Saturday, October 21, 2006

Give John Candy his star

Thanks to reader, Doug Thompson for pointing out that there should be a star on the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame for John Candy. Local LA disc jockeys have stars. If you don’t live in the 310 area code do you have any idea who Johnny Hayes is? He has a star.

From what I understand you offer to pay the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce a certain amount of money. It used to be $20,000, I’m sure it’s gone up. The committee then votes. But again, Johnny Hayes has one.

To nominate John Candy here's where you go. If ever a star deserved recognition it's John. Especially now since his body of work is fading into DVD and VHS remainder bins and the TBS late night movie package.

I was privileged to work with John on VOLUNTEERS. He was a true comic genius. "Tom Tuttle from Tacoma" was a two-dimensional character until John got ahold of him. He had that rare ability to play silly and real at the same time.

Doug suggested we get up a grassroots campaign to get John Candy a star. Finally, a cause this election season I can get behind.

Here's an example of John's work from VOLUNTEERS.

Late in the movie. Lawrence Bourne (Hanks) and Beth (Rita Wilson) are rallying the villagers to blow up the bridge they built for the Peace Corps. Tom Tuttle (Candy) has been away, brainwashed by the Communists. He enters the hut with a stick of lit dynamite.

Fools! Yankee imperialist swine, running dog, lackey, capitalist vermin, foul-breathed counter-revolutionary terrorists. You didn't really think I was gonna let you get away with this? The word of the people will continue to march over that bridge long after we have become specks of useless matter carried on the wind.

Tom, guess what? It's my birthday. Can I blow out the candle?

I'm not afraid to die. Not for a cause. Sure, there'll be stuff I'll miss. Tuna casserole with little potato chips on top. I love those. And Sandra Dee. I've never told anyone, but I like Sandra Dee. And some day I would have gotten her. And she would have left Bobby Darin for me. But now that can never be. Happy birthday, Larry.

(They grab the dynamite stick and put it out.)

Bring him over here. I'm gonna light this and shove it down his pants.

Beth leans over Tom and slaps him lightly in the face.

Tom... Tom, what's wrong? Why did you try to kill us?

We must unite with the masses. The more of the masses we unite with the better.

Here, let me try.

He slaps him hard.

(singing) America, America, God shed His grace on thee...

Lawrence slaps him again.

The people's army must become one with the people so that they see it as their own army. Such an army will become invincible.

Lawrence slaps him again.

(singing)... And crown Thy good with brotherhood...

Those days he spent in the jungle ... something must have happened out there.

Lawrence slaps Tom.

Stop! Stop it! I'll read the book, I'll see the film, I'll wash the people's truck. I'll do whatever you say... It's the commies. The commies made me do it. They want the bridge. They used me. Y'see, they wouldn't let me get any snooze time in, they kept talking... they never shut up ... I challenged myself to resist, but who was I kidding...?

Tom, what are you talking about?

Let me hit him again.

The commies... They're gonna come. They're gonna take over the bridge and the village... And I did it for them. (sobbing) How's that gonna look on my resume? "Peace Corps 1962, turned village over to Communists" ... Who's gonna hire me?


Anonymous said...

Great thought about the late Mr. Candy. I always loved his work as Johnny LaRue on SCTV.
And every Washington State University alum LOVES Volunteers and Candy breaking into the WSU fight song. Whose idea was that? I'm sure Cougars everywhere would love to raise a glass in their honor (actually, we raise a glass for pretty much any old reason anyway).

ME said...

What a lovely idea this is ... I am emailing it to everyone in my book in the hopes we can do something to help. As a fellow Canadian, I can't help but support this because he was one of our greatest and is still terribly missed and very much beloved. BTW, he's had a star on Canada's Walk of Fame since 1998.

Tom said...

Yes, an excellent idea. John Candy was a very funny man. Here in the UK we didn’t get SCTV, but since I’ve bought the DVDs I’ve found that John Candy has an effortless ability to crack me up in practically every sketch he’s in.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles but every time it’s still funny.

Stephen Gallagher said...

If worthless people get in and worthwhile people are left out, is a Walk of Fame star in any way meaningful?

Han Cholo said...

He deserves it for "Uncle Buck" if nothing else.

Mike Barer said...

I second the motion. John Candy was incredible.

Anonymous said...

Have to say that I'm disappointed in hearing he doesn't have one. Certainly deserves it. Think my favorite roles were him as Barf in Spaceballs and then his role in Wagons East.

He is truly missed.

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

At the risk of seeming disrespectful, I would like to suggest that John Candy was one a fantastic comic actor--I loved most everything he did. And yet his career is hard to explain. Even though he had some memorable turns, he never seemed to match up his enormous talent with a great role in a really great comic film. Belushi--Animal House. Bill Murrary--Caddyshack. Tom Hanks--Big. Steve Martin--many. The list goes on.

Personally, I will always have a deep soft spot for John Candy's work in Planes Trains and Automobiles, which is the kind of comedy that couldn't get made today. But I still don't think of it as a great film. And I love him in Uncle Buck. But again....Uncle Buck? I just feel that he was a superb comic actor who didn't have the opportunity to realize his full promise in a film that has endured.

