Born: 1st July 1952,
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I’ve been meaning to do a mid week mini on Dan Aykroyd for a while now, but once again I got myself bogged down in the huge amount of information on this talented comedian, writer, and actor to name but a few professional titles this man holds. Two things finally inspired me to do this mini homage to one of my favourite actors of all time; 1) Dan Aykroyd Wines and Vodka. Bizzare on many levels but strangely suited, and 2) The Great Outdoors (1988), not only a Dan Aykroyd film I’d never seen, but one I’d never even heard of! I figured it was then time to write this blog. I’ve been a fan since I first saw Ghostbusters (1984) and Dragnet (1987) so I’ve selected what I believe is some of his best movies, cameos and latest outings in the movie, and gaming world.
In my opinion, below are some of Aykroyd’s best performances in cinema, albeit in my favourite films list at least.
Just the facts ma’m, just the facts. Dan Aykroyd plays Sgt. Joe Friday, the by the book character playing against Tom Hanks, the much more ‘laid back, casual detective’. They balance each other out perfectly, and although the plot seems just a tad bizzare its reminiscent of what made the original series so memorable and succesful in the first place. Good chemistry and a good formula.
Ghostbusters (1984) Dr. Raymond Stantz
All time favourite film (probably mentioning that a bit too much) some awesome funny moments, riddled with adult humour (most of which I missed as a kid) and great special effects. Hearing the approach of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, seeing his head bob into view above the buildings and finally seeing him in full view still sends shivers down my spine. Will watch it over and over and stands proud as my favourite film.
Peter Venkman: “Go get her Ray”
Raymond Stantz: “Gozer the Gozerian? Good evening. As a duly-designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin, or to the next convenient parallel dimension”
Peter Venkman: [dryly] “That oughtta do it. Thanks very much, Ray”
Great film and great comedy performance from all involved. Both the character of Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) and Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) are immediately likeable, even though one is a self involved snob and commodity broker and the other a down trodden yet clever con man. Both develop as characters brilliantly and come out the other side more or less on level terms, and much to the expense of the Duke brothers who set them up in the first place. The salmon/beard eating scene still grosses me out.
The Blues Brothers (1980) Elwood Blues
“Its 106 miles to chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it.” My favourite quote in this awesome comedy musical, and definitely Jim Belushi’s finest hour (also has a cameo appearance in Trading Places) This film has a brilliant soundtrack and features some legendary singers and artists. Always cheers me up when I watch it.
Possibly some of his greatest, or for me most memorable cameos:
Casper (as Ray Stantz), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Evolution. After watching The Great Outdoors you realise Aykroyd doesn’t always play the part you expect him too.
I loved the fact Dan Aykroyd and the rest of the cast returned for Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009), not only as voice actor for Dr. Raymond Stantz but also as writer, something that shone through with the delivery and humour of the first 2 films. Despite the game being quite an easy run through, meaning I finished Ghostbusters way too quickly, it was very funny and aesthetically very pleasing, with a fun and simple control system. Ramis and Aykroyd capture some of the magic of the films and give us something fresh but just as fun, quirky and charming as the original Ghostbusters movie. The Ghostbusters video game gave me some high hopes that the new movie, Ghostbusters III (scheduled for 2012) might be pretty awesome.
I’ve always been pleased to know we share something in common, and that’s an interest in the supernatural. Dan Aykroyd has an extensive collection of books on the subject.
Other interesting facts, hopefully all true, according to the fountain of all knowledge, Google:
He is in the horn section of B.B. King’s “In The Midnight Hour”
Once worked as a mail sorter for Canada’s national postal service
Older brother of Peter Aykroyd. Like Peter, an alumnus of the Second
City comedy troupe in Toronto.