August was quite a month for comedy fans. Not only was it announced that Ghostbusters 3 will soon go into production, and that the return of Austin Powers and Fletch may be imminent, but the news also hit that The Blues Brothers may be returning as well, this time to television.
Judy Belushi Pisano, John’s widow, and SNL writer Anne Beatts have been pitching a new version of the Blues Brothers to networks, and like Ghostbusters, Jake and Elwood Blues was the creation from the unique Canadian mind of Dan Akroyd.
When they first appeared on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978, people didn’t know what to make of the act at first, because it was two comedians doing straight ahead R&B and rock and roll, and there was nothing humorous about it.
But it it wasn’t long before the Blues Brothers became a sensation, selling millions of albums, and selling out concerts across the country.
The 1980 Blues Brothers movie was also much misunderstood, but today it’s a much beloved classic. The film went over schedule and budget, reportedly costing a then whopping $30 million, and it got lumped in with a number of movies that were fiscally out of control at the time like Apocalypse Now, 1941, Heaven’s Gate, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
A lot of people also didn’t get it’s odd combination of Dan and John’s deadpan performances against all the insane Keystone Cops on acid car crashes, but again, years have been very kind to the film, and it’s got a very strong fan base today.
Not to mention we’ll never see a musical line-up like that anywhere again with James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Cab Calloway, and the Blues Brothers always had a great band backing them up with Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Matt “Guitar” Murphy.
As Akroyd and Belushi’s late manager Bernie Brillstein wrote in his autobiography, Where Did I Go Right?, “Some critics believe the film is overindulgent. I agree. But you know what? So what? See it today. It still works.”