The Blues Brothers
An unused fake mug shot of John Belushi taken during the filming of ‘The Blues Brothers.’
I must admit a bit of bias when it comes to this post as its about my very favorite film of all time (and perhaps yours too), what could easily be considered the greatest credit in director John Landis’ long career, 1980’s The Blues Brothers.
John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Carrie Fisher looking cozy on the set of ‘The Blues Brothers.’
Of particular interest are the images of Dan Aykroyd and a 23-year-old Carrie Fisher looking quite cozy alongside her fictional cold-footed fiancee in the film, charismatic comedian John Belushi. Which of course got me wondering if I had somehow missed out on the news that the two actors had perhaps had a shotgun free, off-screen fling. As it turns out, Fisher was actually briefly engaged to Dan Aykroyd who asked her to marry him after he “saved her life” by performing the Heimlich maneuver when she was choking on what Fisher recalls was a boring old brussel sprout, not a fistfull of Quaaludes. Sadly the engagement didn’t last, and Fisher left Aykroyd for her former paramour Paul Simon whom she would marry in 1983—the same year that Aykroyd married former Miss Virginia of 1976, blonde beauty queen and actress, Donna Dixon.
Of course, the scene where Joliet Jake and Elwood take a scenic 100 mph drive through the Dixie Square Mall (you know, the place that had “everything”) is probably the very first thing that most people think of when it comes to The Blues Brothers. The mall had been left to decline after closing its doors in 1979 and had since become an epicenter for gang violence and vandalism. A good bit of timing for Landis who proposed the idea of letting his movie crew and two actors—wearing dark sunglasses with a full tank of gas and a half a pack of cigarettes—finish it off. Dixie Square got a Hollywood makeover, and Landis let the cameras roll while Belushi and Aykroyd tore it apart again like a pair of wild dogs. However, the scene where the Blues Mobile makes its final journey to the place where they “have that Picasso,” Daley Plaza, proved to be a bit more difficult to pull off. So Landis sent John Belushi off to work his charm on the mayor of Chicago at the time, Jane Byrne.
According to Byrne, she met with a very “sweaty and nervous” John Belushi in her office who offered her a $200,000 donation to Chicago’s orphans if she would allow them to film that scene and others in Chicago. Byrne of course agreed and large group of stunt people, six camera crews; 300 extras (with an additional 100 dressed up as Chicago’s finest); 300 members of the National Guard decked out as soldiers; a four-man SWAT team; seven mounted police officers; three Sherman M3 tanks; five fire engines and two Bell Jet Ranger helicopters were unleashed on Daley Plaza. To the great satisfaction of Mayor Byrne who was not a fan of Chicago’s 48th mayor, Richard J. Daley who no longer dines at Chez Paul because he’s dead. Tons of intriguing images shot during the making of this remarkable rock and roll cinematic triumph follow. Dig it!
Former Chicago mayor Jane Byrne and her daughter Kathy wearing Jake and Elwood’s signature hats and sunglasses with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
Pope John Paul II paying a visit to the set of ‘The Blues Brothers’ to ‘bless the set.’ Here, John Belushi can be seen kissing the Pope’s ring.
John Lee Hooker with Belushi and Aykroyd.
More after the jump…