Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Things you may or may not know about Planes, Trains and Automobiles...

OK so our friends across the pond in the USA are celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, and seeing as Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of the most renowned Thanksgiving films (as well as being one of my top five favourite movies of all time), I thought it was only right I shared a few facts about this wonderful film.

I wanted to steer away from the usual "It's Kevin Bacon in the race for a taxi scene", we all know that. So I have collected a few new things I have learnt from researching the book about John and some of the interviews I have conducted, hopefully, you may have not have heard one or two of them.

1. Del's late wife, Marie, was played by Susan Issacs. Only the picture of Susan made the final film, but they had filmed flashback scenes with the couple, oh how I would love to see those cuts. "To the wives!"

2. John's friend, Jonathan O'Mara had a similar motel room "those aren't pillows" moment with John when they went to Buffalo as teenagers for John to apply for the Marines. Luckily for us John was rejected because of his bad knee, however, Jonathon was sure that night had an influence on that famous scene in PTA.

3. John Hughes wrote PTA in just over a weekend and the original cut of the film was four and a half hours long, how I wish they had released that version. Only one deleted scene is in the public domain and you can find it here, it's pure comedy gold. (Yes I have shared this before but you can never watch it too many times).

4. John had to have a perm for the role of Del and ***amendment*** in this film his moustache was real! In other films where a tache was necessary he absolutely hated wearing it, people were constantly pressing on his face to make sure it was in place.

5. After filming the Doobie's Taxiola scene, John Hughes sent everyone home apart from a skeleton crew, John Candy, Steve Martin and Larry Hankin (Doobie). He asked them to improvise in the cab and they spent all afternoon doing so. Hughes made a ten minute short from the footage, Larry told me he had never had the chance to see it but he knows it exists as Chris Columbus had confirmed he'd seen it.

So there you go, just a few more to add to the Planes, Trains and Automobiles facts that will be circulating this week!

To all who are celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving :)

To everyone, please go and watch this great film, laugh and cry, marvel in its beauty, for the writing and casting is as good as it gets.

With lots of love always,


PS Here is how the book is looking so far x

Monday, 31 October 2016

You should have seen the toast, I couldn't even get it through the door!

Dear John,

Today would have been your 66th birthday, Halloween! I wonder which you would have celebrated more? I am guessing whichever made other people happier (that would be so typical of you).

I'm nearly there with the book. I had major surgery a couple of months ago (three hours on the theatre table) and after 18 months of real suffering I am feeling much better and so now my tribute to you will get finished.

I know wherever you are, you are so proud of your family. Everyone still misses you and can't believe you are really gone, probably because you are still very much with us and always will be.

I usually have a hard time deciding which of your movies to watch on this day, but I think with all the challenges I have had I need a life affirming "you can do anything" movie so tonight it will be Cool Runnings.

My day will be spent writing, if you can spare a second to dip out of the party please come look over my shoulder, make sure I'm getting it right.

Happy Birthday Mr Candy! You are remembered everyday.

With love to you and yours,

Trace xx

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Surgery, Gene and Some Stuff Inbetween

I was so sad to hear Gene Wilder passed away on Monday. Similar to the way I feel about John, I always felt connected to Gene, he was such a big part of my childhood and he was just one of those people that you knew had such heart. He was magic and like John, he always managed to bleed a little of himself into every character.

I researched Gene a couple of years ago, I have mentioned before that by learning about John I had to learn about a lot of other people, one of whom was the wonderful Gilda Radner. (If you don't know anything about Gilda she was one of a kind, please go and watch her work, read her story and share her legacy.) Gilda, of course, led me to Gene as she was his third wife. I researched Gilda to learn about her life and hopefully find out about her friendship with John. I contemplated trying to contact Gene for an interview as I was sure he would be able to tell me a few John and Gilda stories. I chickened out, I really wish I hadn't.

During this time I read Gene's Autobiography "Kiss Me Like A Stranger" and I just fell in love with him. It's a must read for any fan, he is sweet, kind, clever and does not try to hide his flaws.

