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Author Topic: remembering John Belushi
Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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Today marks the 25th anniversary of his unfortunate demise. The last few months of his life had been brutal on him, between a very rough time on the set of Neighbors (where things were so bad that he genuinely wanted to kill John Avildsen), and a hard time getting the latest script he was trying to get across worked out (the people at Paramount--Michael Eisner foremost--were completely dismissive of his work and were about to force him to do a completely pathetic sex film that had been in development hell for years if he wanted to keep production on it going), so he can perhaps be forgiven a little bit for choosing that moment to get himself a little too high (lately I've indeed wondered if he intended it as suicide). It was shocking that it would prove too much for him to his contemporaries, however, since he among the SNL/SCTV generation seemed to the be the one that was always least effected by large-scale stoning (but he wasn't as bad as they'd have you believe; his drug habits were really more sporadic, with long straight stretches followed by major relapses).

It still remains tragic today given just how much raw power he had as a performer. It is disparaging knowing how much he could have still done given a chance (I for one think he would have delivered a fabulous Jack Sparrow had he made it to today and they'd considered him). The major problem was he could never love himself as much as others loved him, and since Hollywood only cared to see him as Bluto (and the real Belushi was far removed from Bluto personalitywise. But NNNOOOOOOOOO, not like that should concern them), he never got a chance to really break stereotype, and that depressed him more.

But in a way he never really died, seeing that people still respect him all these years later. I think he would be pleased to know how much both Bluto and Jake have become American icons. And you might also say that in going first, he saved the rest of his generation, many of whom realized where drugs might take them after they took him and stopped cold, and thus ensured that we would get great humor all throughout the 80s and beyond. For that alone he deserves commendation.

(FOOTNOTE: A good read about him--for no true fan will EVER vouch for Wired--is the recently released "Belushi" from his widow--whom it's reassuring in today's troubled marital times to see still loves him today thoroughly even though his actions toward the end understandably caused her great strain. It gives a full description of how he went about life from beginning to end, and thus offers a good insight as to how he thought over the years.)

So if you were alive at the time, where were you when you heard he was gone back then?

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StevenHW
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Chris the CandyFanMan asked:
quote:
...So if you were alive at the time, where were you when you heard he was gone back then?
I was in college at the time when I learned that he died. I was going to spend the weekend in my parents' home and I was getting a ride with two other fellow students (who were also going to spend the weekend with their parents). On the car radio, the news of John's death came on.

The ironic part about John's death was that when he was on SNL, he filmed a black-and-white short film that was used on the show. John played a senior citizen version of himself, standing over the graveyards of his fellow SNL'ers and saying that they're all dead. The irony: John was actually the first cast member to die, even though he had left the show several years before then.

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jayeh1969
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R.I.P. - John Belushi.
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StevenHW
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From "The Smoking Gun" website, here is the Los Angeles County Coroner's documents on Belushi's death:

(click below):
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0305071belushi1.html

[ 05. March 2007, 16:45: Message edited by: StevenHW ]

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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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quote:
I was in college at the time when I learned that he died. I was going to spend the weekend in my parents' home and I was getting a ride with two other fellow students (who were also going to spend the weekend with their parents). On the car radio, the news of John's death came on.

The ironic part about John's death was that when he was on SNL, he filmed a black-and-white short film that was used on the show. John played a senior citizen version of himself, standing over the graveyards of his fellow SNL'ers and saying that they're all dead. The irony: John was actually the first cast member to die, even though he had left the show several years before then. [/QB]

The "Don't Look Back in Anger" sketch. Guess it didn't help to be a dancer after all.

Another intriguing tale along that line is that he was asked by producer Robert K. Weiss to shoot a guest star death scene for an episode of Police Squad that ultimately was never aired. The version they actually shot featured him sinking to the bottom of a river with his legs in cement, but before they'd settled on that, Belushi had suggested--chillingly--doing the scene with him lying dead with a needle in his arm.

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aTomiK
.... has green eyes as well....
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Just bought and watched The Best of John Belushi VHS tape (1985).
It´s a compilation of SNL sketches circa 1975-1978.

