Trivia Compiled By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: IMDB / Wikipedia
Did You Know?
The Blues Brothers is a 1980 musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from a musical sketch on the NBC variety series Saturday Night Live. It features musical numbers by R&B and soul singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker. The film is set in and around Chicago, Illinois, and also features non-musical supporting performances by John Candy, Carrie Fisher, Charles Napier, and Henry Gibson.
The story is a tale of redemption for paroled convict Jake (Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Aykroyd), who take on "a mission from God" to save from foreclosure the Catholic orphanage in which they grew up. To do so they must reunite their rhythm and blues band, The Blues Brothers, and organize a performance to earn $5,000 to pay the tax assessor. Along the way they are targeted by a destructive "mystery woman", Neo-Nazis, and a country and western band—all while being relentlessly pursued by the police.
The scene in which the band appears in a sauna, clad only in towels, is an allusion to the cover photo on the 1973 Blood Sweat & Tears music album "No Sweat", in which the BST band appears in a sauna in identical pose. Lou Marini and Tom Malone, two of the Blues Brothers Band members, were also in BST and appear in both sauna scenes.
Elwood removes his hat three times in the film: when going to sleep in his room, to break the window to get into the Palace Hotel, and towards the end of the movie when the Bluesmobile falls apart. His sunglasses are removed once in the scene where he quits his job at the Cheez Whiz factory "to become a priest." Jake removes his sunglasses once, when he is talking to Carrie Fisher, but never removes his hat. In the DVD and cable versions, Elwood doesn't wear sunglasses when he quits his job.
At the end, after the Universal Studios logo is shown, there is an ad for Universal Studios in Hollywood. Below "When in Hollywood, visit Universal Studios", it says "Ask For Babs". The same appeared in Animal House (Babs is the Animal House character Babs Jensen), and it reappeared in Blues Brothers 2000 underneath a new Universal Studios Hollywood logo at the end of that movie.
103 cars were wrecked during filming. At time of release, this was a world record, not beaten until 104 cars were wrecked in filming 'Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)'.
The infamous "Bluesmobile" is a 1974 Dodge Monaco. The vehicles used in the film were used police cars purchased from the California Highway Patrol (mocked up to look like Mt. Prospect, Illinois patrol cars), and featured the "cop tires, cop suspension and cop motor - a 440 cubic-inch plant" mentioned by Elwood in the film. A total of 12 Bluesmobiles were used in the movie, including one that was built just so it could fall apart. Several replicas have been built by collectors, but one original is known to exist, and is owned by the brother-in-law of Dan Aykroyd.
The receipt that is stamped by the tax assessor clerk (played by 'Stephen Spielberg'), is #6829, dated August 9, 1979, and correctly reflects that $5000 cash for St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage was received from "Jake & Elwood Blues" with an address of 1060 West Addison, Chicago. The receipt is signed "R. J. Daley" - a reference to Mayor Richard J. Daley for which the plaza they drove through (with the Picasso sculpture) was named.
Producers rented the Dixie Square Mall in south suburban Harvey, Illinois for the mall chase scenes. The mall had been closed for over a year. (False) rumors began in the community that the mall was being refurbished and would be reopened after filming was complete. Universal was later sued for over $87,500 for failure to make good on a deal to "return the mall to its original condition" which was never agreed upon. After years of political wrangling, most of the mall remains; only the Montgomery Ward anchor store and mall power plant have been demolished.
During filming one of the night scenes, John Belushi disappeared and could not be located. Dan Aykroyd looked around and saw a single house with its lights on. He went to the house and was prepared to identify himself, the movie and that they were looking for John Belushi. But before he could, the homeowner looked at him, smiled and said, "You're here for John Belushi, aren't you?" The homeowner then told them Belushi had entered their house, asked if he could have a glass of milk and a sandwich and then crashed on their couch. Situations like this prompted Aykroyd to affectionately dub Belushi "America's Guest".
The car was really going 118 mph under the elevated train line in Chicago.
The characters, Jake and Elwood Blues, were created by Belushi and Aykroyd in performances on Saturday Night Live. The name "The Blues Brothers" was the idea of Howard Shore. The fictional back story and character sketches of blood brothers Jake and Elwood were developed by Aykroyd in collaboration with Ron Gwynne, who is credited as a story consultant for the film. As related in the liner notes of the band's debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, the brothers grew up in an orphanage, learned the blues from a janitor named Curtis and sealed their brotherhood by cutting their middle fingers with a steel string said to have come from the guitar of Elmore James.
When it was decided the act could be made into a film by Universal Studios, Aykroyd set about writing the script. He had never written a screenplay before, he said in the 1998 documentary, Stories Behind the Making of The Blues Brothers, and he put together a very descriptive volume that explained the characters' origins and how the band members were recruited. It was 324 pages, which was three times longer than a standard screenplay. To soften the impact, Aykroyd made a joke of the thick script and had it bound with the cover of the Los Angeles Yellow Pages directory for when he turned it in to producer Robert K. Weiss. John Landis was given the task of editing the script into a usable screenplay.
The premise of the underlying plot, that a church-owned orphanage would have to pay a property tax bill, has been questioned—in Illinois, and generally elsewhere in the world, religious property is exempt from taxes. However, at the time of writing of the film, a legislative proposal to tax such property was under consideration. The proposal was never enacted into law.
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