My fear when any celebrity and all round 'good egg' passes away, is that some authors tend to jump onto a biography bandwagon straight away - totally fine if you are a lifelong fan, you are going to take your time, research every angle, interview people (please let them grieve first), but there will be some books written in a matter of weeks of regurgitated material looking to make a quick buck. For now. please go and read his own words, another biography is justified - just not yet.

Rest in peace Gene, I know Gilda in particular is going to be over the moon to see you. My heart goes out to your wife for the last twenty five years, Karen Boyer, your friends and family. Eighty three is a wonderful age, you brought so much happiness and laughter to this world and just like John you will never really die.


In other news I have finally had surgery (ten days ago to be exact), a bigger job than they thought I was on the table for three hours! It took two years to get to this point but I am now on the mend and apart from post op pain, I am for the first time in a long time - chronic pain free. Great news for me and it means now much life can continue and focus fully on the book as opposed to fighting my own body on a daily basis (which I have been doing for the past year). I really appreciate all your patience through this rough time, you have all been nothing but supportive and I can't thank you enough. I'm now looking forward to finishing "Searching for Candy" and getting it out this year.

Hope you are all doing really well!

Lots of love to you as always
Tracey xx

Monday, 1 August 2016

Who ya gunna call? Mayor Tommy Shanks...

Soooooooo finally I got to see the new Ghostbusters film, I couldn't go to the cinema when it first came out as for the past three weeks I have been staying in the most beautiful manor built in the 1500's - on my own! My imagination spooks me enough I certainly didn't need to fuel it with anything else (yes I know it's a 12 rating but still...)

"What's this got to do with John Candy?" I hear some of you cry! Well it's no secret John was going to be in the original Ghostbusters, however he had a disagreement with director Ivan Reitman on how his part should be played. John was originally going to be cast as Louis Tully (later played by his friend Rick Moranis), but they couldn't agree on the type of character Louis was going to be. John wanted to play the character as a German that owned several dogs, however their visions didn't really meet so John decided to pass. He was however in Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters theme video.

Strangely enough there were many roles that were meant for Candy and were cast to Moranis and vica versa, although they are physically very different, they worked quite similar and according to Mel  Brooks when I interviewed him,  both were great at "Comedia dell'arte".

Dean Thomas Shanks
Fast forward 30 years and Paul Feig, director of the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, got so many references in for old school fans of Ghostbusters, SCTV and SNL. Harold Ramis' (RIP) bust was in the University, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts all make cameos. What I loved most was the two John Candy references, the un-apologetically offensive, short fused Dean Thomas Shanks (played by Steve Higgins) at the Kenneth P Higgins Institute was a homage to John Candy's character Tommy Shanks, Mayor of Melonville in SCTV, he even chases them out of the building with a baseball bat. Also Abby, played by Melissa McCarthy, says the line "that will leave a mark" a nod to John's character Mog in Spaceballs, a line that John ad-libbed and Mel Brooks kept in. I love the fact so many years after the original came out, John was not even part of the film and yet his spirit and influence sneaks into the reboot.
Tommy Shanks, Mayor of Melonville

With regards to the book I am getting my head down. I have a surgery date now for 22nd of this month which is hopefully going to take the chronic pain away (or at least relieve it for a bit) and fingers crossed take away the chronic fatigue and brain fog that pain brings with it. I do have a release date in mind but until I know for definite I daren't announce it.

Thanks for all your patience and sending you all lots of love

Tracey xx

PS Who ya gunna call?
PPS I now want to be Kate McKinnon with a proton pack

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter! Have Some Candy x

Hi everyone

Sorry it has been a while, I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Easter!

As you know John was Catholic so would have celebrated Easter in every sense,
so alongside the religious aspect, he no doubt held great Easter Egg Hunts for his two kids Jennifer and Christopher (how much fun that would have been).

I'm not so religious but more spiritual, I believe in something, whether you want to call that God or the Universe I don't really have a label for it. I do think we are all connected, it's great to be in touch with the earth and that we should all treat each other as we would like to be treated. John did this in abundance, he had the utmost respect and generosity for everyone he met until they gave him reason not to, he reminds me very much of my dear late Dad.

