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Trivia / Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Steve Martin was convinced to join the production after favoring two scenes he had read from the script; the seat adjustment-scene in the car, and the F-word tirade at the car rental desk.
  • Billing Displacement: Although he receives fourth billing, Michael McKean appears in only one scene, and is on-screen for ninety seconds.
  • Deleted Role:
    • Jeri Ryan was cast, but her part was cut from the final release.
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    • Debra Lamb's role was cut from the final finished version of the film.
  • Deleted Scene: Watching the movie on TV gets you an extra scene where Neal struggles to eat his airplane dinner.
  • Executive Meddling: As Paul Young himself revealed in 2019, the reason a (different) cover of "Every Time You Go Away" was used at the end of the film instead of his familiar #1 hit version was because his record company refused to allow it. Young, a huge fan of both John Candy and Steve Martin, was devastated.
  • Hey, It's That Place!:
    • The real life location of Neal's house is in the same neighborhood of the house used for Kevin McCallister's house in Home Alone, which Hughes wrote and produced.
    • The rural train station, where Neal and Del buy the tickets for their ill-fated train ride, is the same station seen in The Natural. It's located in South Dayton, New York.
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  • Method Acting: According to Lulie Newcomb, who played Owen's wife, Owen wiping spit from his face before shaking Neal's hand was unscripted. Dylan Baker (Owen) learned that Steve Martin, like Neal, was something of a neat freak, so he did that to generate an actual reaction of disgust.
  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: The original plot involved Del Griffith being a bungling vampire bent on trying to get Neal Page to invite him into his family's house (vampires can only enter a house if they've been invited). John Hughes was so impressed with the on-screen chemistry between John Candy and Steve Martin, that he removed the vampire plot from the script, in favor of a more wholesome Thanksgiving theme.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: A scene that is not included in the movie, but featured in the trailer, shows Del in the bathroom of the first motel he and Neal are staying in. In the scene he does, among other things, an impersonation of Elvis Presley in which he sings into his hair brush.
  • Production Posse/Those Two Actors:
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    • Although they didn't share any scenes together, Martin and Candy previously worked together in Little Shop of Horrors, Martin as Orin Scrivello, the abusive dentist boyfriend of Audrey, and Candy as Wink Wilkinson, a radio disc jockey who interviews Seymour.
    • Likewise, although they didn't share any scenes together here or previously, Lyman Ward, who played one of Neil's co-workers, Ben Stein, who played the Wichita airport representative, and Edie McClurg, who played the car rental agent, all previously worked together in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ward as Ferris' father, Tom Bueller, Stein as Ferris and Cameron's economics teacher, and McClurg as Ed Rooney's secretary, Grace.
  • Stock Footage: The shot of Neal and Del's plane in flight is recycled from Airplane!.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • If mobile phones were as common back when this movie was made as they are today, things would have been different for Neal. Or at the very least, his trip wouldn't have been as troublesome.
    • And funnily enough, there is a cellular phone ad at the L-Train stop at the end of the film. Also worth noting that Neal was probably wealthy enough to afford a mobile phone from the period.
    • The film Due Date, made in the internet-connected world of 2010 still manages to borrow heavily from this film.
    • Finding the next flight or the nearest hotel? There's an app for that.
    • On the other hand, Neal seems the type who would run the battery on his mobile devices into the ground in order to keep working, so it'd most likely be long dead by the time everything started to go downhill.
  • Troubled Production: The experience of making the film was not a happy one for John Hughes as many shooting days would either be lost or delayed due to weather issues or having to work around certain loopholes (for example, a sequence involving a train had change shooting locations due to a lack of snow and the crew had to create a train route from scratch as the local train company wouldn't allow them to use theirs). Also, the rough cut ran over three hours and the film spent many months in post-production so to cut the film to a manageable length (this is also why there are a few references to Hughes's next film, She's Having a Baby, as it begun production right after this film finished filming). In addition to these problems, Hughes was also smarting over the fact that his long term business relationship with Molly Ringwald had gone sour after she turned down the Lea Thompson role of Amanda Jones in Some Kind of Wonderful. Hughes was so upset over the rejection that he never worked with Ringwald again for the rest of his life.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Neal's Cluster F-Bomb includes a demand for a Datsun. Just a couple years earlier Nissan had ditched the "Datsun" name in North America and began marketing their cars under their own name, and a lot of their marketing at the time reflected this. (Indeed, Nissan's slogan in 1987 was, "The Name is Nissan!")
  • What Could Have Been: Neil and Del were supposed to have one final argument during the scene with the state trooper, but John Hughes decided that, by that point in the story, it was redundant to have the two characters still be at one another's throats.
  • Word of God: John Hughes said in 1999 that several of his movies, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Planes, Trains And Automobiles, are all a part of the same universe. According to Hughes, Del lived two houses away from John Bender.
  • Write What You Know: John Hughes was inspired to write the film's story after an actual flight from New York to Chicago he was on was diverted to Wichita, Kansas, thus taking him five days to get home.

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