memories of the ’80s – The Blues Brothers

Movie poster with two of the main characters on the right-side of the image: They are both wearing black suits, hats, and sunglasses and facing forward. The man on the right is resting his arm on the shoulder of the man on the left. A police car is present on the left side of the image behind them. At the top of the image is the tagline, "They'll never get caught. They're on a mission from God." At the bottom of the poster is the title of the film, cast names, and production credits.The beginning of the ’80s kicked off with SNL characters from the small screen making their big screen debut: The Blues Brothers.

Created in 1978 for NBC’s Saturday Night Live by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, The Blues Brothers were Jake (Joliet) and Elwood, two brothers who sang lead in the band, backed by a roster of well-known skilled musicians.

The band came to being during the cast’s after work time, who hung out at a blues bar owned by Akyroyd. Belushi’s fascination with the sounds of the 1950s and 1960s led to the creation of the band for SNL with the help of musician Paul Shaffer.

The Blues Brothers became so popular on SNL that the band released an album in 1978, Briefcase Full of Blues. And with the popularity, it went to the big screen.

The premise was this: Jake Blues is released from jail and with his brother Elwood, go to the Catholic orphanage where they were raised, finding out from Sister Mary that the orphanage owes taxes and will be closed if they can’t pay.

Jake has an epiphany to re-form the Blues Brothers Band, and first have to track down the former members and promote the show via a speaker on their infamous Bluesmobile.

But the show causes chaos, and soon there’s a car chase, white supremacists, police, an angry ex-fiancee and recording executives, all trying to get their hands on the Blues Brothers.

The popularity of the comedy/musical performance led to the collaboration with director John Landis, after a bidding war that landed Universal Pictures with the rights to bring the idea to the movie screen.

Akyroyd took six months to write the script and because of Belushi’s partying the film took much longer to film than anticipated, and became one of the most expensive comedies made at the time with a budget of US$30 million.

The film featured a wide range of actors from Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Steve Lawrence and Twiggy to a long list of musicians including Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker, James Brown, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin, as well as band musicians Alan Rubin, Lou Marini, Matt Murphy and Tom Malone.

Released on June 20, 1980, the film got mainly positive reviews, and had a big opening weekend making US $5 million at the box office. The film went on to become a summer blockbuster, making over US $115 million at the box office.

And The Blues Brothers continued on, even after the death of John Belushi in 1982 with guest singers. But fans know the real Blues Brothers will always be the originals, John Belushi and Dan Akyroyd.

 

 

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The face above

Looking down at the streets of Dunedin:

face above

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memories of the ’70s – Smokey and the Bandit

Smokey And The Bandit Poster.jpgIn 1977, actor Burt Reynolds kicked off a movie franchise that would showcase America’s love for beer, fast cars and being lawless: Smokey and the Bandit.

Written and directed by Hal Needham, the original concept for the film was a B movie with the director’s pal Jerry Reed playing the title role.

But when Burt Reynolds read the script, he wanted to play the Bandit.

The premise: two wealthy Texans want to bring Coors Beer from west to east, and need to find a fast driver to make it happen under the nose of the Smokey, which was CB Radio slang for the police, as the beer wasn’t found east of the Mississippi.

Big Enos (Pat McCormick) and Little Enos (Paul Williams) approach driver Bo “Bandit” Darville (Reynolds) to haul 400 cases of the precious beer from Texarkana to Georgia in 28 hours.

Darville hires his buddy Cledus “Snowman” Snow to drive the truck while he will drive the blocker, a diversion to keep the police away from the illegal beer transport. The blocker: a 1977 black Pontiac Trans-Am.

Going west to the pick-up the beer is uneventful except for one lone police officer, but on the way back, Bandit picks up a runaway bride (Sally Field), a prickly Sherriff Buford T. Justice and his son Junior (Jackie Gleason and Mike Henry) and assortment of odd characters – undertaker, drive-in waitress, brothel madame, a senior citizen and a convoy of trucks.

