Dan Aykroyd called my morning radio show on 93.9FM Friday to talk about his appearance Sunday over at the Hard Rock Hotel Lake Tahoe. There he will present an evening of Q & A, tell some fascinating stories in an exclusive evening presented by his business, Crystal Head Vodka billed as ‘An Evening with Dan Aykroyd.’
What started out as a run-on sentence sales pitch for his vodka ended up being all about movies, music and, of course, the blues. His vodka is good too. I know as I have one of his skull shaped bottles sitting on top of my refrigerator. I will say this though: I want to work on one of Dan Aykroyd’s movies! Why? Well for one thing because he’s so passionate about his vodka that he enjoys sharing it with the crew who are working on one of his latest projects, “Ghostbusters 3” which is expected to hit theaters July 2020. The crew must be loving it too as Dan gave them five cases of his vodka.
“The prop guy got one, the special effects guys got two, the grip electric got two and the make-up people all got minis!”said Dan.
When Dan told me “Ghostbusters 3” (official title as of now) was being directed by Jason Reitman (“Juno,” “No Smoking” “Up in the Air”), I asked him how it felt
being directed by the son of Ivan Reitman (who directed Aykroid, Bill Murray, the late Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson in the original “Ghostbusters” back in 1984)?
“I love it!” he said. “The DNA has been passed down. The symmetry and synchronicity is beautiful.” Dan reminded me that Jason was in the second “Ghostbusters” playing a kid who tells him, “You know my dad says you’re full of crap.”
The latest installment is planning on bringing back many of the original movie’s cast members, including Murray, Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts. In addition to his many roles Dan is also executive producer for “Ghostbusters 3.”
Dan Aykroyd shot to national fame as one of the original cast members of Lorne Michael’s Saturday Night Live on NBC back in 1975. The original cast was referred to on the show as “The Not Ready For Prime Time Players.” Aykroyd was the youngest member of the cast and appeared on the show for its first four seasons, from 1975–1979. He was known for his impersonations of celebrities like President Jimmy Carter, Vincent Price, President Richard Nixon, Rod Serling and, my favorite, as Julia Child. Of course, the skit that propelled him onto the big screen was that of Elwood Blues, one-half of The Blues Brothers with the late John Belushi also of the original cast members of SNL. That skit became a full blown, feature length movie with the release of “The Blues Brothers” in 1980 which Aykroyd co-wrote. A sequel, titled “Blues Brothers” 2000″ was released in 1998 and featured John Goodman as Belushi’s replacement.
A lot of folks forget that Dan is also very adept at being a dramatic actor too. Since I recently saw Michael Bay’s 2001 “Pearl Harbor” (starring Ben Affleck, Josh Hartlett, Kate Beckinsale and John Voight), I asked him how was it playing such a dramatic role in a movie of historical proportions?
“What red-blooded American-Canadian boy doesn’t wanna be in a war movie? That was fun, it was really, really fun,” he said.
His character was that of Captain Thurman, one of the officers trying to crack the code of where the Japanese were in the Pacific and what target would they most likely hit.
“You know, I normally don’t read reviews but The New York Times movie critic said of my performance as Captain Thurman, ‘He had the gleam of history in his eyes.” Aykroyd also said, “Now on the opposite end of the spectrum of acting for one movie I was in (he wouldn’t name the movie but it was obvious it was Stephen Spielberg’s flop, “1941”) movie critic Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly said of my performance, “It rots in the bin.”
Our interview wasn’t supposed to go on more than 15 minutes but turned into 40 minutes when we started talking all things music. He used to have his own radio show too, based on his character Elmer Bues from “The Blues Brothers.” He introduced listeners to blues artists they might not have ever heard of and new artists as well.
When I told him I was fired for dropping some of their songs and replacing them with artists I liked hearing, including blues artists, we completely lost track of time.
Long story short, Dan asked if he could call in with blues artists and have them played on my morning radio show? I told him that’s what the Freaky Fat Friday show is all about so be expecting a guest from time to time Tahoe that could be a regular habit!
Oh, one last thing. I asked Aykroyd, as I do all my guests, if he had a Tahoe connection in any way and he did! He told me that Canadian skier Anne Heggtveit was from his hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. When she won the gold, they all celebrated, especially since it was the first gold from their town. She won the slalom by 3.3 seconds.
Oh, and he loves the Truckee River. He was up here two years ago over at The Hard Rock for a similar presentation regarding his vodka. Check him out over at The Hard Rock tomorrow night for An Evening with Dan Aykroyd.
Online tickets are $49 per person for general admission and $69 per person, which includes an autographed bottle of Crystal Head Vodka. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Must be 21+.