06 February 2015
How many of these facts about the Blues Brothers did you know?
- 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”.
- 103 cars were wrecked during filming, a world record at that time. This feat was exceeded two years later, when 150 cars (and a plane) were crashed for H.B. Halicki‘s The Junkman (1982). That record in turn held for two decades, until over 300 cars were wrecked during the filming of The Matrix Revolutions (2003).
- During the filming of the opening scene, security guards of the prison fired shots at the helicopter filming the overhead shots, thinking that the helicopter was attempting to spy on the structure.
- Carrie Fisher became engaged to co-star Dan Aykroyd during this shoot shortly after he saved her from choking by applying the Heimlich maneuver.
- 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 that saw only the the Montgomery Ward anchor store and mall power plant being demolished while the rest of the dead mall rotted unused, deals were finally struck that led to every part of the structure being torn down and cleared away in 2012.
- The Bluesmobile was actually going 118 miles per hour under the elevated train line. The film crew received permission to clear the street for two 100 MPH+ passes. Stunt pedestrians were added after the first pass to add realism.
- For the 30th anniversary of the movie, The Vatican newspaper ‘L’Osservatore Romano’ called the film “a Catholic classic”, recommending it as good viewing for Catholics.
- 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. 1974-77 Dodge Monacos (including the upscale Royal Monaco), especially those which came with the A38 police option, are now considered as collector’s items since they have been used as replica Chicago P.D. and Illnois State Police squads – including Bluesmobile tribute cars. This has led to the scarcity of this generation of Mopar C-bodies where some replica squads and Bluesmobiles use the Plymouth Gran Fury as a substitute – including the Chrysler Newport. Universal Studios Hollywood has a replica Bluesmobile on the lot – a 1974 Dodge Coronet is used since the Monaco has became a rarity.
- During the making of the movie, one of the actors, Stephen Brown, got separated from the vehicle caravan and drove the Bluesmobile 100 miles west on Interstate 80, to the city of Spring Valley, Illinois. When stopping at a gas station for directions he was arrested by the local police for no registration (the plate was a prop), and no valid drivers license. With a telephone call, the set director was more concerned with the return of the vehicle than with the return of his actor.
- The scene in which the Head Nazi (Henry Gibson) gives a taunting speech to the assembled counter-protesters and leads his men in a pledge of allegiance to Adolf Hitler was taken almost word-for-word from the documentary The California Reich(1975). He introduces his Nazi group as the “American Socialist White People’s Party”, the acronym of which, ASWPP, is a diminutive of “ass wipe”.