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L E’s Stories – “From Beldar + E Buzz Miller + Elwood Blues + Irwin Mainway + Jimmy Carter + Julia Childs” – Dan Akyroyd: Thanks For The Memories

From mid-1976 until 1980, a huge crowd (400 – 700) would gather at The Sports Place, Madison Square Garden…..which was Austin’s largest and insanely popular sports bar and restaurant at 302 E. 6th Street in downtown in the capital of Texas….as this crowd would fill up the bleacher section first (200 stadium bench seats)….while facing a 10’diagonal big screen color screen….for the front row of the bleacher benches was just 12 feet from the big screen…..and 15 feet from the kitchen.  Long story short, the bleacher section was always the 1st sitting area to fill up to capacity for not only popular sporting events of all types….but also for comedy and music events on television….with some programs, mostly recurring ones, that drew heavily…..ie: The Rolling Stones Live At Candlestick….Richard Pryor Live At The Met….. Evel Knievel’s Grand Canyon Jump….The Blues Brothers Live Concert….et al…..but none drew like Saturday Night Live….with the original cast of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players (NRFPTP)…. including John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman and Dan Aykroyd…..cuz folks just thoroughly enjoyed watching the NRFPTP…..and was “in the puddin'” every Saturday night when the bleachers at MSG would start to fill up every  at 8 pm….when by 9 pm, the bleacher section was at capacity….as all others customers at MSG had to watch SNL on one of MSG’s other 8 televisions in the place.  Simply put, it was a “happening”…..which folks of all ages, backgrounds and ways of life would come together while sitting in the bleacher section at MSG for a healthy dose of laughter from some real comedic geniuses.  The truth be known, Dan Aykroyd was the only one of the SNL cast that could do the things that he did….and since SNL was such an integral weekly part of Bone Daddy’s sports bar…..we are “tickled pink” to tell Dan Aykroyd’s tale and tales….as he deserves his place in ImaSportsphile history.                                                                                                                                                 

Comedy – 1971 To Present – Special Highlights – The Best Of Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd is a Canadian actor, producer, comedian, musician, and filmmaker who was an original member of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” on Saturday Night Live from the 1975 season through th 1979 season….when a musical sketch he performed with John Belushi as the Blues Brothers turned into an actual performing band….and then the epic 1980 film The Blues Brothers.  He conceived and starred in Ghostbusters in 1984….which spawned a sequel and eventually an entire media franchise.  In 1990, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy…..then he starred in his own sitcom, Soul Man from 1997 to 1998.  Aykroyd is also a businessman, having co-founded the House of Blues chain of music venues and the Crystal Head Vodka brand.                                                                                                                                                                          

Music – 1995 – Home Of The Blues Concert – With Blues Traveler + Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) Performing “Rock Me Baby”                                                                                                                                                                             

Aykroyd’s first professional experience….which he gained at the age of 17….and was a member of the cast of the short-lived Canadian sketch comedy series The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour with Lorne Michaels, among others….then he was a member of the Second City comedy troupe in 1973 in both Toronto and Chicago.  Aykroyd gained fame on the American late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL)…… where he was originally hired and paid $278 a week as a writer for the show….but became a part of the cast before the series premiered.  The original cast was referred to on the show as “The Not Ready For Prime Time Players”….with Aykroyd being the youngest member of the cast… and appeared on the show for its first four seasons from 1975–1979….. when he brought a unique sensibility to the show, combining youth, unusual interests, talent as an impersonator, and an almost lunatic intensity.  Guest host Eric Idle of Monty Python said that Aykroyd’s ability to write and act out characters flawlessly made him the only member of the SNL cast capable of being a Python.                                                                              

