“The Blues Brothers” band is ready to make a comeback, as “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues take their act on the road and back to their native Chicago as an animated TV musical comedy series.
The primetime series in the works is based on the “Saturday Night Live” sketch that originated in 1976 by cast members and Second City alums and die-hard blues fans Dan Aykroyd as Elwood and Jim Belushi as Jake Blues.
Aykroyd, Judy Belushi, John’s widow, and “SNL” writer Ann Beatts will serve as co-creators and executive producers, along with Bento Box Entertainment (“Bob’s Burgers”), Rehab Entertainment and the Blues Brothers manager Erick Gardner, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Each episode of the new series will feature a score and soundtrack curated with the soul, blues and R&B classics and hits performed by the Blues Brothers and guest artists.
Aykroyd had a long-held idea for a “Blues Brothers” movie and in 1979, after a series of lengthy starts and stops, Universal was ready to produce “The Blues Brothers” in the Blues Brothers Chicago hometown.
To obtain the city’s cooperation on a big production like this (original budget $17.5 million, final cost $30 million) Wheaton native Belushi spent a sweaty hour trying to get the blessing of Mayor Jane Byrne, after years of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s disdain and disapproval of Chicago-set films that, God forbid, might cause any sort of negative portrayal of his city.
One big reason for Belushi’s nervousness during the Byrne meeting, was having to reveal that during the finale car chase the brothers’ “Bluesmobile” crashes through the lobby of the Daley Center. (It was one of 103 car wrecks in the film.)
Byrne, of course, was all for their film. All films, in fact, having established the city’s first official film office. Her welcoming and support of movie-making was the start of the city’s ascent to a thriving production center.
“The Blues Brothers” filmed on more than 40 city and suburban locations and, as Aykroyd said 30 years later, “It probably turned a lot of people onto Chicago in the first place.”
Enjoy some trivia about the 1979 “Blues Brothers” Chicago production here.