Update, 2:18 p.m.: Well that was quick! Mike L., in the comments section, has solved this mystery. Nicely done, Mike! The original post follows, or you can click here to jump to Mike’s comment.
It’s the question on everyone’s mind since the classic film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off debuted in 1986: Did Ferris Bueller’s dad earn the Silver Beaver award?
Breathe easy, because it seems we finally have the answer.
The Silver Beaver award recognizes adult Scouters who provide distinguished service to their council. Recipients receive a medal, a blue-and-white square knot and a certificate.
Yes, a certificate. One eagle-eyed Scout professional in the Chief Seattle Council spotted what looks strikingly like the Silver Beaver certificate in the film. Thanks to District Executive Sean Mobley for the tip and screenshots.
It appears Tom Bueller, dad of the most famous troublemaking teen in movie history, earned the award. Take a look at the clues after the jump.
Grab your VHS or DVD copy of Bueller — or stream it on Netflix — and fast-forward to the 1 hour, 8 minute mark.
Principal Ed Rooney is in the Bueller house looking for Ferris, but the only person home is Ferris’ sister, Jeanie.
Right after Jeanie tiptoes downstairs, she walks down a hallway filled with framed photos and certificates.
One of those certificates looks exactly like the certificate for the Silver Beaver award. Take a look at this screenshot:
Now look closer at that framed certificate on the wall.
To me, that looks identical to this:
The mat around the frame is different (the certificates don’t come with mats or frames), but look at the details: The Silver Beaver medal centered and hanging from the top. The blue lettering on the top line. The gold seal at the bottom. The curved, double-line border.
These days, the names on Silver Beaver award certificates are printed using a computer, but back in the 1980s they would have been hand-lettered. That looks like the case with Mr. Bueller’s certificate.
Does this mean Tom Bueller was a Scouter?
Sure, the more likely explanation is that whoever was responsible for decorating the set for the Bueller house had some connection to Scouting.
But it’s fun to think about either way.