Moon Rattled said...

I will always love and remember Candy and his many brilliant co-stars (Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Catherine O'Hara, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis Martin Short) for their greatness in the brilliantly scripted SCTV productions. He was a sweet sweet guy, another great Canadian talent that was wasted in too many inferior (for him) American movies. If you want to see Candy at his best and most various, watch the SCTV shows.

wcdixon said...

Hear hear...

Anonymous said...

In a world where Ryan Seacrest has a star on the walk of fame, surely there is room for John Candy.

Lance Mannion said...

Something must be in the air. Candy's ghost maybe. Just a few days ago I put most of Candy's movies into my Netflix queue and family movie night this week's going to be Harry Crumb.

I disagree that Candy's Del Griffith doesn't rank as a great comic turn; in fact I think it's better than Murray's work in his early comedies (and Candy was a hoot in Stripes too) but it's true he never got a great movie of his own.

But they're all worth watching just for him, especially Uncle Buck and Only the Lonely.

In a way he's like Don Knotts. Knotts' movies were all pretty lame--- although I've got a soft spot for The Reluctant Astronaut---but Knotts himself was special in them. It wasn't that he was funny like the great movie clowns were funny. It was that he managed to create this wonderful comic Everyman. A small town guy with big hopes, big dreams, a bigger heart, a little talent, and very little scope, who manages to bumble his way not to victory but to dignity. I think Candy's characters were very much like that.

I also think that if he'd lived he'd have gone on to have a serious dramatic career. He was a good actor.

And I can watch him order those Orange Whips in The Blues Brothers over and over.

A star on the Walk? Hell, yeah!

Mike Barer said...

I wonder if Candy would have wanted it. He did seem to be affected by his star status.
I would like to rent volunteers because I hear that he sings the WSU fight song in it.

Tom Dougherty said...

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is his Groundhog Day. Hell yeah, John deserves that star.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for all your help (and the great column on John Candy). I know his wife, son and daughter will appreciate all of our efforts.

Here in Canada, earlier this year, John, (along with fellow Canucks Fay Wray and Lorne Green) was given the honor of being on a Canadian stamp (somthing his family had to spprove)...and he does have a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame on King Street in downtown Toronto.

I knew and worked with John for 17 years and I must tell you a couple of quick anecdotes. Someone above mentioned his character Barf from Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs". When his character is asked what Barf is short for, John came up with "Barfolamew". Mel kept it in the script.

As for the classic "Planes, Trains & Automobiles", I was on the set a lot during that shoot (we were writing John's weekly radio show together). The first scene with John and Steve Martin on the plane when he takes his shoes off and says "My dogs are barking today..." as originally written by John Hughes, was about 7 minutes long (it ended up about a minute in the final cut). John nailed that 7 minute monologue on the first take...flawlessly. The crew gave him a standing ovation.

"A Star for Johnny" is my new mantra. Say it with me now...

Anonymous said...

Hey, greetings from Finland!

John Candy was a wonderful, natural actor. Even in bad movies, he was THERE, completely real.

I believe his screen debut was in THE SILENT PARTNER, one of my favorite "unknown" movies. He played a cuckholded bridegroom -- a buffonish role that, naturally, he imbued with a realistic vulnerability.

Anonymous said...

All wonderful thoughts about a truly likeable actor. While I rarely loved Candy's movies, I always liked him. And yet, his greatest moment was not in a film or televison appearance. It was late in the Super Bowl, the 49ers/Bengals the second time around. The SF club was down, the huddle was tense. Joe Cool trotted onto the field and said to his boys, 'Hey, look, there's John Candy.' The tension melted, the 49ers marched to the winning touchdown, thanks John Candy's presence in the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Pullman WA home of Washington State University has its own small town walk of fame. I've always thought it was a cheesy addition to downtown but if Tom Tuttle from Tacoma Washington had a star that would totally validate its existence. People all over the world know the WSU Cougar fight song thanks to Tom's valiant (though ultimately unsuccessful) efforts to resist communist brainwashing. I'm going to submit a proposal to the city counsel about this. If John Elway has a star just for living in Pullman for a couple of years during high school then TTfTW also deserves one. Oh and John Candy deserves his star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

Unknown said...

Two years after this blog, and still no star....
It's disheartening that the "celebrities" of today are getting a star based on popularity rather than actual talent.
John Candy was a big staple in my childhood. Saturday mornings were dedicated to "Camp Candy", and if a movie was on that he was in, I HAD to watch it.
Of my favorites were "Summer Rental", "The Great Outdoors", "Who is Harry Crumb?", "Only the Lonely", "Nothing But Trouble"...but the number one spot stands strong with "Planes, Trains & Automobiles".
His performance as Del Griffith was hilarious, heartbreaking, and so real...I just can't shake the feeling that the lovable qualities in that character were not very far off from who he really was.
If anybody deserves a frickin' star on that Walk of Fame, John Franklin Candy does.

kristenitis said...

This may sound odd, but this entry inspired me to create a Facebook Group called "Give John Candy his STAR!". I'm not sure if you have a Facebook account, but if you do, you are more than welcome to join. :)
(I also left the last comment, different account)