...Aykroyd spends his free time speeding through outskirts and befriending coroners. Belushi, being Chicago’s favorite son, does anything he wants. Everything about him—his lunch-bucket charm, his utter lack of pretense—makes Belushi a figure of such resounding local popularity that Aykroyd calls him “the unofficial mayor of Chicago.”
A trip to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, boggles [John] Landis. “Like being with Mussolini in Rome,” he remembers. Belushi, having entered one of the stadium’s crowded bathrooms, smiles and shouts, “O.K., stand back!” Everyone retreats from the urinals. Belushi does his business. Then, zipping his fly and beaming, he says, “O.K., back you go!”
“John would literally hail police cars like taxis,” Mitch Glazer says. “The cops would say, ‘Hey, Belushi!’ Then we’d fall into the backseat and the cops would drive us home.”
[...] The film’s budget is $17.5 million, then an expensive proposition, particularly for a comedy. Or whatever it is. Nobody quite knows. There’s comedy and lots of it. There are car chases and crashing helicopters. But all of the above revolve around four giant song-and-dance numbers, each starring a different music giant: Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Cab Calloway. Not to mention the performances by Jake and Elwood.
“You could tell there was confusion,” Landis says. “I told some of the crew, ‘This is a musical.’ They were so confused. They didn’t know what the fuck they were making.”
[...] One night at three, while filming on a deserted lot in Harvey, Illinois, Belushi disappears. He does this sometimes. On a hunch, Aykroyd follows a grassy path until he spies a house with a light on.
“Uh, we’re shooting a film over here,” Aykroyd tells the homeowner. “We’re looking for one of our actors.”
“Oh, you mean Belushi?” the man replies. “He came in here an hour ago and raided my fridge. He’s asleep on my couch.”
Only Belushi could pull this off. “America’s Guest,” Aykroyd calls him.
“John,” Aykroyd says, awakening Belushi, “we have to go back to work.”
Belushi nods and rises. They walk back to the set as if nothing happened.
It has a happy ending, until you remember what happened next. Read while listening to some of the greats, then follow with Strand Of Oaks's remarkable Daniel's Blues, the saddest song you'll ever hear written from the perspective of Dan Aykroyd.