When Hollywood came calling to Main North High School in the Chicago suburbs 30 years ago, Don Kenney thought the movie could help the district “make a buck and pay the heating bill.” The flick was The Breakfast Club, and Kenney is reminiscing because an early draft of the script has just been found.
The script was unearthed in a filing cabinet as Maine Township High School District 207 staff were packing up old offices in prep for a move, the Chicago Tribune reported. Staff there had a copy of the script because at the time, officials had to give their approval before John Hughes and company could start filming The Breakfast Club, said Superintendent Ken Wallace.
“In the upper left, there is what appears to be pizza grease. I can imagine somebody taking this out over lunch and saying, ‘I wonder what this is all about.'”
Then superintendent John Murphy gave his approval, of course, with a scrawl of a blue pen in one corner of the script.
The Breakfast Club was filmed in the building after it been shuttered in 1981; shooting took place in 1984, with the indoor gym designated as the sound stage, UPI added. Though empty, the building was new at the time, built to accommodate an influx of new students that eventually petered out by the late 1970. It’s now home to the Illinois State Police, CNN added.
That Maine Township served as the iconic location for The Breakfast Club has been a point of pride for locals since. But Kenney, who was the chief financial officer at the time, wasn’t surprised back then that the empty Maine North was chosen.
“We had a closed high school, it was empty and there was a lot of space. Hughes lived in the north suburbs and that’s where he produced most of his flicks. I thought, ‘Well, gee, it’s a nice use of a great building and maybe we can make a buck and pay the heating bill.'”
The early, grease-stained script reveals some differences — after all, it was a first-draft from John Hughes himself. The original name was Saturday Breakfast Club and Molly Ringwald’s uppity character, Claire Standish, was named Cathy Douglas.
Also among the unearthed documents is a final letter from a district employee to the production manager at Universal, saying, “[W]e close with nothing but the fondest thoughts and memories of Universal Studios and The Breakfast Club. We trust the film will be a huge success.”
And it was — the movie is beloved by people who grew up in the 80s and is coming up on its 30-year anniversary. Wallace would like to put the script on display to celebrate its role in film history, and in the story of Maine North.
“The odds of having such an iconic movie filmed and associated with your district are astronomical.”
[Photo Courtesy YouTube screengrab]