Comedy – 1973 – Saturday Night Live Special – Screen Test For Dan Aykroyd

He was known for his impersonations of celebrities such as Jimmy Carter, Vincent Price, Richard Nixon, Rod Serling, Tom Snyder, Julia Child, and others. He was also known for his recurring roles….such as Beldar, father of the Coneheads family…..with Steve Martin as Yortuk Festrunk, one of the “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” Czech brothers….the sleazy late-night cable TV host E. Buzz Miller……and his cousin, corrupt maker of children’s toys and costumes Irwin Mainway….who extolled the virtues and defended the safety of the “Bag-o-Glass” toy, perhaps the retail leader of the “Bag-o” series of toys….as well as Fred Garvin, male prostitute…..and high-bred but low-brow critic Leonard Pinth-Garnell.  He also co-hosted the “Weekend Update” segment for one season with Jane Curtin….when he was known particularly for their point-counterpoint debates enlivened with vicious personal insults including his catchphrase “Jane, you ignorant slut”.                                                                                                                                                                   

Comedy – 1977 – SNL Weekend Update News – With Jane Curtin + Dan Aykroyd – “Jane You Ignorant Slut”                                                                          

Aykroyd’s eccentric talent was recognized by others in the highly competitive SNL environment….when he first presented his famous “Super Bass-O-Matic ’76” sketch….which was a fake TV commercial in which a garish, hyper-pitchman touts a food blender that turns an entire bass into liquid pulp….for “to [other writers and cast members] the ‘Bass-O-Matic’ was so exhilaratingly strange that many remember sitting and listening, open-mouthed … Nobody felt jealous of it because they couldn’t imagine writing anything remotely like it.”   While Aykroyd was a close friend and partner with fellow cast member John Belushi and shared some of the same sensibilities, Aykroyd was more reserved and less self-destructive. Aykroyd later recalled that, unlike Belushi and other of his peers, he was uninterested in recreational drug use.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Comedy & TV Ad – 1978 – SNL Commercial – Dan Aykroyd Pitches The Bass-O-Matic

Comedy – 1979 – SNL Skit – ” The French Chef” With Julia Child (Dan Aykroyd)

Comedy – 1978 – SNL Skit – Consumer Probe With Irwin Mainway (Dan Aykroyd)

In 1977, he received an Emmy Award for writing on SNL….and he later received two more nominations for writing and one for acting. In Rolling Stones February 2015 appraisal of all 141 SNL cast members to date, Aykroyd was ranked 5th behind Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey and Mike Myers. “Of all the original [SNL] greats, Aykroyd is the least imitated”, they wrote, “because nobody else can do what he did.”                         

Comedy – 1979 – SNL Skit – “Ask President Carter” – With Dan Aykroyd

In later decades, Aykroyd made occasional guest appearances and unannounced cameos on SNL…. while often impersonating the American politician Bob Dole…..plus, he also brought back past characters including Irwin Mainway and Leonard Pinth-Garnell.  During some guest appearances, he resurrected the Blues Brothers musical act….with frequent host John Goodman in place of Belushi.  He became the 2nd member of the original cast to host SNL in May 2003…. when he appeared in the season finale….when during his monologue, he performed a musical number with James Belushi similar to the Blues Brothers….but neither Aykroyd nor Belushi donned the famous black suit and sunglasses.  On March 24, 2007, Aykroyd appeared as a crying fan of American Idol finalist Sanjaya Malakar (played by Andy Samberg) during “Weekend Update”.  On February 14, 2009, he appeared as U.S. House Minority leader John Boehner…..then, Aykroyd also made a surprise guest appearance, along with many other SNL alumni, on the show of March 9, 2013. 

