Baby, you can drive my car: Hearthrob Corey Haim takes the wheel with a “License to Drive”

By on September 21, 2018

Night Flight Goes to the Movies,” which originally aired on July 8, 1988, featured an extended look at a summer flick built on the euphemism that having a driver’s license equals access to sexual congress with high school hotties, License to Drive, which starred baby-faced teen hearthrob Corey Haim and Michael Jackson‘s pal Corey Feldman.

Watch this special vintage episode now on Night Flight Plus!

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License to Drive follows the outrageous adventures of “Les Anderson” (Corey Haim in his prime) in the days leading up to, and right after, his sixteenth birthday.

His best friend “Dean” (Corey Feldman) has just as much to lose from Anderson failing his driver’s license test as Anderson does, because Anderson is his ticket out of the world of shamed-faced and emasculating rides from his parents.

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Having a valid driver’s license, License to Drive tells us, is “a license to live… a license to be free… to go wherever, whenever, and with whomever you choose.”

Having a license not only meant the end of dependence on the parental units and good friends for a lift, it also meant the end of childhood humiliation.

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When Les sees his dream girl “Mercedes” (the very lovely Heather Graham) getting into her boyfriend’s convertible after school, Dean reassures him, “Anderson, the only difference between you and that greaseball is he has a license and you don’t.”

That turns out to be true, when Mercedes ends up going out with Les on a wild adventure in Andersons’s grandfather’s prized 1972 Cadillac Sedan de Ville the very day he pretends to have passed his driving test (he hides this fact from his best friend Dean too).

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The movie is chock full of classic car culture clichés that have been around since at least the 1950s: the drag-race challenge; the overlook make-out spot; the 1950s-style drive-in restaurant with roller-skating waitresses (just like American Graffiti, The Wraith and millions more); and, rolling the car backwards out of the garage so the parental units aren’t awakened.

At the time of the movie’s production, sixteen year old Corey Haim only had a learner’s permit, which meant that an adult had to be in the car (concealed carefully in the back seat of the Cadillac he drove in the movie).

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Read more about Corey Haim below.

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Before he took the wheel in License to Drive, Canadian-born Corey Ian Haim (b. December 23, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario) had already appeared on several TV shows (the Canadian educational comedy series “The Edison Twins” and the short-lived “Roomies”).

He’d also acted in a number of ’80s films, including Firstborn, Secret Admirer, Murphy’s Romance, the NBC made-for-TV move A Time To Live, Lucas and a Night Flight’s fave, Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys, playing comic book-reading teenager “Sam Emerson.”

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It was during the Lost Boys production that he fell in with the “other Corey,” actor Corey Feldman (also born in 1971), and the two became inseparable best friends, hanging around off-set and spending a lot of their free time at a local arcade and watching movies in their hotel room (the film was partially shot in the Santa Cruz area).

Haim and Feldman — who were to become the highest paid teen stars of the 1980s — had first met when they both auditioned for The Goonies, which Feldman ended up scoring the role of “Mouth.”

Feldman also appeared in Stand By Me, which had also auditioned for (he was offered a role, choosing to star in Lucas instead).

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By the time License to Drive arrived, the two Coreys were not only being singled out for their acting talent on-screen, but for their shenanigans behind-the scenes, disappearing from the set and having shitloads of fun.

By this time, they were both dealing with their popularity and all the attention, particularly from their frenzied teenage female fans, who wouldn’t leave them alone, literally rocking their trailer back and forth and pounding on the door (Haim was getting two thousand fan letters a week by this point).

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Haim would appear in several more big-budget films — Watchers, Dream a Little Dream and Snowboard Academy — but it was soon clear to all concerned that he was struggling to break away from being known as a teen hearthrob and taken seriously as an actor.

It was also clear that he’d become addicted to drugs through heavy use, which eventually led to him putting on a lot of weight.

His drug addiction got so bad that some of his teeth actually fell out and he developed bad blood clots in his legs.

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Haim moved back to Canada, where he lived with his mother, and he struggled to earn a living as an actor. He got so broke that he ended up selling a lot of his possessions on eBay.

Haim and Feldman had remained friends and, in 2007, were soon appearing together again, this time in an A&E network reality series, “The Two Coreys,” but the show lasted just two seasons. Read more about it here.

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Corey Haim, Corey Feldman’s then-wife/model Susie Feldman, and Corey Feldman in “The Two Coreys”

On March 10, 2010, Haim died of an apparent drug overdose. He was just 38 years old.

A little over a year ago, it was announced that License to Drive is going to be re-made, this time with female leads taking on the roles played by the two Coreys.

Watch “Night Flight Goes to the Movies,” from July 1988 — which also features excerpted clips from Dudes, Arthur 2: On the Rocks, Wall Street, and Siesta — on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.