So although I may not celebrate Easter in its religious guise, I do love to celebrate it. It's the start of Sping, a great time to make resolutions, it brings new and fresh hope, it's a time for new projects, to pick up old projects, give a helping hand, as well as scoffing lots of lovely chocolate eggs (it should be more celebrated than New Year in my eyes).

One of the many things I love about John is the amount of charity work he did, he was always helping someone or championing a good cause. He would throw parties for terminally ill children where there would be pizza and celebrities. He would raise funds and profile for various charities such as Scleroderna Research, Comic Relief, local hospitals and make large donations without mention of it in the media. John is so well known for comedy and acting, but he should also be known as a real humanitarian.

The book is coming along (still a little slow) I am doing a bit better but pain is really slowing me down,  I will get there though and I really appreciate all your patience.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and thanks for all your support
Lots of love

Tracey xxxx

PS If you fancy helping someone who needs it, please consider supporting my dear friend in this campaign Help Octopus/Caveman
Octopus/Caveman (Co-host of Popcorn With Candy) is having a very hard time at the moment and to top it off he was brutally attacked last week. If you could give a pound or a dollar you could make all the difference to him - the money will help him replace what he lost and the kindness will give him a much needed boost xx

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Popcorn With Candy

So my last blog talked about people supporting each other and how the SCTV crew elevated each other every chance they had. I am so lucky to have people around me that support and plug me when they can. In a slightly different angle for the blog (and because they were so kind to have me on their podcast) I thought I would throw Popcorn With Candy’s Octopus/Caveman and Peter some questions so you could learn a little bit more about their show:

So tell me what Popcorn With Candy is?
P: Popcorn With Candy is a chance for my brother and I to work together on something bigger than ourselves.

O/C: Popcorn With Candy is a show where we discuss the films of the late great John Candy.

Who came up with the idea?
P: O/C has been talking about doing a couple of podcasts for a few years and I have told him that I would help, just because his Ideas are great. But we were talking and the idea put itself together.

O/C: I had been interested in podcasting for some time. It started in such a blur. We both sort of dove into it. I remember a few episodes in, asking Peter “How did we start this?” I do remember Peter telling me about a similar show about another actor, I listened, thought it sucked and told him “We can do better.”

Why John?
P: We love John and his movies. We have always had a strong connection with Uncle Buck, Delirious, Only The Lonely and Spaceballs. It was more like John came up in conversation and we looked at each other and said "That's the Podcast!"

O/C: The choice to go with John I think, came from a Facebook post where I said “I miss John Candy” it had one like and one comment, both from Peter and he said “You and me both brother.” The choice was clear.

How far in are you?
P: We just finished our 12th movie (National Lampoons Vacation) and just posted our 12th podcast (Heavy Metal). We are looking at his Film Career, avoiding most TV Movies. We have a couple in the list that were TV movies but those are there for good reason. The list is currently 41 movies long.

O/C: 12 Episodes so far. We’re finally past some of the weird 70’s movies John was in. From here on out it’s all gold.

Which has been your most enjoyable episode so far?
P: I think Stripes is my favorite so far. I love that movie and it was so easy to talk about it. We both had a lot of fun talking about it and I also really enjoyed listening to it later.

O/C: This is an interesting question for me. I loved Lost and Found, not the episode so much as discovering this hidden gem of a movie. The biggest laugh out of me had to be the “hut hut cops” from Blues Brothers. I’ll have to go Blues Brothers as my favorite episode.

Favorite Candy movie?
P: I love Uncle Buck, it just resonates with me. I have a lot of trouble leaving it at that because one of my favorite movies is Little Shop of Horrors. John’s role in that is so small that I wouldn't call it a John Candy movie if we weren't doing this podcast.

O/C: Delirious. No Contest. I love that movie so much.

Is there anything you have learnt from John doing this process?
P: I knew going into this that he didn't like the fat jokes. Watching him in his early career, I realized that he would do anything to please the people around him. He made everyone so happy by sacrificing himself constantly.

O/C: Learning about John, I feel like I want to try and be a better person. Sorry to get deep here but he, by all accounts, was such a sweet guy. He motivates me to want to be better.

