me wonder when we live in a world where anyone can become a celebrity, regardless of talent, by being scandalous and outrageous, what type of message are we sending to our kids? What happened to working hard, having talent and being appreciated for that? I know some bona fide celebrities still
exist (thank God) but they seem to be getting out numbered by larger mouthed, clever, PR savvy reality stars. Please don't get me wrong, all power to them, some of them do a lot of good work and hell they are making more money than I ever will.

I am just disappointed the world would rather focus on scandal, than the life of someone who touched so many and produced such a body of work and legacy.

John took many chances in his career, he would help people out, mentor them, he was kind and gave his time to many. If you can, please help me get his biography out there.

If you would be interested in reading my work about John Candy please consider pre-ordering an advance copy so I can fund physical copies. If I don't raise the money I need by 1st March I will go back to the drawing board, I won't give up. The link is If you can't afford to pledge you can still help by sharing the link, or consider contributing £1, every little helps.

Likewise if you see someone that has a dream you believe in, please support them. Kindness is magic and we need so much more of that in the world.

For all those having a similar struggle to myself just keep going and if nothing else tenacity will get us to where we want to go. Remember 'they can kill you but they can't eat you'... which incidentally is the title of the late Dawn Steel's book which taught me one of the most important lessons. If you can't get through the front door, go through the back door. Can't get through there then go through the window or down the chimney. Just keep going and you will find away. Dawn actually worked with John  when she produced 'Cool Runnings'. It was via her book that Ken Tipton found John Candy and asked him to be his mentor. Of course John, being John, obliged... but more about that later.

Much love to you all and thanks so much for your support
Tracey x

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Well Happy New Year! I hope 2014 was as good to you as it was to me. I am still a million bucks shy of being a millionaire but last year I was blessed enough to interview some fantastic people about John. I never thought he could go further up in my estimations but hearing stories I had never heard before just reaffirmed everything I knew about him and then some.

The kindness of strangers has overwhelmed me this year. There have been so many people who have gone out of their way to help and encourage me, they are paramount to this project and a testament of how much everyone who came into contact with John loved him.

Hopefully 2015 holds the book release for me (aiming for October) so I better get my head down. I have over 100,000 words in interviews alone. I have been asked a few times who have I interviewed for the book so I thought I would give you a list so far (there are more interviews in the pipeline too). These people were friends, colleagues, cast and crew, some had chance encounters with Mr Candy and every single one add colour and life to the book. I thank them all for their love and time;

Jonathan O'Mara
Ken  Tipton
Scott Edgecombe
Marty Weil
Lisa Soland
Valri Bromfield
Dave Thomas
Sheldon Patinkin (RIP)
Colleen Callaghan
Martyn Burke
Lorne Frohman
Catherine McCartney
Bruce Appleby
Trish Tervitt
Jim Henshaw
Monica Parker
Jane Tattersall
Allan O'Marra
Bruce McNall
Lonette McKee
Alexandra Bastedo (RIP)
Malik Yoba
Rawle D Lewis
Karen Austin
Jay Underwood
Gary Le Drew
Donna Meyer
Carl Reiner
Eddie Koroso
Tommy Swerdlow
Kevin Pollack
Mel Brooks
Peter Kaminsky
Charles Northcote
Leon Robinson
Rick Lazzarini
Conrad Dunn
Mariel Hemmingway
Mark Jennings
Louisa Jean Kelly
Greg Agalsoff
Tony Rosato
Martin Ferrero
Steve Railsback
Jon Turteltaub
Jill Jacobson
Larry Hankin
Brian Cooper
Ken Levine
Howard Deutch
Walter Olkewicz
Marie Ferraro Ribaldo 
Patty Ferraro
Joe Kroger
Nina Keogh
Leo Crotty
John Stocker
Juul Haalmeyer
So I wish you all a very Happy New Year and a blessed 2015! Keep your fingers crossed we see the book later this year.

Thanks for all your support
Much love

Tracey x