 

Comedy – 1979 – SNL Skit – “Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute” – With Dan Aykroyd

Aykroyd was a close friend of John Belushi. According to Aykroyd, their first meeting helped spark the Blues Brothers act…..when they met in a club that Aykroyd frequented….and he played a blues record in the background….which stimulated a fascination with blues in Belushi….who was primarily a fan of heavy rock bands at the time. Aykroyd educated Belushi on the finer points of blues music….and with a little encouragement from then-SNL music director Paul Shaffer, it led to the creation of their Blues Brothers characters.  Backed by such experienced professional R&B sidemen as lead guitarist Steve Cropper, sax man Lou Marini, trumpeter Alan Rubin, and bass guitarist Donald “Duck” Dunn, the Blues Brothers proved more than an SNL novelty….while taking off with the public as a legitimate musical act….when they performed live gigs….. and in 1978 released the hit album Briefcase Full of Blues….which was drawn from the fact that Aykroyd, as “Elwood Blues”, carried his blues harmonicas in a briefcase that he kept handcuffed to his wrist, in the manner of a CIA courier….while Belushi originally carried the key to those handcuffs.  Briefcase Full of Blues eventually sold 3.5 million copies…. and is one of the highest-selling blues albums of all time.  The band was much further popularized in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers….which Aykroyd co-wrote.  A sequel, titled Blues Brothers 2000, was released in 1998 and featured John Goodman as Belushi’s replacement.                                                                                                         

Comedy & Music – 2012 – HLN Showbiz Exclusive – Kareen Wynter Interviews Dan Aykroyd On His Brother John Belushi

Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles was a regular haunt for the original Blues Brothers in the early days of the band. Belushi and Aykroyd became fixtures at the recording studio, while fellow Blues Brother Steve Cropper called Cherokee his producing home. Whenever they needed a bass player, they were joined by another Blues Brother, Donald “Duck” Dunn. During this time, Cropper, along with producing partner and Cherokee owner Bruce Robb, worked on a number of music projects with the two comedians/musicians, including Belushi’s favorite band, Fear, and later Aykroyd’s movie Dragnet.  The Blues Brothers Band continues to tour today…..both with and without Aykroyd…..as the band features original members Cropper and Marini, along with vocalist Eddie Floyd….when Aykroyd sometimes performs as Elwood…. along with Belushi’s younger brother Jim Belushi….who plays “Brother Zee” on stage. They are most frequently backed by the Sacred Hearts Band.                                                                                                        

 

Music – 1977 – SNL Musical Guest – The Blues Brothers – “Soul Man”                                                                            

Concurrent with his work in Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd played the role of Purvis Bickle, lift operator at the fictitious office block 99 Sumach Street in the CBC Television series Coming Up Rosie.  After leaving SNL, Aykroyd starred in a number of films….which were mostly comedies…..with uneven results both commercially and artistically.  His first three American feature films all co-starred Belushi….with the first being 1941 in 1979….which was directed by Steven Spielberg….but was a box-office disappointment. The 2nd, The Blues Brothers in 1980….which he also co-wrote with director John Landis….and was a massive hit at the box-office.  The 3rd, Neighbors in 1981 had mixed critical reaction….but was another box-office hit.  One of his best-received performances was as a blueblood-turned-wretch in the 1983 comedy Trading Places….in which he co-starred with fellow SNL alumnus Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis.                                                                                                                                                                                   

Music – 1980 – The Blues Brothers – “Rawhide” – Scene From The Movie

In the early 1980’s, Aykroyd began work on a script for the film that eventually became Ghostbusters  ….which was inspired by his fascination with parapsychology. The script initially included a much greater fantasy element, including time travel, but this was toned down substantially through work on the script with Harold Ramis….who became a co-writer….and director Ivan Reitman…..as Aykroyd originally wrote the role of Dr. Peter Venkman with Belushi in mind….but rewrote it for Bill Murray after Belushi’s death…..as Aykroyd joked that the green ghost, later known as “Slimer” was “the ghost of John Belushi” and was based on Belushi’s party-animal personality.  Ghostbusters  was released in 1984….and became a huge success for Aykroyd….who also appeared as one of the lead actors…..as the film earned nearly $300 million USD on a $30 million budget.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Music – 1980 – The Blues Brothers – “Hey Bartender”                                                                                                                                                    