We didn´t see the show here back in the day
so it was the first time i could enjoy this stuff.

I love all the Blues Brothers stuff with Dan Aykroyd and the band.
It was also great to see Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Elliot Gould, Jane Curtin etc etc..

And this also included the famous "Don't Look Back in Anger" sketch.
So ironic...

This was released on dvd couple of years ago,
some parts from the vhs version missing and some new ones added.

Belushi was a great actor and i hope we could have more his SNL stuff available.

 -

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Valley

Dated Julie From 'Valley Girl' (allegedly!)
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As a kid, I was allowed to stay up late and watch Saturday Night Live on the weekends.  The Not Ready For Prime Time Players were an amazing group and John Belushi was like a shining star.  

Belushi developed so many great characters and each found a way to connect with me.  I remember seeing The Blues Brothers perform for what might have been the first time on SNL and just being blown away by the talent level of it all.  

My favorite Belushi character will always by the Samurai.  As a kid, I would play with a plastic sword and try to emulate Belushi's samurai jiberish.

But as a Star Trek fan, the incredible skit where Belushi played James T. Kirk will always be my favorite skit.  Chevy Chase and Belushi both wanted the part as Kirk in the skit, but Belushi won out and even shaved his sideburns to match Kirk's from the original show.  Still to this day it is one of the greatest skits in SNL history.

The "Don't Look Back In Anger" short film is just hauntingly ironic to watch now.

RIP John Belushi .. thanks for all the great childhood memories!

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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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And the irony with the Star Trek sketch was that he kept coming up flat as Kirk in rehearsals, to the point where they were thinking of the giving the role to Chevy in the end anyway, but he insisted he could do it, and thus nailed it when the cameras roled for the first and only time.

It did take him a while to find his niche on the show; they really didn't quite know what to do with him at first except for the Bee sketches, which he unilaterally hated, and he was insanely jealous that Chevy, whom he had top billing over on the prior National Lampoon shows, became the first breakout star (many believe he thus fermented the infamous backstage brawl between Chev & Murray during the former's first guest appearance as a sort of revenge), but as clearly all on here can agree, once given the spotlight, he took it and ran farther than most others could ever hope to.

I always wonder how his Venkman would have turned out had he lived to do the role. While Murray indellably made the character his, one still has to wonder what Belushi's take on him would have been--probably close to the same, since Venkman's sarcastic stretch would be easily within his repertoire, but probably with his own bent. And lately, I also can imagine him as Wet Bandit Harry; while of course Pesci's turn as the airhead hoodlum is classic to the max, one can't help but wonder, the character is just loaded with standard Belushisms, and what could be more tempting than Chicago's favorite son starring in yet another Chicago-centered masterpiece...?

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Logan 5
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quote:
many believe he thus fermented the infamous backstage brawl between Chev & Murray during the former's first guest appearance as a sort of revenge
Talk.
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Earl Keese
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I am about a quarter of the way through Belushi and it is truly a heartbreaking piece. My dad was a cop, a big guy, a real chicago type of sensibility in almost all ways...temperment, tolerance, duty, appetite and humor.

I was twelve when John died and while I wasn't appreciative of the death of a stranger enough by that age for it to affect me personally in any real way, I remember my dad standing at the top of the stairs in his uniform getting ready to head out for work and just stomping his foot really hard on the floor and cursing out "GOD******! WELL ISN'T THAT JUST ******* GREAT!" and then storming out the front door. You didn't dare ask what was wrong at times like these, you just froze where you were and waited. After he left, my mom explained that John Belushi had just died.

I didn't care at the time. I scooped up my glove and headed over to the lot for our daily summer pickup baseball game. My dad's reaction served only to slightly confuse me as to why a grown man, and my dad for that matter, would care that much or be that upset that another grown man that he didn't even know had died from taking drugs. We had always been taught that only the bad guys used drugs.

It was only later and through a much richer appreciation of John's work that I understood my dad's anger and completely get it today. Had he lived, the face of hollywood and the history of movies would have a much different face. He was that much of a force of nature that yes, one man could have changed the entire landscape. I pity us all of those missed laughs. Belushi still stands on top of the mountain. There will never be another.

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