The Making of The Blues Brothers: When Belushi and Aykroyd Went on a Mission for Comedy & Music

Before you close out the week, you’ll want to spend some time with Ned Zeman’s piece in Van­i­ty Fair, “Soul Men: The Mak­ing of The Blues Broth­ers.” It brings us back to the 1970s, when John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd labored to bring their char­ac­ters, Jake and Elwood Blues, onto the nation­al stage. Despite being the stars of Sat­ur­day Night Live, Belushi and Aykroyd had to cajole the show’s pro­duc­er Lorne Michaels into let­ting them per­form as The Blues Broth­ers on late night TV. First, Michaels let them warm up SNL audi­ences before shows. Then, in 1976, Michaels let the Blues Broth­ers make their first live appear­ance. But there was a rub. They had to dress as Killer Bees and not as “John Lee Hook­er gone Hasidic.” Only in April, 1978, did Jake and Elwood make their true SNL debut as a musi­cal act.

Zeman’s piece focus­es most­ly on the next chap­ter in the his­to­ry of The Blues Broth­ers — the mak­ing of the now leg­endary film. That had its own set of dif­fi­cul­ties. Big bud­gets, big ambi­tions and big coke addic­tions, all threat­en­ing to derail the project. Down to the very last moment, the film looked like a guar­an­teed finan­cial bust, to the tune of $27 mil­lion. But, of course, that’s not how things turned out.

Above, you can watch Part 1 of The Mak­ing of The Blues Broth­ers, a 2005 doc­u­men­tary that came out with the 25th anniver­sary re-release of the com­ic mas­ter­piece. Click the fol­low­ing links for Part 2 and Part 3.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

John Belushi’s Impro­vised Screen Test for Sat­ur­day Night Live (1975)

William S. Bur­roughs on Sat­ur­day Night Live, 1981

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