Aykroyd’s next major film role was in the 1985 spy comedy film Spies Like Us….which like The Blues Brothers was co-conceived and co-written by Aykroyd….and directed by Landis.  Aykroyd had again intended for Belushi to be the other lead in the film…..with the part was instead given to SNL alumnus  Chevy Chase. The film was intended as an homage to the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road to …” movies of the 1940’s to 1960’s….when Bob Hope actually made a cameo appearance in the film.  Dragnet, in which Aykroyd co-starred (with Tom Hanks) and co-wrote, was released in 1987. The film was both an homage and a satire of the previous Dragnet series, with Aykroyd playing Sgt. Joe Friday as a police officer whose law-and-order attitude is at odds with modern sensibilities.  Aykroyd appeared in five films released in 1988….with all of them being critical and commercial failures. A sequel to GhostbustersGhostbusters II, was released in 1989; Aykroyd and the other co-creators were reluctant to make another Ghostbusters  film….but succumbed to pressure from the film’s studio, Columbia Pictures…..as the film, while considered inferior to the original, was another big hit, earning US$215 million.  Aykroyd was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy.  He was the 2nd SNL cast member to be nominated for an Oscar, the 1st being Joan Cusack.                                                                                   

Comedy & Movies – 2020 – Movie Retrospective Special – Ghostbusters: – “Who You Gonna Call” – With Director Ivan Reitman + Co-Writer/Actor Dan Aykyrod

Aykroyd’s directorial debut was 1991’s Nothing but Trouble starring  Demi Moore, Chevy Chase, John Candy and Aykroyd….while sporting a bulbous prosthetic nose. The film was a critical and box-office flop. Aykroyd’s other films in the 1990’s were mostly similarly poorly received….which included Coneheads (also based on a SNL skit), Exit to EdenBlues Brothers 2000 and Getting Away with Murder. Two exceptions were Tommy Boy in 1995….which starred SNL alumni David Spade and Chris Farley….wherein Aykroyd played the role of Ray Zalinsky….and Grosse Pointe Blank in 1997…..in which Aykroyd had a well-received role as a rival hit man.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Comedy – 1978 – SNL Skit – “The Coneheads Family Feud” With Beldar (Dan Aykroyd) + Host Richard Dawson (Bill Murray)

In 1994, Aykroyd made a guest appearance in an episode of the sitcom The Nanny as a refrigerator repairman.  In 1997, he starred as an Episcopal priest in the ABC sitcom Soul Man….which lasted two seasons.  In 1998, Aykroyd voiced the role of Chip, a wasp, in Antz.  In 2001, he starred in the Woody Allen film The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.  Most of his film roles since then have tended to be small character parts in big-budget productions….such as a signals analyst in Pearl Harbor and a neurologist in 50 First Dates.  In 2009, Aykroyd and Ramis wrote and appeared in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which also featured Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton, and Brian Doyle-Murray.  In 2010, he played the voice of the title character, Yogi Bear, in the live-action/CGI-animated-film Yogi Bear. That same year, Aykroyd and Chevy Chase guest-starred in the Family Guy episode “Spies Reminiscent of Us”, an homage to Spies Like Us.  Aykroyd appeared in two February 2011 episodes of CBS’s The Defenders, which starred Jim Belushi.  He also appeared on Top Chef Canada as a guest judge.  In 2013, Aykroyd voiced the role of Scarecrow in Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. In 2015, he appeared in a State Farm insurance commercial along with Jane Curtin and  Laraine Newman, as the Coneheads, talking to “Jake”, a State Farm agent.