Please tell me you aren’t stopping with Candy? Who is next?
P: This has been too fun to stop yet, but we aren't even half way done yet. We are pretty sure we are continuing with someone else, but we aren't sure who. We have a short list, and one name stands out, but we haven't decided yet.

O/C: I’m really pushing to do Popcorn With Abe Vigotta after John. 

You can listen to Peter and Octopus/Caveman here Popcorn With Candy and there is even an interview with myself (thanks so much guys). You can also follow them on twitter @popcorn_with They are so much fun, huge John Candy fans and it's a great show so make sure you check them out. 

Lots of love and thanks as always 
Trace xx

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Support Each Other

I have learnt so many lessons from John, but one that springs to mind at the moment is to support each other. Being part of SCTV was probably one of the happiest times for John, in fact I think most of the SCTV actors, crew, writers would probably say the same. It was one of the most supportive and creative times for them all and I feel at a time when they really needed each other. Confidence, love, laughter, a safe space and people to bounce off. They were kind of making the show for themselves and then of course others found it funny and it went from there.

A lot of people question if there was something in the water back then with comedic greats coming out of Canada including John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty et al. However in Martin Short's latest book I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend, Short attributes it to the fact they all helped each other - if one of them got an opportunity they tried to create one for the others.

When I interviewed Rob Salem for the book, he told me how John didn't just break America but also boundaries for his fellow Canadian actors. Before John, to go from Canada to America was not a favorable thing to do with the Canadian press, who in the main could be quite scathing of anyone who crossed over to the Hollywood dark side. However, people could not help but love John (probably because he never forgot his roots and gave so much back to Canada) and he really paved the way for other actors to follow suit.

I have heard a lot of stories of John trying to help fellow actors, aspiring actors, people that he liked in general by giving them opportunities, advice, recommendations and if possible, jobs.

I remember back in my Uni years one of my old lecturers Phil Saxe telling us that as one became successful in your group (of friends, colleagues, coworkers etc) as a rule others would rise up with them. So the key isn't just to look after yourself but to look after those around you, luckily this isn't only the most productive way but also the nicest too (the main thing is you all have to be on the same page, everyone must want each other to succeed).

I'm so very lucky that whilst writing about John I have found some of these creative supportive people myself, so every now and then in the blog I will be highlighting them.

The book is not far off  (I have one more surgery to go so I may hold release till after then) and I am lacking in a little confidence so thank god for my very own John Candy's surrounding me at the moment.

Support each other, lots of love to you all and thanks so much for your patience. 

Trace xx

Friday, 1 January 2016

Welcome to 2016!

So we survived 2015, well done us. I know we had our ups and downs but when all is said and done, we made it.

Every year I write this post and every year I say hopefully the book will be out, blah blah blah... well this is the year the book will be out (I promise) and I am excited and terrified in equal measure.

This year I stayed in touch with lots of the people I have interviewed for the book as well as doing some last minute interviews. Everyone I have spoken to has been a boon, just a joy, but never did I think I would actually get to interview Big Bird himself (you don't get bigger than Big Bird). The wonderful Carroll Spinney who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from day dot, chatted to me about the sketch he did with John on Sesame Street where John (playing Yosh Schmenge) delivers clarinet lessons to Oscar's pet worm Watch it here. A documentary also came out last year about Carroll called I am Big Bird and it is just a fascinating and heartwarming watch that I highly recommend.

I was also interviewed by Edinburgh 49, the wonderful guys from Popcorn With Candy and had a few things published on Huff Post.

Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered a book in 2015, to those who gave me a few words of support (I needed every single one of them), shared a post or was just generally nice. In 2015 I also experienced just how nasty some people could be, I guess if you put yourself out in the public domain not everyone is going to be kind - so one of my resolutions this year is to toughen up!

The other, as every year, is to be more like John Candy. Live life, work hard, love your friends and family with every thing you have, be kind, think of others and laugh, a lot.

Whatever is ahead for us in 2016 it is a new chapter and as long as we are still standing at the end of it, well we did OK.

Lots of love to you all, let's do this

Tracey x