Needham capitalized on many popular themes of the 1970s – fast cars, CB radios, southern stereotypes and a movie that was one long car chase back to Georgia so Big Enos and Little Enos could celebrate winning at the racetrack.

As well, Needham originally given a budget of $5.3 million was told he was losing $1 million by Universal Pictures. He persevered, editing and finishing the film with less staff to make it happen.

Released on May 27, 1977,  the 96 minute film was made for US $4.3 million, and thanks to Reynolds moniker as an A list actor, the film was a hot hit with movie fans. As well, Reed’s song, East bound and Down, the film’s theme song, became a hot hit as well as Reed’s signature song.

Thanks to the wisecracking Reynolds and the ad-libbing style of Gleason, the film went on to make a cool US $300 million at the box office, and was the second highest-grossing film of 1977, after that other blockbuster: Star Wars.

And the film spawned sequels on the big screen and on television. America loves it Bandit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1977, actor Burt Reynolds kicked off a movie franchise that would showcase America’s love for beer, fast cars and being lawless: Smokey and the Bandit.

Written and directed by Hal Needham, the original concept for the film was a B movie with the director’s pal Jerry Reed playing the title role. But when Reynolds read the script, he wanted to play the Bandit.

The premise: two wealthy Texans want to bring Coors Beer from west to east, and need to find a fast driver to make it happen under the nose of the Smokey, which was CB Radio slang for the police, as the beer isn’t found east of the Mississippi.

Big Enos (Pat McCormick) and Little Enos (Paul Williams) approach driver Bo “Bandit” Darville (Reynolds) to haul 400 cases of the precious beer from Texarkana to Georgia in 28 hours.

Darville hires his buddy Cledus “Snowman” Snow to drive the truck while he will drive the blocker, a diversion to keep the police away from the illegal beer transport. The blocker: a 1977 black Pontiac Trans-Am.

Going west to the pick-up the beer is uneventful except for one lone police officer, but on the way back, Bandit picks up a runaway bride (Sally Field), a prickly Sherriff Buford T. Justice and his son Junior (Jackie Gleason and Mike Henry) and assortment of odd characters – undertaker, drive-in waitress, brothel madame, a senior citizen and a convoy of trucks.

Needham capitalized on many popular themes of the 1970s – fast cars, CB radios, southern stereotypes and a movie that was one long car chase back to Georgia so Big Enos and Little Enos could celebrate winning at the racetrack.

As well, Needham originally given a budget of $5.3 million was told he was losing $1 million by Universal Pictures. He persevered, editing and finishing the film with less staff to make it happen.

Released on May 27, 1977,  the 96 minute film was made for US $4.3 million, and thanks to Reynolds moniker as an A list actor, the film was a hot hit with movie fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creature commute

Another way to get to work? (spotted in Dunedin, NZ):

creature commute

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Street art stamp

Spotted in the Dunedin Warehouse District:

chosen few

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memories of the ’80s – Street Hawk

W70 69In the mid 1980s, a television series tried to break into the network schedule: Street Hawk.

Created by Paul M. Belous and Robert Wolterstoff, the series was distributed by Universal and picked up by ABC TV in 1984.

But with a packed schedule, ABC decided to air it as a mid-season replacement in January 1985.

Starring Rex Smith as Jesse Mach, a former motorcycle police officer who was injured in the line of duty.

Mach is hired by a top secret government agency to become the Street Hawk, riding a souped-up motorcycle to solve urban crime.

As a former amateur dirt bike rider, Mach knows how to ride without rules and as a police officer he knows his limits but solves crimes without revealing his identity. His Honda XL500 Trailbike has all the bells and whistles.

With the cover of playing a police public relations officer by day and crime fighter by night, Mach becomes a secretive yet helpful hand to the police.

Debuting on January 4, 1985, the series ran for 13 episodes, and resulted in accompanying merchandise like a series of books from Target Books, toys, action figure and a stunt bike.

But Street Hawk didn’t capture the imagination of  viewers enough to be picked up for a full season, a one hit wonder casualty of the 1980s tv series.

 

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Alley creature

Spotted in a Dunedin alley:

alley creature

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