 

Comedy – 1984 – Movie Clip From Ghostbusters – Dan Aykroyd’s Bedroom Scene

Comedy – 1984 – Movie Clip From Ghostbusters – “He Slimed Me” With Bill Murray + Dan Aykroyd

Aykroyd was one of the executive producers of Ghostbusters….which was a long-discussed reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise that was released in 2016. Aykroyd had a cameo appearance in the film, along with many of the rest of the original Ghostbusters cast.  Aykroyd participated in the recording of “We Are the World” in 1985….as a member of the chorus.  He wrote the liner notes for fellow Ottawa-born blues musician JW-Jones’s album Bluelisted in 2008.  Until 2018, he hosted the internationally syndicated radio show “Elwood’s BluesMobile”….which was formerly known as House of Blues Radio Hour, under his Blues Brothers moniker Elwood Blues.                                                                                                                                                                        

Music – 1980 – The Blues Brothers & Ray Charles – “Shake Your Tail Feathers” – Movieclips

In 1992, Aykroyd and Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Isaac Tigrett founded the House of Blues, a chain of music venues, with the mission to promote African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art.  Many other music and Hollywood personalities helped to finance it at its start. It began as a single location in Cambridge, Massachusetts, although other locations quickly followed…. which started with a venue in New Orleans in 1994.  In 2004, House of Blues became the second-largest live music promoter in the world….with seven venues and 22 amphitheaters in the United States and Canada. It was bought by Live Nation in 2006.                                                                                                                                                         

Music – 1980 – The Blues Brothers – “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” – Movieclips

In 2007, Aykroyd and artist John Alexander founded Crystal Head Vodka…..which is a brand of high-end vodka known for its distinctive skull-shaped bottle and for being filtered through Herkimer diamond  crystals.  Aykroyd is also part owner of several wineries in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula….and the company that distributes  Patrón tequila in Canada. In 2016, Aykroyd partnered with TV producers Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey and game developer Ike McFadden to release an online-casino game featuring the Blues Brothers. Aykroyd provided the in-game voice of his Elwood Blues character via voice over.                                                                                         

Comedy – 2008 – Special – Dan Aykroyd On His Crystal Head Vodka Company

In 2009, Aykroyd contributed a series of reminiscences on his upbringing in Canada for a charity album titled Dan Aykroyd’s Canada. He helped start the Blue Line Foundation, which is redeveloping flood-damaged lots in New Orleans and helping first responders buy them at reduced prices. Coastal Blue Line LLC, hopes to eventually rebuild 400 properties in New Orleans.  Aykroyd is a member of Canadian charity Artists Against Racism.  In an appearance on the Today show, Aykroyd referred to John Belushi and himself as “kindred spirits”…..when in the biography Belushi, Aykroyd claims that Belushi was the only man with whom he could ever dance.  Aykroyd and Belushi were scheduled to present the Academy Award for Visual Effects in 1982….but Belushi died only a few weeks prior to the ceremony. Though devastated by his friend’s death, Aykroyd presented the award alone, remarking from the stage: “My partner would have loved to have been here to present this, given that he was something of a visual effect himself.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Comedy – 1978 – SNL Skit – “The Olympia Restaurant: Cheeseburger, Chips and Pepsi” – With Dan Aykroyd + John Belushi

In 1977, Aykroyd received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series for his collaborative work on Saturday Night Live.  In 1994, he received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Carleton University.  In 1999, Aykroyd was made a Member of the Order of Canada.  He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2002.  In 2017, he was made a member of the Order of Ontario in recognition for being “one of the world’s most popular entertainers, well-known for his time on Saturday Night Live and the 1984 classic movie Ghostbusters”.                                                                                                                                         

Comedy – 1977 – SNL Skit – “Two Wild and Crazy Guys In Computer Dates” – With Steve Martin + Dan Aykroyd

As evidenced by these video clips of Dan Aykroyd seen within this story herewith….Dan Aykroyd has been a very significant piece of the tapestry of comedy and music for the better part of the past half century….as he has left the world with comedic genius of the highest order….with a great deal of its content being something that could only be conceived in the mind of this truly gifted comedian….and when you consider how much SNL content from their first 5 years….then you can understand why we honor Dan Aykroyd here at ImaSportsphile.

 

Comedy – 1984 – Movie Promo Clip For Ghostbusters- With Bill Murray + Dan Aykroyd

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